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How to See the Northern Lights in Reykjavik

Contain yourself, Jeannie. Calm. Northern lights season is coming, you guys. It’s almost here. I lose my mind during this time. It’s the best time of the year. Woo!

Hey, Team Iceland. My name is Jeannie, the northern lights obsessed, and I am your tour guide for all things Iceland planning. You’ll have to excuse me because I get really excited when it comes to the northern lights, because that’s what we’re talking about today, because it’s almost northern lights season, and because you’re going to want to see the northern lights. I promise it’ll change your life.

So, we’ve talked about how to see the northern lights before on this channel, but today we are talking about where you can see them in Reykjavik. Let’s get into it:

I’m still riled up about the northern lights thing, because I’m telling you guys that the northern lights do something to your brain and your body that you can’t control. It’s like this expression of emotion, and you have to scream, or do a dance, or something. So, I hope you’ll all join me in this screaming and dancing, of celebrating the northern lights.

Alright, let’s get down to it.

First thing’s first, is if you watched the video on how to see the northern lights, you will know that darkness is the first key factor in being able to see the aurora. So, with that being said, when you’re in Reykjavik, you’re at a disadvantage, because it’s bright, right? You have lights coming from the city.

Grotta Lighthouse

There is a really good place to get away from this, if you’re just staying in Downtown Reykjavik, and that is heading out to the Grotta Lighthouse on the Seltjarnarnes Peninsula. So, this is a common place for Icelanders to get away from the city lights and a lot of tourists as well. So, don’t be surprised if there are other people out there trying to take photos. But because of its location, a lot of the city lights are blocked and you can get some good light shots out there.

Öskjuhlíð Forest near Perlan

You can also head to the nature area that’s right around Perlan. So, this is a little bit further away from the city, but again, you’re trying to get away from lights. So, you have to sometimes drive a little bit out of the city if you want to do that.

Elliðarárdalur

Next place you can in Reykjavik is … Icelandic. Okay, give me a minute. Ellidaardalur. I’m just gonna put the word on the screen. So, this is a park area that’s filled with running water and trees and beautiful, but because of where it’s located, again, you’re removed from the light … so.

Further from Reykjavik

If you have a car and you can drive out of the city, I have two solid options for you to catch the northern lights. They’re not too far away, so if you’re planning ahead and you’re looking at the northern lights forecast and you’re gonna time it perfectly, then all you have to do is drive a few minutes out of town, and you are literally gonna be in the best condition.

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So, number one is Heidmork, and this an area that’s all volcanic hills and things like that, but there’s also a big lake out there and this one of my favorite places to catch the lights. Another really great option is heading out somewhere on the Reykjanes Peninsula. So, again you have to have a car for this and you will have to drive a little bit further for this one, but it would definitely be worth it to get some really good lights action. So, two of my favorite place on the Reykjanes Peninsula, are the Gardur Lighthouse and the Kleifarvatn Lake.

Take a Northern Lights Tour

All of the options that we just talked about are for people want to go out and hunt the lights themselves, however, I know there are a lot of people that would just rather put the fate in the northern lights into someone else’s hands, and if that is the case, there are so many places that offer northern lights tours. So, they’ll literally pick you up from your hotel or you meet at a location and they take you outside of the city with their vehicles and they park and they let you set up shop and watch the lights, and they just literally bring you right to the aurora. So, that’s definitely an easy way to see the lights while you are in Reykjavik.

Aurora Reykjavik

And last but not least, you guys, do not forget about never having to worry if you’re gonna see the northern lights or not, because you can just head to Aurora Reykjavik. So Aurora Reykjavik is northern lights museum that’s right in downtown Reykjavik. AKA you can literally see the northern lights whenever and wherever you want just by showing up to the museum.

So there’s a small interest fee of only 1600 kroner, but this exhibition is set up really beautifully. It tells you the science of the northern lights, it gives you the background, some of the history, and then of course some beautiful photos and video of the lights, and you can literally sit there in this big, huge room and watch this beautiful presentation of the aurora. So as a last resort, I think this would be an amazing way to see the northern lights when you’re in Reykjavik.

FREE Northern Lights guidebook!

Guess what, friends? I made a free northern lights guide just for you, and it includes how to see the northern lights, where to look for them in Reykjavik, camera settings, so much more information, all in one helpful, downloadable PDF document that you can take with you during your trip to Iceland. Sign up with the form below, and let’s all go enjoy the aurora together.

Alright, my friends, that is your information for where to see the aurora when you’re in Reykjavik, and if you guys found this video helpful, make sure to give a thumbs up for me and leave a comment if you guys are as excited to see the northern lights as I am!

I’ll see you guys next week, same time same place, but until then…

Happy planning, 

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