Where to see Northern Lights
“Where to see Northern lights?” is understandably one of the most common question people ask when they are looking for information about the aurora. Naturally it is important to find out where it is possible to see the lights before start making detailed travel plans and this article will give you good information on the topic.
When is the best time?
The northern lights season starts every year in September and is until mid-April. There isn’t one particular month better than the other, as it is impossible to predict when the northern lights will decide to show up and how the weather is going to be. One of the most important factors however is the length of your stay as each day increases your chances of seeing the beautiful lights. We usually advise people to stay here for at least 7 days as the lights are often active for 2 – 3 days and then low for 4 – 5 days. The cloud coverage is also an important factor as the sky must be clear for a northern lights hunt.
Where to see Northern lights?
Iceland is an ideal place to hunt for the northern lights. In order to get the best viewing, go outside the city, i.e. away from the city lights. Often you don´t have to go far, just away from the lights as they often hinder you from seeing the aurora. Another common question we often get is whether we recommend a self-drive, guided tours from Reykjavík or a combination of both. In the winter, roads conditions can be icy and not ideal, so we don’t advise self-driving unless drivers are familiar with snowy and icy roads. It is common for people to opt for both, tours and self-drive. It all depends on what each person is comfortable with. We recommend that you spend a few nights out in the country if you stay in Iceland for more than 5 days. The south coast is very popular for aurora hunting and the same goes for the west and north coast.
Understanding the northern lights forecast
You can find the northern lights forecast here. There are a few things you need to consider when you take a look at the forecast. First, you want to see white areas (a clear sky). Second, in the top right corner you want to see moderate, active or high which means that the northern lights are expected to show up. Third, the weather in Iceland changes constantly so it is important to check the forecast regularly during your stay, especially if you are doing a self-drive. When you go on a bus or a super jeep tour, the drivers have done their homework and know where to go to hunt for the lights each night. Also keep in mind that even though the forecast says low, go outside and hunt for the lights if the sky is clear as they tend to show up without any notice.