Iceland (The Northern Lights): Top Snowy Destinations
Updated: Apr 30
The northern lights are a true sight to behold and seeing them is likely to be a once in a lifetime experience for many. The strokes of light, which appear green to the naked eye, paint what can be compared to strokes of an artist's brush across the night’s sky.
But what are the northern lights? Where can you see them from? And why is winter the best time to see them?
What are the northern lights?
The Northern Lights are due to electricity charged particles from the sun colliding with gaseous particles in the earth’s atmosphere. The charged particles tend to congregate around the north and south magnetic poles which is why we can see them so clearly in countries close by, such as Icelend.
The lights emitted to the human eye come in various shapes and shades. The most common light colour seen is a dreamy green but can turn to a deep purple and firey red if the conditions allow.
The best time to see the northern lights?
Guaranteed darkness is the most important factor. The best season to see the northern lights in Iceland is from September to mid-April as these are the months where there are full dark nights.
Some people would recommend November to February within that period, as these tend to be the very darkest months of the year. However, these recommendations often fail to take into account that they have the 'worst' weather of the year, with lots of rain and snow.
You should think long and hard about your length of stay in Iceland. It’s recommended that any stay in the country is for a minimum of 7 days. The northern lights usually tend to be very active for two to three nights, then low for four to five nights, in ongoing cycles.
We also want to mention to you about the changeable weather. Because Iceland is a small north Atlantic island, it is subject to fierce and rapidly changing weather. This means that even on a clear night it can quickly turn into a snowstorm. The upside of that is if its a snowstorm, it can quickly turn into a clear night (and subsequent northern light show) in a flash too!
But in summary, it is such a beautiful and unique country with tons to offer. You really should book a trip!! :)