07 FEB 2020
An awe-inspiring mix of dancing colours and magic in an unforgettable landscape: the aurora borealis is a natural phenomenon that attracts travellers from all over the world and is visible from August to April every year. Many tourists head to Nordic countries specifically in the hope of witnessing this enchanting light show at least once in their lifetime. It can be viewed from a diverse array of charming locations and Iceland is definitely one of the best!
The first thing you need to know before embarking on a motorhome trip to see the aurora is that it is unpredictable, because it is driven by the waxing and waning activity of the sun and appears only when the sky is cloudless.
But there's no better viewing platform than your Fiat Ducato-based motorhome!
With your camper van you can leave the bright lights of the city behind and prepare to witness this unforgettable spectacle.
It’s time for a magical experience amidst the wild and unspoiled scenery of Iceland. So, fasten your seat belts and get ready for some serious stargazing!
Our itinerary starts from Iceland’s capital city: get on board and start your holiday from a truly spectacular stopover.
Surrounded by unspoiled nature yet surprisingly modern and full of interesting places, Reykjavík is a destination suitable for any type of traveller.
From here you are within driving distance of various destinations where you can get a glimpse of the aurora. On the 45-kilometre route between Keflavik Airport and Reykjavík you will be treated to views resembling a lunar landscape, a very fitting environment for stargazing.
Alternatively, take a 15-minute trip west of the capital to the Álftanes peninsular, where you can observe the aurora from the bay near Bessastaðir, the official residence of the President of Iceland. Or drive along Reykjavík's waterfront as far as the Sun Voyager sculpture, near to Harpa Concert Hall.
And if you still have time after seeing the magical colour explosion of the northern lights, visit one of the many spas, where you can relax and meet fellow travellers, as well as many of the locals!
If you prefer sportier pursuits, you’re in the right place: the city offers lots of organised leisure activities such as salmon fishing, midnight golf, sailing, climbing, glacier excursions, horseback riding and whale watching. Many of these activities are based only a short distance outside the city centre.
Iceland’s gateway city boasts an enviable cultural scene, including galleries, museums and theatres. You will be spoiled for choice, but now it’s time to get back on board your Ducato motorhome and head towards Borgarnes. Take Suðurgata to Hringbraut/Route 49 and continue along Route 49.
Keep travelling north until you arrive at your second Icelandic layover.
This is one of the most recommended places to look out for the northern lights. Borgarnes is located in the northwest of Iceland, on the Borgarfjörður peninsula, overlooking the fjord of the same name.
In this picturesque town of around 2000 inhabitants (the largest settlement in the area), you can admire the magic of the aurora amidst stunning natural scenery and in the comfort of your own motorhome.
If you prefer a more original vantage point from which to view the northern lights in Borgarnes, try sitting on the pier of the old port!
But if the weather isn't favourable, it’s reassuring to know that you can wait for the aurora in the snug interior of your motorhome, with a view of the fishermen's boats!
If you are lucky enough to see the lights, don’t head off without taking a look round the quaint village before you fasten your seat belts once more.
Take the exit for Þjóðvegur and continue towards Hreðavatn. After a 25-minute drive you will arrive at Grábrók.
The hunt for the aurora continues in this unique location, which is home to a spectacular crater.
The crater lies in the Grábrókarhraun, a vast lava-covered area in Borgarfjörður district.
This land formation dates back over 3000 years and can be visited via a signposted path, from where you can view the largest of the three craters on the volcanic rift zone of the Grábrókarhraun lava field. Observing the northern lights from inside the crater, near the large frozen lake, is a wonderful experience.
Take the Þjóðvegur and Snæfellsnesvegur roads in the direction of Hrannarstígur to Grundarfjörður, your last Icelandic stopover!
Located in the Vesturland region, Grundarfjörður boasts a picture-postcard landscape.
Once you arrive here in your Fiat Ducato-based motorhome, let yourself be overwhelmed by the spectacular views of the surrounding area. The Snæfellsnes peninsula, with Kirkjufell Mountain reflected in the sea, is a wonderful place to witness the northern lights.
But here the aurora is just one of the main attractions. That’s because you will also have the opportunity to go on a breathtaking boat trip to watch killer whales and other cetaceans. Grundarfjörður truly is a treasure trove of unsullied beauty and nature, and you will appreciate it best if you arrive there by road.
Parking and Camping Sites
Here are some great rest stops on your Icelandic itinerary!
- Reykjavík Eco Campsite. This site is located just 3 km from the city, and has been recognised by Earth Check Assessed for its sustainable business practices. Contact: +354 568 6944
- Borgarnes Camping Ground. Situated very close to Route 1, this site is surrounded by a number of services, including restaurants, bars, swimming pools and a football pitch. Contact: +354 775 1012.
- Varmaland Camping ground. This campsite offers a large area ideal for groups and families. Contact: + 354 775 1012
- Grundarfjörður Camping Ground. Located a stone's throw from the town centre, this facility offers a unique view of the sea and mountains! Contact: +354 831 7242