Best places in Iceland to see the Northern Lights from Reykjavik to Asbyrgi Canyon

Iceland has long been hailed as one of the best countries to see the Northern Lights .

After all, it boasts some breathtaking wintry landscapes for those who want to seek the Aurora in remote settings, while those who prefer a bit of hustle and bustle can spot the lights from capital Reykjavik.

As for the best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland? Visit between September through to March when it’s peak Aurora viewing conditions.

Of course there’s never a guarantee you will see the natural phenomenon, but head to the right hotspots and you’ll at least be putting the odds in your favour.

To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a guide to some of the best places in Iceland for seeing the Northern Lights…

1. Reykjavik

What’s great about Iceland is that you don’t need to go in search of remote landscapes to see the Aurora – capital city Reykjavik can actually be one of the top hotspots.

The city’s coastal spots can offer some of the best views thanks to the lack of light pollution, while some visitors have caught glimpses of the natural phenomenon while exploring downtown Reykjavik.

Another hotspot is the Öskjuhlið hill, a woodland area in the city centre which is known for offering some handy views.

The city is also one of the easier spots to visit on a budget. For example, you can find return flights from £61 on Skyscanner , while you can find hotels from £28 a night on .

A view of the Northern Lights above the rooftops in Iceland's capital city Reykjavik
View of the Northern Lights above the city centre of Reykjavik

2. Thingvellir National Park

This breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site is popular with those seeking the Aurora as it boasts very little light pollution and vast landscapes which can make for peak Northern Lights viewing conditions.

(If you’re looking to capture the moment, you may also want to check out this photographer’s top tips for getting that dream shot!)

If the lights don’t appear, at least you’ll still get to enjoy views of the immense rock formations, not to mention the picturesque Lake Thingvallavatn and the wide array of wildlife to discover.

If you’re thinking of spending a few days exploring the park and want to stay nearby, you might want to check out TripAdvisor’s round-up of hotels near Thingvellir with prices from £68 a night .


3. Grotta

Located on the western tip of the Reykjavik peninsula, head to the Grotta Lighthouse where on a clear night you could get some unrivalled views of the Aurora.

However, be warned that the lighthouse is renowned for being a Northern Lights hotspot, so during the winter months it can get very busy due to the crowds of tourists and locals who flock here.

Grotta Lighthouse on Faxaflol Bay in Reykjavik

4. Threngsli

Threngsli sits slightly off the beaten track near the town of Thorlakshofn, and is often a popular spot with photographers looking to capture the ultimate snap of the Northern Lights.

There isn’t too much to visit around the area so it tends to be quieter than other Aurora hotspots, but if you have hired a car and are determined to see the lights then it’s worth making the fairly short drive.

5. Mount Kirkjufell

One for intrepid explorers, Mount Kirkjufell is said to be one of the most photographed mountains in the world, so it’s no surprise that it makes for a picturesque setting from which to look out for the Aurora.

Located on the northern coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, it’s about a two hour and a half’s drive to reach the area from Reykjavik, but you’ll be rewarded with some seriously spectacular views of the Icelandic landscape.

The Northern Lights appear over Mount Kirkjufell in Iceland


6. Asbyrgi Canyon

Asbyrgi – aka The Shelter of the Gods – is a popular hiking spot in northeastern Iceland.

There are heaps of trails whether you’re a novice or a seasoned hiker, with scenery offering everything from awe-inspiring rocky clifftops to dense woodlands.

It’s one for those who are looking to explore the great outdoors and make an adventure out of the Aurora seeking, as even if you don’t see the lights it can be quite the experience.

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Northern Lights holidays

7.  Vik

The black beach in the town of Vik is popular with locals and visitors alike for watching the Northern Lights.

After all, there’s something quite magical about the black sands alone, right next to the small fishing village.

A word of caution – stay away from the waves which are known to be quite strong, with local authorities currently looking to re-address safety issues.


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