Best Places to See the Northern Lights

Seeing the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) is on most people’s bucket-list. For those living in the far north of the Northern Hemisphere like Canada, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland they are spoiled by seeing this magical natural phenomenon on a regular basis.

Generally, the best time of the year when the Northern Lights are most visible are from late August to early April. However, the conditions need to be perfect, as you need a dark, clear night and gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere collide with particles from the sun’s atmosphere in order to get a glimpse of the aurora borealis.

These swirling green, yellow, pink and light blue streaks through the sky are something magical and something all of us should experience once in our lifetime. Although you can see these lights in many areas in the Northern Hemisphere, in this article, we will give you our list of the best places to see the Northern Lights.

  1. Canada

Although you may spot them in most parts of Canada, the northern part of Canada, which falls into the Aurora Zone, is the best place to see them. Growing up in Saskatchewan you are fortunate to see them every year and they were always more visible the further north you went.

If you plan to visit Canada and are desperate to see them, then the first thing you have to remember is get away from the bright city lights and the light population because this will harm you from seeing anything. What you want to do is get out into the dark and out in the country. If you are fortunate enough to go to a lake in Canada then this is perfect as you can lay out by the water or on the boat up at the sky and be memorized.

If you go to the Northwest Territories or Yukon then this would be your best bet to see them in full action. Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories is known as the “Aurora Capital of North America” and visitors to this area have over a 95 percent chance to seeing the Northern Lights.

If you want to book a nice luxury adventure in the wilderness, see these lights, and experience northern Canada. You can book your accommodation at a fly-in eco-lodge at Blachford Lake Lodge, where you can sit in the hot tub outside while looking up and viewing these lights.

  1. Norway

As Norway is nestled around the Arctic Circle, it is not surprising that this country made this list and is one of the best places with the perfect conditions to view aurora and the Northern Lights.

The world’s most northernmost year-round settlement, Svalbard is in a state of darkness between November to February and with its location is a perfect place to see the lights.

One of the best places on earth to see the Northern Lights is in the city of Tromso, Norway, which is right in the middle in the aurora zone in the Norwegian Arctic. If you are here in winter, you can do some dogsledding and snowmobiling.

If you are looking for a unique experience, we recommend you go to the Arctic Hideaway (in Norwegian Fordypningsrommet), which is a small tiny island about an hour by boat west of Bodø. This place consists of twelve unique detached houses or cabins. It is a place unlike anything you will have seen or experienced before with its extreme and rugged landscape.

  1. Sweden

Like Norway’s location, Sweden is also in a perfect place to see the Northern Lights. The Swedish Lapland is arguably the best place to see them in the country and the great thing is, there are many other activities like snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and dog sledding to keep you entertained.

One of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Sweden is at the Abisko Mountain Station in Abisko National Park. This is the country’s most northernmost city and a great place to stay and view the lights. A good place to stay is the Ice Hotel, which is located in the village Jukkasjärvi that is nearby.

Another great place to stay and see the lights is at the Treehotel, which is made up of six modern cabin tree houses perched in the pines that gives you a panoramic view of the lights from their one room called the 7th Room.

  1. Iceland

The city of Reykjavik in the country of Iceland is an excellent place to see the Northern Lights. For being such a big city, you can even see the lights in the middle of the city. However, the best place outside of Reykjavik is a few miles outside the city centre in the Oskjuhlid forest where you will be all alone with nature and the huge sky with all their colors going crazy and they dance in the sky.

If you want to book an adventurous trip and have an amazing time, go to the Hotel Ranga, which is about 90 minutes outside of Reykjavik. This hotel has the backdrop of glaciers, mountains and volcanoes, but what makes it special is the retractable roof for nightly Northern Lights viewing.

  1. Finland

The Finnish Lapland in the northern part of the country is arguably the best place to view the Northern Lights. The city of Kilpisjarvi has an excellent place to stay called the Kakslauttanen Holiday Village, which is a glass igloo and is located about 80 km from the Russian border.

If you are on a budget, another great place to stay is the 7 Fells Hostel, which is very affordable and the town turns off the town’s lights every night, so you are able to see the lights to their maximum.

  1. Alaska

Fairbanks, Alaska is in the ‘aurura oval’ and is an amazing place to see the Northern Lights. One things that makes Alaska different from the other countries is that there are cruises that specialize in the Alaska cruises where you will be able to see the Northern Lights and the best time to view them are between December to March.

What an amazing experience, being on a cruise ship, going outside on a clear night, and viewing this magical natural phenomenon in the sky. One of the best Alaska cruises is with Cunard on the Queen Elizabeth. With this cruise being so popular, Cunard is going to start doing these cruises in Norway as well.