The new season may be bringing the end of the bright summer nights, but never fear, the northern lights are here! The aurora has been invisible all summer long, as its faint light is no match for the midnight sun, but as the autumn equinox draws nearer, it’s now getting dark enough in the evenings for the northern lights to strut their stuff.
Seeing the lights is a magical experience and we recommend seeking them out while you’re in Iceland. However, there are a few things every northern lights hunter should keep in mind. The northern lights aren’t a reliable attraction and seeing them can be a matter of being in the right spot at the right time. It’s not all down to luck, however, as there are a few things you can do to maximise your chances of seeing the ethereal lights.
Top 8 tips for viewing the northern lights
Get out of town – the city lights overshadow the northern lights.
Make sure it’s dark – daylight and northern lights don’t go hand in hand.
Make sure the sky is clear – the northern lights appear way above the clouds.
Give it time and be patient – the northern lights don’t come out by order – be patient and you might get lucky.
Sightings can never be guaranteed – we recommend a tour that includes some great activity as well as a northern lights hunt, so you won’t feel disappointed.
Wear something warm – it can get seriously cold, especially when the sky is clear and you’re waiting for a long time.
Know your camera – taking photos with a flash won’t work. Ever. A tripod and long exposure are your friends.
Enjoy it – lie down on the ground and relax. Look up. Enjoy!
Different ways to see the northern lights
Going by coach
Cheap and effective. A northern lights tour by bus is a good way to see the lights if you’re on a budget. The guides are seasoned and the drivers know where they should go for the best views of the lights. It’s the cheapest option to see the lights, and it gets the job done.
Book a northern lights tour by minibus here.
Going by boat
A great experience regardless of lights. Going by boat and seeing the city from the sea at night, is in itself a great experience. The boat ride is a good choice for those who want to ensure they get something out of their tour even if no lights are found.
Going by superjeep
Exclusive and thrilling. Going on a hunt for the lights with a specially modified superjeep is a thrilling experience that’s fun and exciting. Sights can of course never be guaranteed, but the off-road action of a superjeep makes for a great adventure, the lights are just an added bonus.
Book your northern lights tour now online or at the What’s On tourist information centre, at Laugavegur 5.