When speaking of the perfect geographical location for auroras, Reykjavik got lucky. Because it is so far up north, an 8-month period, late August to early April, offers a chance to see the Northern Lights.
That does not mean you are equally likely to see them no matter when you go. Your best shot at getting truly lucky is late September or March. Both of these months offer long enough nights for the skies to get pitch black. Plus, they have the highest likelihood of clear skies. Dark skies and no cloud coverage are the necessary combinations if you want your Northern Lights to hunt to go as planned.
Although light pollution in Reykjavik is reduced down to a minimum, the effect is undeniably stronger when you get to see the Northern Lights surrounded by complete darkness. Your best shot are parks and other places with no nearby lights. Alternatively, here are some locations around Reykjavik you can drive to in 30 minutes or less and settle down for a spectacular show in the sky.
Grótta lighthouse - located only 5 minutes in a car from downtown Reykjavik, this location is a go-to for numerous tourists and locals alike. If you don’t mind sharing your Northern Lights show with a group of other enthusiasts, don’t hesitate to visit this small lighthouse. Any photographer shouldn’t miss out on this location. The lighthouse combined with auroras will result in mind-blowing pictures.
Lake Hvaleyrarvatn - a tiny lake 25 minutes away from Reykjavik. Park your car, follow the trail along the south shore, pick a spot of your liking, and enjoy the Northern Lights in peace and quiet. If you’re lucky, the auroras will position themselves so that you can also see their reflection in the crystal clear water. Now that’s a truly unforgettable sight.
Garður - this small fishing village takes about an hour to get to, and has two lighthouses that can elevate your Northern Lights experience and pictures to a whole new level.
Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park - quite a few people will spectate the Northern Lights with you. But if you don’t mind the crowd, the remains of the old parliament are a memorable place to experience the Northern Lights phenomenon.
No car? Don’t worry, keep reading to find out what Northern Lights tours you can join.
Choose a guided Northern Lights tour and free yourself from any concerns related to planning or driving. You can choose a Northern Lights bus tour as a solo adventure or combine it with other activities into day or multi-day tours. All the tours leave from Reykjavik.