Best Iceland hotels to see the northern lights

Iceland is a top destination in which to see the breathtaking celestial phenomena of the northern lights. As elusive as they are enchanting, your chances of seeing the lights are certainly helped by staying in the right place. Here is our guide to the best Iceland hotels to see the northern lights.
Aurora borealis over Deplar Farm lodge, one of the best hotels in Iceland to see the northern lights. Photo: Press release
Aurora borealis over Deplar Farm lodge, one of the best hotels in Iceland to see the northern lights. Photo: Press release

Caused by streams of charged particles from the sun hitting the earth's atmosphere, the shimmering blue-green arcs and waves of the aurora borealis are potentially visible dancing across the night sky over Iceland from October to March. Viewing them is reliant on the right weather conditions, over which you, obviously, have no control. However, there are hotels all around the country, away from excessive light pollution, with a focus on viewing the northern lights. Choose a clear, dark night and gaze up to the heavens… Read on for our selection of the best Iceland hotels to see the northern lights.

1. Hotel Rangá

Around a two-hour drive from Keflavik International Airport, Hotel Rangá overlooks a river from its remote setting amid unspoiled Southern Icelandic countryside. Built in log cabin style, the hotel offers cosy rustic rooms, a restaurant serving modern Nordic cuisine and three outdoor hot tubs. Known as a reliable spot from which to see the northern lights, the hotel's amenities make the viewing experience as pleasant as possible for guests. The chic lounge bar has a first-floor balcony wrapped around it, and there are custom-made benches and warm blankets, as well as wake-up calls so that you don’t miss the northern lights – if they appear. For guests who would like to view the planets and stars, there’s even an observatory on-site, complete with a two telescopes and a roll-off roof.

Hotel Rangá, Iceland

Hotel Rangá, Iceland. Photo: Lodgingeo

2. Hotel Húsafell

On the site of a former farm away from any light pollution, Hotel Húsafell sits surrounded by hilly landscapes in the country’s Aurora Zone, making it one of Iceland's best hotels to see the northern lights. Powered exclusively by hydroelectric energy produced on-site with natural spring water that flows from the region’s lava, this contemporary lodge offers stylish, understated rooms and an airy restaurant serving gourmet seasonal Icelandic dishes. You can enjoy soaking in two outdoor pools and hot tubs filled with geothermally heated water, and will (hopefully) be woken from slumbering in your comfortable bed up to three times a week during winter by automated calls triggered when the northern lights come into view.

Restaurant with a view at Hotel Húsafell, Iceland. Photo: Press release

3. ION Adventure Hotel

Less than an hour’s drive from Reykjavik, the sleek ION Adventure Hotel is isolated amid the mountainous volcanic landscape of Thingvellir National Park. Within easy reach of Gullfoss Waterfall and the steaming hot springs of Geysir, this architecturally remarkable hotel occupies a redeveloped workers’ inn. Jutting out of the mountainside and supported by enormous pillars, the building is as dramatic as the terrain that surrounds it. The minimalist interior features a light-filled restaurant and lounge bar with floor-to-ceiling windows that are perfect for watching the night sky through. Or you might choose to gaze hopefully skywards as you enjoy a rejuvenating soak in the geothermally heated, covered outdoor pool.

ION Adventure Hotel. Photo: Press release

4. Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon

On Iceland’s southeast coast, the Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon is set in a contemporary wood-paneled building surrounded by rugged scenery just off the Route 1 ring road. Spacious, minimalist interior spaces include guest rooms with mountain or countryside views through large windows. A 20-minute drive from the hotel takes you to the breathtaking natural beauty of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Its unique landscape, with enormous crystal-clear ice blocks on a volcanic black sand beach, reflects the blue and green glow of the northern lights. The psychedelic effect created when they appear, makes the lagoon one of the best places to see the northern lights in Iceland.

Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon.Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon, Iceland. Photo: Shutterstock

5. Deplar Farm

Set in a secluded valley surrounded by the verdant mountainous landscape of northern Iceland, the remote location of upmarket lodge Deplar Farm is both completely free of light pollution and close to the Arctic Circle, making it an ideal hotel from which to see the northern lights. With turf roofs and dark wood cladding, the lodge blends seamlessly with its surroundings, which annually receive some of the heaviest snowfall in the country. Tasteful guest rooms and elegant interiors are complemented by a spa, flotation tanks, an outdoor sauna and a geothermally heated indoor/outdoor pool with its own swim-up bar. What better destination in which to view the spectacular natural display of the aurora borealis?

Deplar Farm lodge, Iceland. Photo: Press release

Ready to take a trip to Iceland?

Insight Guides can help plan and book wonderful trips in Iceland for you. To get started, simply get in touch letting us know your ideas for the trip and when you would like to travel. Local experts will then create a tailor-made itinerary especially, which you can amend until you are happy with every detail before booking. Browse our existing itineraries for inspiration and keep in mind that they can all be tailored to suit your specific requirements.

Updated 14 February, 2020