The best season to see the northern lights in Iceland is from September to April but sometimes we can see them in late August also. Northern lights to occur requires dark sky with no clouds.
WHAT ARE NORTHERN LIGHTS?
The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. They are known as ‘Aurora borealis’ in the north and ‘Aurora australis’ in the south..
Auroral displays appear in many colours although pale green and pink are the most common. Shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet have been reported. The lights appear in many forms from patches or scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs, rippling curtains or shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow. (Source – https://www.northernlightscentre.ca/northernlights.html)
WHAT CAUSES THE NORTHERN LIGHTS?
The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. Variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common auroral color, a pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 200 miles. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora. (Source – https://www.northernlightscentre.ca/northernlights.html)
HOW TO KNOW WHEN NORTHERN LIGHTS WILL OCCUR?
Aurora forecast from the Icelandic Meteorological Office is very useful for checking when it is going to happen. Look for the white parts on the forecast map which indicate the clarity of the sky, then compare whether there are low, moderate or high predictions in those regions. You have to check these conditions regulary because they can change every hour. If activity is 3 or higher it is a good chance to see the northern lights.
WHY NOT TO BOOK NORTHERN LIGHTS TOURS?
Because you can do it yourself without paying lots of money ! Sometimes northern lights occur even over Reykjavik lights. To have best experience if you have a car I recommend to drive out of Reykjavik and fall in some hot spring (you can check our favorites in our TRAVEL MAP). If you do not have a car you can rent it and it will be cheaper and more useful rather then buying a tour (check CHEAPEST CAR RENTAL COMPANIES IN ICELAND). If you can’t drive and can’t get out of the city go to Grotta. It is dark place far from city lights and only around 30 minutes walk from downtown. Near Grotta you will find a small hot spring footbath called Kvika footbath. You can see location bellow on the map.
You can check nothern lights tours prices here on VIATOR to be sure that it’s not worth buying it.
Happy hunt of northern lights !
Why not to book Northern Lights tours ?