A spectacular sight to behold and near the top of many a bucket-list, seeing the Northern Lights is something you should do in your lifetime at least once.
So, you know you want to see them but where is the best place to see the Northern Lights?
Luckily there are a few different places that you can experience nature's greatest light show. From the Americas to destinations across Europe, there are numerous options.
To help you choose, we have listed our top 10 places to see the Northern Lights below.
The whole of Alaska is great aurora viewing territory, however Fairbanks is considered one of the best places in the world due to the central location. You can also take a shorter trip from Vancouver if you are worried about time. The Northern Lights are best viewed in winter from September through to March.
Early September to the end of April are the times of year you are most likely to see the Northern Lights in Iceland. There is the opportunity to view them anywhere in the country but the more remote locations are better. Vik, Látrabjarg, Eldborgahraun and Djúpavík are all great destinations for optimum aurora viewings opportunities.
Not as popular a location for tourists as nearby Iceland, Greenland is still in an optimum position to enjoy a spectacular light show. There are no roads here so it can be difficult to get around. The good thing about Greenland is that you don’t need to go very far to be in the middle of nowhere giving you a great aurora viewing opportunity.
The Canadian Arctic is one of the most remote regions on earth. As such, Northern Lights shine bright here without any light pollution. Yukon and Nunavut are probably the most popular viewing locations thanks to the numerous tour options. Whether its a one-day tour or multiple day camping trip, there are some amazing places to visit here.
Norway offers alternative and magical experiences when it comes to seeing the Northern Lights. Locations such as Tromso, Svalbard and The Lofoten Islands are all excellent choices. Choose from log cabins, camping or even specialist viewing accommodation. Not only can you see the lights, but you can enjoy reindeer sledding, whale watching and fjord cruises. Hurtigruten also offer special winter Northern Lights cruises.
In northern Finland you have the chance to see the lights almost every other night between September and March. There are a range of different accommodation such as the high-end glass igloos in Kakslauttanen to more budget friendly cabins and chalets. But pretty much anywhere away from the cities gives you a great chance of seeing the lights here. Prices tend to be quite high though so bare this in mind.
Most of Sweden between September and March, with the exception of the cities, will give you the chance to view the lights. However, for the best opportunity visit the area that stretches from Norway to Jokkmokk. There is also Farnebofjarden National Park which is popular destinations thanks to its location close to the capital of Stockholm. Again, Sweden can be pricy but a Northern Lights tour whilst on a city break is good way to do it.
As a large part of Russia is actually within the Arctic Circle, you have some excellent aurora viewing opportunities here. There are so many places to choose from but more tourist-friendly areas accessible from St. Petersburg include Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and Petrozavodsk. Tours are easy to come by from St Petersburg and you can choose from day (or night) trips or stay longer with overnight expeditions.
Scotland isn’t the most well -known destination for viewing the lights, however, sometimes when the weather is right there is the chance in the most northern parts of the country. Due to its location mainland Scotland can catch the aurora borealis on occasion, but the best places are Shetland and Orkney Islands.
There are many opportunities now to take Northern Lights cruises which can be found in a number of destinations. Cruise companies offer specific cruises that focus on the best spots to see the Northern Lights and you have limited light pollution in the middle of the ocean. Popular spots include northern areas of Norway, Finland and Russia.
If you have any queries or questions regarding the top10 places to the Northern Lights, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below.
Thank you and happy travels!
Expedition Cruise Team
Burnham started his career as a professional tennis player before retiring due to injury. Since then Burnham has thrown himself into adventure travel. He has cruised to some of the most iconic and obscure parts of the planet.