Northern Lights Tours

Iceland Northern lights

Iceland Northern Lights Tours

A successful Northern Lights Tour in Iceland is something you will never forget. Photographing them will take your friendship with the Aurora Borealis to another level.  Aurora Hunting Tours are like the ultimate Mystery Tour through an Alien Landscape in the dark.  These evening tours are full of anticipation. Seeing the Northern Lights on your trip to Iceland will give you a dizzying feeling inside, like riding a Ferris wheel or your first kiss. There is something romantic about the experience. The Magic of the Aurora will leave you spellbound and in a state of mild shock for a while.

When is the best time to come?

Northern lights can be seen from the end of August to the beginning of April in Iceland.  There is no way to see them in the Icelandic Summer because the sky doesn’t get dark. During the Winter, the Northern lights can appear at anytime after dark. The strongest Northern light shows are usually between 10PM and 2AM.  Sometimes they go on all night long and can be seen in the morning.

Auroras can only be seen in Iceland between late August and Early April.

Tours from Reykjavik

These are weather dependent evening tours. The tours and activities below include pick-up from your Reykjavik Hotel. These can be booked through Viator. A small commission helps to support this website.

Photo Tours

If you are serious about photography and want to capture something special, I would strongly recommend this photo infused Northern Lights tour. The tours are run by a team of pro-photographers who can guide your photography, or photograph you with the aurora borealis.

These photo guides know Iceland very well and can run your tour away from the crowds. The first tour is private and just for your small group up to 4 guests. The second is with a small group with a maximum of 8 guests.

More Info

Includes

  • 2 high res photos
  • Pick-up from 8PM to 11.30PM
  • Photo Instruction
  • Four Hour Tour

Cancellation Policy

  • 24 hour cancellation for a full refund

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Private Tours

These tours will give you more time at better locations and you wont have to worry about the crowds that are inevitable on a Northern Lights bus tour. Private tours are more flexible with pick-up times and duration.

Small Group Tours

These tours are hand selected for their small group policy. These are much cheaper than a private tour but include some of the advantages of avoiding crowds.

Bus Tours

This selection of Northern lights bus tours run from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. These buses will take you away from Reykjavik, usually North of the city as much as an hours drive, or it could be a five minute drive. Sometimes the stops will include a few other buses. You can take good photos, but they will be from a car park. I have seen Northern Lights bus tours go out in blizzards, so it s wise to check the weather forecast yourself. Learn how to do this below.

Aurora colours

Other Areas

Hofn East Iceland

This tour works well if you are staying near the glacier lagoons in East Iceland. These Northern Lights tours are run in a private jeep away from the crowds. They will take you to beautiful locations around the Vatnajokull National Park.

More Info

Includes

  • Pick-up from Hofn Hotel or Airport at 8.30PM
  • Private transport
  • Three Hour Tour
  • Expert aurora guide

Cancellation Policy

  • 24 hour cancellation for a full refund

Akureyri – North Iceland

These Northern lights tours run from the capital of North Iceland. Akureyri Northern Lights Tours could include Godafoss waterfall which is a top location for aurora photography. Otherwise they will take you to beauty spots around the Akureyri area. 

Pink Northern Lights Photo

Northern lights Weather

The perfect weather for Northern Lights is a clear sky.  In the mid-winter, a clear sky usually means that it is colder.  This leads to the mistaken view that the Northern Lights are caused by coldness.  They are just more likely to be seen when it is cold because the skies are clearer.  During the colder periods, the roads can be icy.  This is more likely to happen on less busy roads, so if you are out self driving, you GPS could be leading you into a difficult situation.  It is essential to check Icelandic Road Conditions.  And also the Local Weather.

Aurora Forecast

It is wise to check the Aurora Forecast before going out or booking a tour. The National Icelandic weather website has a GREAT RESOURCE for checking the Northern lights and weather over the next three days.  The example below is during an active period.  This can help you plan a short, impulsive trip to Iceland and get your tours already booked.

Iceland Aurora Forecast
This map shows cloud-cover (green) at midnight tonight when the Aurora forecast is high. On this evening, it would be best to be in the East of Iceland, or the Westfjords. The worst place is the Reykjavik area. NOTE: this is not live, click the image to see the updated forecast.

Live Aurora Map

This LINK will show you the live Aurora Activity on a map.  This is useful if you are in Iceland, near a great location and ready to go.  With a very clear sky to the Northern Horizon, you can photograph weak auroras (1 or 2) with a good camera.

Aurora Reykjavik

If the weather forecast goes against you, there is always the Aurora Reykjavik exhibition. This is a warm, indoor Northern Lights experience close to Central Reykjavik.

Colours of the Northern Lights

The colours of the Aurora Spectrum are an ionic phenomenon that occurs when energy from the sun entering our atmosphere. Solar energy causes Electrons to collide with different gases in the ionisphere. This give us the impression of different colours. Oxygen shows a green/yellow colour. Nitrogen makes the Reds, Blues and violets (the most abundant gas).Fly Drive North

Grotta lighthouse northern lights
Northern Lights over Grotta Lighthouse Near Reykjavik

Northern Lights Superstition

The vikings believed that the dancing lights were the souls of the war-dead on their journey to Valhalla.  Many other cultures have seen them as omens of war.  In medieval Iceland, pregnant women were banned from whistling for fear of being abducted by the aurora. The Greenlanders thought the Northern Lights was a giant Sky Walrus.

By Tony Prower

Tony Prower spent over 15 years photographing the landscapes of Iceland. Tony Prower is a pioneer of the Magic Cloth Technique and ran thousands of photo tours in Iceland over 10 years.