When Is the Best Time to See the Northern Lights in Iceland?

The seasons of Iceland can be unpredictable, however there’s no doubt that you will encounter natural beauty and stunning scenery any time you go. But if you’re looking to check one of nature’s most spectacular exhibitions of beauty off your travel bucket list, the best time to see the northern lights in Iceland is in the fall and winter months.

What are the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)?

This colorful light show is a result of electrically charged particles from the sun colliding with gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere. They are active year-round, but only visible during clear, dark nights.


Iceland maintains a temperate maritime climate, thanks to the Gulf Stream. Located just below the Arctic Circle, their summer days are long with nearly 24 hours of sunlight. Their winters are the opposite: very short days with little sunlight. While this may sound dreary to some, Iceland’s dark winters are the perfect setting to see the northern lights – but only on a dark and clear night.

When planning a trip to see the northern lights in Iceland, you’ll need to be flexible and patient. With the average temperature there is mild, weather conditions can quickly change from sunshine to rain to sunshine again. Not only does this make it tricky to decide on what you should pack for your Iceland vacation, it also makes it difficult to plan the best time to see the northern lights.

Iceland in the Summer

During the summer months, Iceland stays cool despite constant sunlight. It’s one of the best times to explore the waterfalls and scenery of the island, as everything is in full view. Explore Iceland during a summer night, and you’ll experience it in another color.

Iceland in the Winter

The later months of the year will provide you with an entirely different experience. Mild temperatures, snow and strong winds mean one thing: it’s time to find a hot spring! These geothermal pools are abundant in Iceland and provide a soothing soak after a long day of exploring. They’re warmed by the Icelandic volcanoes that you’ll see during your travels. What could be better than winding down with a natural spa day underneath the northern lights?


Travel to Iceland with Tenon Tours

It should come as no surprise that the northern lights are one of the most popular reasons to visit Iceland – and Tenon Tours wants you to plan ahead and be prepared! With our customized vacation packages, you can choose between a self-drive or private driver tour. From there, we set up your car, accommodations and itinerary. All you have to do is show up! We even provide you with a complete checklist of what to pack; access to our mobile app so you can view all your travel documents on the go, message your travel buddies or our team; and a 24/7 traveler hotline.

Ready to Start Planning Your Trip?

Our Travel Specialists are ready to craft the perfect Iceland vacation!

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