The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, is a natural phenomenon where solar particles manifest as shimmering streaks of light in the sky. It’s one of the most breathtaking sights you’ll ever see.

Out of all the places to see the Northern Lights, Iceland is arguably the most popular destination. In fact, catching the Northern Lights in Iceland is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that many travelers have on their bucket lists.

Want in on the action? We’ve rounded up the best spots for you to see the Northern Lights in Reykjavik and across Iceland.

Even though the Northern Lights are technically always there, the best time to see them is during winter between October and March. That’s when Iceland has its longest nights of the year. Naturally, this ups your chances to see the Northern Lights, especially if you try your luck between 5 p.m. and 2 a.m.

You’ll also want clear, cloudless skies and very dark nights (avoid full moons). But even then, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to see the Northern Lights. It’s a bummer, we know. But you can always boost your chances by following Iceland’s daily Aurora Forecast—just plan your trips around their projections.

The Westfjords

Known for its enigmatic cliffs and beautiful shoreline, the Westfjords is a sparsely populated peninsula in Iceland’s northwestern corner. With little to no light pollution, it’s one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.


Bolafjall is the top destination in the Westfjords for a Northern Lights excursion. It’s a tall cliff located at the very tip of the peninsula where the solar winds are much stronger. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to see brighter and more vivid streaks in the sky.


You’ll also want to add Dynjandi, the largest waterfall in the Westfjords, to your list. Just imagine the beauty of the Northern Lights next to the cascading falls.

North Iceland


Akureyri is a picturesque port city surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Its remote location, close to the Arctic Circle, makes it one of the few settlements in Iceland where you can enjoy the Northern Lights.


Nicknamed the ‘Waterfall of the Gods’, Godafoss is one of the key stops on Iceland’s popular Diamond Circle road trip route. Glacial highland waters from the Skjalfandafljot river gush from a height of 40 feet around a 100-foot wide horseshoe-shaped basin.


If you only have time to squeeze in one location, we recommend Skagafjordur. Explore the vast pastures and deep gorges by day and catch the most amazing display of the Northern Lights after dark.

South Iceland


Jokulsarlon is a glacial lagoon in the southeast of Iceland. The shore is full of ice boulders that capture and reflect the glow of the Northern Lights for an even more magical experience.

Reynisfjara Beach

Reynisfjara is a famous black sand beach with giant basalt stacks rising out of the ocean. The Northern Lights dancing around basalt cliffs make for a truly dramatic show.

Spinal cord

Take a dip at Seljavallalaug, one of Iceland’s oldest open-air swimming pools (free of charge), open 24 hours a day. What could be better than soaking in the hot springs and catching the cosmic light show overhead?

In and around Reykjavik

Most travelers who visit Iceland will inevitably have to fly into Reykjavik. If the capital is your base, include these spots on your list to watch the Northern Lights in Reykjavik.

Lighthouse cave

Just a 10-minute drive from the city center, Grotta Lighthouse is one of the top locations to see the Northern Lights in Reykjavik because of its remote location. The lighthouse is only accessible during low tide via a sandy bank, so make sure you check tide times before heading out.

Reykjavik’s city parks

Klambratun and Oskjuhlid are excellent spots as the trees in the area block out most of the city lights. If you want to relax in an outdoor thermal pool while you watch the skies, visit Laugardalur, a recreational space just east of the city center.

Best hotels to see the Northern Lights

Fancy admiring the Northern Lights from the comfort of your own hotel room? You’re in luck because there are quite a few hotels in Iceland that allow you to do exactly that.

Hotel Ranga

Hotel Ranga is about a two-hour drive south of Reykjavik. Its remote location allows you to enjoy the Northern Lights with minimal distraction, either from your own balcony or while soaking in an outdoor hot tub. What’s more, the hotel offers wake-up calls specifically for the Northern Lights.

Hotel Husafell

A secluded resort located in the middle of the Icelandic wilderness, Hotel Husafell is close to many natural wonders and vistas that Iceland is known for. During the day, you can explore the Langjokull glacier, ice caves, and more.

Hofsstadir Country Hotel

Perched atop a verdant hill, Hofsstadir Country Hotel in Skagafjordur offers stunning views of majestic fjords during the day and an intimate, front-row view of the Northern Lights at night. Book a room with a veranda for a private viewing of the lights show.

Reykjavik Domes

Glamping in Iceland sounds like an absolute dream, especially if you can catch the Northern Lights in the process. At Reykjavik Domes, that dream becomes a reality. This glamping experience features a number of luxurious dome-shaped tents with large windows that allow you to see the Northern Lights even while in bed.

Northern Lights boat tours in Reykjavik

Sign up for a Northern Lights Cruise that takes you out to sea to view the Northern Lights. The boats depart the harbor at Reykjavik in the evening and head straight to Faxafloi Bay where they drop anchor.

If the weather is perfect and the seas are calm, you’ll be treated to an uninterrupted view of the Northern Lights. The best Northern Lights boat tours in Reykjavik usually cost between $70 and $90 per person based on the type of cruise or boat you choose.

Northern Lights land tours from Reykjavik

If you prefer guided excursions on land, we recommend joining a Superjeep tour from Reykjavik. Perfect for adventurers who prefer traveling in smaller groups, this tour allows you to reach some of the most remote locations in the region you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access.

Compared to boat tours, a super jeep tour is slightly more expensive, costing between $150 and $200 per person, but it’s worth the splurge.

Self-drive Northern Lights tour

Finally, if you have a valid driver’s license, you can rent a car and embark on an epic self-drive journey chasing the Northern Lights in Reykjavik but be careful of road conditions in winter. Car rentals cost between $40 and $60 a day, with gas costing around $7.50 per gallon.

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