If there is one specific thing everyone must add to their bucket list no questions asked, it would be seeing the Northern Lights. Northern Lights aka Aurora Borealis is natural colorful light phenomena displayed in arctic regions. Colorful dust appear as magical dancing lights in the sky when particles from solar wind come into the earth’s atmosphere.
Not all places are equally good for seeing these beautiful lights, so we have recommended some places to see northern lights. You should remember three basic requirements for viewing: night time, cold weather and far from the city lights. It’s important to remember to wear warm clothes and bring hot drinks with you because the phenomena is usually seen in the winter months in the arctic when it’s cold, snowy and windy.
Hotel Kakslauttanen, Finland
This hotel situated in Finland’s Lapland is known for its beautiful glass igloos. You can see northern lights sleeping in your warm and comfortable bed through the glass roof. Kakslauttanen is one of the best Aurora Borealis sighting places in Europe with eight months of aurora season.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland
Iceland has many beautiful northern light spots where you can look for the phenomena for eight months every year, from September to mid April. However, one of the most popular places is Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Who wouldn’t like to see beautiful lights above a large glacier lake?
The farther north you go, the better chance you will get to see northern lights. One of the best places in our list is Svalbard in Norway. While Svalbard is a place of true arctic wilderness where polar bears outnumber people, there are established tours for adventurous aurora hunters. These islands located midway between Norway and the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean are the only place on the planet where you can see the aurora even in the daytime. Winter time in Svalbard is full darkness due to Polar Night and that means 24 hours of possible Aurora Borealis sightings every day! Only down side: you will not see the sun while visiting if you go during the three winter months.
Anywhere in Greenland
Northern lights aren’t monopolized by Europeans. You can see them from any (northern) arctic part of the world. Greenland is blessed with beautiful arctic nature and you can experience Aurora Borealis in every part of the country. Just keep your eyes open and find a dark part far away from city lights. The best time to go northern light hunting in Greenland is in the months between September and April.
Takhini Hot Springs, Canada
Soak in hot springs while you enjoy the beautiful northern lights. Canada knows how to spoil the Aurora Borealis tourists. Visit Takhini Hot Springs in Canada’s northern lights tourism area, Yukon. Whil you are at it, why not learn more about the science behind this natural light miracle in Watson Lake’s Northern Lights Space & Science Centre.
Þingvellir National Park, Iceland
This national park in Iceland is also UNESCO Heritage site and that should further convince you that this place will be perfect for seeing northern lights. Find a spot facing to north and situate yourself close the Þingvallavatn lake. Then you just have to wait and hope, so taking a lot of warm clothes is recommended.
Sólheimasandur Beach, Iceland
Fancy something different from the normal snow, ice and Aurora Borealis experience? Iceland may have just the right place for you to go northern light chasing. This 40 years old crashed plane in black sand beach is one of the most photographed sights in Iceland so seeing it under northern lights is like winning the lottery. The plane is located in Sólheimasandur Beach on Iceland’s south coast and it may be hard to find if you don’t know the right way. Seeing the beautiful combination of nature’s own miracle and plane abandoned by humans is worth the effort you have to go through to get there.
Inishowen (or other north cities), Ireland
Ireland is situated on the edge or Aurora Borealis zone so light chasing there is going to be a gamble, requiring luck and timing. However, the experience of seeing northern lights in Ireland is a very different one from seeing them in arctic countries with snow and ice. If you are travelling to Northern Ireland, take a peek towards the north at night. You may be lucky enough to see the dancing lights above bare wild lands and sea.
From An Airplane
The last, and perhaps most unique, way of viewing the aurora is also the hardest one to accomplish. You will need good luck, proper planning and a window seat in plane. The altitude of your flight will take you above the light pollution of the cities and give a totally different perspective if you are lucky enough to see the amazing light show of the Aurora Borealis. If you take a night flight to or from an arctic area during winter months, you may have the chance to see the beautiful light phenomena from a plane. If you don’t believe in luck but have a few extra pennies to spend, some arctic airlines rent planes to those who are desperate to see northern lights. Just keep in mind that it’s an expensive way to see nature’s own miracle that is usually free for everyone.
The Aurora Borealis is one of the world’s most awe-inspiring sights. If you have the chance to travel far enough north to see the aurora, and are lucky enough to be treated to nature’s light show, you will never forget it.