Chasing the Magnificent Northern Lights in Iceland

Are you planning to see the Northern Lights in Iceland? Northern Lights are truly magical, a memory that will last a lifetime! My husband and I visited Iceland for my birthday and I included the Northern Lights tour in our itinerary to Iceland.

I’ve always wanted to see the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights in Iceland it has been on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember. Growing up in the Philippines makes this impossible, but luckily I got the opportunity to see them!

You can book your Northern Lights tour from Reykjavik here through

Our Boat for the Northern Lights tour in Reykjavik
Chasing the Magnificent Northern Lights in Iceland: Our Boat for the Northern Lights tour from Reykjavik via boat

What is Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights?

The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights is an astronomical phenomenon as “polar lights”. It is typically happening in the Earth’s northern hemisphere, whereas given the right magnetic conditions in the atmosphere it will become the Aurora borealis or Northern Lights. The Aurora phenomenon became increasingly popular with tourists due to its magnificent natural show of lights.

When is the best month to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?

Chasing the Magnificent Northern Lights in Iceland: View of the Northern Lights
Chasing the Magnificent Northern Lights in Iceland: View of the Northern Lights

September is the start of the Northern Lights season in Europe, especially in the Scandinavian region. This is one of the main highlights during the Autumn and Winter months.

The Northern Lights are actually present all year round, however, the ideal season to see this is during the winter months because the daylight is shorter and it is seen better in dark surroundings. It is rare to see the Aurora Borealis in the Midnight Sun in Northern Europe. The best way to enjoy this amazing lights show is to avoid the city lights.

What Causes the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights are not always guaranteed as it depends on the Sun’s charged gaseous particles (normally released from the solar explosions and flares) and the Earth’s magnetic activity. If the conditions are right, this creates the Aurora Oval. The Aurora Borealis literally means in Latin “the Northern Dawn“.  

The Northern Lights can be seen in different shapes, forms and colours ( red, green, yellow, pink & blue). During the primitive times, the Inuit people believed this to be the spirits of their dead loved ones and during the medieval times, they believed this to be divine intervention.

This phenomenon can also be seen in the Southern Hemisphere of the globe. This is called the Aurora AustralisIt can be seen in Antarctica and in the southern parts of Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Falkland Islands and South Georgia.

Our Northern Lights Tour Experience in Iceland

I did not hold out too much hope as it was a little bit cloudy in Reykjavik when we set out. We were picked up by the shuttle bus around 9 pm from our hotel. We picked up other passengers along the way before we headed to Reykjavik harbour to board our ship.

Read more: 11 Best Things to Do in Reykjavik, Iceland for First Time Visitors

The ship has a café where you can buy food and drinks while you’re cruising on the Atlantic Ocean. There is also a short film about the Northern Lights on the lower deck. It was a cold night so we were all geared up with warm clothing. We sat on the top deck of the boat to witness the spectacular show of nature.

Our tour guide briefed us about the safety onboard and gave some helpful insights about the Northern Lights and the trip. After a few minutes, we started to sail away from Reykjavik, we were so pleased and excited when the Northern Lights unfold across the sky sitting just above Mount Esja.

Northern Lights in Iceland
Northern Lights in Iceland

It was really cold and windy in the Atlantic Ocean, but we didn’t mind the cold and wind. We were bedazzled by the beauty of the Northern Lights.

We considered ourselves to be very lucky to see this natural display as some travellers hang around for days or even weeks just to see the Northern Lights but fail. However, I was gutted that I didn’t manage to get a decent photo of the Northern Lights due to the waves and vibration from the boat.

I advise that you book this tour at the beginning of your trip to Iceland because if the Northern Lights fail to show up, the tour company will give you another free Northern Lights trip the following evening.

You can book your Northern Lights tour from Reykjavik here through

The amazing Northern Lights experience was superb!  I will definitely cherish it for the rest of my life.

Chasing the Magnificent Northern Lights in Iceland
Chasing the Magnificent Northern Lights in Iceland


Ryazan Tristram EverythingZany Author Bio

Ryazan Tristram

Travel Writer & Photographer

Ryazan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She also has more than 10 years of work experience gained from working in the hotel and travel sectors in Asia and Europe. Her work has been featured and published on Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel, World Travel Guide, MSN, CNBC, GMA, Daily Mail UK, Lonely Planet and many more. She is currently living in the UK as a dual citizen (British – Filipina). Join her in travelling around the UK and beyond with a mission to promote sustainable tourism and share travel guides, travel tips, foodies, history and culture.

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