Hunting for the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are one of the most beautiful sights that Iceland has to offer and is an experience that makes it's way to the top of most travelers bucket lists. You will notice that when talking about Northern Lights tours many people refer to the trips as "Hunting" for sightings and this is because catching these sightings are not as simple as we make it look. Our expert team looks over various forms of weather data to try and predict the best spot for our busses to go to. From there our field team communicate with each other about areas of activity looking for the sweet spot where our guests will get the best experience.

Forecasts and Predictions

Before we can find the best spot to trave to, the first thing we have to do is decide wether or not our Northern Lights tour is going to run that evening. When making an assessment on wether or not the tour will be on there are two primary factors that are taken into consideration, cloud coverage and the KP index score for that evening's activity.

The KP Index is a value that is given based on geomagnetic activity, the higher the geomagnetic activity is at that time then the higher the KP index score will be. While this alone cannot be used as a definitive answer as to wether or not the Northern Lights will show up it is generally accepted that this score is a good indicator of what you can expect. The scale starts at 0 and goes all the way up to 9 with a 0 being indicative of little to no expected activity and 9 being indicative of a major geomagnetic event meaning a chance for very vivid lights. Does this mean that if the value is at a low number then you should not bother with the hunt for the lights? of course not! The KP index is a good guide for what to expect but the aurora are rather difficult to predict and in our experience are always likely to surprise you. As with most forecasts (such as weather forecasts) this KP index score is likely to change during the day and change frequently, but thankfully our team of Northern Lights veterans will take the hard work out of the equation for you.

To tour or not to tour?

With the more complicated explanations out of the way, we will now go through the process that occurs when you book a northern lights tour with us. When you book you are given three options, The standard NL bus tour, the premium bus tour and the deluxe tour. The chances of seeing the lights are not effected by the tour you decide to choose, all of our busses will try their best to ensure you get the best sighting although the deluxe bus does include a specialized bus with a clear roof that may lead to increased sightings.

On the day of your northern lights tour our team will spend the day looking at the weather maps and KP index information from various sources to decide wether or not the tour will be going ahead. We aim to make this decision in the late afternoon to ensure we have the most up to date data and when we decide we will send out emails to all of our guests informing them if the tour is on or off for that evening. If the tour is going ahead then all you will need to do is to be sure to arrive at your pick up point at the appointed time with your ticket however if the tour is not going ahead then we will offer to rebook you to another evening free of charge (dates offered will be based on availability and on a first come, first served basis).

We went out, but we didn't see anything?

While we try our best to ensure that all of our guests that go out on our Northern Lights tours get a chance to see the aurora, unfortunately sometimes mother nature conspires against us and we are not lucky enough to get a sighting. The decision as to wether the lights were seen or not on that evening will be made by the guide on the tour and if you did not get a viewing then you will be contacted by our customer support team who will offer you a chance to go again on another evening with no additional charge!

Please note that rebookings are subject to availability and you may be rebooked onto a different tour than the one you orginially went on.