ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Five Best Places For Seeing The Northern Lights

Updated on May 5, 2013

On this page we are going to take a look at the five best places to see the Northern Lights. We will give you some simply stunning locations for viewing the Aurora Borealis and tell you a little about each one. If you have always wanted to see the Northern Lights then this list of locations should give you some ideas as to exactly where to head.

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis as they are also known are natures greatest light show. This beautiful displays light up the skies in the Northern Hemisphere all year round. The Aurora really is the stuff of legend and people travel vast distances to search out the glowing lights. The fact is though that seeing this phenomenon is not always easy, you need to be in the right place at the right time. Simply heading north is not enough as some areas see far more displays than others. So we have put together a list of the five best places to see the Northern Lights. We take into consideration the likelihood of seeing something in the sky and also the other benefits of the area. So let’s talk you though these locations.

Looking Out Over Lake Labarge

The Yukon, Canada

Often seen as the best place on earth to see the Northern Lights, the Yukon really is a wonderful location. Situated in North-West Canada the Yukon covers a vast area much of which is untamed wilderness. Possibly the best viewing spot is located around Lake Labarge. In the winter months the temperature plummets and the lake is frozen solid. The area tends to get plenty of crisp clear nights and when there is an active Aurora there are few better spots to view the lights from.

To get here you can fly into the city of Whitehorse which has a small but well used airport. From here it’s around 50km to Lake Labarge and there are various cabins you can rent out for private use. You really are in wilderness territory here so there is practically no light pollution. For the best views head out onto the lake itself and look skywards. Remember to wrap up warm though as in the winter months the temperature really does get very low.

There are other great places all over the Yukon that are ideal for viewing. If you head to Whitehorse and then try and get away from the light pollution you can get some wonderful views of the Northern Lights. Although the winter months are the best for viewing you can see Auroras all year round when the conditions are right.

Aurora Near Tromso

Tromso, Norway

If you want somewhere in Europe then possibly the best spot Tromso which is in northern Norway. This large city sits 300km inside the Arctic Circle but due to it’s location near the ocean it tends to benefit from slightly less bitter temperatures. Other places at this latitude have temperatures that plummet to -30 degrees C on a regular basis but Tromso has an average winter temperature of closer to -5 degrees C. The city has a large international airport and is pretty easy to get to.

For the best viewing you need to head away from the light pollution of the city. There are various places that offer cabin rentals in the surrounding area and many of these are located in some beautiful scenery. One of the best ways to see the lights is to hop on a cruise ship. From Tromso you can sail round the fjords which is a wonderful way to see the local scenery and of course you are a long way from any light pollution. Tromso and the surrounding area is a great destination as it is easy to get to, has plenty going on during the day and of course benefits from some of the best Aurora displays any where in the world.

Northern Lights In Lapland

Lapland, Finland

Another wonderful place to visit in Europe is Lapland. This is an area located in the north of Finland and is considered on of the best spots in the world when it comes to the Aurora Borealis. For the best spots you can fly to Kittila international airport and then head east to some wonderful locations. There are various national parks and some excellent accommodation ranging from luxury hotels to wilderness cabins. There are various tour operators that offer package deals which include transfers to resorts designed for Northern Lights viewing. In these resorts there are various activities such as Husky dog sledding, reindeer safari, snowmobile rides, skiing and ice fishing. Some of the hotels even offer Northern Light alarms, so when the activity level increase an alarm sounds to let guests know so you can go outside and view the spectacle.

One of the benefits of this area is that it tends to get long clear spells for weather and of course a clear sky is vital if you want to see the Aurora. The temperature does drop quite low in Lapland so again make sure you wrap up warm. This is a great place to visit as there is plenty to do during the day and then you can take guided tours out into the wilderness when the sun goes down. For a really unique experience try the guided snowmobile tours at night to see the lights. This is a wonderful way to visit some really remote locations with out any kind of light pollution. Plus while you visit Lapland you have the option of going to see Santa, something that goes down very well with the younger generation, this is actually an option that is available all year round and not just in December as you might expect.

If you want something a little bit special then visit the nearby Lainio Snow Village also known as the Ice Hotel. This is a structure build of snow and ice that is rebuilt every year. You stay in a room made of ice decorated with stunning snow sculptures. Although this is obviously a chilly experience it is one that you will no doubt remember for the rest of your life. Plus, what better way to see the Aurora when you are visiting Lapland, the Ice Hotel comes highly recommended.

Display Over Alaska

Fairbanks, Alaska

Heading back to North America there are some wonderful location around Alaska that are perfect for seeing the Northern Lights. The city of Fairbanks has an international airport and so is easy to get to. Obviously for the best viewing spot you want to head away from the city lights and into the wilds. There are companies that offer Aurora tours from Fairbanks or you can rent private accommodation away from the city. Alaska is in a perfect spot as it falls directly under the arc of the Aurora and so when the lights comes out to play this area gets some stunning displays.

Fairbanks is a busy city so there is usually plenty to keep you occupied during the day. There are hotels you can stay in and good quality accommodation all around the area. The weather is often very cold in this area so again as is often the case you need to wrap up warm. For the best times to see displays you should be looking to visit between October and March although you can sometimes see displays at other times of year. As is always the case, you do still need a little bit of good luck and timing when visiting any of these areas.

One Of Iceland's Many Hot Springs

Iceland

One country that people sometimes forget about when talking about the Northern Lights is Iceland. Iceland is situated north-west of the UK and gets plenty of Aurora displays throughout the year. The capital of Iceland is Reykjavik and this is the easiest place to fly to. From here there are various places you can head to in search of the lights. As is always the case look for somewhere away from the city lights to get some great views. Iceland is a volcanic island so for a really unique way to view the lights head for one of the many hot springs. Hear you can bathe in the hot water while the air temperature plummets way below freezing. It’s basically like being in a giant hot tub. Some places open late into the night so you can relax in the water while gazing up at the Aurora.

The only slight down side to Iceland is that the weather can sometimes hamper viewing. Although the area probably gets just as many nights of Aurora’s as the other locations we have looked at, sometimes the clouds can block the sky. Other than this issue though Iceland really is an excellent destination.

As you can see from our list of the five best places to see the Northern Lights there really are some stunning locations that all have their own unique charm and appeal. There are other places you can see the Aurora from such as Sweden, Greenland, Russia and even Scotland. But we believe that the ones we have highlighted are the best without a doubt. If you get the chance to visit one of these areas then you should stand an excellent chance of seeing one of nature’s greatest wonders.

As we have already mentioned in the article, you do often need luck on your side when viewing the Aurora. The lights do tend to have more active periods and then quiet periods, if you plan a trip somewhere when the activity level is very low, then you may still not see anything. All you can really do is put yourself in one of the areas where you are most likely to see displays and then hope for good weather and some good Aurora activity. Find yourself in one of these five locations and you really will enhance your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 

      5 years ago from Canada

      I love seeing the Northern Lights. I grew up in a small Canadian town where we were lucky enough to see them every once in a while and have vivid memories of my mother waking my brothers and I up in the middle of the night to see them. Your hub makes me want to go to all of these places to enjoy them all over again.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)