The Best Northern Lights Hotels in Iceland

The Best Northern Lights Hotels in Iceland

Verified Expert

The northern lights, as seen above an accommodation in Iceland. Discover the top northern lights hotels in Iceland. Increase your chances of seeing the northern lights and enjoy one of the best winter activities in Iceland in amazing locations.

The northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, are one of the unique experiences you'll enjoy in Iceland. Every year, Icelanders are rewarded with great views of this natural wonder.

Travelers who want to check the northern lights off their bucket lists will find Iceland perfect. The country has a lot of remote areas amidst beautiful landscapes, far from the city lights.

The capital city of Reykjavik during winter.

This makes the country one of the best places to see the aurora borealis, especially for those who want to check it off their Iceland bucket lists.

The only time to see the northern lights of Iceland is during winter, mainly between September and April, because nights are longer during these months. The midnight sun outshines the aurora borealis in summer.

Similarly, Iceland's capital, Reykjavik city, is not a great place to hunt for this phenomenon because light pollution can also drown them out. You can join various excursion types, including bus tours, minibus adventures, private tours, and boat tours, to get out of the city and see them - or stay at a hotel further out in the nature.

See the northern lights during a self-drive tour. If you are looking for the best accommodation to see the northern lights, you can find various accommodations and locations all over Iceland.

Arnarstapi Hotel

Within the Snaefellsnes Peninsula of Iceland, there's a small settlement with only around 150 people called Arnarstapi village. The village is home to the Arnarstapi Hotel, one of the best accommodations for seeing the northern lights in this breathtaking part of the country.

Arnarstapi Hotel, under the northern lights of Iceland. Photo from Arnarstapi Hotel.

A vast open space with minimal trees surrounds Arnarstapi Hotel. Also, it's near the coastline of the peninsula. This setup creates a perfect location that allows you to see the aurora borealis without issue on most parts of the property, with beautiful surroundings.

The accommodation has several lodging options, including a bunkhouse, a private cabin, a hotel, and a campground. Therefore, if you are a solo traveler or coming with a group or family, Arnarstapi Hotel has everything to fit your needs.

The coastal town of Arnarstapi, surrounded by huge cliffs. On the hotel property, you'll have the option to eat at the hotel's two restaurants. The first one, Snjofell Restaurant, offers an American-style menu, while Arnarbaer Restaurant serves some of the best local food in West Iceland.

You can also drive to the restaurants outside the hotel and check out the cuisine in Arnarstapi and on the greater Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

If you'd like to venture out to the neighboring communities, Hellnar village, an old fishing settlement, is 2.7 miles (4.3 kilometers) away. Here, you'll find local eateries and cafes with different types of food. One of the top places that locals recommend is Fjoruhusid restaurant, and their best menu item is fish soup.

Besides the hotel, there are plenty of unique places near Arnarstapi Hotel where you can witness the northern lights for extraordinary memories.

One of the jewels of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the Snaefellsjokull glacier, is only 5.5 miles (8.8 kilometers northwest of the hotel. This over 700,000 years old geological wonder is also a favorite hiking place for many visitors.

The Londrangar cliffs, near Aranrstapi.

This glacier is part of the spectacular Snaefellsjokull National Park, one of three national parks in Iceland.

Raudfeldsgja gorge, which means Red-Cloak Rift, is a beautiful site 2.9 miles (4.7 kilometers) north of Arnarstapi Hotel. Though you can't climb in it in summer, it makes for a great foreground when the auroras appear.

Budir is a great spot for seeing the northern lights.The Londrangar sea stacks, which are around five miles (8 kilometers) away, were once a volcanic crater. After an eternity of battling with the ocean, what's left of it are the two pillars standing tall upon the cliff. Due to how it looks, Londrangar has also been nicknamed "the rocky castle."

A bit further from the other attractions mentioned above is the photographic Budir Black Church. The church is 12.8 miles (20.6 kilometers) from the hotel. The all-black chapel offers excellent photo opportunities due to its stark black color against the many shades of the northern lights.

Fosshotel Nupar

Fosshotel Nupar is found near Iceland's South Coast.Photo from Fosshotel Nupar.

Fosshotel Nupar is a three-star hotel located at a prime location near the South Coast that can provide you with the perfect resting spot at the end of your northern lights hunting trail. The hotel is near Route 1, also known as the famous Ring Road of Iceland.

The hotel is an excellent accommodation where you can take in the awe-inspiring phenomenon from the comforts of your chosen room.

What you'll immediately notice about the property surrounding the accommodations is its spaciousness. As a result, you get minimal interference from the ground and your view of the sky.

Kirkjubaejarklaustur's view from above.

Photo from The Historic Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Systrafoss & Systrastapi in South Iceland.

Fosshotel Nupar is located in a remote settlement called Kirkjubaejarklaustur village, which makes it even easier to view the aurora borealis from the nearby open plains.

There are also some fantastic natural attractions nearby which you can hope to use as foregrounds for the best northern lights experiences.

The Skaftafell Nature Reserve, 28 miles (45 kilometers) east, is surrounded by glaciers and has diverse landscapes. The Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is slightly more distant, 61.1 miles (98.3 kilometers) from the hotel, but the views of the aurora borealis over the lake of icebergs are breathtaking.

In the opposite direction, you can travel 65 miles (105 kilometers) to reach the mystical black sand of Reynisfjara beach.

Being near so many natural attractions also allows you to take part in fun winter excursions in Iceland when staying at Fosshotel Nupar. For instance, a trip to the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon can be coupled with an ice cave tour in Vatnajokull glacier. Vatnajokull glacier is the largest of its kind in the whole of Europe.

Before and after a long day of adventure, seeking out a bit of local flavor in your meals is easy to do while at Fosshotel Nupar. Kirkjubaejarklaustur is home to top eateries such as Systrakaffi and Kjarr Restaurant.

Meal you can eat at the Fosshotel Nupar restaurant. Photo from Fosshotel Nupar. 

If you prefer to eat at Fosshotel Nupar, there's a restaurant and bar on the location where you can order meals and refreshments. The restaurant also offers a daily breakfast buffet for an additional fee.

It's safe to say that you won't go hungry when staying at the Fosshotel Nupar.

Fosshotel Nupar accommodates various group sizes with a combination of room layouts. The hotel has 99 rooms, which allows for single, double, and triple occupancy variations. If you plan to travel with a big group, you can rent multiple rooms to accommodate everyone.

The Fosshotel is a chain hotel that visitors can find in different locations throughout Iceland, but none is as remarkable for viewing the northern lights as this one. This hotel has no pools, hot tubs, or saunas. However, they provide free Wi-Fi, parking, and tour and ticket assistance.

Hotel Laxa

Hotel Laxa, is a three star hotel near Lake Myvatn.Photo from Hotel Laxa.

Hotel Laxa is another three-star hotel that should be on your radar when looking for the perfect northern lights hotel during winter in Iceland.

Tall mountain peaks surround the flat plain where the hotel resides. However, its lack of towering trees and large buildings still allows you an unobstructed view of the northern lights. This feature is one of the many that makes Hotel Laxa a great stop during your Iceland vacation.

The hotel is located less than two miles (three kilometers) away from Lake Myvatn, one of the most famous attractions in North Iceland. Due to its location, you'll get stunning views of the aurora borealis over the beautiful waters.

The majestic Dettifoss waterfall near the Diamond Circle.

Hotel Laxa is on the Diamond Circle sightseeing route, the most famous road in the country's northeast. The area is well-known as the location of some of the most popular attractions in the region, including the Asbyrgi Canyon, Lake Myvatn, Dettifoss waterfall, and the Husavik coastal town. Due to its proximity to these sights, you can add a lot of activities to your itinerary, such as a private whale-watching boat tour from Husavik.

Visitors of these attractions can also participate in numerous hiking excursions, hot springs, and wildlife viewings during the day, then marvel at the northern lights over them at night.

The hotel has a lot of rooms that allow up to three guests, with your choice of a standard room or one with a lake view. There's also a bar and a restaurant in the hotel's vicinity. Amenities such as Wi-Fi and free parking are included.

Reykjhalid village, near Lake Myvatn. The hotel also welcomes business groups for team retreats and provides a conference room for up to 25 people. As such, Hotel Laxa can meet the needs of a range of travelers.

The hotel is also around 8.5 miles (13.5 kilometers) from the nearest settlement, Reykjahlid village, making necessities accessible when needed.

Landhotel

Another top-tier option for a northern lights hotel has a location in rural southern Iceland, within the Hella village. Landhotel is a four-star hotel that provides a stellar vantage point for watching the aurora borealis amongst mountains and countryside landscapes.

Landhotel with the northern lights above. Photo from Landhotel.

The hotel is also close to the Golden Circle, its sites, and the South Coast waterfalls, making it an excellent choice for travelers.

The Golden Circle, just like North Iceland's Diamond Circle, offers many attractions in one central location, such as the spectacular Geysir geothermal area, Gullfoss waterfall, and the cultural and geological wonder Thingvellir National Park.

These sites are not just among the most popular in Iceland but are particularly impressive under the northern lights.

Like the surrounding landscapes and attractions at the Golden Circle, you won't be disappointed with your Landhotel accommodation. For starters, every room at the Landhotel has a stunning view and sleeps up to three guests. There's also a separate sitting area and a refrigerator for your use.

A group enjoying their meal at the Fridheimar Tomato Farm. Photo from Fridheimar Travel Guide.

No pool is available at Landhotel, but you'll find a spa with a sauna and massage services in its vicinity. When in the area, check out the small but exceptional attractions of Fridheimar Tomato and Horse Farm and Solheimar Eco Village.

Another unique service the hotel offers is its series of yoga classes or multiple-day yoga retreats. These take place outdoors in the nearby landscape, where the nature of Iceland surrounds you.

You can participate individually or as part of a group, which comes with a special rate, before you spend your night in northern lights hunting.

The hotel offers complimentary breakfast, and a restaurant is available for lunch and dinner. If you're going out for the day, you can request a pre-packaged meal to take with you on your adventures. However, inform the staff in advance so they have enough time to prepare your meal.

Seljalandsfoss Horizons

A Seljalandsfoss Horizons lodge, with a clear night sky. Photo from Seljalandsfoss Horizons.

For another South Iceland option, you can turn to Seljalandsfoss Horizons for your northern lights hotel needs. The nearest community from it, Hvollsvollur town, is around 14 miles (23 kilometers) away, while the settlement of Hella is a bit further, at about 21.4 miles (34.5 kilometers).

Seljalandsfoss Horizons is also near the turf house Keldur and manor Oddi, which are around 15.5 miles (25.03 kilometers) away.

The hotel offers a cozy resting place amidst rustic surroundings for pairs, groups of friends, and families of up to four.

You can choose to stay in a log cabin, a cottage, or a hut. Meanwhile, the large-style lodges of Seljalandsfoss have two bedrooms, a kitchen, a dishwasher, and a Nespresso coffee machine.

The northern lights above the Skogafoss waterfall.The open plains surrounding the Seljalandsfoss Horizons give you the perfect opportunity to see the aurora borealis. Meanwhile, the distance from towns such as Hvollsvollur and Hella ensures you're far from the city lights, which can affect your viewing experience.

There are several amazing destinations you can seek the northern lights at. The hotel's namesake, Seljalandsfoss waterfall, is 19 miles (30.5 kilometers) away. The attraction is exceptional because you can walk all around the cascading water.

Skogafoss waterfall is more powerful than Seljalandsfoss and even closer, just 17 miles (27.4 kilometers) away. You can even see the northern lights dance above the Solheimajokull glacier, 22.8 miles (36.7 kilometers) east.

The Seljavallalaug pool is open to the public, and is free. If you want to take a dip at one of Iceland's largest swimming pools, check out the Seljavallalaug swimming pool. The pool is 12.29 miles (19.77 kilometers) away from the hotel. Also, it has been around since the 1920s, and you can get inside for free.

Few experiences are more impressive than watching the northern lights in a geothermal pool.

In Summary

Going to see the northern lights during winter in Iceland is an opportunity you won't miss out on. However, many Reykjavik hotels do not provide the best viewing opportunities because of the light pollution in the city.

Fortunately, going northern lights hunting along the Ring Road of Iceland allows you to visit areas with dark skies and clear weather. As such, you can maximize your chances with smart hotel choices.

The northern lights, looking beautiful above the Icelandic mountains.

By planning your winter holiday around the optimal hotels for aurora borealis viewing, you can see the lights at nearby attractions and even through your hotel's room windows!

Book your northern lights hotel today!