Best Places to See the Northern Lights

From September to April you can watch the Northern Lights in Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Greenland.


Where to see the Nordic Northern Lights 

The further you travel in the Nordic countries to the Lapland region of Finland, Sweden and Norway, the better the chances of watching the Northern Lights. Also, Iceland and Greenland are popular destinations close to the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees north latitude.

The official Aurora season is from September until April, but like with so many other things with nature, it's not something you can say with any certainty. The ideal conditions to see are when it's cold and dark outside, and the Northern Lights' activity is high. The sky has to be clear, usually on cold nights.

See more: The Ultimative Northern Light Guide


 

Best places to watch the Northern Lights

Norway (September - April)

Tromsø

Narvik

Kirkenes

Alta

North Cape

Lofoten

Bodø

See more: About Northern Lights in Norway 


Finland (September - March)

Rovaniemi

See more: About Northern Lights in Finland




Sweden (September - March)

Kiruna

Jukkasjärvi

Jokkmokk

Purjus

Abisko National Park

See more: About Northern Lights in Sweden

 

Iceland (September - April)

All Iceland, but best in the countryside

 


Greenland (September - March)

Kangerlussuaq, Sisimut, Ilulissat, Nuuk




When to experience the Northern Lights

Though it is theoretically to see the Northern Lights year-round, it's much easier to see in the dark winter months. 

The best time to watch the Northern Lights is from September to March, although their appearance is unpredictable. The days around the full moon are not conducive to viewing the Northern Lights because it gets too light.

Sometimes, the lights only flare up for a brief moment; at other times, a fortunate watcher may enjoy the spectacle for several hours. The best time to catch the Northern Lights is just before midnight, but this remains a matter of luck, and no reliable forecasts can give.  


Other activities

Here are some tips about what to do in the daytime. The Northern lights are visible only during the hours of darkness, so the local operators offer many activities such as dog-sledging, snowmobiling, whale tours, skiing and snowshoeing.


What is the Northern Light

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are Earth's most stunning natural displays. This natural phenomenon can be seen across the Arctic Circle from early autumn to early spring. If you discover the Northern Lights, you must be patient, and a celestial light show is not a promise, but it's worth the wait.

The magical dancing curtain of colour seen on some cloudless nights will cause when solar flares to enter our atmosphere, and chances are increasing by low light pollution and a more extended stay. 

In the northern part of the Nordic region, you find the best places in the world to watch the Northern Lights. The Lights dance across the sky in marvellous colours. Seeing the Northern Lights is almost impossible to describe, and it is one of the fantastic nordic natural highlight experiences.


5 facts about the Northern Lights

  1. The Northern Lights are particles hurled into space after storms on the sun's surface. They are attracted by the magnetic Poles south and north of the Earth

  2. The best places to see the Northern Lights are above the arctic circle, making the Northern part of the Nordic countries ideal for watching the Northern Lights

  3. The Northern Lights are most visible between November and March when the sky is dark and bright and also depending on the Northern Lights' activity

  4. The best places to spot the Northern Lights are away from the lights of the city centres where the nights are darker

  5. The best time is from 6 pm to 2 am. The Lights can be visible for some minutes or more hours


Why  is it called Aurora Borealis

The name "Aurora Borealis" was given by the French philosopher" Pierre Gassendi" in 1621. The inspiration comes in two parts: " Aurora" is a Roman goddess of dawn, and" Borea" is an ancient Greek name for the north wind. This means that Aurora Borealis means" the dawn of the north".



How is it possible to watch the Northern Lights

The Northern lights are visible from the far north of the Nordic countries, Alaska and northern parts of Canada.

But what are the Northern Lights? The Northern Lights result from interactions between charged particles from the sun and air atoms high in the atmosphere. The air lights up when large numbers of electrically charged particles with a high-speed stream towards the Earth along its magnetic field collide with the highest air particles.

Most Northern Lights occur between 90 and 130 km above sea level, but some extend to several hundred kilometres. Therefore it is possible to watch it at horizontal distances of several hundred kilometres.

It is possible to watch this natural phenomenon in Nordic countries because the strength of the Earth's magnetic field is more muscular near the poles. The lights are generally green, but they can be many other colours and move or shimmer.



Why the different colours

The colour of the Northern lights depends on which gas (oxygen or nitrogen) is excited by the electrons. Nitrogen gives a blue light, and oxygen emits either a greenish-yellow light. The blending of these colours can also produce purples, pinks and white. There is also ultraviolet light that only can be seen by a special camera and not by the human eye.

Northern Light tours in Tromsø

Northern Lights Sailing
Star Walk – a night snowshoeing tour
Aurora Safari Base Stations
Northern Lights cruise
All Inclusive Northern Lights trip
Northern lights chase to Aurora camps
Arctic Northern Lights Tour
Reindeer Sledding and Northern Lights
Aurora Safari Minibus
The Wonders of Northern Norway
Northern Lights tour with dog sledge
Arctic Sail Safari