Are you looking for the best hotels in Iceland for Northern Lights viewing? When we were traveling to Iceland the Northern Lights were a priority for us, and we wanted to maximise our chances of seeing them by staying in a northern lights hotel in Iceland. In this guide we will round best hotels in Iceland to see northern lights as well as those Icelandic hotels with northern lights alarms.
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However before we get into the details of hotels that are excellent for viewing the Northern Lights in Iceland, what time do you need to travel to see them?
Best Time to see the Aurora in Iceland?
If you want to see the aurora in Iceland then you don’t want to be traveling in the summer months. You need dark conditions to see the aurora so you need to be traveling to Iceland in winter to see them.
I would recommend traveling from October – March if you want to time your Iceland trip for the Northern Lights then you need to be traveling to Iceland in Winter.
Obviously peak winter i.e. December and January for instance are better than October and March when your chances of seeing the aurora reduce by comparison.
And weather is obviously an important factor. A cloudy rainy day is not a good day to go aurora hunting in Iceland. Instead you are looking for a crisp and clear day and evening.
Where can you see the Northern Lights in Iceland?
There are two things that you need when you are looking for the northern lights in Iceland. The first thing is the weather as we stated above, but you also need dark conditions sometimes known as dark skies.
For this reason Reykjavik is not the best place to see the aurora. So where can you see the Northern Lights in Iceland?
The answer is anywhere dark. Therefore you are looking for an accommodation that is more remote as there will be less light pollution that risks your aurora spotting.
However saying that if there is a very strong aurora display it is not unheard of for people in Reykjavik to see the display, though it obviously is not quite as impressive as in the more remote regions.
Best Hotels in Iceland for Northern Lights
If you are traveling to Iceland in Winter, chances are the main thing you want to see is the beautiful Northern Lights. The Northern Lights are notoriously fickle and a sighting can’t be guaranteed no matter the time of year you are visiting.
Even by selecting one of these hotels that are renowned for their northern lights facilities and alarms you are never guaranteed a sighting at them.
So why do we recommend these hotels.
Firstly, these hotels all have something that adds a special factor to your northern lights chances and comfort. This could be due to their in-house astronomer or northern lights observation decks or it could be due to their northern lights alarms.
As we were travelling to Iceland with our baby, we knew we couldn’t go out every night hunting for the lights so we were really interested in optimising our chances of seeing them without spending nights stood in a cold field. This is where the northern lights alarm comes into place.
How to use a northern lights alarm
Usually you will find the northern lights alarm located on your in room phone. All you have to do is tap the Northern Lights button on the phone and it will ring no matter the time when the lights come out.
Staff at the hotel will watch the skies all through the night and as soon as the aurora is spotted they press a button and all rooms that are set with a northern lights alarm will have a noise go off alerting them to the aurora.
Best Hotels in Iceland with a Northern Lights Alarm
So now you know how to use a northern lights alarm in the hotel what are some of the best hotels in Iceland with a northern lights alarm?
Hella is a great place to stay for travelers who want to see the Northern lights in Iceland. In fact I would go as far as to say that it is one of the best areas in Iceland to see northern lights.
The town doesn’t have much light pollution meaning it is easier to see the lights and Hella also has great access to the Golden Circle and the ring road which is why we chose to base ourselves out of Hella on our trip.
There are several hotels in this area that you could consider with a northern lights alarm. However one of the best has to be the hotel range.
Hotel Ranga was the hotel I was desperate to stay in when we were going to Iceland. Unfortunately the reputation of this fantastic hotel precedes it and it was all booked up by the time we were booking. So if you fancy this hotel, book early!
Ranga is a four star hotel with an amazing reputation. It has some amazing facilities including outdoor hot tubs, pool table and games room, as well as an outdoor observatory which is the perfect place to watch for the lights. There is also an in-house astronomer, who can also help guests plan their viewing and answer all questions t about the Northern Lights.
However it should come as no surprise that with all of these amazing facilities that the hotel charges a premium price.
We opted to stay in Hotel Stracta on our trip to Iceland for a couple of reasons.
Firstly it was one of the best value accommodations in the mid range budget that also had a great location.
For evenings that you might want to splash out there is a nice restaurant and bar on site at this hotel.
But perhaps for us the main reason for staying at Hotel Stratca was because it was a hotel with an aurora alarm.
There aren’t as many hotels in Iceland with a northern lights alarm as you may think. Because of its position in Hella, there isn’t much lights pollution so it is a good place like Ranga to see the lights from the comfort of your hotel.
They have a lovely sauna and jacuzzi so you could stay in the jacuzzi to watch the lights. However it the lights don’t appear at a convenient time, the hotel alarm will call you in the middle of the night to alert you to their presence. It’s a great choice for those travelling to Iceland with kids!
Hotel Husafell is a more remote hotel for viewing the Northern Lights that also has an alarm for ease of viewing.
It should be noted that this hotel is more boutique in size with only 48 rooms. Therefore it comes as no surprise that this hotel gets fully booked quickly. If you would like to stay here we recommend booking early.
Being located just 90 minutes from Reykjavik makes this a very convenient choice and it is located near to Langjokull Glacier which is a great place to do glacier hiking.
Other facilities at the hotel include:
- a great restaurant
- geothermal pool
If you are heading to the Snaefellsnes peninsula and want to see the Northern Lights then your best best may be the Hotel Budir.
This hotel is great for those that want a remote feeling hotel with easy access to some local amenities.
all the rooms at this hotel have great views from
- mountain view
- glacier view
- sea view
- lava field view
and it has a great local restaurant with fresh locally caught fish.
Northern Lights Inn
If you are staying near Keflavik Airport or Reykjavik the aptly named Northern Lights Inn is your only option for a place to view the northern lights in the city.
Really if you are short on time in Iceland but would like to view the lights then this is really the only option.
The hotel is also positioned brilliantly for the Blue Lagoon if that is also on your Iceland Bucket List.
The hotel offers an aurora wake up call and there are plenty of dark spots to get a good view.
In case you don’t see them, you could try an aurora float experience at the hotel.
Best Northern Lights Hotels in Iceland
So while the hotels listed above have northern lights alarms (always check that this facility is available before booking to avoid disappointment) the hotels below are great for viewing the lights but offer no alarm.
Ion Hotel Selfoss
This luxury hotel in Selfoss has a bar for viewing the northern lights with a panoramic view over Lake Thingvallavatn.
The hotel also has an in house astronomer who can answer all questions you have about the northern lights.
The hotel also has a great location for those wanting to visit Iceland’s best waterfalls such as Gulfoss and the beautiful Strokkur Geyser.
For more Iceland hotel inspiration check out this post!
Have you visited in Iceland and seen the Northern Lights? Where did you stay to see them?
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