Chase the Midnight Sun: Iceland and Canada tours available now!

Iceland Northern Lights 5 Day Itinerary

Golden Circle, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, South Coast Sightseeing & Northern Lights Expedition

|August 21, 2023
Anhelina is a wanderlust-fueled soul who is also a cat mom, amateur cyclist, and painter in her free time. She believes that every location, no matter how remote or obscure, has a unique charm that deserves to be shared with the world.

Embark on a 5-day adventure in Iceland, filled with breathtaking landscapes, geothermal wonders, and the mesmerizing Northern Lights. From the geysers of the Golden Circle to the glaciers of Vatnajökull, this itinerary is your ticket to the best that Iceland has to offer.

If you're reading this, you're probably dreaming of witnessing the ethereal beauty of the Northern Lights. Well, you're in luck! We've crafted a 5-day itinerary that will take you through some of Iceland's most stunning landscapes while chasing the elusive auroras. So, buckle up, and let's get started!

Northern Lights Iceland Itinerary Overview


Day 1 - Reykjavik and Borgarfjörður

  1. Reykjavik
  2. Deildartunguhver Hot Spring
  3. Reykholt and Snorralaug Hot Spring Pool
  4. Hraunfossar Waterfall
  5. Barnafoss Waterfall
  6. Northern Lights Viewing in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Day 2 - Snæfellsnes Peninsula

  1. Arnarstapi Village
  2. Vatnshellir Cave (optional)
  3. Hellnar Village
  4. Djúpalónssandur Black Pebble Beach
  5. Mount Kirkjufell
  6. Northern Lights Viewing in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Day 3 - The Golden Circle

  1. Þingvellir National Park
  2. Geysir Geothermal Area
  3. Gullfoss Waterfall
  4. Northern Lights Viewing near Vík

Day 4 - Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Glacier Hiking

  1. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
  2. Vatnajökull Glacier Hike
  3. Ice Cave Exploration
  4. Northern Lights Viewing in Skaftafell Area

Day 5 - South Iceland Sightseeing

  1. Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
  2. Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
  3. Skógafoss Waterfall
  4. Northern Lights Viewing on the way back to Reykjavik

Day 1 - Reykjavik and Borgarfjörður

Northern Lights by Reykjavik Sun Voyager

Sun Voyager sculpture with northern lights in the background

On this Iceland itinerary, Northern Lights viewing will be your main goal, however, you will have a huge bonus of exploring Iceland while you’re at it!

Your adventure begins in Reykjavik, the vibrant capital of Iceland. As you leave the city behind, you'll be greeted by scenic fjords and bays as you head north. Your first stop is Deildartunguhver, the most powerful hot spring in Europe. This geothermal marvel is a testament to Iceland's volcanic activity, pumping out an impressive 180 liters per second of hot water at a scalding 100°C. This hot water is used to heat homes and buildings in the surrounding area, showcasing Iceland's innovative use of its natural resources.

Next, explore Reykholt, a historic site once the home of Snorri Sturluson, one of Iceland's most famous saga writers. Here, you can see Snorralaug, a small hot spring pool in which Snorri himself is said to have bathed. The day ends with a visit to Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls. Hraunfossar is unique for its series of waterfalls that pour out from underneath a lava field while Barnafoss has a tragic legend attached to it.

As night falls, you'll be in the perfect location to glimpse the Northern Lights. The Snæfellsnes peninsula, where you can stay overnight, is known for its dark skies, free from light pollution, making it an ideal spot for Aurora Borealis viewing. Remember to stay warm and patient—the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon that takes time to appear.

Day 2 - Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Northern Lights over Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Northern lights over the Kirkjufell mountain in Sneafellsnes Peninsula

After breakfast, head west to the traditional fishing village of Arnarstapi. This charming village is surrounded by stunning coastal and mountain scenery, making it a photographer's dream. Afterward, you can join a guided tour to explore the Vatnshellir Cave (additional cost). This lava tube offers a glimpse into the volcanic activity that has shaped Iceland. This is a unique opportunity to venture beneath the surface and see the geological formations that Iceland is famous for.

We suggest stopping for lunch at Hellnar and visiting the black pebble beach at Djúpalónssandur and the famous Mount Kirkjufell. This mountain is one of the most photographed in Iceland, and you will see why with its distinctive shape and surrounding scenery.

As the day ends, we recommend returning to a hotel in Reykjavik. The journey back provides another opportunity to spot the Northern Lights. The clear skies and open landscapes of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula offer a fantastic backdrop for the dancing auroras! Just make sure to keep checking the Northern Lights forecast for the best hunt results.

Day 3 - The Golden Circle Tour

snowy gullfoss waterfall at night in winter

Northern Lights over the Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland

The third day of your adventure takes you to the famous views of the Golden Circle. You'll start with Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia meet. This is one of the few places in the world where you can walk (or even snorkel) between two continental plates, a truly unique experience!

Next, you'll visit the Geysir geothermal area, home to the Strokkur geyser, which erupts every few minutes. This is a fantastic opportunity to witness the power of Iceland's geothermal activity firsthand. The day ends with a visit to the majestic Gullfoss Waterfall, a stunning two-tiered waterfall on the Hvítá River. We highly recommend river rafting here if you are visiting in the summer season!

As the sun sets, we suggest booking accommodation near Vík town. This southern location, away from the city lights, is another excellent spot for seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland.

Day 4 - Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Glacier Hiking

Northern Lights Over Glacier Lagoon in Iceland

Northern lights over the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Day four starts with a visit to the famous Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Here, you can see icebergs that have broken off from the glacier floating in the water. This surreal landscape is a must-see in Iceland. You might even spot some seals frolicking among the icebergs if you're lucky!

The adventure continues as you head towards Vatnajökull glacier for a hiking adventure. As you explore the glacier and its ice caves, you'll learn about the forces that shape these icy landscapes. This is a unique opportunity to walk on one of the largest glaciers in Europe and see the blue ice up close.

As night falls, you'll be in the ideal location to spot the Northern Lights. The Skaftafell area, where you'll be staying, is known for its clear skies and minimal light pollution. The contrast of the Aurora Borealis against the icy landscape is a sight to behold!

Day 5 - South Iceland Sightseeing

Northern Lights from Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland

Northern lights in the south of Iceland

The final day of your adventure takes you to some of the most famous sights on Iceland's South Coast. You'll start with a visit to Fjaðrárgljúfur, a stunning canyon carved out by melting glaciers. Visiting Fjadrargljufur Canyon is an experience to remember, especially if you are up for hiking.

Next, you'll visit the black sand beach of Reynisfjara, known for its basalt columns and the Reynisdrangar sea stacks. This beach is a testament to Iceland's volcanic activity, with the black sand formed from volcanic rocks and ash. The day ends with a visit to Skógafoss, one of Iceland's biggest and most beautiful waterfalls.

As your journey comes to an end, you'll return to Reykjavik. But not before one last chance to see the Northern Lights. The trip back to the city provides a fantastic opportunity to spot the auroras, capping off an unforgettable adventure in Iceland.

Iceland 5-Day Itinerary Northern Lights: Conclusion

Woman and Colorful Northern Lights in Iceland

Northern lights in Iceland

As we wrap up this guide to your 5-day Northern Lights adventure in Iceland, we can't help but feel excited for the fantastic journey that's waiting for you. With its powerful geysers, massive glaciers, and the magical Northern Lights, Iceland is more than just a place to visit - it's a wild adventure that touches your heart. This trip is not just about following an itinerary; it's about experiencing unforgettable moments that will stay with you long after you return home.

Alternatively, we invite you to join us on a guided tour, where we'll explore the stunning landscapes together, ensuring every part of your trip is filled with awe.

So, get ready for an adventure, pack your bags, and let's chase the Northern Lights across the beautiful Icelandic sky. The Land of Fire and Ice is calling, and it's time to answer!

Iceland 5-Day Itinerary Northern Lights - FAQs

What is the best month to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?

The Northern Lights season in Iceland is from late September to late March. This is when the nights are the longest, providing the dark conditions necessary for viewing the lights. However, this is a natural phenomenon, and sightings can never be guaranteed.

How long should I stay in Iceland to see the Northern Lights?

A stay of at least a week is recommended to have a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland. This allows for any potential weather disruptions and increases your chances of experiencing clear, dark skies. However, sightings can never be guaranteed as they depend on solar activity and weather conditions.

Is it worth doing a Northern Lights tour in Iceland?

Yes, it is worth doing a Northern Lights guided tour in Iceland. These tours are led by experienced guides who know the best locations and times for viewing the lights. They can also provide valuable information about the Northern Lights in Iceland and how to photograph them.

Related Tours

Recommended Blog Posts