If you are planning to visit Iceland, then witnessing the Northern Lights has to be on your bucket list!
There is nothing quite as magical and mesmerizing as watching the green, purple, and pink lights dancing in the dark winter sky. But the question that most people ask is: how likely is it to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?
The best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland
Before we delve into how likely it is to see the Northern Lights, let’s first talk about the time of year when you can witness this phenomenon. The best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland is from September to mid-April.
However, the ideal time to see them is from November to February, as this is when the nights are the longest. From late April to August, Iceland experiences nearly 24 hours of daylight, making it nearly impossible to witness this beautiful natural display.
The weather and its impact on Northern Lights visibility
While the time of year is essential, the weather conditions significantly impact your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. The ideal weather for spotting the Aurora Borealis is when there are clear skies with little to no cloud coverage.
It is often said that if there are three clear nights in a week, there is a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland. So, it is essential to keep an eye on the weather forecast during your trip to Iceland.
Where to see the Northern Lights in Iceland
While the northern lights are visible in several places in Iceland, the best locations to witness the show are in rural areas away from the light pollution of the city. Some of the best places to see the northern lights in Iceland include:
- The Golden Circle
- Thingvellir National Park
- Snæfellsnes Peninsula
- Kirkjufell Mountain
What are the chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland?
This is the question to which every traveler wants an answer. The probability of seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland depends on several factors. But, according to the Icelandic Met Office, the chances of spotting the Northern Lights are good from October to March.
However, it all comes down to luck, weather conditions, and the intensity of solar activity.
The intensity of solar activity, which is measured by the Aurora Borealis activity level, also plays a crucial role. The higher the intensity, the more visible it is. A high aurora activity level and clear weather during your trip could increase your chances of seeing the lights.
Tips for improving your chances of seeing the Northern Lights
To increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights when in Iceland, here are some tips:
- Stay for more than a few days. As mentioned earlier, you need to be lucky enough to see the Aurora, so staying for more than a few days can increase your chances of seeing the lights.
- Check the weather forecast regularly. The clearer the skies, the higher your chance of seeing the lights.
- Join a Northern Lights tour or hire a guide. If it’s your first time in Iceland, joining a northern lights tour or hiring a guide can help increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. Tour guides are experienced in finding the best spots for viewing, and some even use augmented reality to highlight the lights more clearly.
- Avoid light pollution. As mentioned, the Northern Lights are best seen away from cities or any form of significant light pollution.
There is no denying that witnessing the Northern Lights in Iceland is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, the chances of seeing the lights depend on various factors, such as weather conditions, solar activity, and your location.
But no matter what, visiting Iceland and glancing up to see the Northern Lights is a sight you will cherish for a lifetime.