Discover the Top Places to See the Northern Lights!

Discover the Top Places to See the Northern Lights!


The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are one of nature’s most mesmerizing phenomena, captivating observers with their shimmering curtains of light dancing across the night sky. From remote Arctic wildernesses to picturesque Scandinavian villages, there are several destinations around the world where you can witness this awe-inspiring spectacle. Let’s embark on a journey to discover the best places to see the Northern Lights and experience the magic of the auroras.

Fairbanks, Alaska

Fairbanks is by far one of the best spots in the globe to see the northern lights, as it lies just beneath the aurora oval. This ring-shaped zone surrounds the Earth’s geomagnetic North Pole and is typically linked with the most brilliant aurora sightings. Visitors can expect to view the lights on four out of five clear evenings during the aurora season, which runs from late August to late April.

Discover the Top Places to See the Northern Lights!

You may schedule a northern lights tour to view the aurora from the springs and spas at Chena Hot Springs Resort. This excursion includes round-trip transportation from town to the resort, a dip in the hot springs, a visit to the Fairbanks Aurora Ice Museum, and an aurora viewing tour; dinner and drinks featuring Alaska produce are available for an additional fee, with hot drinks provided.

Fairbanks has more to offer than just the northern lights. If you visit in late summer, try family-friendly activities such as a ride on the Riverboat Discovery or gold panning. For a spectacular holiday experience in the winter, travel around 15 miles from Fairbanks to the Santa Claus House in the city of North Pole. In February and March, visitors can see ice sculptures at the stunning World Ice Art Championships, as well as go dog sledding or snowmobiling.

Where to stay: For the best odds of seeing the aurora, reserve a private igloo at Borealis Basecamp, a top glamping resort nestled on 100 secluded acres of arctic woodland approximately 25 miles from Fairbanks. With activities such as dog sledding in addition to aurora watching, previous guests consistently characterize it as a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Tromsø, Norway

Tromsø, located 220 miles above the Arctic Circle, is one of Norway’s finest sites for viewing the northern lights. At the darkest point of the aurora season, which lasts from September to early April, the sun does not rise in this northern region of the country, however there is twilight during the day. With this level of darkness, the aurora is more visible.

Tromsø is a vibrant city with many attractions, notably the stunning Arctic Cathedral. From late January to early February, the city hosts the Northern Lights Festival, a 10-day music and performing arts event encompassing a wide range of musical genres.

Aurora chasers can see the lights on their own while in town, but to obtain a better view, head away from the city lights. Arctic Circle Tours is one organization that offers guided trips in small groups for a more personalized experience. Alternatively, adventurers can go on an adventurous husky trekking journey into the Arctic wilderness.

Where to stay: For lodgings with harbor views, go no further than the Scandic Ishavshotel, which guests enjoy for its accessible central location and plus-sized breakfast buffet with plenty of options.

Luosto and Rovaniemi (Lapland, Finland)

Discover the Top Places to See the Northern Lights!

Lapland is located in Finland’s northernmost region, within the Arctic Circle. The northern lights are best visible here between the end of August and April, about 200 times per year, so there are plenty of opportunities for aurora spotting. Finnish Lapland is also home to the Sámi people (the only recognized Indigenous group in the European Union), over 200,000 reindeer, and Santa Claus, who may be visited in Rovaniemi, the region’s largest city and an excellent base for your aurora excursion.

Consider traveling approximately 70 miles north of Rovaniemi to the resort town of Luosto, nestled in the scenic and hilly environment of Pyhä-Luosto National Park. You can also spend a romantic evening outdoors under starry skies on a reindeer-drawn sleigh ride through the snowy forests. Once a week, Jaakkola Reindeer Farm offers a reindeer sleigh excursion to see the aurora, which includes a break to warm up at a bonfire camp with refreshments, hot beverages, and local fireside legends.

Where to stay: At Santa’s Hotel Aurora & Igloos in Luosto, you can enjoy the spectacular light show from a glass igloo. Previous guests praised the pleasant ambiance here, which is enhanced by amenities such as saunas and log fireplaces. If you’re staying in Rovaniemi, the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is an excellent choice, with stylish cottages nestled among the snow-covered taiga forest.

Orkney, Scotland

This collection of beautiful (and mostly desolate) islands, lying about 10 miles off Scotland’s isolated northern coast, is one of the greatest sites in the United Kingdom to observe the northern lights. The aurora, also known in local Shetland dialect as the “Mirrie Dancers,” is best seen in the fall and winter, with the latter having the highest proportion of clear evenings. The stunning light show can be seen along the shore in Birsay or at the Broch of Gurness, an archaeological ruin on a broad and beautiful coastline.

In addition to the aurora, Orkney boasts stunning coastline vistas and an abundance of sheep. Travelers can also explore the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with 5,000-year-old monuments.

Where to stay: During your vacation, plan to stay in Kirkwall, the historic capital of the Orkney Islands. The unpretentious Ayre Hotel has harbor views, and previous guests have praised the hearty meals in the hotel restaurant. See the aurora close to town at Inganess Bay and Wideford Hill.

Yellowknife, Canada

Discover the Top Places to See the Northern Lights!

Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories, describes itself as the “Aurora Capital of the World.” Because of its location in the center of the auroral oval, the city produces one of the world’s most spectacular light displays. The best time to watch the aurora is from mid-November to the beginning of April, but the lights can also be seen in more friendly weather from late summer to early fall, as they are visible up to 240 days a year.

Yellowknife, located on the northern side of Great Slave Lake, is known for its winter sports such as ice fishing and cross country skiing. If you travel in March, make plans to join the month-long Snowkings’ Winter Festival, which includes a snow-carving competition, a snow castle, live music, and more.

For a one-of-a-kind experience, arrange a tour of Aurora Village to see the lights. The property will pick you up from your hotel and transport you to their location, where you may stay comfortable in a tent while enjoying hot beverages. Aurora Village, which is owned by Aboriginal people, also offers activities like dog sledding and snowshoeing excursions.

Where to stay: The Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife offers a fireplace lounge. Previous visitors have praised the staff’s warmth and helpfulness.

Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

The best time to enjoy the lit skies in the northern section of Sweden, known as Swedish Lapland, is between early September and late March. Jukkasjärvi, a small Swedish settlement on the Torne River about 125 miles above the Arctic Circle, is an excellent location for seeing the aurora. To reach here, you’ll fly into the adjacent Kiruna Airport. The village’s beginnings date back to the 17th century, and some of the original homesteads remain, including an old timber cottage. Today, the village has 800 residents and around 1,000 dogs.

Where to stay: For a frigid overnight excursion, book a room in the world’s first permanent ice hotel, the aptly titled Icehotel 365. Each of its artist-designed suites is made from ice with a distinct theme and keeps temperatures at minus 5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit). The rooms also have beds made of reindeer hides and thermal sleeping bags, allowing you to stay warm at night. While on the property, take advantage of the guided “Northern Lights Safari on Snowmobile” or the “Moose Safari on Horseback” atop an Icelandic horse.

Reykjavík, Iceland

Discover the Top Places to See the Northern Lights!

The greatest months to see the aurora borealis in Iceland are October through March. There are various natural parks and sites throughout the country where you may watch the show over the long and dark winter, but the capital city of Reykjavik also has many alternatives for lodging, restaurants, excursions, and other activities. Öskjuhlið offers the best aurora viewing in the city, free of light pollution. This wooded and mountainous region in Reykjavik is 200 feet above sea level and features pathways and paths where you can see the nocturnal show.

Perlan, located atop this hill, features the country’s only planetarium as well as a museum with Iceland-themed displays. Perlan is also home to the world’s first indoor ice cave and glacier exploration facility. Do not miss the sweeping views of the city from the building’s fourth-floor observation deck. From this vantage point, you can see the Snaefellsjökull glacier, Keilir, a volcanic peak, and Esja, the Reykjavik mountain.

Where to stay: While in Reykjavik, book an overnight tour with Buubble Tours. This adventure includes stunning sightseeing and a night spent in a translucent bubble at the 5 Million Star Hotel beneath the magical northern skies. For longer stays, choose the eco-friendly Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel, which has sweeping city views and a warm yet trendy Scandinavian design that visitors adore.

Southern Iceland

While Reykjavik is an excellent aurora-viewing location if you want convenience, consider venturing out into Iceland’s breathtaking, surreal countryside for a one-of-a-kind background to the northern lights. The black sand beach at Reynisfjara is a unique site to witness them (but keep an eye out for dangerous waves). Alternatively, visit Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon and seal habitat where the aurora’s reflections in the freezing water are particularly breathtaking.

There are numerous trips that will visit these and other areas in search of auroras. Consider a 10- or 13-day tour of the nation with Fun Travel, or a four-day trip with Arctic Adventures. If you prefer to accomplish things on your own, you can self-drive; however, keep in mind that road conditions can be icy, especially during the winter.

Where to stay: Hotel Rangá is an excellent choice for aurora gazing. It provides a number of unique amenities, including aurora wake-up calls, a lookout deck, and snowsuits to keep you warm if you’re outside watching the lights. Rangá has received high appreciation from previous visitors for being a pleasant yet luxurious location to relax, whether in the outdoor hot tubs or the warm and lively bar.

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

Discover the Top Places to See the Northern Lights!

Greenland may not be the most accessible destination for viewing the northern lights, with few flying options (mainly via Iceland), but those that make it here will be glad they did. From September to early April, the tundra of Kalaallit Nunaat, as the nation is known in Greenlandic, is one of the best sites on the planet to watch the aurora.

For the more daring aurora seekers, travel to the summit of the Greenland Ice Cap for breathtaking views of the lights. This spectacular glacier covers 80% of the country and is accessible through the small town of Kangerlussuaq. The town, frequently described as a gateway to Greenland, is located on a fjord directly beside the Arctic Circle. It was a former US Air Force facility and now houses Greenland’s primary airport. The area is recognized for having clear skies on approximately 300 nights each year, thus the odds of seeing something are quite high here.

Guide to Greenland provides a variety of experiences, ranging from two-hour aurora viewing trips to a challenging but rewarding multi-night dog-sledding trek across the ice. For a less demanding trip, businesses such as Nordic Saga Tours provide cruises through the Arctic regions surrounding Kangerlussuaq.


The Northern Lights are a natural wonder that continue to captivate and inspire observers around the world. Whether you’re exploring the remote wildernesses of Scandinavia, the rugged landscapes of Alaska, or the pristine beauty of Iceland, there are several destinations where you can witness the magic of the auroras in all their splendor. So pack your bags, bundle up, and embark on a journey to discover the best places to see the Northern Lights, and experience the wonder of nature’s light show firsthand.

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