When to go to see the northern lights

The northern lights in Iceland. These northern lights can appear in many different colors like green, blue, pink and purple. They move high up in the sky with a magical glow.   It is one of the wonders that nature offers us and of course people want to know when is the best time to go to see this natural and magical phenomenon.


The best time to see the northern lights in Iceland is from early September to mid-April as that is the time we don´t have the 24 hour daylight as we do in summer.  If you are lucky you can even see them late August even though the northern lights season hasn´t formally begun. If you are planning to see the northern lights, you must keep in mind though that there is no guarantee that you will see them but there are several things you can do to maximize your chances of seeing them.  

When it is a new moon, the nights are dark and the lights are bright.  A full moon, on the other hand, means bright nights and many say that it´s not the ideal conditions to hunt for the lights. However that is not true as we have often seen beautiful lights when it´s a full moon so don´t let that myth fool you.  It is well possible to see the lights in Reykjavik and other towns and villages, but they are clearer where there are no city lights. That is why we recommend tours or accommodation out in the country, away from the light pollution.


It is not possible to experience the northern lights when it is cloudy and for obvious reasons there are no northern lights visible during summer when Iceland experiences 24 hour daylight as you need darkness to view the lights. The length of your stay is very important as each day increases your chances of seeing the lights. The lights often appear for 2-3 days and then nothing for a few days. Therefore we advice people to stay for a week or more if possible to increase the chances of seeing the lights when they are planning their northern lights holiday. It is also important to keep a regular update on the forecast and it is good to know that it is updated around 6 pm daily. Another thing that is important is to choose the right northern lights hunt option. There are various tours available, both combo tours, floating, bus tours, boat tours and more. Also you can opt for a self drive but in winter is is very important to stress that road conditions in Iceland can be difficult, icy roads and with snow.

Hopefully this has shed some lights to the questionwhen you should visit Iceland to view the northern lights and how you can increase your chances of experiencing the lights.