Among the many wonders of Iceland there are two that everyone who visits must see. The Northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, and Snaefellsnes Peninsula. When visiting in winter why not aim for both?
Seeing the Northern lights dancing in all colors in the night sky, should be on every traveler’s bucket list. It is without a doubt the most amazing light show in nature and Iceland is one of the best places in the world to see them.
Under the right conditions you can see the Northern lights anywhere in Iceland. So, if you’re lucky the next step is finding the perfect spot to enjoy them.
Snaefellsnes Peninsula is definitely one of the best places in Iceland when it comes to hunting for the Northern lights. It is only about two hours’ drive from Reykjavik, and you can easily drive around the entire peninsula in just a few hours. It is known for its diverse landscape and incredible natural features. Giving you the opportunity of witnessing the aurora borealis in spectacular surroundings.
Here are a few places we recommend when hunting for the Northern lights in Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Seeing the Northern lights dance around Iceland's most famous mountain is absolutely breathtaking.
Kirkjufell Mountain is said to be the world's most photographed mountain, and for a good reason. The iconic feature of the mountain makes it almost impossible to take a bad picture.
Fans of the popular TV show Game of Thrones might recognize Kirkjufell Mountain. Then as “Arrowhead Mountain” in the land north of the wall.
Located on the northern side of Snaefellsnes Peninsula, next to the town of Grundarfjörður, Kirkjufell Mountain is about 180 km from Reykjavik.
Below the mountain is a parking lot, so you can safely park your car. From there is a path to Kirkjufell waterfall, another great place to enjoy the auroras. Although Kirkjufell Mountain is close to an urban area, the light pollution from the nearby town has no effect on the visibility of the northern light.
If you like going to the beach this one should be on your list. Djúpalónssandur Beach is a true natural gem of Iceland. The black sand beach is made of black pebbles and surrounded by cliffs and lava rocks in all shapes and sizes.
At Djúpalónssandur get the sense of how extreme nature can truly be as the volcanic landscape clashes with the Atlantic Ocean.
Located in a small bay on the edge of Snaefellsnes Peninsula, about 200 km from Reykjavik. There is a parking lot a few hundred meters from the beach, so travelers can safely park their car before walking to the black beach.
It is a remote area with no light pollution getting in the way of the beautiful Northern Lights.
When hunting for the Northern lights, going to areas with no artificial lighting should be your aim. That generally means going out of urban areas where there is less light pollution.
If you are traveling on Snaefellsnes Peninsula hunting for the auroras you might want to look for Selvallafoss waterfall. The waterfall itself is located on the northern slopes of Vatnaheiði mountain pass. A paved highway across the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, connecting the south and north.
A parking lot for the waterfall is situated on the side of the highway. There you can enjoy a spectacular mountain view. Overlooking Lake Sellvallavatn, volcanos, and the red lava fields of northern Snaefellsnes.
The parking lot is about a two hour drive for Reykjavik. A perfect place to park your car while you safely witness the Northern Lights in a unique and remote area.
What is more beautiful than a natural stone arch? How about an arch dipping its feet to the Atlantic Ocean with the Northern lights dancing above?
If you agree, put Hellnar Arch on your list as you set out to hunt for the Northern Lights. Hellnar Arch or “Gatklettur” as it is called in Icelandic, is found at the beach below the small village of Hellnar.
Located about 200 km from Reykjavik it is a little over two hour drive from Reykjavik in winter. There is a parking lot at Hellnar from where you can walk to the site. The hill to the beach is a bit steep, so be careful if you go down there. Especially after dark.
Although being extremely beautiful, Hellnar Arch is kind of a hidden gem. Changes are you could have it all to yourself.
Snaefellsjökull is one of Iceland's biggest and iconic mountains, reaching 1446 meters. It is also home to Iceland´s smallest glacier, which sits on top of the mountain. Hunting for the Northern lights around Snaefellsjökull is ideal as you can get a great view of the mountain from so many places.
Snaefellsjökull glacier also has an incredible history and is surrounded by mystery. Most famously as the entrance to the center of the Earth in Jules Verne science fiction novel, “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” The glacier is also said to be a UFO hotspot.
Who knows, you might even see something more interesting than the Northern lights there.
Tips for hunting the Northern Lights
- A self-drive tour is the best way to hunt for the Northern lights.
- Plan before you go out. Decide where and when you want to go. Make sure it is safe to travel by looking at road and weather conditions.
- Only stop where it is safe to park. You do not want to put you or others in danger.
- Look for areas with a clear sky. The Northern lights are above the clouds. So, if it is cloudy you won’t be able to see them.
- The Northern lights are most visible after dark. Look for areas without light pollution.
- Here you can see a forecast for Northern lights conditions from the Icelandic met office.
SEE ALSO: WINTER DRIVING IN ICELAND
Above are just a few of our suggestions for interesting places for hunting the Northern lights. Whether you will be able to catch them is impossible to say. We can however guarantee you will not regret visiting any of these places. With or without the auroras they are all amazing and well worth seeing when in Iceland.