Most people visiting Iceland are interested in the Northern lights and I totally understand that. It's really overwhelming to experience this wonder and breathtaking when they are visible dancing above, sometimes vibrant and multicolored. Even though I´ve experienced the auroras my whole life they always fascinates me and I never get bored looking up in the sky admiring them. Its better to view them where light pollution is little and best where there is none. Sometimes Northern lights are visible in the city though but I want to give you some tips where you could view them more effectively just a short drive from Reykjavík if you are staying there.
Because I love to photograph this wonder I personally love to view Northern lights where its either some nice foreground or a lake because when capturing them it is really beautiful to see the lights reflecting in the water so if I can I try to choose a spot like that. To be able to do so I very often go to a lake called Kleifarvatn located in the Krísuvík area at the Reykjanes peninsula (see my blog). The drive to the lake is just about 30 minutes from Reykjavík city and very easy to access and find. For me this spot is perfect both because of the beautiful lake, dramatic mountains and very little light pollution. In the Kleifarvatn area you can find plenty of spots both for shooting or just enjoying those lights. Also you could spot some cool places on your way to the lake.
It's very good to follow this page for checking both aurora forecast as well as the current aurora activity. If you look at the little picture to the right and if Iceland is covered with yellow/orange/red colour and sky outside is pretty clear then you should jump out. Best time to start your aurora adventure is somewhere between 9pm and midnight but of course they can be active all night long. You might have to wait for the visibility of the lights and they can appear all of a sudden just out of the blue so its good to have a little bit of patience, warm clothes and not bad to have something warm to drink while waiting. The aurora season in Iceland is from September until April.
Northern lights is a common name for the aurora borealis. The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. They are known as 'Aurora borealis' in the north and 'Aurora australis' in the south. They can appear in different colours as green, red, yellow, pink and blue or purple.
I hope you found these information helpful and hopefully you will experience this sight while here. Please feel free to send a message if you want more information about great aurora spots because this particular spot is just one out of many I could mention. Kleifarvatn lake is just really cool in my opinion and a short while from the city.