Places to see the northern lights
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The best places to see the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are one of the wonders that nature has given us to marvel at. But where can you find the best places to see the northern lights? A magical display of illuminating swirls in the dark skies. So, how about a front-row seat to the ethereal fireworks? 

That said, there is nothing as magical as the Aurora Borealis, Earth’s natural technicolour display. Indeed, you’ll never experience anything like this bewitching affair! Catching a glimpse of this astonishing phenomenon is on many travellers’ bucket lists. 

Since there are plenty of places to see the Northern Lights, I have come up with a complete rundown of where you can witness the most incredible light show on Earth!

If sighting the natural marvel is on your bucket list, keep reading to discover them.

What are the northern lights?

Portraying as a luminosity of technicolour rays, swirls or ribbons across the sky, the Northern Lights, orAurora Borealis, is a result of charged particles from the sun clashing with aeriform particles in the Earth’s environment. It is blown towards Earth by solar winds, resulting in a release of a photon that appears as light. However, the colour depends on the particles that are clashing.

Fun Facts :

  • This phenomenon was named after Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn and admired for hundreds of years. 
  • The Vikings believed the gleaming Aurora were reflections of the shining shields and armour of the gods. (Who wouldn’t? It is magic and otherworldly!)

When is the best time to go?

The Auroras doesn’t show up on demand. You can only witness this magic when the conditions are just right. Usually seen in winter, between November and March, when the nights are longer and darker in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Tip :

The Northern Lights can only be seen under three conditions: cloudless dark skies, strong solar activity, and crisp weather.


What is the best time of the day to see the Northern lights?

As you may already know, one of the main components of seeing the Northern Light is dark skies, so naturally, the best time to spot them is late at night. 

For that reason, Northern Lights tours take place late in the evening or at night. 

Tip :

Check with your hotel if they offer ‘Aurora wake-up calls’ as many hotels would notify you if the lights show up in the middle of the night.


Where’s the best place to see the Northern Lights?

Places to see the northern lights - Iceland

Iceland

If you want to enjoy one of the most amazing places to see the Northern Lights, then Iceland is the place to be! This destination is one of the most popular destinations to witness the magical light show. Besides the Northern Lights, Iceland also offers volcanoes, stunning blue ice glaciers, scenic waterfalls, and not forgetting the many activities to do

Best Viewing Locations: Reykjavik, Thingvellir, Threngsli, Hvammsfjordur and Seljavallalaug Pool

Best time to see: Late September to early April.

Places to see the northern lights - Sweden

Sweden

Sweden is a country where one can easily fall in love with, also one of the favourite places to see the Northern Lights among many travellers. It will capture your hearts with its gorgeous landscape of snow-capped mountains, starry skies, and many things to do while you on your holiday. Sweden also has the world’s best ice hotels and prim spots to catch the captivating creation of mother nature. 

Best Viewing Locations: Aurora Sky Station in Abisko, Kiruna, and Jukkasjärvi

Best time to see: November to January.

Places to see the northern lights - Finland

Finland

Finland is another winter beauty and one of the other best places to see the Northern Lights in Europe. It is known for its traditional Igloo houses and the Finnish Lapland. The best way to see the Northern Lights are from glass igloos and luxury suites from the comfort of your beds. Whatsmore, this place is brimming with plenty of winter activities.

Best Viewing Locations: Levi Rovaniemi, Luosto, Nellim and Kakslauttanen

Best time to see: During December

Planning a trip to Finland, Check this out
Places to see the northern lights - Norway

Norway

You can’t get much further north than Norway; I bet you already know that. If you are chasing the best places to see the Northern Lights, then Norway is where you should go. Located right up in the Arctic Circle, Norway experiences a rare phenomenon called ‘Polar Night’, meaning that the sun does not at all, resulting in dark skies both day and night. 

Best Viewing Locations: Tromsø and Svalbard Islands

Best time to see: Mid-November to the end of January

Places to see the northern lights - Alaska

Alaska

Alaska, located in the far north of the US, is a large expanse of the snow-capped landscape best for Northern Lights travel. The white background against the clear dark skies unfolds a beautiful scenario as the Northern Lights glow approaches you.

Best Viewing Locations: Fairbanks and Denali National Park

Best time to see: September – March

Places to see the northern lights - Canada

Canada

Aurora spotting in Canada is an excellent option as it is located on the north-western tip – right next to Alaska. Furthermore, Canada has more to offer apart from the Aurora Borealis, including several outdoor activities ranging from sightseeing to skiing.

Best Viewing Locations: Yukon, Northern Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia.

Best time to see/visit: August to mid-April

Places to see the northern lights - Scotland

Scotland

Don’t want to travel too far or on a budget? That doesn’t mean you can’t allow yourself to see the natural phenomenon. So, make your way to Scotland. The Aurora Borealis, locally known as the Mirrie Dancers, can be seen at the northernmost parts of the Highlands, aligned with the same latitude as Norway and Alaska.

Best Viewing Locations: North Berwick, the Isle of Skye, Aberdeen, Dunnet Head, and Barns Ness Lighthouse

Best time to see: November to March


BONUS

The Southern Lights or Aurora Australis

Witnessing the Northern Lights is on almost every outdoor enthusiast’s bucket list that trips are planned to the northernmost parts of the globe.

While the celestial occurring deserves all the hype, it outshines the similar – yet rarer, Southern Lights that dance through the sky in bright colours.

Here are some of the best spots in the world where you can get a glimpse of the elusive Aurora Australis.
  • Antarctica 
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Patagonia, Chile & Argentina
  • The Falkland Islands
  • South Georgia Island

So, there you have it, our guide to the best places to see the Northern Lights. Travel Center has got you covered if you wish to tick off that much-awaited visit to seeing the Aurora Borealis. What are you waiting for? Book your tickets, pack your bags, and prepare to witness the Northern Lights this winter.

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