So, do you want to see the Northern Lights? But where’s the best place to find them?
It’s a phenomenon that has existed for much longer than anyone currently alive, but the Northern Lights have only recently rocketed to the top of many people’s bucket lists. As some of the best places to see the lights have become more affordable to visit, and the idea of taking a winter trip (other than for skiing) is starting to be more popular too, the aurora borealis, to give it its scientific name, is a sight many people don’t want to miss. It’s spectacular to watch, with its dancing greens, purples and sometimes reds dancing across the sky. Native populations within the Arctic Circle, from the Nordic Sami to the Cree Indians all have their myths and legends about the Lights, and the truth is that we’re still not certain what causes them.
Wherever the lights come from, there are some incredible places for you to go to if you want to see them. If you’re ready to plan an epic winter trip, the dark and clear nights are best for seeing the Northern Lights, no matter where you choose. Check out these five epic locations that will give you a great chance of seeing the Lights, and will ensure you have an amazing time, even if you don’t spot them.
Finland can sometimes be overlooked as a destination for seeing the Northern Lights, ignored in favour of other Nordic locations, such as Norway, Sweden or Iceland. But Finland offers some awesome locations for spotting the Northern Lights – and it’s more affordable than other destinations too. In fact, Finnish Lapland has everything you can expect to find in a Northern Lights getaway. Finland has up to 200 nights a year when you could have a chance of spotting the Lights, and there are a number of incredible destinations within Finland that you can choose. Top locations include Salla, supposedly the birthplace of skiing, Kilpisjarvi and Inari.
When you’re not looking for the Northern Lights in Finland, you can spend time snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing, or maybe going on a reindeer safari. There are opportunities to get active, or maybe to just relax with a hot drink or some time in the sauna. Finland offers you some of the more obscure destinations to visit, so you can avoid the crowds.
Want to visit other places in Finland? Why not Porvoo? See more: 47 Reasons Why You Should Visit Porvoo
If you’re looking for an unusual destination to go hunting for the Northern Lights, Greenland is one that doesn’t tend to be high on a lot of people’s lists – but it should be. It might seem far to go, and there aren’t many people who live there, but that’s what makes it an unforgettable place to visit. You can guarantee you won’t be struggling through crowds of tourists in Greenland, a large island and Danish territory, which is ideally positioned to see the Northern Lights.
If you choose Greenland as your aurora destination, you can expect to see not just the Lights, but some dramatic landscapes that are sure to leave an everlasting impression on you too. The town of Ilulissat draws in people with its ice fjord, one of the most active and fastest glaciers in the world that is sure to inspire awe within you. There are huge amounts of native wildlife to see too, making it an incredible place for a winter safari.
If there’s one thing that stands out to many people when they look at Sweden as a Northern Lights destination, it’s the choice of accommodation. Staying in an ordinary hotel or a cosy cabin are both fine options, but the chance to be somewhere like the famous ICEHOTEL or Treehotel. These places make any trip to the frozen north of Sweden unforgettable, and adding a Northern Lights hunting experience just makes it extra special. You can even visit the ICEHOTEL without staying there. When you’re ready to go on your Northern Lights trip, the captivating scenery is sure to provide the perfect backdrop. Of course, there are plenty of other activities to get up to as well, from dog sledding to learning about the local Sami culture.
The vast country of Canada is known to be one of the friendliest and most welcoming places in the world. And it’s not just the people who you will find to be memorable. This huge country, the second largest in the world, is teeming with wildlife, jaw-dropping landscapes, and plenty of opportunities to see the Northern Lights. You might want to combine your Northern Lights hunting trip with a visit to one of Canada’s friendly cities, but away from light pollution in the Yukon is one of the best places to go to see The Lights. You’ll get a real winter experience in northern Canada, where the nights are short, and the temperatures are freezing. Apart from looking out for the dazzling Northern Lights, you have the chance to spot grizzly bears, black bears, caribou and moose during your time in Canada. Thousands of miles of unspoilt wilderness can’t be missed.
Iceland is currently one of the most popular destinations for Northern Lights hunting (partly thanks to Game of Thrones) and with good reason. This relatively small country makes it easy to explore everything from the captivating wilderness to the local music scene within the same day. The country is sparsely populated, but its towns and cities are brimming with culture. You can stay in the capital of Reykjavik or perhaps in the Northeastern town of Akureyri and get picked up from your hotel or guesthouse for your trip to see the Lights. Of course, there are more remote locations too, if you want to get away from it all. Iceland’s landscape is famous for its volcanoes and waterfalls, as well as glaciers. You can try activities such as ice climbing, jeep excursions, and glacier hikes. On your way to or from the airport, why not stop off at the Blue Lagoon for a relaxing soak too?
Prefer to visit Iceland in the Summer? Check out this: 34 Reasons Why iceland is Inspiring
You have a fantastic choice of locations if you want to find the Northern Lights. Choose where you want to go based on other activities and aspects of the location, as well as your chances of seeing the Lights. If you need inspiration, why not check out The Aurora Zone?
What do you reckon? Which of the five countries above will you be visiting to see the Northern Lights? Leave your comment below!