Join us in the adventure to chase the Northern Lights in the moonlike landscapes of beautiful North Iceland!
Awaken your inner explorer on an Aurora Borealis safari in North Iceland, one of the best places in the world to see the dancing lights. The tour departs from Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city, and takes us on a Northern Lights hunt across the snow-carpeted countryside. Leave the distracting city lights behind, and observe the vibrant and colorful magic from just below the Arctic Circle!
Your guide will take free photos of you and the lights, so you’ll have a memory to take home!
Sept. - Apr.
~ 3 hours
Meet on location
Departs from Overwrite
- Tour highlights
- Small Group Experience
- Northern Lights Hunting
- Dark Icelandic Winter Night
- Pick-up & drop off from Akureyri
- Northern Lights Photos
- English Speaking Licensed Adventure Guide
Northern Lights in Iceland
The celestial light show that emerges about 100 km (60 miles) above Earth in the Northern Hemisphere has been an enigma for a long time. The Vikings believed that it was light reflecting off the armor of the Valkyries as they charged into battle. These days, we know the Northern Lights are caused by the interaction between the Sun and Earth’s magnetic field. As solar wind – a stream of charged particles from the sun – enter the earth’s atmosphere and start to collide with gaseous particles, the aurora appears. Even though today we know the scientific reason for the Northern Lights, this natural wonder continues to fascinate skywatchers around the world. To see the colorful draperies of light evolve at the north magnetic pole is a breathtaking experience, to say the least.
Departure from Akureyri & Seeing the Aurora
Our adventure begins in Akureyri, also known as Iceland’s “Capital of the North.” Once we collect you at 21:30 (9:30 p.m.) in one of our specially designed vehicles, we’ll head out into the vast Icelandic countryside in search of the elusive celestial light show. We quickly leave the lights of the city behind, ensuring that we have the best view of the aurora possible.
As today it’s still impossible to accurately predict the solar activity and hence the Aurora, we, unfortunately, can’t guarantee that you’ll see the Northern Lights during the tour. However, our expert guides study up-to-date reports from the Icelandic Meteorological Office to give us the best opportunity to see them. If our tour proceeds and we don’t manage to see the lights, then we offer you the chance to come on the next available tour for free.
If we’re lucky to see the Northern Lights, you’re in for a treat! The swirling light show will gradually paint the dark sky with the vibrant color palette. To fully grasp the magic of standing below the auroral zone, you simply need to experience it. Our friendly guides will fill you in on everything you need to know about this special phenomenon and use their expertise to help you immortalize the fleeting moment with our camera, free of charge. We guarantee you that this will be a night without compare!
Pick up is at 21:30 pm from your hotel or a nearby meeting point in Akureyri. Picking everyone up can take up to 30 minutes, your patience is much appreciated.
You will return to your hotel around midnight.
What to bring: Warm layers, headwear, gloves and a scarf.
We will deliver all notifications about the tour via email, so please make sure that you check it close to your departure time.
The lights are a natural phenomenon and we cannot guarantee that we will see them on any particular night. They regularly appear in the Icelandic night sky between September and April and we will use all available information to give us the best chance of seeing them.
If we do not see the Northern Lights then we offer a complimentary second tour, ensuring that you have the best chance to see them.
The prevailing weather and road conditions may cause the tour to be longer than stated or cause the tour to be canceled. Our visitor’s safety is paramount, and we will never put you in danger.
The Icelandic winters are cold, and we strongly recommend bringing warm clothing, gloves and a hat.
This is a great question. We ask all participants to be ready from the start of the pickup time indicated. This is because you may well be the first pick up of the day. Please be at your assigned location at the start time that you chose when booking the tour.
Here you should wait for your guide.
Have your email and phone number listed with us so we can contact you if we run into any trouble finding you.
View our pick-up locations in Reykjavík.
Before and during activities on the multi-day tours consumption of alcohol is prohibited. If we suspect that a participant is intoxicated, we will prohibit them from joining the activity.
After the activities of the day are finished, you are welcome to have a drink and relax.
Yes, we do. Langjökull Ice Cave is a magical experience, the tour has no minimum age and is a wonderful option for the whole family. Whale Watching with our partner company Elding has been a favourite with families traveling with young children, these guys have a great success rate in seeing whales (upwards of 98% in the summertime).
Another option would be the Landmannalaugar Safari on this tour you get to explore parts of the Icelandic highlands and bathe in natural hot springs. Most of our jeep tours are also suitable for children over the age of 6 years old. If you would like a nice and relaxing experience we would also recommend the Golden Circle & Secret Lagoon tour.
Your safety is our number one priority! Keeping this in mind, Arctic Adventures reserves the right to adjust the itinerary and/or take different routes depending on conditions. Please read more information in our cancellation policy.
Yes, there is a specially trained and certified guide on each of our tours. The only exception to this is for our self-drive tours.
All of our tours are guided in English.
No, for all your questions and concerns you would need to contact our customer service.
The standard in Iceland is 230V and 50Hz and we use F-type power sockets and plugs, so you might have to bring an adaptor if you are visiting from UK, USA, Canada or other countries using a different voltage, Hz or plugs.
Our tours are split into four different categories that help participants to understand what to expect from the tour. The categories are Easy, Moderate, Challenging and Demanding. Each tour is rated making it easier to find tours that suit you.
For further information about the difficulty ratings and descriptions.
We’ve partnered with the Kolviður Fund in a new carbon offsetting program, which passengers can select to participate in at the time of booking.
The Kolviður Fund is the oldest, most respected carbon offsetting program in Iceland. With your support, one tree will be planted in special Kolviður forests in Iceland to carbon offset your tour with us.
Kolviður forests are strategically planted to absorb the maximum amount of CO2 and the forests are protected for a minimum of 60 years. During their lifetime the trees absorb carbon and store it in their root system, trunk, and branches. Trees also prevent soil erosion and maintain storage of carbon in the soil.
The Northern Lights are natural phenomena and we unfortunately cannot promise you will see them. Their appearance depends upon atmospheric and weather conditions.
For more information on the Northen Lights, please have a look at our Northern Lights information.
Unfortunately, there isn’t just one simple answer to this question.
There isn’t just one single setting for your camera that ensures great photos. But if you have manual options, you are probably best served with experimenting with various combinations of ISO, aperture, and exposure settings. As a rule of thumb, ISO setting between 800 and 3200, aperture between f/2.8 and f/5.6, and shutter speed at between 15 seconds and 30 seconds have proven effective.
A good thing to keep in mind, ISO setting between 800 and 3200, aperture between f/2.8 and f/5.6, and shutter speed between 15 seconds and 30 seconds have given great results.
Different combinations may give very different results. Higher ISO setting will allow you to capture faster exposures, but the downside to this might be for example grainier images.
If the shutter speed is above 15 seconds it will result in a slight star movement.
Wider angle lenses are usually more versatile in low light settings, but longer lenses give you different options for compositions. Make sure that you remove all lens filters, as they may distort images. You will probably get the best results with manual setting for infinite focal length
A refund is not available if the northern lights tour goes ahead and no northern lights are seen but we do offer you the chance to join a Northern Lights Minibus tour free of charge.
Please go to My Adventures to re-book your tour.
When Northern Lights tours are cancelled it’s usually due to unfavourable weather conditions.
In that case, your options will be to:
1. Reschedule for another day.
2. Find another tour to do and use the deposit for it.
3. Get fully refunded.
Like you might have heard, the northern lights are a pretty difficult thing to predict. You can check en.vedur.is to see the forecast and if the level is high and the skies are clear then it’s very likely that the tour is going. We do update our website’s tour departure sheet with the information at 17:00 pm the latest. If the tour is cancelled, you will receive an email from us.
If we think there is no chance at all of seeing the lights we will cancel the tour. We don’t want to bring you out and disappoint if there is no chance to see the lights.
Yes, the guide will take a photo of you with the northern lights behind you. These can be single or group photo’s and free of charge.
The Northern Lights season is said to be from late August until mid-April. However, if you want to increase your chances of seeing them, it is best to wait until the clear winter months of mid-September until March.
If luck and weather are on your side, then you will be able to see the Aurora Borealis above the inviting streets of Reykjavik. Whether you see the lights or not are dependant on two different factors. The first being the weather. If the sky is clear, no clouds, then you are halfway there to seeing the astonishing spectacle that is the Northern Lights (although light pollution can sometimes be a problem). Increased solar activity is the second half so, if these two merge together you may well be able to see the Northern Lights from Reykjavik.