Northern Lights

The Northern Lights, more properly known as the Aurora Borealis, have long enchanted visitors to Iceland. With their dazzling colours they flow in grey, blue, white and sometimes purple. They might look like magic, but the science behind them is well understood: The shimmer arises when electrons from solar winds interact with the earth’s atmosphere, and the flowing, stream-like movements result because the winds follow the planet’s magnetic force.
Aurora Borealis - Victor Montol - Flickr

The Northern lights seen in Iceland are mostly green – the result of wind interaction with oxygen molecules about 60 miles above the earth – they can sometimes glow red when higher altitude molecules are encountered. Once you get a taste for them you will want more. It should not be hard to understand why they are one of the top natural attractions of Iceland.
You can book tours to see the Aurora Borealis in Iceland but if you travel outside of Reykjavik in the winter there is a good chance that you will see them by chance.
The spectacle of the Northern lights or Aurora Borealis requires dark and partly clear skies. The Icelandic meteorological office has recently begun publishing a daily Aurora forecast where they make available a map of Iceland with the best chances to see the northern lights. Cloud cover forecast is given for the next few days, in maps where white means clear skies. 
Additionally, the text forecast above the map clarifies where in Iceland clear or partly clear skies are most likely. When you go to their website you find the map under weather forecasts and the map will appear, you simply move the slider below the cloud cover maps, or click directly on a day or time.
The information on the page will update accordingly, the Aurora forecast shows expected activity at your selected date.
Aurora Borealis - Haukur H - Flickr
It should be noted that even grade 2 which means low activity, can be beautiful and grade 3 which corresponds to moderate activity can be dazzling. The timings given on the website indicating sunset, darkness, sunrise and moonrise are are valid for Reykjavik but only approximate for other areas, there is generally not much difference, it may be a matter of several dozen minutes.


Hotels in Iceland


Aurora Reykavik

Aurora Reykjavik. Northern ligths center in Iceland is open all year from 10-22 every day. So even if you are traveling in summer you can catch the essence of being out on a cold winter night watching the Icelandic Northern Lights.

Icelandic Northern Lights

One of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights is Iceland. Because of its northerly position on the globe the tilt of the Earths axis places Iceland away from the sun during the winter months. This makes for very long dark winters where the nights are extended and the days are very short.

On these long nights the stars and the moon provide illumination which again reflects of the snow covered landscape, this is in itself a very beautiful sight and one well worth experiencing.

For anyone traveling to Iceland in the winter, the greatest attraction is the near guaranteed chance of catching a glimpse of the flying rainbow that is the Northern Lights.

Auroral displays, especially those seen in Iceland, appear frequently and in many colours. Pale green, yellow and pink are the most common colours of the Northern Lights in Iceland.

Northern Lights forecast

For anyone traveling to Iceland in the winter, the greatest attraction is the near guaranteed chance of catching a glimpse of the flying rainbow that is the Northern Lights in Iceland
But having made plans to come all the way to the cold little country in the North Atlantic, you may ask yourself: 
When do the Northern Lights appear in Iceland?

What Makes the Northern Lights

Pale green and yellow are the most common colours of the Northern Lights in Iceland but different shades of green and yellow fly by and create a wonderful display of light. 
The 
Northern Lights appear in many forms and can be described as anything from small patches or scattered clouds of light to rippling streams, bulging arcs, or curtains flowing in an invisible wind. 
The Aurora Borealis can also flash along the dark velvet sky as shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow.