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Watching the northern lights is an experience many travelers have on their bucket list, and Iceland is one of the best places to witness an awe-inspiring display. While it’s possible anytime between late August and mid-April, late September through late March provides the best bet. There are even some great Airbnb rentals where you can gaze up at colors dancing across the dark night’s sky right from the comfort of your accommodation – these are some of our top picks.
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A piece of heaven is truly just that. Located only about 80 miles west of Reykjavik, guests stay in a charming cottage built in the old Icelandic style. It sits alongside the sea in the middle of an open field surrounded by mountains, providing the perfect spot for watching a dazzling show in the sky. During the day, bundle up and get out on the scenic hiking trails and visit some magnificent waterfalls nearby. Afterward, you can look forward to coming back and enjoy this comfy home with one loft-style bedroom, a wood stove to cozy up to and a well-equipped kitchen for cooking up your own meals.
Located just beyond Kirkjufell Mountain, one of Iceland’s most iconic images on the north side of Snaefellsnes Peninsula, renowned for its dramatic landscapes, this Airbnb provides breathtaking views in every direction. You’ll enjoy an especially tranquil stay in a studio-style cottage that sits on a farm and boasts large picture windows that perfectly showcase the mountain, and the Icelandic sheep and horses that are scattered about the property. When the northern lights make an appearance, you can watch right from bed.
A glamping experience you won’t soon forget, this Airbnb in northern Iceland is about a 30-minute drive from Akuryeri, the capital of the north. A geodesic dome, or “wooden igloo,” it has as a roof made of skylights for optimal stargazing and aurora-viewing that allows guests to watch from the comfort of a luxurious bed with an Icelandic eiderdown duvet. Fall asleep to the sounds of the river and step just outside your door to gaze out at the sea. A 10-minute walk will bring you to a hot tub where you can soak while enjoying the breathtaking scenery, and perhaps Mother Nature’s light show too.
This eco-friendly home was built to reflect its gorgeous surroundings, located along the popular Golden Circle Route, one of the hot spots for aurora viewing. It sits near the famous Geysir Hot Springs area with its boiling mud pits and erupting geysers, and all the warm water in the house comes from a local geothermal hot-spring, while the cold water is natural cold spring water pumped in from a nearby well. The home sleeps up to six in two bedrooms and comes with a full kitchen as well as a washer and dryer. Ideal for families, there’s even a playroom, high chair and a crib for guest use.
The Stormur cottages are located on a horse farm in east Iceland, 10 minutes from the town of Egilsstaðir along the Ring Road. Tucked in a scenic valley surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks, it’s ideal for immersing yourself in tranquility and watching the colorful lights on a clear winter night. The cozy heated cabin is fully insulated and has a small kitchen and two beds, sleeping up to three adults or two adults and two children. Friendly Icelandic horses roam the property and are often right outside your door.
Just 10 minutes outside of Akureyi a stay here provides easy access to the city with its many restaurants, cafes, shops and art galleries as well as some of the world’s best heli-skiing. Guests enjoy a peaceful view over the glistening bay and the city while dramatic mountain peaks provide an impressive backdrop. The apartment has huge picture windows for gazing out at the scenery and watching the northern lights. Extra-spacious, there are two bedrooms with three beds, sleeping up to six, as well as heated floors and a fully-equipped kitchen.
MARIA Luxury Villa South-west offers luxury in a stunning setting just 40 minutes from Reykjavik. The four-bedroom cabin sleeps up to eight guests in six beds, complete with a sauna and Jacuzzi where you can soak while gazing up at the northern lights. There’s a large living room, flat-screen TV and blue ray player, a fully-equipped kitchen, BBQ grill, washer/dryer and a fireplace too. Surrounded by magnificent Icelandic nature, this one is going to be very hard to leave.
Located in a fjord surrounded by breathtaking scenery, this Airbnb is just 10 minutes from the town of Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland’s most architecturally interesting town, filled with colorful wooden houses while surrounded by snow-capped mountains and cascading waterfalls. The views from the porch that often include the northern lights, coupled with peace and quiet, make this an especially idyllic retreat. The studio-style cabin was once a schoolhouse, but today it has a modern design with amenities that include a fireplace, Wi-Fi, a well-equipped kitchen and lots of thoughtful touches throughout.
The Blue Lagoon has long been one of Iceland’s most popular attractions, and a stay in this cabin not only brings the opportunity to view the aurora with lots of windows, but it’s ideally situated, just 20 minutes from the center of Reykjavik and a little over 30 from the Blue Lagoon. Many guests have boasted about watching the northern lights from the porch, as well as enjoying the horses that frequently pass by. It sleeps up to four, with two bedrooms and three beds. The water flows in straight from the natural springs, and there’s a TV with lots of DVDs and Wi-Fi should the weather prevent you from heading outdoors.
Located in the small southern town of Hvolsvollur, this old Icelandic-style farmhouse sleeps up to six with three bedrooms and five beds. It offers a cozy stay in an idyllic setting with a view of the coast and the mountains, just south of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier and volcano, about a 40-minute drive from Vik, famous for its black sand beach and iconic rock formations. Guests enjoy can enjoy dazzling northern lights views and easy access to glacier walks and snowmobile tours along with a comfortable stay and attentive host.