The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are one of the most spectacular natural phenomena on our planet. The dancing lights that illuminate the night sky leave travellers awe-struck and create an experience that is truly unforgettable. While this stunning display can be seen from many locations worldwide, certain destinations offer a unique and unparalleled experience. In this article, we will explore some of the best places to witness the Northern Lights, each with its own distinct charm and beauty.
Best places to see Northern Lights
1. Tromsø, Norway
Tromsø, Norway, is known as the "Gateway to the Arctic," and offers some of the darkest and clearest skies on Earth. Naturally, this makes it one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. Visitors can see the Northern Lights in all their glory between September and April. To reach Tromsø, one can take a train or bus from Oslo, or fly directly into the city's airport. Once there, you can enjoy a Northern Lights tour, go dog-sledging or explore the Arctic Cathedral.
2. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland, the capital city of Iceland, and one of the best places to get a breathtaking view of the Northern Lights. September to April is the best time to see the Aurora Borealis in Reykjavik. Visitors can reach Reykjavik via direct flights from many European and North American cities or take a ferry from Denmark. Once in Reykjavik, you can visit the famous Blue Lagoon, take a tour of the Golden Circle or go whale watching.
3. Fairbanks, Alaska
Fairbanks, Alaska, is where you can see the Northern Lights in the United States. The best time to see the lights in Fairbanks is between September and April. You can get to Fairbanks by flying directly into the city's airport or taking a train from Anchorage. During your visit, you can visit the Aurora Ice Museum, take a dip in the Chena Hot Springs, or enjoy a dog-sledge tour.
4. Yellowknife, Canada
Located in the Northwest Territories, offers an awe-inspiring view of the Northern Lights. November to April is the best time to see the lights in Yellowknife. You can reach Yellowknife by flying directly into the city's airport or taking a train from Edmonton. While this is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights, you can also explore the Aurora Village, go ice fishing or visit the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre.
5. Abisko, Sweden
Situated in the Lapland region and boasts some of the clearest and darkest skies in Europe, easily making this one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. December to March is the best time to witness the Northern Lights in Abisko. You can take a train from Stockholm to reach this stunning location. While in Abisko, visitors can enjoy skiing, snowmobiling, or taking a reindeer sleigh ride.
6. Rovaniemi, Finland
The capital city of Lapland, offers an incredible view of the Northern Lights between September and April. Visitors can reach Rovaniemi by flying directly into the city's airport or taking a train from Helsinki. While in Rovaniemi, travellers can visit Santa Claus Village, go ice fishing, or take a tour of Ranua Wildlife Park.
Located in the Arctic Ocean, is one of the most remote and unique places to see the Northern Lights. That’s why this is where you must see the Northern Lights at least once. October to February is the best time to see the Aurora Borealis in Svalbard. Visitors can reach Longyearbyen, the largest settlement on Svalbard, by taking a flight from mainland Norway. Once there, you can take a dog sledge tour, visit the Global Seed Vault, or go on a snowmobile tour. It is essential to note that due to the extreme weather conditions and remote location, visitors to Svalbard should be well-prepared with proper clothing and equipment.
8. Kakslauttanen, Finland
Located in Lapland, this resort offers unique glass igloos, allowing guests to experience the Northern Lights from the comfort of their own beds. It’s one of the best places to see the Northern Lights without having to camp out alone. The best time to visit is between December and April, and visitors can enjoy snowshoeing, reindeer sleigh rides, or a sauna.
9. Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
Home to the world-famous Icehotel, Jukkasjärvi provides a unique and unforgettable Northern Lights experience. It’s renowned across the globe as one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. December to April is the best time to see the lights in Jukkasjärvi, and visitors can take a snowmobile tour, try their hand at ice sculpting, or visit a traditional Sami village.
10. Lofoten Islands, Norway
Located above the Arctic Circle, the Lofoten Islands provide a stunning backdrop for viewing the Northern Lights. The best time to see the lights in Lofoten is between October and March. Visitors can reach the islands by taking a flight to Leknes airport or a ferry from the mainland. While you’re at one of the best places to see the Northern Lights, also go fishing, visit picturesque fishing villages, or hike the mountains.
11. Inari, Finland
Home to the Sámi people, Inari offers a unique cultural experience. That’s why it’s one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. The best time to visit is between December and March, and visitors can go snowmobiling, ice fishing, or visit the Sámi museum.
12. Churchill, Canada
Located on the shores of Hudson Bay, Churchill is known as the "Polar Bear Capital of the World" and is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. The best time to see the lights in Churchill is between November and March. Visitors can reach Churchill by taking a train from Winnipeg or flying directly into the city's airport. While there, travellers can take a polar bear tour, go dog-sledging, or enjoy a winter wilderness adventure.
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