Where is the best place to go to see the Northern Lights in North Iceland, and what exactly causes this amazing celestial spectacle? Read on to learn more about one of Iceland’s most alluring natural attractions; the incredible Aurora Borealis!
Though less visited than other areas, North Iceland is a region that needs no introduction. Wild, dramatic and packed with adventure, it seems directly lifted from the pages of some fantasy book. With gorgeous swathes of wilderness to be found between its quaint towns and villages, there is simply no excuse not to experience this stunning area save for a lack of time.
Whilst the summer offers pristine green landscapes beneath the golden glow of the Midnight Sun, wintertime in the north promises its own treasures. These include fun activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, bathing in hot tubs and hunting down the elusive Northern Lights. By choosing to stay with us at Soti Lodge, one of the north’s most acclaimed accommodation choices, you will enter a winter wonderland where there is no end to the adventures one can experience.
Naturally, most of our visitors are keen to spot the Aurora Borealis. Well, according to some statistics, visitors to the north will have a 66% chance of spotting the lights over three days. If they extend their time in the region to five days, that chance rises to a whopping 90%! Given these odds, the north might be considered the best Northern Lights hunting grounds in the entire country.
What are the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights is an incredible and otherworldly cosmic phenomenon that tops people’s bucket lists around the world. It just so happens that Iceland—North Iceland, particularly—is one of the best possible places to see them, offering swathes of untouched landscapes that help keep your Northern Lights trip as authentically Icelandic as it can be.
Otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis, those close to the Arctic Circle are privy to waving ribbons of green, yellow and purple lighting up the night sky every winter. The way the lights move is, perhaps, better described as dancing; twirling motions that are far more compelling than any theatre show on earth.
The best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland is between September and March, which covers the winter season. Other destinations where the Northern Lights can be seen include Canada, Alaska, Russia, Greenland, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
What causes the Northern Lights to appear?
In ancient times, people used to believe the auroras were ancestor spirits or omens as to the year ahead. While the Northern Lights might appear ethereal and mystic, the science behind why they occur is now well understood in our modern age.
Protons and electrons are routinely blasted from the Sun’s magnetosphere, only to be hurled by the intense force of a solar wind towards the Earth. When these particles collide with our planet’s magnetosphere, they are manipulated by magnetic forces, building up around both the North and South pole.
Here, the particles compress and collide with high-altitude gas atoms that, in turn, glow with newfound energy. It is because of this fascinating chemical process that the Northern Lights occur. It is an all-year-round process, but it is only during the winter months that it is dark enough to see them with the human eye.
Why should YOU see Northern Lights at Soti Summits?
Northern Lights forecasters are not so precise as to know exactly when and where the lights will appear at any given time. However, they are excellent at informing the public as to when the conditions are perfect for viewing; clear night skies, free of cloud cover, and a high level of solar activity high-up in the magnetosphere.
Of course, this means you’ll want to find yourself at a suitable location because even looking up at the night sky. For that, we have Soti Lodge, known for being the north’s major hub for heli-skiing, as well as a respected provider of luxury accommodation and adventure tours. All guests on a Summit Heliskiing tour have full access to the lodge’s authentic geothermal pool, hot tub and sauna, as well as daily meals provided by our in-house chef.
But most importantly, Sóti Lodge is surrounded by wilderness; dark pebble shorelines, mountainscapes and quaint farmlands. Such solitude is perfect for Northern Lights hunting as there is no light pollution detracting from the experience. On top of that, avid landscape photographers will find no better scenery to complement their night-time shots than here.
On top of being in a prime spot for seeing the Aurora Borealis, guests at Sóti Lodge will have the chance to partake in unforgettable activities offered in the nearby area. While some may be satisfied with quieter opportunities like horse-riding or sampling local cuisine, others will get their adrenaline pumping with such high-octane pursuits as sea kayaking, snowboarding and, of course, heli-skiing! Make sure not to miss out on such incredible adventures during your time in Iceland’s north.
Sóti Lodge is located on the northernmost tip of the Troll Peninsula (Tröllaskagi) nearby to the delightful town of Siglufjörður. If you would like to browse a selection of tour activities in North Iceland, please check out the Tour Page on the Sóti Summits website.
Extra Tips for spotting the Northern Lights in Iceland
Aside from welcoming you to the lodge and advising you as to great nearby areas to hunt the Northern Lights, we want you to keep some other important tips in mind.
For one thing, you must remember that the winter in Iceland is notoriously cold, made all the worse by strong ocean winds and high-level precipitation. Make sure to always be adorned in winter accessories such as a thick pair of gloves, a beanie hat and a scarf. As you will be standing outside for some time, extra items like hand-warmers might be welcome.
Also, it is important to keep one’s expectations realistic. As stated previously, Northern Lights are not a certainty, which leaves open the door for disappointment. However, if you place your trust in the forecasts, hunting for lights only on clear days and open stretches of wilderness, you will have a much better chance of spotting them than if you had stayed in the city.
If you’re unsure about whether conditions are advantageous, feel free to ask a member of staff and they will happily impart some local knowledge that puts you in good stead to see the lights during your visit. We wish you all the luck in the world on your Northern Lights adventure, and look forward to sharing the many wonders of North Iceland with you.