The Absolute Best Places In The World To View The Northern Lights

The Absolute Best Places in the World to View the Northern Lights

Photos don't do them justice. There is no natural phenomenon like the colorful displays of the Aurora Borealis. The bright dancing lights are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the Sun that enter the Earth's atmosphere, according to the Northern Lights Centre. You may not have to go as far away as you think to see them. 

Lapland, Finland

Stay in glass igloos and log cabins with extraordinary views. They were designed so visitors can enjoy the Northern Lights in their full glory, but sleeping there is an amazing experience even if you don't catch them. On average the Aurora Borealis appears in the sky around 200 times per year there.


Greenland is one of the very best places in the world to see the colorful phenomenon and fall is the perfect time. The spectacle can usually be seen anywhere in the country from September to the beginning of April. Clear, dark nights – and low levels of light pollution – give visitors a particularly spectacular view.

Faroe Islands, Denmark

The remote archipelago is stranded halfway between Iceland and Norway, making it a unique location for stunning views of the Northern Lights. Lights season falls between September and March. You have to travel outside towns to see them, but this is only a bonus because the countryside is breathtaking.

Svalbard, Norway

In October and February, you can enjoy the blue Arctic light during the day and the Northern Lights at night. During the polar night from November to February, there is no daylight, proving for a unique experience seeing them dancing across the sky. Svalbard is actually the only place on Earth where you can witness the Aurora Borealis in the daytime, according to Visit Norway.

Abisko National Park, Sweden

This is an ideal place to visit to see the magnificent Northern Lights. The best time to see them in the park is between September and March. Your best chance is a trip to the Aurora Sky Station. Sometimes in December and January it's dark for days or even weeks at a time. That makes cross-country skiing, hiking and husky mushing all the more exciting.

Northern Canada

Think Calgary, Yukon and Manitoba. Also, places around Lake Superior in Ontario are great viewing spots. The farther up north you go, the better your chances are to see more vibrant colors. Manitoba is a specifically awesome spot because it sees aurora activity about 300 nights per year.

Luosto, Finland

Go on a leisure trip in Northern Finland, specifically designed for you to enjoy the backcountry while witnessing the stunning lights along the way. Enjoy the magnificent Arctic environment at a relaxed pace while snowmobiling and husky sledding.

Northern Highlands, Scotland

You probably can't imagine Scotland as a Northern Lights destination because of the country's weather reputation – foggy and stormy. But in the North, when the skies are clear, the lights displays are beautiful. After all, Northern Scotland lies at the same latitude as Stavanger in Norway and Nunivak Island in Alaska. The best time to go is in the fall and winter months.


Seeing the Northern Lights in Northern Russia comes with freezing temperatures and nights that can last for weeks.  The harsh conditions are worth seeing the awe-inspiring spectacle of the colorful phenomenon. The best destinations are the town of Murmansk (near Finland), Severodvinsk and Salekhard.

Denali, Alaska

You can see the lights in Fairbanks, but the further away from city lights you go into the massive wilderness areas of Denali National Park, the better chances you have of seeing the spectacular display. Only in the fall, winter and early spring is there enough darkness for people to see the Northern Lights. You can see them as early as the first weeks of August, according to the NPS.

Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

The "Northern Lights Season" is roughly from September to April. The sky in the park in southwest Iceland is darker than in Reykjavik, making for a better show. The best time to ensure you don't miss them is from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Some hotels offer an aurora alarm service for your convenience.

Tromsø, Norway

One of the best places to go is Tromsø, Norway – you can see the natural phenomenon for more than 250 nights a year. Go on an aurora-chasing snowmobile or a bus chase for the magical lights. There are many expeditions available and the quest goes as far as it takes to find clear skies. 

Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

The village of Jukkasjärvi boasts the world's first ice hotel and is one of the best regions to view the Northern Lights. It organizes guided tours for guests for a chance to scan the Arctic winter sky for Aurora Borealis. You can get closer to them and watch them through an aeroplane window. The ice hotel arranges Northern Lights flights.

Donegal, Ireland

It doesn't happen often, but it's absolutely breathtaking when it does. Some of the best photos of the lights in the past have been taken in Inishowen, close to the most northerly tip of Donegal. A great year to see Aurora Borealis was 2012 because of a peak in the sun's activity.

Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania

This is probably the most surprising location on the list. The park is classified as a Gold Level International Dark Sky Park (the highest designation given by the International Dark-Sky Association, according to Travel + Leisure. Over the year, Northern Lights occurrences, usually in purple, red and dark pink hues, have been documented.