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Vacation in Iceland?

I plan on visiting Iceland on Nov. 23-26 with my family of 4, mainly to see northern lights. Do you think 3 days is enough to see northern lights? If not, I can stay an extra day, but plane tickets will cost an extra hundred per person. Is it worth it?

4 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    Iceland isn't really far enough north for that, eg. Reykjavik is only at 64° latitude and you really need to go above the Arctic Circle and ideally above 70° so somewhere like northern Lapland etc. would be better. But if you've already committed to going to Iceland, then you should consider at least going to the northern part of the country, each degree further north improves your chances.

    At those latitudes you get the aurora appearing on average one night out of four. So purely theoretically you have ca. 75% chance of seeing them during a three-night-stay. Of course, in practice it doesn't work like that - you could see them every night, or you could go for a week or two without seeing any. So whether you should add an extra night, I don't know, but I probably wouldn't.

    Obviously it all depends also on the weather - can't see the lights if the sky is covered in clouds! Given that it rains about every other day, that further reduces your chances of seeing anything.

    The good news is that in late November days are very short that far north, only about 5-6 hours between sunrise and sunset, giving you a lot of darkness to observe the lights. Incidentally, the best chance of seeing the lights is around the time of the so-called 'magnetic midnight', which is about two hours before the actual midnight, ie. around 21:30-23:30 hrs.

  • 6 years ago

    Northern lights are visible when there is high solar activity. Therefore you never know. Northern lights are basically solar wind reaching lower leverls of the atmosphere in Polar regions, because in Polar regions the magnetic field is thinner. And it allows solar wind particles to come closer to the surface of the Earth.

    Keep track of solar activity.

    To see Northern lights, the sky should be clear. So it depends on the weather. You should make sure it is not going to be cloudy when you are in Iceland.

    The time period you have chosen for your trip is good. The chances of seeing nothern lights are high. They are usually visible from October till January.

    Therefore, the longer your trip, the better. But it would be best to be able to buy a ticket back home once you have seen the lights, if it is going to be cheaper than buying a return ticket for a 4 day trip.

    As for the geographical position of Iceland, it is OK. However, Iceland is outside the Polar circle, and the further north you get, the more likely you are to see Northern lights. Northern Norway, Greenland and Northern Canada could be better places.

  • zafir
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    There is absolutely no guarantee that you will see the Northern Lights. You don't mention where you plan to stay in Iceland, but you need to be aware that to see them you must be away from city lights. So that means hiring a car or taking a tour. A tour is probably the best way to see the Lights as the tour operators know the best places to take tourists. So you need to research this and book a tour early.

  • 6 years ago

    There is no guarantee that you'll see the Northern Lights!

    Like zafir said, to see them well enough, you should stay away from all city lights!

    The colder it is, it's more likely that they'll appear!

    Source(s): I'm Icelandic
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