Find Northern Lights Tours In Iceland

Northern Lights In Iceland

Experience Iceland's Famous Northern Lights

There is a good reason why seeing the Northern Lights is on so many people’s bucket list! Make sure to optimize your chances of seeing the Northern Lights during your stay in Iceland by booking a Northern Lights Tour. You can opt for a group tour or go private with your friends and family.

Many people chose to do a combination of things that include activities such as boat cruise and Northern Lights or Snowmobiling and Northern Lights. The choice is your, you can even do multi-day tours that are designed to make the most of your chances of seeing the Northern Lights while in Iceland.


Things To Do In Iceland - Map of Iceland - Teal

Click on the different places on the map above to see available tours!

Ultimate Guide to Tour Iceland Northern Lights: Journey to the Aurora Borealis

Embarking on an Iceland Northern Lights Tour adventure requires strategy and insight. Discover the prime viewing months, diverse tour options, and practical tips to enhance your Aurora Borealis experience. We’ve compiled essential advice without the fluff to navigate your Northern Lights pursuit in Iceland effectively. Ready to chase the celestial dance across the Icelandic skies?

Key Takeaways

  • The best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland is from late August to late April, with peak viewing from September to March, providing dark nights essential for this natural spectacle.

  • A range of guided tours including bus, super jeep, and boat cruises are available to enhance the Northern Lights experience, with some tours offering free retries if the auroras remain elusive.

  • Combine Northern Lights tours with visits to Iceland’s other attractions like the Golden Circle and the South Coast for a comprehensive cultural and natural experience.

Best Time to Visit Iceland for Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis dancing in the night sky

Your visit’s timing significantly influences your Northern Lights pursuit. The ideal time to witness this mesmerizing spectacle is from late August until late April, with the winter months being particularly favored. This period, known as the Northern Lights season, presents longer and darker nights, providing perfect conditions for the lights to steal the show.

The success of a Northern Lights viewing depends on both the timing and the conditions. Here are some tips to increase your chances of seeing the lights:

  • Find clear, dark nights with low light pollution

  • Look for high solar activity

  • Seek out cloudless skies

  • Monitor the aurora forecast a few hours before your adventure

  • Venture into the Icelandic countryside, away from the city lights

By following these tips, you can maximize your chances of witnessing the elusive Northern Lights.

Peak Season

The peak season for Northern Lights sightings in Iceland runs from September to March. These months are rife with opportunities for an awe-inspiring experience during the Northern Lights season.

What’s incredible is that this incredible natural phenomenon, the stunning Aurora Borealis, can be seen in Iceland for about eight months of the year, from late August to the end of April. The peak viewing season, however, is from September to March. So, if you’re planning a trip to Iceland during this period, be ready for a potential once-in-a-lifetime encounter with this natural phenomenon.

Winter Nights

Winter nights in Iceland are a spectacle in themselves. In December, the country offers up to 20 hours of darkness, creating the perfect canvas for the magical Northern Lights, which are only visible in the dark.

Despite being located near the Arctic Circle, Iceland’s winter temperatures are relatively mild, averaging around 0°C (32°F). Don’t forget to pack your winter boots to keep your feet warm and comfortable during the cold temperatures of your aurora hunting adventure.

Iceland’s clear winter skies form ideal conditions for viewing the Northern Lights, and the extended winter nights offer increased chances of encountering such optimal visibility, making the experience even more enchanting.

Popular Tour Options for Northern Lights in Iceland

Guided bus tour under the northern lights

The journey to witness the Northern Lights can be as exhilarating as the event itself, especially with the variety of thrilling tours at your disposal. Options vary from the economical Northern Lights Bus Tour and the thrilling Northern Lights Boat Cruise to the much-loved ‘Magical Auroras’ Northern Lights tour. All these tours aim to enhance your experience by taking you to the best spotting locations.

Each of these tours offers unique experiences such as:

  • intimate small-group adventures

  • exploring unique off-the-beaten-path locations

  • staying cozy with wool blankets

  • having unlimited chances to witness the lights

Some tour operators even offer the chance to join another tour for free if the lights don’t appear on your trip. So, whether you’re a solo traveler, a group, or a family, there’s a perfect tour waiting for you.

Guided Bus Tours

Super Jeep navigating rugged terrain under the northern lights

A guided bus tour can be a fantastic way to embark on your Northern Lights adventure. These popular northern lights tours present the convenience of transportation and the expertise of a guide who monitors the weather forecast, ensuring an optimal viewing experience.

A spirited and zealous guide can genuinely enhance the whole trip by sharing incredible insights about Iceland and each location visited, making the experience truly special. The success of seeing the Northern Lights depends on various factors, such as weather conditions and solar activity, and a knowledgeable guide can help maximize your chances.

Super Jeep Tours

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush coupled with a chance to witness the Northern Lights, the Super Jeep tours are your answer. These tours provide a thrilling chance to explore Iceland’s offbeat and unreachable regions, including glaciers, volcanoes, and highland regions.

Beyond the thrill of the ride, these tours offer a more intimate and exclusive experience while chasing the mesmerizing Aurora Borealis. These tours also include some heartwarming experiences, offering complimentary drinks such as hot chocolate and volcanic vodka (Brennivín).

Boat Cruises

How about viewing the Northern Lights from a boat, away from the city lights? The Northern Lights Boat Cruise offers such an exciting opportunity. Guided, these cruises last approximately 2.5 hours, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the Aurora Borealis in the middle of the sea.

These cruises are not just about the Northern Lights but also about the overall experience. Most of them include a warm drink and the option of hotel pickup and drop-off, ensuring a comfortable and hassle-free experience.

Combining Northern Lights Tours with Other Icelandic Attractions

Boat cruise with northern lights in the background

For a more enriched Iceland journey, think about pairing your Iceland Northern Lights tour with visits to other renowned attractions. This combination creates a perfect blend of cultural and natural sightseeing with the thrilling pursuit of the aurora borealis.

You can look forward to an incredible travel experience with a multi-day tour, such as the 3-Day Ice Cave, South Coast, Golden Circle, and Northern Lights tour departure from Reykjavik. This guided tour covers iconic sites like the Golden Circle and the South Coast, visits an ice cave, and concludes with an evening dedicated to the potential viewing of the Northern Lights.

Golden Circle and Northern Lights Combo

The Golden Circle is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist routes, featuring three of the country’s most stunning natural wonders: Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall. Combining this tour with a Northern Lights tour offers the chance to explore the stunning geothermal landscapes and famous sights of Iceland’s Golden Circle during the day, while also embarking on an exhilarating night bus tour from Reykjavik in search of the magical Northern Lights.

During the Golden Circle and Northern Lights tour, you’ll have the chance to visit the marvelous Thingvellir National Park, Geysir, and the majestic Gullfoss Waterfall. The tour concludes with an exciting search for the Northern Lights, providing an opportunity to witness this natural phenomenon.

South Coast and Northern Lights Multi-Day Tours

Another exciting option is the Iceland Northern Lights tours, specifically the South Coast and Northern Lights multi-day tours. These tours in Iceland allow you to explore the stunning South Coast, renowned for its waterfalls, glaciers, and black sand beaches during the day, and hunt for the elusive Northern Lights at night.

The 8-day Northern Lights tour is quite popular and offers a wide range of experiences such as the Golden Circle, glacier hiking, and exploring an ice cave at Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier. With these tours, you can also look forward to staying in selected hotels and guesthouses that are thoughtfully chosen for their locations, including some in the countryside to facilitate Northern Lights viewing.

Tips for Capturing the Perfect Northern Lights Photo

Photographer capturing the northern lights

Snapping the ideal Northern Lights photo is a venture in and of itself. It’s all about experimenting with various camera settings and ensuring you bring extra batteries and a tripod for stability during long exposures.

The key to capturing the Northern Lights effectively is to play around with your camera settings. An ISO between 1600 and 6400, a shutter speed between 2 and 15 seconds, and an aperture set to wide open are recommended. Using manual focus is also advised to achieve clear photos. Don’t hesitate to ask your guide for tips on how to use your camera or phone to capture the Northern Lights effectively.

What to Wear and Bring on Your Northern Lights Tour

When setting off on your Northern Lights quest, ensure to dress warmly in cozy layers, including:

  • an undershirt

  • a fleece sweater

  • a jacket

  • thermal underwear or leggings

This will keep you cozy and comfortable while you enjoy the breathtaking Northern Lights in Iceland, a natural phenomenon often triggered by solar storms.

In addition to warm clothing, packing the right footwear and accessories can greatly enhance your comfort. Here are some essential items to consider for a Northern Lights tour:

  • Hiking boots, preferably waterproof and lined with thermal material, are the best footwear.

  • Decent woolen gloves or good mittens will ensure your hands stay warm, especially if you need to manage a camera during the tour.

  • Don’t forget to pack a backpack with essentials such as a camera, extra batteries, snacks, water, warm gloves, scarves, socks, and hats.

These items will ensure you have an amazing experience while staying warm and comfortable.

Accommodation Options for Northern Lights Enthusiasts

Selecting the appropriate accommodation is vital to amplify your odds of observing the Northern Lights. Some hotels that are strategically located and provide optimal conditions for witnessing the phenomenon are:

  • Hotel Rangá

  • Magma Hotel

  • Fosshótel Mývatn

  • Hofsstaðir Country Hotel

  • Hotel Húsafell

These lodging options are renowned for their strategic locations that enhance the chances of witnessing the Aurora Borealis. Some of these hotels are situated in remote areas with minimal light pollution, providing guests with uninterrupted views of the night sky, perfect for spotting the elusive lights.

Responsible Aurora Borealis Tourism

Like all tourism, we must not forget our accountability towards the environment and local communities. This includes promoting responsible Aurora Borealis tourism in Iceland by taking visitors far away from artificial light to experience the natural phenomenon.

To enjoy the Northern Lights while minimizing light pollution, here are some tips:

  • Find a location with clear, cloudless skies and get away from any light pollution.

  • Support local and sustainable businesses.

  • Respect the pristine nature and stay on designated paths and trails.

  • Use environmentally friendly transportation options.

  • Conserve energy.

  • Be mindful of the location to avoid light pollution.

Booking Your Northern Lights Tour: What to Consider

Several factors come into play when booking your Northern Lights tour. It is ideal to book your tour well in advance to secure your spot and have the best chance of witnessing this breathtaking natural phenomenon. Depending on how important the Northern Lights experience is to you overall, you should consider booking the tour at the beginning of your trip in case they do not appear on your first try. Most tour operators offer a free re-booking of your tour if you do not see the northern lights on the first try.

Extending your stay or adding optional activities can enhance your tour experience by providing personalized options to cater to your interests and preferences. This way, you can make the most of your trip and create lasting memories. Exciting optional activities that can be included in a Northern Lights tour package include:

  • Chasing the Northern Lights by boat or super jeep

  • Relaxing in the Sky Lagoon

  • Snowmobiling on a glacier

  • Exploring ice caves

Unique Experiences: Northern Lights from Geothermal Baths

Iceland’s geothermal baths offer a unique experience where you can immerse yourself in warm, soothing waters while gazing up at the shimmering Northern Lights. The winter season, particularly in March and September, is the best period for viewing the Northern Lights from geothermal baths in Iceland, from September to April, particularly in March and September.

Some options for geothermal baths in Iceland include:

  • The Blue Lagoon

  • Sky Lagoon

  • Secret Lagoon

  • Mývatn Nature Baths

  • GeoSea Geothermal Sea Baths

These geothermal baths offer amazing amenities such as comfortable changing rooms, showers, seating areas, and some even have cafes or bars.


To sum up, the Northern Lights are a breathtaking spectacle that draws countless visitors to Iceland every year. From the best time to witness this phenomenon, to the variety of tours available, this guide has provided you with all the information you need to embark on this magical adventure. Now, all that’s left is for you to pack your bags, book that flight, and get ready for an unforgettable journey to the land of fire and ice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best month to see northern lights in Iceland?

The best month to see the northern lights in Iceland is between September and April, during the winter months when the nights are long and dark. Enjoy the spectacular display during these months!

Is it worth booking a northern lights tour in Iceland?

Yes, it is worth booking a northern lights tour in Iceland to maximize your chances of seeing the aurora borealis and benefit from expert guidance on where to go and what to look for.

How much would it cost to go to Iceland to see the northern lights?

It would cost around $724 for a Northern Lights City Break holiday in Iceland, including flights, accommodation, and a Northern Lights Hunt evening excursion. This is a great opportunity to experience the magical Northern Lights.

How far is Reykjavik from the Northern Lights?

Reykjavik is about a 45-minute drive from Thingvellir National Park, making it a fantastic location to witness the Northern Lights. So, it’s not far at all!

What should I wear on a Northern Lights tour?

Wear warm layers including an undershirt, fleece sweater, jacket, thermal underwear or leggings, hiking boots, and gloves to stay comfortable on a Northern Lights tour. You’ll be prepared for the chilly weather and able to fully enjoy the experience.

Explore Reykjavik

Find out more about available tours and activities in Reykjavik. Make sure that you do not miss out on interesting things to do in Reykjavik.

A City Full Of Surprises

There are so many museums and sights worth visiting in the city before you head out on adventures in the country side.
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South Coast Tours

Many south coast tours are available as day tours, where you will be picked up in Reykjavik and dropped off at night.

Explore The South

If you prefer to take your time along the south coast, there are also a number of options for you. Enjoy the beauty of waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers and more.
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Experience The Ice

Glacier tours are always a popular choice. You can go snowmobiling or discover secret ice caves with a guide. You will not be disappointed!

Unique Beauty

You can be sure that none of your friends have the same pictures as you! Glaciers are constantly changing and moving. We are sure that you will be moved too!
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Day Tours

Why not explore the many wonderful locations near Reykjavik? There are many exciting day tours available from Reykjavik and often book a pick up outside your hotel.

You Can Experience More Than You Think

Iceland is relatively small, and therefore you can do a lot of exploring in just one day. Find your perfect day tour!
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Helicopter Tours

Nothing beats a helicopter tour in Iceland. Explore Reykjavik from above, or make a quick pit stop on top of a glacier, only to be back for lunch in the city!

The Sky Is The Limit

Take the opportunity to fill your memorybank with unique views and breathtaking landscapes.
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Diving & Snorkeling

Silfra in Thingvellir national park is a unique location to dive in. The clarity of the water along with the ability to go between the tectonic plates makes it breathtaking

Crystal Clear

Do not worry, you will not run into sharks in these waters. But you might lose track of time or get overwhelmed by the beauty.
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Multi Day Tours

Multi day tours are a great way to explore Iceland if you want to relax and let the experts take care of the planning of your tours.

Discover More

Get the most out of your holiday in Iceland. Browse our selection of multi day tours to find something just right for you!
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Horseback Riding

Did you know that the Icelandic horse is a unique breed of horses? Why not venture out into stunning nature on the back of a horse?

A Wild Experience

The Icelandic horse is famous for being tough, yet they have very friendly and gentle temperament.
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Whale Watching

Whale watching tours are always popular in Iceland. You might even find a puffin or two. Experience the majestic size of some of nature's largest mammals.

So Big Yet So Cute

Most of the tours are operated from either Reykjavik, Akureyri or Husavik. Make sure you do not miss out on this wonderful experience.
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