There really are some amazing places to see the Northern Lights. In order to see the spectacular sight of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, there are three conditions that have to be exactly right: dark, clear skies, an active sun, and being in one of the oval areas above the magnetic North Pole, known as an “auroral zone.” Thankfully, plenty of places fall into these auroral zones, so if you are there when the weather conditions are right, there is a good chance that you will be able to see the amazing sight. Here are some of the places to see the Northern Lights that appear on many bucket lists.
One of the best places to see the Northern Lights is in Tromsø in Norway. Not only is it located within the Arctic Circle, but it is also in darkness for nine months of the year, making the chances of seeing the Northern Lights far greater than in some locations. In fact, sometimes they can even be seen in the afternoon, meaning that you may not have to wait up all night to see them.
Kangerlussuaq in Greenland is one of the perfect places to view the Northern Lights for those who want to experience the wildness and adventure of the Arctic Circle. With the only mode of transport being dog sled and the accommodation being limited to rustic cottages, it is ideal for your inner explorer. There is no guarantee when you enter an auroral zone that you will see the Northern Lights, but with them being visible on average of 300 nights per year in Kangerlussuaq, there is a very good chance that a short stay will allow you to see them.
Denali in Alaska is a great location to see the Northern Lights whether you are into adventuring or not. Denali is just outside the Arctic Circle and certainly feels far more civilized than some Northern Lights locations. However, it is far enough away from densely populated areas that there is little light pollution, making the Northern Lights particularly spectacular here.
One of Canada’s prime Northern Lights viewing locations is Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories (NWT). Although they can be seen at many sites in the NWT, what makes Yellowknife so special is its uninterrupted views, thanks to the lack of mountains in the area, plus the long, dark days.
You will definitely have to pack your thermals if you go to Murmansk in Russia to see the Northern Lights but that is a small price to pay for the days-long light shows. February and March, and September and October are the best months for seeing the lights, and the town is definitely one of the best destinations to see the Northern Lights in the world.
6. Oulanka National Park
Finland extends up into the Arctic Circle, and the Oulanka National Park, which is located just outside the circle, is another of the great places to see the Northern Lights in Scandinavia. The national park also boasts a whole range of outdoor activities and well-equipped accommodation, so there is plenty to do while you wait for the stunning lights to appear.
7. Abisko National Park
Abisko National Park is in the north of Sweden in Swedish Lapland. Not only is it one of the best places in the world to view the Northern Lights, it also allows you to do it in style. From the Abisko Mountain Station, there is a breath-taking 20-minute chairlift up to the Aurora Sky Station on the peak of the highest mountain in the region. Here you can sample warming local delicacies and hot wine while you take in the awesome view of Mother Nature’s spectacular light show.
8. Shetland Islands
The further north you go, the more likely you are to see the Northern Lights. Because of this the Shetland Islands in Scotland are the most common place to see the Northern Lights in the UK. They are on the same latitude as St Petersburg in Russia, but are much more accessible for tourists.
Some of these places to see the Northern Lights don’t offer much else (Murmansk) while others turn it into a real experience (Abisko). Wherever you choose to view the Aurora Borealis, it is bound to be a memorable trip as Mother Nature certainly knows how to wow. Have you seen the Northern Lights?