South Iceland Aurora Hunting

Where can I see the Northern Lights?
5 min
December 14, 2023

This region is in the heart of the day time SuperJeep tours which will take you off-roading through volcanic valleys, up to glaciers, a secret ice-cave, to the black volcanic beaches and even up the famed Eyjafjallajokull volcano. Snowmobiling and Glacial Hiking is also available all year round on the Glaciers.

The huge benefit of staying in this area is that you are not wasting time every day travelling to and from Reykjavik to get to the exciting off-roading SuperJeep adventures, and instead can save your energy for Northern Lights Hunts later on in the evening.

We would recommend you self-drive there so as to invest instead in some Northern Lights Activities in the area.

There are various ways of getting to see the Northern Lights.

Buses, Big SuperJeeps, Small SuperJeeps or Self-drive and your experience will vary considerably depending on which option you take.

For those looking for the more personal, small SuperJeep Northern Light Tours with local guides then there are local companies that have a range of Northern Lights Hunts for you. The benefit of going this route is that they use a combination of their years’ experience of living in the area, together with modern aurora forecasts to track down the Northern Lights for you.

The joy of the SuperJeeps vs the buses or self-drive is that they can leave the roads and head inland to areas where the aurora forecast is good. This is often Þórsmörk, as this is a great place to see the Aurora Borealis as the valley is surrounded by 3 glaciers which cool the dry air creating clear skies. Therefore often the Northern Lights can be seen in Þórsmörk whilst the clouds several miles away block out the Northern Lights.

When on the search for the Aurora Borealis a local guide with local knowledge cannot be underestimated as their experience can get you to the specific “hole” in the sky so you can see the Aurora’s.

For hotels in the area Hotel Ranga is an easy recommendation about 2 hours south of Keflavik Airport and is situated in an isolated rural location.

It has superb food, north facing outdoor hot tubs and a free aurora wake-up call in the night if the lights come out

whilst you are tucked up in bed! The location means it’s in a great position to see Northern Lights activity as it is well away from light pollution and, in fact, the Northern Lights have become their trademark attraction.

The hotel also boasts their own observatory where you can use their telescopes to view the night sky and hopefully the Northern Lights. The observatory is situated about 150 metres from the main building and houses 2 astronomical telescopes which are computerised and mounted onto a permanent pier. At times, on a platform near the observatory, they also roll out an 18 inch reflector telescope. Even if the Northern Lights are not displaying, the telescopes can be used to view the night sky and details on Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.

This is a highly recommended Aurora break when staying at Hotel Ranga.

For those looking for private romantic accommodation or a celebration base for the family then you may wish to consider staying in a private cabin. There are several in the area which vary in style from a bright airy cabin with big windows, perfect for viewing the Northern Lights, to a traditional log cabin with its own private hot tub overlooking Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, which erupted in 2010 causing air traffic chaos. There is something quite special about watching the Northern Lights outside your own back door with a glass of wine in your hand, or even better watching the Aurora Borealis from inside the hot tub!

See our highly regarded Northern Lights Wilderness Cabin Escape.

Another really rural hotel is Hotel Fljótshlíð, Smáratún is based on a working farm of around 300 hectares that has been managed by the same family for 3 generations with a lovely personal feel. It is in an isolated area close to the Golden Circle area and is great for Northern Lights as there are no artificial lights around to spoil the show.

The meat and produce produced on the farm are served in the restaurant, and the hotel is certificed by the Nordic Swan Eco Label meaning it is a role model for sustainability in Icelandic tourism.

Take a look at this great value Aurora break based here.

A new addition in the area is the boutique Skálakot – Manor Hotel with only fourteen bedrooms with an excellent restaurant and personal service. The hotel is an extension from the farm which is run by the 4th generation of the same family, and where the owners live and they have a strong sense of Icelandic hospitality, so expect to feel extremely welcome and pampered. Set at the base of the Mountains it has excellent Northern Lights viewing and is surrounded by stunning nature.

See the wonderful Iceland Aurora Mecca Private break based here.

Whilst in Iceland a must-visit is the Blue Lagoon, but they do also have their own hotel if you want to indulge in some longer pampering. Set in the heart of a stunning lava landscape the Blue Lagoon Silica Hotel is a few minutes’ walk from the Blue Lagoon, and of course, as the lagoon is open until 8pm it has been known for people to be bathing in the geothermal waters with the Northern Lights blazing above them.

Take a look at the Blue Lagoon Northern Lights Escape break we offer staying here.

For our FULL range of Iceland Northern Lights breaks.

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