Looking at the aurora is like gazing into the heavens themselves. No other experience in nature can capture the attention of the human heart as much with its display of shimmering beauty. Iceland is most definitely the best place in the world to see the Aurora Borealis for many reasons.
Firstly, finding a dark place in the small island country is quite easy. It’s also much warmer than the other regions in Scandinavia where you can see the aurora.
You should plan on seeing the Northern Lights between the months of November and March as this is the peak season for viewing it. During these months, the nights are very long in Iceland and there can be up to 19 hours of darkness.
Be sure to go on a dark night without the moon as the moon will dilute the colors. Seeing the Northern Lights is a combination of luck, timing, and location. You should stay for a minimum of 7 days in Iceland to maximize your chances. The lights have a cyclical pattern and are highly active for 2 to 3 nights but then low for four to five nights. Location is also highly important and to help you get the best views of them, we have prepared a list of the Top 5 destinations around Iceland you can visit. You can see the aurora from many of them too.
Top 5 destinations to visit in Iceland
1. Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s most famous and visited tourist destination. It’s just an hour’s drive away from the capital Reykjavik and is on the Reykjanes peninsula.
The lake is a marvel of engineering because it is manmade but warmed by superheated sea water which comes from a nearby flow of lava.
The waters contain silica and are thought to have health benefits but you can simply go there to de-stress and relax in the lagoon while surrounded by black lava rock.
There’s a restaurant that is built near the lagoon and also a big resort with a spa, steam baths, sauna and fitness room.
Reykjavik is the capital and you will most definitely be visiting this city of 120,000 people when you visit Iceland.
That is why it will be good to know about the many things you can do in Reykjavik. Start your journey by going to the visitor’s center which is near the sparkling Lake Tjornin on the west side of the city.
You’ll find exhibits showcasing Iceland’s Viking heritage at the National and Saga Museums. If you want to see the entire capital from a height, then hitch a ride on the lift and go to the observation deck which belongs to the modernistic Hallgrimskirkja church located on the east side of the lake.
You can go for a perfect night out in Laugavegur as it has many amazing shops, restaurants, and bars.
3. Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Jokulsarlon is a pristine blue glacier lagoon located 60 kilometers or 37 miles from Skaftafell.
Here you’ll be able to see many seals swimming in the frigid waters around innumerable chilly mountains of ice that break off the nearby Breiðamerkurjökull ice cap.
The lagoon is one of the best natural wonders Iceland has to offer and is now the deepest lake in Iceland.
In summer, you can go for a boat tour on an amphibian boat and explore the wildlife and white ice of the lagoon while you sail between massive icebergs. You are also allowed to taste the more than 1000-year-old ice!
The lagoon also has a lot more to offer to winter travelers- Ice cave tours.
During summer, underground rivers flow through Vantajoküll causing a vast network of azure channels to be formed in the ice which freeze up during the winter to form captivating ice caves.
4. Snaefellsnes Peninsula
A visit to Iceland is not complete without going to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. The peninsula is often referred to as a mini Iceland because of its vast natural diversity.
What’s more, if you’ve heard of Jules Verne’s famous “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”, the mighty Snæfellsjökull glacier is mentioned there as the entrance to the core of the earth.
This majestic natural wonder is an active stratovolcano and has an elevation of 1446 meters.
You can visit Ytri Tunga to watch seals at play in a seal colony which is one of Iceland’s largest.
After that, you can enjoy taking in the breath-taking views of the coast from Hellnar and Arnarstapi.
Hellnar has many beautiful rock formations and is the location of the Baðstofa Sea Cave, one of the most peculiar caves in Iceland which contains unusual light exposure, colorful interiors, and rich birdlife.
Arnarstapi is located at the roots of a palagonite pyramid, Stapafell whose peak has the Mountain Cross (Fellskross), which is an old Viking sign symbolizing powers of the other world.
Vík is a town in southern Iceland which has a great black sand beach where one can sit and watch the undulating northern lights comfortably. The sound of the crashing waves of the ocean adds a mystic element to the majestic views that you’ll find and the backdrop of the small fishing village adds to the charming ambiance.
You can get great pictures using the black sand beach a mirror-like reflective ocean. Vík is both the warmest and wettest place in Iceland. We suggest you visit there as it will give you an authentic idea about life in rural Iceland and all the beauties it has to offer
The iconic Reyniskiekja church built upon a hill in Vík Í Myrdal in 1929 is a must visit and you can reach there via car or if you want to take in the sights better, by walking.
This old building along with all the beautiful scenery around it makes for picture perfect photos.
For couples, remember that you actually can get married in the church!
The small Dtehólaey peninsula located right at the edge of Vík has a beautiful black lava arch on it.
You can see many stunning sights from this peninsula such as the Myrdalsjökull glacier, the coast and columns of lava in Reynisdrangar.
The charming Voyages Friendship Statue can also be found in Vík and is a local attraction.
These were our top 5 destinations to visit in Iceland.
We hope you enjoyed reading the article and we wish you happy travels.
The world is waiting for you.
Yogi and Suchna believe in taking the road less traveled and stumbling upon some hidden gems along the way! For over a decade, they’ve mapped their way across various continents, sniffed out unusual routes, discovered new flavors and stayed at quirky hostels. The Villa Escape is their expression of soul travel. To check Aurora Borealis Iceland you can catch up with them at The Villa Escape http://www.thevillaescape.com/