Best place to see Northern Lights
Even if this splendid glowing phenomenon is pretty unpredictable, there are some places in the world that offer you better chances to observe this magical and splendid natural display. From Lapland to Iceland, going through Canada, Alaska, and Russia, discover the best places to see the Aurora Borealis.
What is an aurora borealis?
First of all, it’s for sure an unforgettable display for the eyes of the lucky one to admire it in his life. Indeed, anyone who has the chance to experience this explosion of green, blue, yellow, or red flooding the sky at the heart of the polar night will remain amazed for a long time. This dazzling visual effect is created by a succession of nebulous veils, spreading a fairy atmosphere. As much as it looks like, it’s not a celestial magical trick, but a luminous phenomenon appearing mainly in the areas near the magnetic poles, between 65 and 75° of latitudes. The poles acting there like powerful magnets attracting solar particles. Those then bump into the superior layers of the atmosphere, the ionosphere is comprised of oxygen and azote; the perfect chemical recipe for a magical experience. The solar particles burning and give birth to shining flashes in the sky for the best pleasure of our eyes.
What period is the best to observe aurora borealis?
The observation period of those heavenly shining dances extends from the 21st of September to the 21st of March, ideally between 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., as it’s the time the aurora activity is the strongest. Even though the winter period offers the best display of aurora borealis, the sky needs to be clear, therefore the snowstorms can spoil the experience. Try to check what months are the driest when you organize your trip to see aurora borealis and avoid the pollution of the cities. The best is to base yourself on the moon calendar and on the height of the moon in the sky. One last thing, and probably the most important: patience.
Where to see aurora borealis?
The best place to view northern lights is located in the northern hemisphere, where the nights are the longest and the darkest, especially during the equinoxes. From the north of Europe to the North of America, going through Russia; check out our selection of the best view of the Northern Lights.
The North of Norway, the Lofoten Islands until the Norwegian North Cape, are many ideal observation places to see the Northern Lights. We recommend the charming city of Tromso to start this safari of chasing the aurora borealis, and from there you’ll find different courses in the wild and far from the pollution organized for tourists. Few kilometers from the city you’ll find the Prestvannet lake or the Sommaroy Island, both of them free from any artificial lights and offering an ideal observation point, on the same level, we recommend as well.
On the very top of the country, a visit to the Finnmark (also called the Norwegian Lapland) makes it possible as well to discover polar auroras in the best conditions.
One of the best aurora borealis locations in the Swedish Lapland, this arctic region covering the North-West of Sweden. To have the best chances to enjoy the dancing lights, we recommend you take a chairlift to reach the Aurora Sky Station, up the Abisko National Park. You’ll reach the driest and the most luminous place in the country. Located 900m over the sea, she’s considered the best observation spot in Sweden: about 200 auroras per year!
The city of Kiruna, located more than 15h by train from Stockholm, is also one of the leading destinations counting the number of aurora borealis. In the middle of nowhere, it’s the dreamt spot to chase the Northern Lights, and not far from there, as well the city of Jukkasjärvi offering a dream-like observation place as well.
Another good place you can see the Northern Lights is the Finnish Lapland, where the colored lights of the auroras reflect themselves in the frozen lakes, adding something enchanting to the display. The Urho Kekkonen National Park and more specifically in the Ivalo region with its snowy landscapes offers as well great spots of observations.
In general, in the whole country, you can find a good spot to enjoy the colored lights of the aurora borealis, and even in Helsinki and in the South of Finland we can enjoy 20 nights per year these magical colorful emanations.
It’s known, Iceland is one of the best countries to see northern lights, and the city of Reykjavik is the theatre of some of the most beautiful colored enchantments. From there, various excursions are organized out of the Capital and to places far from the pollution and the lights of the city. From atop of a glacier or a volcano, or next to the Myvatn lake, we can see them shine bright in the sky. Besides that, there are many more things to do in Iceland
Across the Atlantic, one of the best countries to see the Northern lights in Canada, featuring some of the best spots to admire the polar auroras. The Whitehorse, in Yukon, also called “the land of the midnight sun”, offers incredible visibility. The city of Yellowknife in the north-west of Canada as well disposes of an impressive luminosity.
On the top of the world, Alaska is a land where the auroras Borealis set fire to the sky about 200 days per year. Located in the perfect distance from the North Pole and the magnetic field, the cities of Fairbanks and Nome are the little favorites of the travelers, that are seduced every year by the impressive celestial show of their sky. As well, the Denali National Park and Preserve is considered as one of the best spots in the USA to reveal some of the most exceptional aurora borealis.
Much more hard to reach, the observation spots of Russia are however some of the wildest. Visit the city of Murmansk, lost in the middle of the Toundra, a land full of myths and legends, or pass by Salekhard, the only real city of the world located on the polar circle. There, the inhabitants think to see in those light apparitions the spirits of the dead.