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Guide to Seeing the Northern Lights at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

|June 12, 2023
Anhelina is a cat mom with a passion for cycling, adventure, and writing. She spends her days inspiring and educating other travelers through her stories by going down rabbit holes of research.

Prepare, plan, and get ready to be captivated by the beauty of the Northern Lights in Iceland's stunning landscape with this travel guide. Embrace the magic of Aurora’s spectacle and let the dancing lights over the icebergs create everlasting memories in your heart.

Discover Why Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is an Ideal Destination to Watch the Northern Lights

There are so many things to look forward to when visiting Iceland. Northern Lights are always at the top of the list for many travelers. If you're also planning to witness this incredible phenomenon, you must choose the best location to do it! Go to the world-famous Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in Iceland.

Elusive Northern Lights show? Check. 

Iceland’s top glacier lagoon at your feet? Check. 

Are you combining these two unforgettable experiences? Triple check!

Camping under Northern Lights

Travelling to Watch Norther Lights

Embrace the magic of Aurora’s natural spectacle and let the dancing lights over the icebergs create everlasting memories in the depths of your heart. Prepare, plan, and get ready to be captivated by the beauty of the Northern Lights in Iceland's stunning landscape with this travel guide.

Why Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon?

While both the Northern Lights and the regular night view in Iceland offer their unique beauty, witnessing Auroras at Jökulsárlón can be an extraordinary experience for several reasons.

Diamond Beach Near Glacier Lagoon

Ice in Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

  • Pristine Natural Beauty:

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is renowned for its pristine beauty. Imagine a serene lagoon surrounded by stunning glaciers and sparkling icebergs, with the added beauty of the Northern Lights reflecting on the icy water. It's truly a magical sight.

  • Minimal Light Pollution:

Jokulsarlon’s secluded location ensures minimal light pollution, providing the perfect setting to witness the stunning colors of the Aurora Borealis. Prepare to be immersed in a pristine and natural environment, allowing an uninterrupted connection with this breathtaking natural phenomenon.

  • Dramatic Landscapes:

Jokulsarlon is a perfect spot for those who want to see the Northern Lights. Its unique geographical features, such as the glacial lagoon, black sand Diamond beach, and vast open spaces, provide a striking background for the lights to dance against. You can take amazing photos as the lights play with the icebergs and reflect off the dark volcanic sands, creating an incredible display of colors and textures.

  • Boat Tours and Up-Close Encounters:

At Jökulsárlón, you can take boat tours, adding extra excitement to your Northern Lights adventure. Imagine gliding through the lagoon, surrounded by floating ice formations. This unique perspective allows for an up-close encounter with the icebergs, offering an experience that will remain etched in your memory forever.

  • Additional Attractions:

Visiting Jökulsárlón is not just about the Aurora show. The lagoon offers a plethora of additional attractions to explore. Just across the road from Jökulsárlón lies the mesmerizing Diamond Beach, where icebergs wash ashore, glistening like diamonds on the black volcanic sand. Witnessing the Northern Lights and Diamond Beach together is an unforgettable experience. Capture stunning photos and fully immerse yourself in nature's wonders.

Understand the Northern Lights

Black Church in Iceland

Church in the Norther Lights

Before embarking on your Northern Lights adventure, it's good to understand the science behind this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon. The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, occur when charged particles from the sun collide with Earth's atmosphere, resulting in a stunning display of colorful lights. The colors of the auroras vary depending on the type of gas particles involved in the collisions. 

If you're planning to see the Northern Lights, it's essential to remember that they're a natural phenomenon, and their visibility can be affected by various factors like solar activity and weather conditions. So, to increase your chances of spotting them, it's best to check the aurora forecast or go on a guided tour with expert guides who will track the best time and location for the Northern Lights.

Choose the Right Time

Traveling with Car Northern Lights in Iceland

Driving Around in Northern Lights

Timing is everything when it comes to observing the Northern Lights. The best time to see them at Jökulsárlón is during the late evening and early night hours. As darkness falls after sunset, the absence of natural light enhances the visibility of the Auroras, allowing you to witness their enchanting dance across the sky. 

To increase your chances of witnessing the Northern Lights at Jokulsarlon, planning your visit during the optimal months is crucial. The Auroras are visible from September to April, with the peak months being October to March. The longer nights and colder temperatures offer ideal conditions for viewing this natural phenomenon during this period. Additionally, stay updated with Aurora activity predictions and weather forecasts to plan your visit when the chances of clear skies are higher.

Explore Jokulsarlon

Diamond Beach In Iceland

Diamond Beach at Night

A visit to Jökulsárlón offers more than just Northern Lights viewing. Plan to explore this magical destination for several hours or even a full day in this magical destination. While waiting for the darkness, take a boat tour on the glacier lagoon to witness the ancient icebergs and their mesmerizing reflections. 

Don't miss the nearby Diamond Beach, where icebergs, like sparkling diamonds, gracefully rest upon the black volcanic sands, marking their final journey before dissolving into the vast ocean.

While capturing photographs is exciting, remember to take a moment to soak in the experience. Observe the dancing lights with your own eyes, appreciate the stillness of the surroundings, and embrace the awe-inspiring beauty of the Auroras.

Finally, joining a guided tour can be beneficial if you're unfamiliar with the area or need more experience hunting the Northern Lights.

Prepare for the Hunt

Avoid the newbie mistake of underdressing for the Icelandic winter nights! To make the most of your Northern Lights experience, it's essential to come prepared. Dress warmly in layers, including thermals, hats, gloves, and sturdy footwear, to stay comfortable during the chilly weather. 

Bring snacks, water, and a thermos of hot beverages to keep yourself energized and hydrated during your outdoor adventures. Carry a map, GPS, and emergency supplies if you venture into remote areas with limited connectivity.

Consider bringing a tripod and a camera with manual settings to capture the beauty of the lights through long-exposure photography. Photography apps or remote shutter release can minimize camera shake and achieve stunning results.

Use These Tips

When seeking the Northern Lights, choose a location away from city lights to minimize light pollution and maximize visibility.

Auroras Close to Reykjavik

Away from City to Catch Norther Lights

Be patient and flexible. The Northern Lights can be elusive and may not appear immediately. Plan to spend several nights dedicated to the pursuit as sightings can be unpredictable. Stay patient; if conditions are unfavorable, be prepared to wait or adjust your itinerary. Or, take a 4-day or a 5-day Northern Lights Jokulsarlon adventure that packs a ton of famous locations in addition to a nightly Aurora hunt.

Stay updated with Aurora activity forecasts and geomagnetic storm alerts. Websites, apps, and local meteorological services provide real-time information on aurora activity levels, helping you plan your excursions accordingly.

Stay Safe & Responsible

Northern Lights Above Icelandic Fjords

Norther Lights close to Glacier

While enjoying your Northern Lights experience, make it ethical. Prioritize safety and environmental responsibility by following only designated paths and guidelines to protect the fragile ecosystem. Don’t try to sit on or climb the icebergs or leave any litter behind.

When seeing the Northern Lights at Jokulsarlon, one of the biggest challenges can be navigating Iceland's harsh winter storms. In such conditions, opting for a guided tour rather than attempting the excursion on your own is highly recommended. With safety, local expertise, comfort, flexibility, insights, and photography guidance, a Jokulsarlon Northern Lights tour enhances your chances of witnessing the Auroras while ensuring a memorable and hassle-free experience.


Jokulsarlon in Iceland is a stunning destination with a captivating backdrop for watching the Auroras. To ensure you have the best possible experience, it's essential to understand the phenomenon and choose the right time to visit. So, immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Northern Lights at Jokulsarlon and use this guide to plan the perfect trip!

Jökulsárlón is not the only place where you can explore the ice world and experience the northern lights. Discover our Glacier Ice Cave & Northern Lights tour, departing from the capital, which combines these two remarkable experiences.

Jökulsárlón Northern Lights FAQs:

Can you see Northern Lights at the Jokulsarlon Glacier lagoon?

Yes, at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon Northern Lights dance across the sky every winter, and you have the perfect opportunity to spot them!

What months can you see the Northern Lights at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon?

The Northern Lights can be seen in Jokulsarlon from September to April, with peak visibility during the winter months of October to March.

What is the best time to visit Jökulsárlón to see the Northern Lights?

The best time to observe the Northern Lights at Jokulsarlon is during the late evening and early night hours when the darkness enhances their visibility. Watch for the aurora activity forecast after sunset for optimal viewing conditions.

How much time to spend at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon?

The amount of time to spend at Jokulsarlon depends on your preferences. A typical visit could range from a few hours to a full day. Consider exploring the glacier lagoon, taking a boat tour, and admiring the surrounding Diamond Beach for a well-rounded experience.

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