Ask anyone about their bucket list and 9/10 seeing the northern lights will be on there. Thankfully there are many places across the world that you can see the world’s greatest light show. We give you our top ten places to see the northern lights…
Northern Lights Norway
There’s no better place to see the Northern lights than Norway, and why not consider booking a trip through Hurtigruten from October through February. The lights happen above the earth’s surface and extend into space.
The most common colors you will see are yellow and green, but often times there are red, blue, and purple lights too. Take a look at this great package that offers a guarantee that you’ll see the lights during a 12-day voyage, or they’ll send you back again the next year for free. The excursion takes you along more than 780 miles of coastline in beautiful Norway from Bergen to Kirkenes and back again.
You can choose from a classic package or a stargazing trip. The beautiful Aurora Borealis is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and what a better way to experience it than with seeing the Northern Lights in Norway.
Northern Lights Alaska
The best places in Alaska to see the Northern Lights are in Anchorage, Fairbanks, or Denali. You just want to make sure that you get away from the city lights and venture into some areas where the wilderness abounds and the nights are as dark as they can be.
You will want to avoid traveling to Alaska in the summer because the constant daylight makes it nearly impossible to view the Northern Lights. You should plan to go during the winter months of October through February for the best viewing times.
Northern Lights Iceland
There are a lot of places in the Arctic Circle where you can see the Northern Lights, so choosing can be difficult. But a top contender is the Northern Lights in Iceland. Get away from the city and travel to the wide open area of Ãžingvellir National Park. This is also a UNESCO Heritage Site where the Eurasian and North American continental plates come together.
Ideal viewing time if you’re planning a trip to Iceland is September to April when the nights are the longest, and it’s dark for longer periods of time. Chances for seeing them depend on weather and location, so the longer your stay, the better your chances of seeing the lights.
There is plenty to do in Iceland, so plan on the Northern Lights as one of many things to do while visiting this vast country.
Northern Lights Finland
In Luosto Finland in the Northern part of the country, Aurora Chalet gives out “Aurora Alarms” that beep when the Northern Lights begin to appear. Your best bet for a good viewing is on a chilly night where there are no clouds in the sky. Nellim, Ivalo, Luosto, and Kakslauttanen are all great locations to view the lights from.
Northern Lights Sweden
Swedish Lapland, Kiruna, and Abisko are ideal locations in Sweden to head outside on a cold, clear night to search for the lights. Abisko has a unique climate that makes it an ideal spot to view the Northern Lights.
A large lake in Abisko National Park has a spot above it called The Blue Hole of Abisko that’s almost always clear no matter how many clouds are around the surrounding areas. Beautiful green Aurora Borealis is the most common color seen in this region.
Northern Lights Russia
If you’re brave enough to go out in some of the coldest weather you’ve ever experienced, it will be worth it in Northern Russia. Murmansk, Siberia, and the Kola Peninsula are in a location that gives you a great chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis in the winter months.
The best times in this location are February to March and September to October when the nights are at their longest in the Arctic Circle. Just make sure to pack an extra parka and plenty of warm clothes. Siberian winters get far below freezing temperatures.
Northern Lights Scotland
If you find yourself in the British Isles in the winter time, you might be able to catch the Northern Lights on a clear night; just don’t plan your entire trip around it. Scottish winters are cloudy, rainy, and cold; not to mention the fog.
But on those rare moments in the Scottish winter when the clouds part, Aberdeen, Isle of Skye, Dunnet Head, and Northern Highlands are excellent places to view the colorful lights. The longer you’re there, the more likely you’ll get a good chance at viewing the lights at night.
Northern Lights Canada
A trip to Canada in the winter can definitely be a little cheaper than other areas in the Arctic Circle but can provide you with a great view for the Aurora Borealis. Calgary, Ontario, Manitoba, and the Yukon Territory are just a few perfect Canadian locations once you’re away from the hustle and bustle of the city lights. You can also see the northern lights in Banff!
Alberta also has two large dark sky preserves where you could get a glimpse of the lights. Like most other locations September through April are the best times to see the lights in Canada with the most likely times being in September, October, March, and April. You need perfect viewing conditions and cold, clear skies.
Northern Lights Maine
If you’d like to stay stateside this winter and try to see the Northern Lights or you’re taking a trip to Maine, take a look outside at night. Aroostook is one of the most northeastern spots you can go and still be in the United States.
The Aurora is most active around the equinoxes on approximately September 20 and March 20. The area isn’t spoiled by a lot of light pollution, and that makes it a perfect viewing spot for the lights around the equinoxes.
Northern Lights Greenland
The Northern Lights are present all year long in Greenland but during the summer months of constant sunlight, they aren’t visible. You can see the Northern Lights from just about anywhere in the country, but the best viewing locations are Kulusuk and Ammassalik.
Your best chances of viewing are on a cold, dark night between September and the first part of April. Because all of Greenland is an optimal location, it’s a great place to go if you’re looking for a guarantee of seeing the lights for the first time.
Is there somewhere we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
Amar was born and raised in England and embarked on an 11-country round-the-world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second, which ended up being a 23-country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then, Amar has spent the last 14 years traveling the 7 continents.