Even though Iceland is not competing to reach the top of the
charts regarding popular tourist
destinations, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to visit this
beautiful, but cold country.
The country’s capital city, Reykjavik, might be a relatively
small one, but it draws an unexpected number of visitors from far and wide.
Whether you come for the fantastic
landscapes, geothermal springs, for the endless summer days, or solely for the lively nightlife and the
incredible bars, you can’t go wrong with Reykjavik.
There is, however, one extra reason why you might want to
visit Reykjavik (and Iceland, in general), and that reason is photographing the
northern lights. Here is our list with the best spots to admire and photograph the northern
lights in Reykjavik and its surroundings.
Seltjarnarnes is a relatively secluded area located in the
north-western part of Reykjavik. The narrow peninsula is one of the best places
to set up your photography gear and capture the northern lights alongside their
reflection in the water. For a bit of extra drama, you can include the iconic
Grotta Island Lighthouse in the photos as well.
Located in the southern part of Reykjavik, Perlan (The Pearl)
is one of the most accessible places to view the northern lights. The location is a favorite among photography enthusiasts, because it offers a great view
over both the city and the night sky. Of course, since it’s close to
civilization, there will be some light pollution.
Reynisvatn is a small lake situated on the eastern side of the city, in a small neighborhood called Grafarholt. It’s relatively close to the city’s
center, but since there aren’t many buildings and roads in the area, it’s one of
the best places to capture the northern lights without being interrupted and,
of course, without light pollution.
Ægisíða is the name of a local walking path along the
southern coast of the Reykjavik peninsula. It offers to visitors some exquisite and uncompromised views of both the sea
and the evening sky over the bay to the presidential residence at Bessastaðir.
If you don’t mind a short trip by car, then Thingvellir is definitely a place worth visiting in order to capture the northern lights.
Located at somewhere around 50 km from the capital’s center, the Thingvellir
National Park will provide one of the best basis for a series of stunning,
Situated close to the Grotta Lighthouse, it offers a
different perspective over the sea as well as the lighthouse itself. Just
before the actual golf course, there’s a
small lake called Bakkatjorn. It’s an excellent place to take photos of the
northern lights, especially if you want to get creative and add some
A few tips for
photographing the Northern Lights
For a successful photography session, you will need two
things in spades: patience and warm clothes. The northern lights can appear any time after the sunset, so you’ll
have to be patient and check the sky constantly.
Usually, you’ll want to go for the places with no light pollution. Since
waiting might imply waiting in the cold for hours on end, make sure you bring
some hot drinks, as well as have warm and insulated clothes. Last but not
least, remember that the northern lights will appear on the north side.