Which Country Is Best To See The Northern Lights – The aurora borealis is a naturally occurring phenomenon that will captivate you with its magic. The Vikings believed that the glittering auroras were a reflection of the shining shields and armor of the gods. Who could blame them? This dazzling spectacle truly looks out of this world!
Of course, we know through science that the auroras are not due to witchcraft. To capture them, you need 3 key factors to align at the same time: dark skies, solar activity, and clear weather. You also need to know when and where to see the Northern Lights to have the best chance of seeing them on a Northern Lights tour.
Which Country Is Best To See The Northern Lights
If aurora viewing is on your bucket list, read on to discover the best times and places to see the aurora borealis.
Northern Lights Viewing Tips
Unfortunately, the Northern Lights do not appear on demand. You can only see the Northern Lights at certain times of the year when the conditions are right. This is why you need to plan your aurora trip in advance to have the best chance of catching them.
Since dark skies are one of the key factors for seeing the aurora borealis, the best time of day to look for them is at night. The darker the sky, the easier it is to make out the colors of the aurora dancing above you.
That is why evening tours for the aurora borealis are held. In addition, many hotels offer an aurora wake-up service if the lights come on in the middle of the night.
You are more likely to see the Northern Lights in winter, between October and April. This is because the night sky is darker in winter and there is less daylight. You need darkness to make out the colors of the aurora borealis, as they are harder to see in daylight.
Of The Best Places To See The Northern Lights In Sunset Country
Winter in Northern Europe brings long, dark nights, especially between December and February. In fact, in some areas in the far north, the sun does not rise at all – a phenomenon called the “polar night”. The more hours of darkness, the more likely you are to see the aurora borealis.
Winter in the Nordic countries is a magical time of year for many other reasons. In addition to having the opportunity to hunt for lights, you can also enjoy snow activities such as dog sledding or snowmobiling. You can even stay in a Nordic ice hotel!
In Iceland, you can walk through natural ice caves or see dramatic landscapes shimmering with frost. In addition, winter is a quieter travel season compared to summer, so you can see fewer people visiting the main attractions from October to April.
You can see the Northern Lights every year. Basically, there is no “best year” to hunt them.
Where To See The Northern Lights In 2024
Some believe that certain periods of the 11-year solar cycle provide a better chance of seeing the aurora borealis light up the sky. When the sun experiences its solar maximum, it means that solar activity is high and more charged particles are released. The last time this happened was in 2014.
This means that geomagnetic storms can occur at any time, so you can still see the aurora borealis during the solar minimum phase. The auroras are unpredictable, so even if you look for them during solar maximum, sightings are not guaranteed.
The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon that you can witness in far northern latitudes. You can only see the Northern Lights in the Northern Hemisphere, while the aurora australis is visible in the Southern Hemisphere.
Since solar activity is strongest closer to the North Pole, you should head to the Arctic Circle to increase your chances of seeing the aurora borealis.
Ultimate Scandinavia Guide: The Best Times & Places To Visit
The best places to see the Northern Lights are the Nordic countries of Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland, which lie on or near the Arctic Circle. You can also look for them in Russia, Alaska, and the Northwest Territories of Canada.
Why are Nordic destinations ideal for viewing the Northern Lights? Because they are located in the “Aurora Zone”.
The “Aurora Zone” (or “Northern Lights Belt”) is an oval of latitude between 65-72°N. This zone is where the greatest frequency and intensity of auroras occur, so your best bet is to visit this area for aurora tours.
Iceland and the northern regions of Norway, Sweden and Finland are located in the aurora zone. However, occasionally the belt extends further south when geomagnetic activity is strong. This means you might even see the northern lights from Scotland if you’re really lucky!
Northern Lights Could Be Visible In Mn Monday Night
Good to know: While aurora sightings are possible in the UK and Ireland, they are too rare for dedicated aurora hunting missions. We recommend being much closer to the Arctic Circle, or even inside, in one of the recommended locations below!
Visit Iceland in winter and see the colorful aurora borealis flicker over the breathtaking scenery. This beautiful country is located at 65° north latitude, which means it lies in the northern lights belt.
Not only is Iceland’s location ideal for seeing the aurora borealis, but so is its wide open landscape. With little light pollution, Iceland’s dark skies make aurora viewing more vivid. So although you could actually see them from Reykjavík, we recommend going out of town for a special tour.
The best places to see the Northern Lights in Iceland include the remote Westfjords, northern Iceland and the black sand beaches around Vík. Besides seeing the Northern Lights, there are many other exciting things to do in Iceland in winter. Think ice caves, swimming in hot springs and much more!
Best Places To See The Northern Lights In The U.s. And Beyond
Norway is another stunning Nordic country where you can see the Northern Lights in winter. Northern Norway in particular is a prime area for aurora viewing. Head to this remote piece of land north of the Arctic Circle and look for the lights dancing in the sky above.
Because of the size of the country, it’s a good idea to know exactly where to go on a Northern Lights tour in Norway. You can travel to Tromsø – the “Gateway to the Arctic” and the “Paris of the North”. Head out into nature on an aurora safari or take a cruise to see a magical light show from the sea.
Tromsø is one of the places where you can experience a polar night in the dead of winter, when the sun doesn’t rise for weeks. That means more hours of darkness and more time to see the aurora borealis!
The aurora night also occurs in Svalbard, Kirkenes, Lofoten and Nordkapp (Northern Cape) – all fantastic aurora hunting locations. What’s more, these destinations offer you a variety of winter activities. From ice fishing to staying in snow hotels, there are so many great things to do in winter in Norway.
Best Time And Place To See The Northern Lights In Finland
Similar to Norway, the northern parts of Sweden and Finland are located in the Arctic Circle and Northern Lights belt, making them prime aurora viewing areas. This area is called Lapland and it stretches across Sweden and Finland.
Visit Sweden’s or Finland’s Lapland for aurora tours and you’ll have a good chance of seeing the aurora lights up the sky. Lapland has everything you need: low light pollution, dark winter skies and solar activity. When all these conditions come together, the Northern Lights will put on a spectacular show for you!
Some of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Lapland are Rovaniemi and Kemi (Finland) and Abisko National Park near Kiruna (Sweden). If you visit the Aurora Sky Station, you’ll be able to enjoy gourmet food and an aurora display before taking a guided tour.
There are some really exciting ways to go on an aurora safari in Lapland to look for the lights. Try snowmobiling, dog sledding or snowshoeing at night. And even if you don’t see the Northern Lights, these activities are just some of the incredible experiences you can have in Lapland in winter.
The 7 Best Places To See The Northern Lights And Southern Lights
When you’re ready to turn your aurora borealis dreams into reality, Nordic Visitor can help. Our winter travel experts have witnessed the Northern Lights firsthand and will use their insider knowledge to design your vacation package.
So whether you get to see the Northern Lights or not, expect a winter holiday in the Nordic countries full of exciting experiences and unforgettable memories. Get in touch with us to start planning your trip.
Wanderlust took Emma across much of the world, but it was Scotland that made her adopted home. As well as enjoying country walks, motorhome weekends and gigs in Glasgow, you can often find her writing about European travel and planning her next trip.
We’d love to give you the same amazing travel experiences you read about on our blog! If you want to visit the destinations and attractions featured in this post – and discover a few new attractions along the way – check out these recommended trips for Nordic visitors.
Contemplate The Northern Lights In Norway
The Best Times and Places to See the Northern Lights in Iceland Blogs, Nordic, Iceland, Northern Lights, Scandinavia, Lapland, Sweden, Norway, Svalbard, Finland, Guides
The Best Time and Place to See the Northern Lights in Norway Blogs, Nordic, Iceland, Northern Lights, Scandinavia, Lapland, Sweden, Norway, Svalbard, Finland, Guides
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