On August 12, 2026, a total solar eclipse will be visible across Greenland, Iceland, and Spain, with plenty of inspiring itineraries.

Map of the 2026 total solar eclipse
The path of totality sweeps near Iceland and over Spain on August 12, 2026.
Michael Zeiler / GreatAmericanEclipse.com

Eclipse-chasing can be complicated — and hugely rewarding. Europe’s first total solar eclipse since 1999 has some significant dilemmas, but there are some fabulous prizes for those who play the odds. On August 12, 2026, the next total solar eclipse to visit our planet will do so in northwestern Europe. Although it technically makes land in a remote corner of Russia, the vast majority of people who witness totality will do so from Greenland, Iceland, and Spain. Over 15 million people live in the path, according to timeanddate, but it’s also peak tourism season so expect many more.

Path of Totality: Geography

At around 293 kilometers (182 miles) wide and stretching 8,260 kilometers long, the path of totality will begin in remote northeastern Siberia. The Moon’s shadow will then cross the Greenland ice cap, clip the western edge of Iceland — including the capital city, Reykjavík — then dart across the North Atlantic Ocean to northern Spain, crossing the entire peninsula from the north coast to the Mediterranean Sea, just missing the major cities of Barcelona and Madrid. The Moon’s shadow will depart the planet southeast of the Balearic Islands.

The greatest duration of totality will be 2 minutes 18 seconds, viewed off the coast of Iceland.

Away from the path, photographers will have an opportunity to capture a dramatic sunset. “People living along the sunset line will experience a beautiful deep partial eclipse at sunset,” says Michael Zeiler, an eclipse cartographer at GreatAmericanEclipse.com. “Ideal locations to see this over water — a photographer’s dream — are Algiers, Corsica, the Italian coast by the Ligurian Sea, Venice, and High Alpine spots in eastern Austria.”

Path of Totality: Climate

2026 eclipse weather prospects
These cloud-cover estimates for August's eclipse are based on data collected from 2001 to 2021.
Jay Anderson (Eclipsophile.com) / data: CM SAF / EUMETSAT

For the total solar eclipse, inland Spain and Mallorca have the highest chance of a clear sky, according to meteorologist Jay Anderson, an eclipse chaser who publishes climate studies of eclipse tracks on Eclipsophile.com. For those in Spain, where there’s a 35% chance of cloud cover, the message is simple: “In Spain, you stay on the plains — get away from hills and into the open fields of the countryside,” Anderson says. “I favor the more northerly parts of Spain as long as you’re on the south side of the mountains.” The eclipse will occur late in the day in Spain, so if there will be any thunderstorms, they will be underway by eclipse time, he added.

In Iceland — where the Icelandic Meteorological Office makes detailed weather data available to help aurora-hunters — it will pay to stay mobile. “Use their cloud forecasts and go anywhere along Iceland’s west coast, but be careful about hills,” says Anderson.

Meanwhile, those who take a Greenland cruise may be taking fewer risks than it seems. “It looks clear in the fjords from satellite imagery, and the terrain is not going to get in the way of the eclipse,” Anderson notes. He recommends Scoresby Sound.

Cloud cover estimates along the centerline of the path of totality
Cloud amount in percent along the centreline of August 12, 2026’s total solar eclipse.
Jay Anderson (Eclipsophile.com) / data: CM SAF / EUMETSAT

Iceland: Longest Totality — and a Chance of Aurora!

Iceland is on the bucket list of many travelers, but this eclipse will be a special experience for the Icelandic people themselves. “We haven’t had a total solar eclipse visible since 1954, and Reykjavík hasn’t witnessed totality since 1433, so most people in Iceland don’t know what they are about to witness,” said Sævar Helgi Bragason, a science communicator, author, and editor of the Icelandic Astronomy Web website. That statement also applies to the tourism industry, which Bragason hopes doesn’t overreact and close down Iceland’s wild areas.

Bragason recommends Reykjavik’s Grótta Lighthouse in the northwest part of the city — and a popular place for aurora-watching — for the best view of the Moon’s shadow as it approaches. Around 120 km northwest of the lighthouse is Snæfellsnes Peninsula. “From there, it will be possible to have a beautiful view of the glacier, the volcano, and the eclipse beside it,” says Bragason. (Snæfellsjökull’s stratovolcano starred in Jules Verne’s 1864 novel, Journey to the Center of the Earth.) However, even with these destinations in mind, the advice remains to stay mobile and use Iceland’s weather forecasts to plan the trip on the day before the big event.

You may get lucky with some additional night sights: The aurora season is generally considered to run September through March, but sightings might be possible in August. “In August, the Sun sets about midnight, and it doesn’t get completely dark, but you can still see auroras,” said Bragason. Seeing them during totality, however, is a long shot, he adds. “It’s a very weak possibility, but it might happen.”

Spain: A Low Eclipse — and the Perseids!

For another bonus, consider the Perseid meteor shower. It won’t become dark enough at night to see shooting stars from Iceland, but it will in rural Spain.  

“The peninsula offers a favorable weather forecast, as it is a dry and little rainy month, but consider the low altitude of the sun above the horizon,” says Josep Masalles Román, an astrophotographer and eclipse chaser from Barcelona, Spain.

From Spain, the eclipsed Sun will appear 12° above the northwestern horizon, sinking to just 2° above the horizon of the Balearic Sea. “Look for high or flat places without obstacles that impede vision,” Román advises. That means avoiding the Mediterranean coast between Tarragona and Valencia. “It’s one of the most popular tourist areas in all of Europe, and August is the busiest season of the year,” he adds. Head to the interior for fewer people and darker skies.

Castillo de los Calatravos in Alcañiz, Spain
A Sky & Telescope tour will view the eclipse from Spain, at the Castillo de los Calatravos, which sits on a steep-sloped hilltop.
Parador de Alcañiz

The Sun’s low altitude during the eclipse is why Sky & Telescope’s Spanish Total Eclipse Adventure 2026 will include eclipse viewing down to the horizon. (Note: this tour is now sold out but still offers a waitlist. See other S&T tours.)

“I’d visited some of Spain’s opulent paradors [hotels] in the past, so I wanted to find one of these castle-like hotels within the 2026 eclipse path,” says S&T Senior Editor Kelly Beaty. “The one in Alcañiz is perfect — it’s both charming and mysterious, with a commanding hilltop location that offers wide-open vistas all around and some of the best climate prospects in Spain.” From here, the Sun will be 5° above the northwest horizon at eclipse time.

This eclipse will touch countries that haven’t seen totality in a generation or more, providing a variety of views. For Spain in particular, it’s the beginning of a fabulous few years: Totality returns to the southern coast a year later on August 2, 2027, before a “ring of fire” eclipse cuts through the country on January 26, 2028.


Image of Ze De Boni

Ze De Boni

April 18, 2024 at 8:23 am

There are two big mistakes in the article.
"Away from the path, photographers will have an opportunity..." No! If you are a photographer do not be out of the path of totality! That's an unique time to capture the BLACK SUNSET. This amazing landscape view is by far more outstanding than the crescent sunset.
“I favor the more northerly parts of Spain as long as you’re on the south side of the mountains.” It should be west of any mountain or any place with unobstructed view to the west (the sun will be at 285º in average). Truly, north or mid Spain will offer both the black and crescent sunset shows. For those that have never experienced totality, that's a great option. I recommend to seek a place where the sun will be between 9 and 7 degrees when total, as I photographed in Merlo, Argentina 2019 (total) and Monument Valley 2012 (annular). There we will have the full experience of C2 and C3 with the amazing sudden night in between, especially if we are away from the dumb automatic city lights. But don't expect to see any meteor in barely 2 minutes! The Sun will then keep moving toward the horizon in a crescent shape, which is a quite different picture that I did in those two occasions.
For a more radical experience, Mallorca will be the place! The black sun touching (on nearly) the horizon, as I captured I Calafate, Argentina 2010 (totality at 1º!). A clear view toward a westerly coast will favor a great spectacle, with the sun at just 2º. C3 happens just before touchdown, which can give amazing telephoto images of the distorted thin sun! If anything covers the view of C3, it will be also uncommon to watch a down-like effect from the west, just before twilight takes over.

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Image of Ze De Boni

Ze De Boni

April 18, 2024 at 8:28 am

Just correcting typos:
In Calafate...
dawn-like effect...

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