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Northern Lights in Iceland

Northern Lights Tours in Iceland

Explore the Land of Fire and Ice on an Iceland northern lights tour and you could witness the aurora borealis in all its multi-coloured, enchanting beauty. These self-drive and guided packages are curated by local experts and include accommodation, local transport and more.

About Your Iceland Northern Lights Package

Picture yourself chasing magical, flickering displays of the aurora borealis in Iceland. Crafted by Reykjavík-based experts, these winter itineraries will get you to the right place at the right time for spotting the northern lights*. Plus, with insider tips from your dedicated travel consultant, you’ll have an unforgettable time exploring the country’s top spots and hidden treasures.

When you book an Iceland northern lights vacation with Nordic Visitor, you can expect:

• An authentic travel experience operated by a trusted local company
• A dedicated travel consultant who will arrange your tour
Opportunities to hunt for the aurora, whether you choose a self-drive or guided trip
• A comfortable journey in your chosen rental car or on your minibus tour
Handpicked accommodation for a relaxing stay in Iceland
24/7 phone support during your adventure for peace of mind

1. Pick your favourite Nordic Visitor tour
2. Confirm (or customise) your package
3. Check your confirmation email
4. Book your flights
5. Get ready for your trip

*Please note, the northern lights are a natural phenomenon so sightings aren’t guaranteed.

Why choose Nordic Visitor

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Book With Confidence

Secure your trip your way with Nordic Visitor. Book a tour with as little as 10% deposit. With a 20% deposit or more, you will receive our cancellation insurance free of charge. You can also pay the full price right away to guarantee today’s exchange rate. Terms & conditions apply.

Book With Confidence

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Trusted travel experts

Established in 2002, Nordic Visitor is a leading tour operator based in Reykjavík. With local experts that live and breathe Iceland, you’ll have a better chance of seeing the lights. Along with discovering the best aurora-watching spots, you’ll get insight into the must-see attractions and beyond.

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Great reviews

Nordic Visitor is dedicated to the best service quality, and this is reflected year after year when TripAdvisor awards us with their Certificate of Excellence. We also take great pride in our customer feedback: 97% of our travellers say they would recommend us to friends and family.

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Customisable tour options

Your travel wish list is unique to you, so why not personalise these Iceland northern lights tours to match? Book online to see what optional extras are available for your trip. For instance, you could extend your stay with additional nights, upgrade your accommodation and choose from handpicked excursions.

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Full financial protection

With Nordic Visitor, you have peace of mind knowing your tour arrangements with us are 100% financially protected. Your payments are safeguarded as we comply with European Union laws on Package Travel regulations. This guarantees you a refund in the unlikely event of insolvency.

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You are in good hands

When you travel with us, you’re never alone. Should any unforeseen events or weather issues arise, speak to a local travel consultant by calling our 24/7 helpline. If needed, they’ll rearrange your accommodation and activities to ensure your journey is memorable for all the right reasons.

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Handpicked hotels

Your accommodation has been specially chosen and tested by us to ensure you’ll have a relaxing visit. So get ready to check in and recharge your batteries. Depending on your trip, you might be staying in the countryside. And low light pollution is ideal for seeing the northern lights more clearly.

Reviews for Aurora Tour Packages

Find out what guests loved most about chasing the northern lights in Iceland.

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BrookeUnited States

This was my second trip to Iceland and my travelling companions' third. We were both very impressed and enjoyed... read more

This was my second trip to Iceland and my travelling companions' third. We were both very impressed and enjoyed the "Northern Lights" itinerary. Especially since we saw the northern lights on the last night, in a spectacular landscape. The food included was very good, and the people warm and friendly. I would most definitely use Nordic Visitor again. 5 out of 5. 

D

DanielUnited Kingdom

Incredible from start the finish. My partner and I booked the 9-day self drive tour and literally had the greatest... read more

Incredible from start the finish. My partner and I booked the 9-day self drive tour and literally had the greatest experience of our lives.

1500+ reviews on TripAdvisor
Certificate of Excellence
See the reviews

Your Northern Lights Trip Highlights

Imagine the cool winter air in your lungs, a clear night sky above and your camera at the ready as you hunt for the aurora. Visit Iceland and you could…

Frequently Asked Questions
About Northern Lights Tour Packages

Check out the answers to these most frequently asked questions to find out more about northern lights trips in Iceland. Plus, browse this Iceland Travel Guide for useful tips and information.

It’s also good to know that when you choose Nordic Visitor, you can Book With Confidence, safe in the knowledge that your payments are protected. Please read our FAQs and booking terms, for details about our booking process, payments and more.

While the northern lights, or aurora borealis, do look otherworldly, there’s a scientific explanation for this breathtaking natural phenomenon.

It all starts with solar storms around the sun that send blasts of electrically charged particles towards Earth. When they collide with the upper atmosphere, they produce glowing emissions. If a lot of these reactions take place at the same time, it causes a jaw-dropping light show that you can see in the sky.

The movement, shapes and colours you’ll witness depend on the type of atoms involved. Other factors include the intensity of solar activity and the pull of Earth’s magnetic forces.

For instance, green is often the most common colour you’ll notice during an aurora event. But if the levels of solar activity are high, you might also catch flashes of blue, purple and red.

Delve deeper into what causes the northern lights.

Absolutely! Visit Iceland in winter – October to March – and you’ll discover it’s an excellent place to go if you want to hunt for the aurora.

This is because you’ll need darkness if you’re to see the northern lights, making Iceland’s long winter nights ideal. Low light pollution, high solar activity and cloudless skies are the other key things you’ll need to come together. Happily, you can also experience these in Iceland.

You’ll also find that the country has large unpopulated regions where there’s little or no light pollution – perfect for chasing the aurora. Plus, as it lies within the “northern lights belt” (or “aurora zone”) there’s lots of solar activity in the skies above Iceland.

Just wait for a night with clear skies, keep an eye on your aurora forecast app, and you could glimpse the northern lights. Uncover top tips and more in this guide to the aurora in Iceland.

The winter months of October to March are the best time for you to see the northern lights in Iceland. This is because, across the Northern Hemisphere, the nights are long and dark at this time of year.

In fact, during mid-winter – December and early January – the days can be so short that you’ll have around 19 hours of darkness. And the longer the nights, the more chances you’ll have to spot the aurora.

For more information on daylight in Iceland, check out this travel guide.

There are plenty of reasons to visit Iceland in summer, but don’t travel in May, June, July or August if you want to see the aurora. This is because you need dark skies to see the northern lights. And during summertime, the nights are not dark or long enough to see them.

Instead, you’ll want to visit between October and March – the Icelandic winter – when your chances of seeing the lights are much better. It’s also possible to glimpse the aurora in early spring (April) and autumn (September).

Discover more about the best time to explore Iceland, depending on your interests.

Thanks to winter’s long nights, you can see the northern lights all over Iceland at this time of year.

What’s more, the country sits within a zone called the “northern lights belt”, a band encircling the globe at latitudes of 65-72°N. With the most frequent and intense levels of solar activity, this region is the best place to go to if you want to see the aurora.

Remember, for the brightest and clearest displays, head away from any nearby light pollution. By venturing into the countryside, where it’s darker, you’ll get to enjoy this natural spectacle at its most vibrant.

Explore other places to see the northern lights on these aurora trips in Northern Europe.

The aurora borealis can happen at any time throughout the year. But over the spring and autumn equinoxes, you’ll find that solar activity ramps up. This means displays of the aurora could occur more frequently around these dates in March and September respectively.

Compared to the middle of winter, the nights are shorter over the equinoxes. So although the northern lights might not be dancing quite as much in winter, you’ll have a better chance of seeing them during these darker months.

Along with the solar activity that causes the aurora, you’ll need a few other key factors to come together at the same time. These are clear skies, darkness and low levels of light pollution.

One of the most convenient ways to keep an eye on the levels of solar activity is to download an aurora app to your smartphone. Combine this with a local weather forecast, and you’ll get a good idea of when you might be able to see the northern lights. So keep a look out for when a cloudless night and high solar activity match up.

It’s worth bearing in mind that even if you do have the right conditions for the northern lights, they may not appear when you want them to.

The best way to see the northern lights depends on how you want to experience Iceland. Not to mention the other things you’d like to see and do while you’re here.

With Nordic Visitor, you can choose the travel style that works for your northern lights getaway. Take your pick from self-drive, small group and privately guided tour packages, along with stays in Reykjavík that include guided excursions.

To embrace the freedom of going at your own pace while chasing the northern lights, choose a winter self-drive tour in Iceland. Your package will include accommodation, a rental car, daily breakfast and more. You’ll also benefit from the insider know-how of your dedicated travel consultant who’ll make all the arrangements for you.

They’ll give you a detailed itinerary and hand-marked map, complete with recommendations on where to stop along the way. And with a car, you can make spontaneous stops on your trip. So if the aurora appears unexpectedly, you can hop into your car and pick a good viewing spot.

But if you’d rather leave the winter driving to someone else, opt for a small group tour of Iceland. This way, a professional guide will show you the country’s iconic spots and hidden gems, and share their local knowledge with you. On winter tours, they’ll also be keeping an eye on when the northern lights might appear.

If you’d like to be accompanied by a driver-guide while having the freedom to customise your trip, pick a privately guided tour. This option gives you the flexibility of an independent trip while benefitting from the expertise of a local guide.

Plus, if you have specific interests, we’ll select a guide to match. Not to mention you’ll be able to choose your travel companions – perfect for a break with friends or family.

On the other hand, multi-day tours are ideal if you’d like to stay in one location during your time in Iceland. Most of these packages are based in the bustling capital of Reykjavík.

As well as accommodation, your trip comes with handpicked excursions into the stunning countryside. This lets you discover top spots such as the Blue Lagoon and Golden Circle without needing to unpack and repack your bags.

Seeing the aurora with your own eyes is a spellbinding experience you’ll never forget! But capturing the lights on camera can be tricky if you don’t take some time to get to know your camera’s settings.

An SLR camera with manual focus works well. And it helps to have a tripod to avoid blurry images. Here are some top tips for getting the best shots of the northern lights:

  • Shutter release: For even steadier shots, get a remote shutter release so you don’t have to touch the camera at all when taking a picture.
  • Spare batteries: Cold temperatures tend to deplete the life of your battery levels faster, so make sure to bring 1 or 2 spares.
  • Head torch: This will be essential to let you see what you’re doing when you’re shooting in the dark.
  • Image stabilisation: If your camera has this, turn it off.
  • ISO: To increase your camera’s sensitivity to light, set the ISO to around 400, 800, or higher if possible.
  • Aperture (f-stop): Set your aperture as low as possible. This will result in more light coming through the lens. On most cameras, you’ll find you can get this down to about 3.5.
  • Shutter speed: Use a long exposure of 15 to 30 seconds. The longer the exposure, the more light your camera will capture.

All of these northern lights packages have been curated by Iceland-based experts to ensure you’ll have an unforgettable trip. But it’s also possible to personalise your tour by extending your stay or adding optional activities to your itinerary.

In fact, it’s easy to tailor your trip when you book online. You can choose from extra night options and additional excursions. For instance, you could chase the northern lights by boat or super jeep. Or why not try activities such as relaxing in the Sky Lagoon, snowmobiling on a glacier, and exploring ice caves?

For the ultimate tailored travel experience, opt for a privately guided tour of Iceland. Not only will your dedicated travel consultant customise your itinerary to your needs, but you’ll also get a guide with similar interests.

If there’s something specific you want to do during your trip, just ask your travel consultant – they’ll have the inside scoop.

Travel with Nordic Visitor and you can choose from a variety of northern lights trips in Iceland with availability from September to April.

On self-drive, privately guided and multi-day packages, you can pick any of the available start dates in the tour’s online calendar. Meanwhile, on guided small group trips, select the date that works for you from the list of available departures.

Meanwhile, northern lights Christmas and New Year packages in Iceland are available over the festive period with selected December departure dates. If you want to travel at this time of year, make sure to book early so you don’t miss out.

To see which start dates are available for the tour you are interested in, check its availability calendar online.

We recommend checking to see what flights are available before booking your trip. That said, it’s best to hold off on purchasing your flights until after your dedicated travel consultant has finalised the arrangements for your tour.

Once you’ve heard from them, you can go ahead and confirm your plans for getting to Iceland.

The weather in Iceland is known for being unpredictable. There’s even a popular Icelandic word, “gluggaveður”, which translates as “window weather” in English. This is when it might look warm from the inside, but in fact it’s a cold day outside.

What’s more, when you’re chasing the northern lights, you’ll be out and about at night, so be sure to wrap up warm. With this in mind, it’s best to bring plenty of layers for your winter getaway. Here’s a list of what to pack for Iceland to get you started:

  • Winter boots with good grip
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket and trousers
  • Down or synthetic insulated jacket
  • Woollen or fleece jumpers
  • Thermal baselayers
  • Cosy hat, scarf and gloves
  • Thick hiking socks
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Flask for a warm drink

For more tips on how to dress for the seasons, check out this blog on what to wear in Iceland.

Contact us

Get in touch with us, whether you have a question about northern lights tours in Iceland or want to start planning your trip. Our Reykjavík-based travel experts want to help you make the most of your winter escape to Iceland.

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