Along with the sunrise and sunset, contemplating the Northern Lights in Iceland is one of the most amazing visual scenes that you will ever experience. It is a show of lights in constant movement that will make your visit to Iceland an unforgettable trip! That’s why today our post is dedicated to the pearls of the Icelandic night, the Aurora Borealis.

Iceland's Aurora Borealis as a backdrop to Kirkjufell mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights are one of the most extraordinary natural phenomena that exist. Physically they are very interesting. For those of us who are not experts on the subject, they are quite stunning both visually and aesthetically. The spectacle occurs when solar particles collide with Earth’s magnetic fields. When these meet the atmosphere, a great amount of energy is generated, and this is transformed into different light shapes. These colorful forms are known as the Northern Lights. This spectacular natural phenomenon has fluid shapes such as arcs, nebulas, and circles. Mother Nature’s light show is characterized by an explosion of intensity and movement.

The colors of the northern lights in Iceland change depending on the type of particle that collides with the magnetosphere. The light rays appear and disappear which makes the colors appear to change. We can find them ranging from white (if it’s not very strong) to violet red, going through the whole range of greens (the most common color).

Camping in Iceland under the Northern Lights

When can the Northern Lights be seen in Iceland?

The Northern Lights can begin to be seen in Iceland in September. This happens as soon as the weather conditions are favorable and the nights get dark enough. It’s convenient when the sky is as clear as possible, and if the moon is visible, you will take better photos. They can be seen until April from anywhere in Iceland, from sunset to sunrise. It is important to choose a spot without light pollution, avoiding towns and cities. You can choose cabins, the mountains, beaches or any quiet corner away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Just choose your ideal spot for viewing the Northern Lights!

What’s the best way to photograph them?

Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes and otherworldly terrains attract photography buffs from all over. To get a good picture of this particular marvel of nature, we recommend the following tips:

  • Check out the Aurora Borealis forecasts. The Northern Lights have their own website for forecasts and it is quite detailed:
  • Dress warmly! The nights are long and if you want to see the Aurora Borealis, you have to be patient. You’ll need to be well-protected against the cold and the wind.
  • Get a tripod. You will need a long exposure time, so make sure your camera is still.
  • Get a flashlight. As we discussed earlier, the best place to see them is in remote areas.
  • Take the first photo as soon as possible and after that look for the best shot. You’ll be able to relax and enjoy the Auroras more once you’ve captured that first image. 

Man preparing to take photos of a starry night sky

When and Where to See the Northern Lights in Iceland

Now let’s enjoy them to the fullest and keep the memory as a reason to return to Iceland!

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