5 Best places to chase Northern Lights near Reykjavik & MAP

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If you will be staying in Reykjavik between late September and early April there are changes you will see one of the most beautiful natural phenomena – The Northern Lights.

We hope that our list will be helpful and you will be at the right place and time to capture some great shots.

Reykjavik – When the activity of the Northern Lights is strong, you can see aurora even from the city center. The most popular spots in Reykjavik are Perlan, “The Rabbit Park”, old harbor or Grótta lighthouse. However, we don’t recommend to chase aurora in the city as the darker the better. Leave the city lights behind as light pollution kills all the effect and it is always better to experience a natural phenomena in the middle of nowhere. Especially when you can use an interesting first plan like a mountain or a lake on your aurora photos.  That’s what makes a decent photo location!

5. Gríndavik

a small port town in Reykjanes peninsula, where you can use the ocean, mountains or a light house as a first plan on your Northern Lights photos. There is also the Blue Lagoon nearby and you can try your luck there.

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4. Heiðmörk

the biggest park near Reykjavik. Actually its name is derived from Norwegian word Hedmark, which means an area with deep forests. Trust me, for Icelandic standards Heiðmörk is a really deep, enormous forest. Anyway, it is pretty dark out there, which means good enough for watching Aurora.

3. Þingveillir National Park

protects area where two tectonic plates meet, you can check Öxarárfoss waterfall and make some long exposure photos with the Northern Lights dancing above.

This aurora we caught in the national park while driving along Þingvallavatn – the rift valley lake and the biggest natural lake in Iceland. Sometimes when the activity isn’t strong the Northern Lights take shape of a blurred cloud like on the photo below. At least, on the right you can spot Orion constellation.

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2. Kerið

a volcanic crater in the Golden Circle area. All the places where Northern Lights can be reflected in water make the best places Northern Lights photo locations. During winter you can spot some ice floe floating on the surface of the volcanic lake.

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1. Kleifarvatn

is the largest lake in the Reykjanes Peninsula and located on the fissure zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

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The drawback of this location is the road used by locals situated along the lake. The car lights usually overexpose a photo or leave a long bright lines on your long exposure shots. Same with headlights.

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Somehow the photos with human element seems more real than ideal pics of nature with no people. There are always people. After touristic boom it is difficult to find a place with no people in Iceland. Unless you drive to Raufarhöfn under the Arctic Circle.

_MG_0393Sometimes the best place to see Northern Lights is just exactly where you are at the moment. Just look up! Maybe aurora is dancing above your head and make sure you have a tripod in your bag.

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