Iceland- One of the most beautiful countries I have visited so far. Check out the stunning sights in Iceland to catch your northern lights.
When is the best time to go to Iceland?
Many will know, Iceland is one of the best destinations to view the northern lights. And Iceland‘s location on the top of the world also ensures that it is among the very best places on the planet to see them. These spectacular celestial wonders are visible for eight months a year, from early September to the end of April.
However, it is said by locals in Iceland that December is by far the darkest month, meaning more hours to spot the lights. And the weather is often worse in January-February, with more rainfall, and therefore more clouds.
So what are the northern lights?
Northern Lights are the visual result of solar particles entering the earth’s magnetic field at high atmosphere, and ionising. Their intensity depends on the activity of the sun, and the acceleration speed of these particles. You need patience and luck in order to catch them as well. Here are the criteria that the night has to fulfill before you can catch the northern lights.
- The night must be as dark as possible (a fuller moon will dim the aurora)
- As little unnatural light (light pollution) as possible
- Little to no cloud cover
- Enough solar activity
What’s the best way to see the Northern Lights?
There are four options for you to choose from.
- Hunt for them without leaving the town you are staying in
- Take a guided tour out into nature
- Drive out and search yourself
- Take a boat cruise.
Best time to catch the Northern Lights?
There’s no specific time where you are absolutely sure to view the spectacular view of Northern Lights. Sometimes they come out at 21:00, sometimes 05:00. The Northern Lights may stay for five minutes but up to five hours as well.
Where can I catch the Northern Lights?
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon– Also known as The Crown Jewel of Iceland, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in Iceland is close to highway number one, about 370 km (230 miles) east from Reykjavík and it is told to be one of the greatest wonders of nature in Iceland. It is also Iceland’s deepest lake, measuring at 248 metres deep, and been growing larger every year as the effects of climate change continue to decay the country’s fragile glaciers.
- Öskjuhlið- The wooded hill that stands on the edge of the city. There is a forest which surrounds the popular restaurant and landmark Perlan, is very dark, so observing from one of its clearings can bring you a very fruitful trip. Even though there will be some light pollution from the city, but the view is absolutely stunning that you will have a memorable viewing experience.
þingvellir National Park- Located 31 miles east of Reykjavik, þingvellir National Park is Iceland’s most historic site and one of its most scenic landscapes. Apart from catching the Northern Lights in the þingvellir National Park, you can also check out the other popular sites in the park which include the Silfra Gorge, where you can dive and swim in crystal clear waters between the continental plates, the Ohara waterfall, and Nikulasargja Gorge which is popularly known as Peningagja or money gorge; the tradition is that you come to throw money in the water when you want a wish to be granted.
Hunting for the Northern Lights can be done in many ways, but do bear in mind that you shouldn’t go ONLY for the Northern Lights, go for the destination. But if you are waiting for the Northern Lights, don’t forget- LOOK NORTH! Northern Lights almost always start from the North.