Hunting for Northern Lights in Iceland: How to use the aurora forecast

Northern Lights over Reykjavík

Northern Lights over Reykjavík

As you can imagine, one of the questions I get asked most in  wintertime is how, when and where you can see the Northern Lights in Iceland. I wrote a guide to the Northern Lights in Reykjavík a while back, which has been one the most popular post on this blog to date, but after I wrote it the Icelandic Met Office introduced a great tool on their website which will come in handy when you embark on a Northern Lights hunting adventure of your own.

The Icelandic Met office’s Aurora Forecast

The Aurora Forecast offers a five day forecast that should give you a good indication of whether you’re going to be able to see the Northern Lights in those days or not. It features a cloud coverage forecast, an aurora activity forecast, information about the sunrise and the sunset along with information about the moon cycle and when the moon rises each day. It would take to long to explain how to use all that in writing so to help you understand how to use the aurora forecast I made the screencast below last nigh. I apologize in advance for the mouse-click noises.

So now you should be good to go. Happy hunting!

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19 thoughts on “Hunting for Northern Lights in Iceland: How to use the aurora forecast”

  1. Silja says:

    One of my room mates was obsessed with the aurora forecast website when I was living in Iceland. So many nights of almost camping outside because of it 😀 Well it was worth it though because we did see some amazing northern lights.

  2. Katie F. says:

    My boyfriend and I are in Reykjavík now until Thursday afternoon. We’re actually on our way back from an unsuccessful boat tour.

    Where would you go next? Thingvellir night drive?? We do have a rental car!

    We’ve been using your blog extensively and I’d love your input for the next few days as much as you can give it! Thank you!!

    1. mm Auður says:

      Unfortunately the forecast is not good for the next few days so maybe you’re better off finding a cozy bar in town to spend your nights. Just watch the forecast on and head wherever it’s most likely to have clear skies

  3. Sara says:

    There is 6 of us visiting on the 19th feb, what’s the best priced tour for the northern lights?! X

    1. mm Auður says:

      I’m not going to do your research for you 🙂 Check out the links provided and contact the companies if you are not sure about the prices. You might also want to look into renting a car that seats six people.

  4. David McArthur says:

    Hi. Hope you can help. My and my girlfriend are here until Thursday morning and have the chance to go on a northern lights tour tonight or tomorrow night. What would you recommened?

    1. mm Auður says:

      Hi David. It seems like the activity level is similar for both days but the cloud forecast is slightly better tomorrow. Maybe you should do it tonight and then if you don’t see anything then you have a second chance tomorrow?

      1. David McArthur says:

        Hi Auður thanks for the reply. That’s great we will try tonight then, just didn’t want to go if we definitely weren’t going to see anything. Thanks again.

  5. Katrina Franklin says:

    Hi David
    I am in Reykjavik till the morning of the 17th. We went out last night and although very clear skies the lights looked grey . What night is the best along with time, I am going to hire a car because I hate the tour bus experience.

  6. Katrina Franklin says:

    Previous post apologies to naming

    Auður please accept my apologies.

  7. Kirsten Bolton says:

    Hi Auður, my friends and I are loving your blog 🙂 We arrive on Friday lunchtime (6th Feb) until Monday morning.
    We want to find the northern lights if we can. I’m looking on the website – do you think we need to go on a tour judging by the forecast at 6pm on Friday? Would you go? It looks like there might be activity above the city but then I’m no expert! Many thanks, Kirsten

    1. mm Auður says:

      You can’t trust the forecast now, it’s almost certainly going to change quite a bit. So it’s impossible for me to say at the moment.

  8. Ganga says:

    I am travelling to Iceland on 2nd April and stopping over till 6th April. How are the chances to see northern lights?

    1. mm Auður says:

      It’s impossible to say at this point as it depends both on the activity level and the weather.

  9. Milena says:


    We are in Iceland from tonight till Sunday morning. When would you recomend us to give it a try? We have rented a car so hopefulely we cant get to see it!

    1. mm Auður says:

      When you see it’s dark enough to see starts or northern lights – it’s getting more difficult because it’s getting brighter and brighter.

  10. Jairamats says:

    We will be going to Iceland on September 14 to 18. Is there a chance to sea the aurora borealis?

    1. mm Auður says:

      It depends on a lot of things but yes it is possible.

  11. Amai says:

    Hi Audur, i really like your blog page about Reykjavik. Keep up the great job. I have made a trip to Iceland all the way from California from Saturday 24/10 evening to Tuesday (27/10) afternoon. I had a look at the website by Icelandic MET office as suggested by you on this blog and it seems there will be no cloud cover ( white on the map) on the west side of Iceland near Reykjavik on 25/10 night. I have a question as to where would you recommend the best place to have a chance of viewing the Northern Lights. I have a rental car. Thanks in advance for your time in reading this comment. Any help would be much appreciated.

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