If you are planning to come to Iceland in the coming months, you are in luck. The northern lights season has officially started and even though they come and go as they please, there is a good chance you will see them during your trip. To enhance your chances of seeing northern lights while you’re in Iceland, we will tell you about some of the best northern lights viewing locations.
A great option for viewing northern lights in Reykjavík is Öskuhlið hill, well within walking distance from the downtown area. It’s not difficult to find it, as the glass dome on top of the hill is seen from most places in the city. This glass dome is Perlan Museum, open every day from 09:00 till 20:00. For a small fee you have access to their viewing deck with a beautiful 360° view over Reykjavík and its surroundings. If Perlan Museum is closed when the northern lights appear, it’s still worth going to Öskuhlið hill, because you will have a magnificent view from there.
If you want to stay close to Reykjavík, Grótta lighthouse in Seltjarnarnes is the best place to go. Seltjarnarnes is a small peninsula and town right next to Reykjavík – from Hallgrímskirkja church it’s only about 5km to the tip of the peninsula. The area around Grótta lighthouse is very poorly lit, which is just what you need for a good stargazing and northern lights viewing spot.
Northern Lights Inn
There are a couple of hotels in the Icelandic countryside that offer viewing rooms for northern lights. Northern Lights Inn on Reykjanes peninsula is one of them. It’s located close to the Blue Lagoon and only 20 minutes from Keflavík International Airport. Their Galaxy Tower is a premium northern lights viewing location. It’s a tower with big, glass windows all around, dedicated to northern lights viewing.
Hotel Frost and Fire
Hotel Frost and Fire in Hveragerði is another good option. Hveragerði is a town about 40 minutes driving from Reykjavík. Their dining area, Restaurant Varmá, is completely made of glass. After hours, when the lights are out, you don’t even have to leave the hotel to have a perfect view of the night sky.
Have you ever slept under a sky of stars in a comfortable bed inside a heated, transparent plastic bubble? No? Well, in Iceland, it’s possible to book exactly this, and it’s called the five-million-star hotel. As long as it’s not snowing, it’s perfect for viewing northern lights. Just lie in bed and enjoy the clear view above you.
Of course, these are just a few options of many, many more. Stop by the What’s On tourist information office at Laugavegur 5 for more tips on hotels suitable for northern lights hunting.
It may come as no surprise, but winters in Iceland can get pretty cold. It’s not as bad as you would think, but temperatures will generally drop to around freezing. Waiting in the middle of nowhere, in the dark and cold, for the northern lights to show up can be challenging. So, why not wait in a geothermal outdoor swimming pool? You can go for a relaxing swim or just soak in one of the hot tubs, which are generally around 40℃. In Reykjavík, it’s not uncommon for pools to turn their lights off for a while when the northern lights forecast looks promising.