Witnessing the northern lights is a transformational bucket-list experience that many people wait years, if not a lifetime. To see the Aurora Borealis, the conditions must be ideal for this spectacular display to occur.
Named for the Roman goddess of dawn, the aurora is a captivating display of light in the night sky. The aurora borealis and aurora australis, also called the northern lights and southern lights, occur at the northern and southern poles.
Thanks to longer hours of darkness and clear night skies in the winters, December through March is usually the best time to observe this elusive natural phenomenon.
If you do want to fulfil this dream and also witness beautiful places all alon, here is a list of 7 of the best places to see the Aurora.
The city, located in the heart of the aurora zone in the Norwegian Arctic, is widely regarded as one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. It is easily accessible from the United Kingdom, with a direct flight from London taking only 3.5 hours.
Tromso is a popular destination year after year, with excellent aurora viewing from September to April. The city itself is a lively affair, with more pubs and bars per capita than anywhere else in Norway.
Glenlivet and Tomintoul, Cairngorms National Park
The Glenlivet and Tomintoul area in the northern reaches of the Cairngorms National Park was awarded International Dark Skies status in 2018. Not only is the area also one of only 63 Dark Sky Parks across the globe, it’s the most northerly one on the entire planet.
This is a clear indication of how ideal this location is for the best viewing experience of the Aurora Borealis.
Of course, most of the Cairngorms offer skies dark enough to catch the aurora, although many locations will have their skies obscured by hills.
There aren’t many places that will make you feel more disconnected from the modern world than this one. It’s remote, wild, and beautiful. When combined with a colourful blanket of solar wind and magnetic interference, the Northern Lights in Canada may be the most spectacular natural experience imaginable.
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You can also see the show of lights as early as late-August, running through the winter months until early spring.
Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland
Rovaniemi, located north of the Arctic Circle, is the epitome of snow-covered wilderness. By day, go husky dog sledding, ice fishing, or go on a snowmobile safari, leading up to the unforgettable evening i.e Northern Lights in Lapland.
With a similarly Scandinavian peak viewing season of September to April, you can plan a trip to Rovaniemi at your leisure.
Best of all, it’s the home of Santa, making it the ideal place to take the kids for a Christmas to remember.
Greenland’s third largest city has a population of only 5,000 people, demonstrating how sparse the region truly is. Ilulissat, located on the western coast, offers the opportunity to exchange people, noise, and disturbance for pure nature.
Because of the lack of rain and low levels of wind, viewing the Northern Lights in Greenland is very accessible, resulting in stable, enjoyable conditions.
Furthermore, Ilulissat is conveniently located in the heart of Greenland’s aurora belt, which adds to its dependability. The best time to visit this region is between September and April, and additional daytime activities such as dog sledding and Arctic caving round out the experience.
Many visitors still prefer to visit Iceland’s capital . With geothermal pools, volcano tours, and world-class culture, you could be forgiven for overlooking the Northern Lights entirely. However, we strongly advise against it because the display is astonishingly frequent.
The best months to see the Aurora Borealis are between September to April. For an uninterrupted viewing experience, venture out to Hofdabrekka, near Vik in southern Iceland, and enjoy the show in mesmerising isolation.
Arriving at the zenith of the Swedish wilderness is richly rewarding, for Kiruna provides a quality aurora show without the tourists. Populated by just 18,000 people, a journey into the Arctic is like a journey to the unknown. Or stay in Jukkasjärvi, a place with fewer than 600 inhabitants.
You can catch the lights between October and March here, although it’s not uncommon for a display a little earlier and later during periods of extended clear weather.
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