What Are the Northern Lights? 

Ribbons of lights that stream across the night sky near the north pole. They’re most often in shades of green, but sometimes purple, red and pink as well.

Iceland Explained - Northern Lights

What Causes the Northern Lights? 

I won’t get into too much detail about the (very complicated) science behind it but the northern lights are caused by particles released from the sun’s atmosphere hitting our atmosphere. They are only visible around the magnetic poles of the earth. Around the world, different peoples had different superstitions concerning the northern lights, everything from them being a message from the creator to them being the dancing souls of hunting animals, fish, or even the ancestors. Unfortunately, Icelandic superstitions are much less poetic, only claiming the northern lights could predict the weather.

How Do I See the Northern Lights? 

You come to Iceland, find a good and safe spot somewhere outside the city lights (if you have difficulties getting there yourself, there are plenty of tours willing to take you to the best spots) with no cloud cover and wait. The northern lights are a temperamental beast, sometimes there’s just a single green ribbon that fades quickly, sometimes it’s like the skies exploded with colours and dancing lights and sometimes there’s nothing at all to see. Check out the northern lights forecast before you go out, it most often helps.

Check out some northern lights tours here.

From one thing to another, have you ever wondered what the Blue Lagoon is?

The What's On Team
The What's On Team

What's On locations in downtown Reykjavík

  • Laugavegur 5 (Main Office)
  • Laugavegur 54 (Trip)

Opening Hours (Main Office):

  • April-May: 8:30 - 20:00
  • June-March: 8:30 - 22:00

Contact What's On

The official source for safe adventure in Iceland is safetravel. It’s located in our Laugavegur 54 location.