The Northern Lights, also known as the aurora borealis, is one of nature’s most spectacular shows, caused by solar winds disturbing the earth’s magnetosphere and while there’s some interesting science behind it, the main thing to know is that it is a beautiful sight to behold. Essentially a giant light show in the night sky, the Northern Lights are most commonly seen in high latitude regions, such as the arctic circle, but have been known to appear further south. If you want to experience this breathtaking spectacle, here are six of the best places to do it!
1. Ylläs, Finland
Finnish Lapland is famous primarily for its cross-country skiing, but in Ylläs, travellers are also able to get front row seats to the aurora borealis. It’s so common there, that guests at Ylläksen Yöpuu during January will be refunded half their money if they don’t see the Northern Lights. In fact, the village even offers a phone app “Ylläs Aurora,”
which sends alerts of aurora borealis sightings to make sure visitors don’t miss a thing.
2. Barrow, Alaska
As the most northern city in the USA, Barrow might well be one of the best places to see the aurora borealis. While you can take tours in the freezing cold to see the lights, it’s often just as simple as looking out your window. While you’re waiting,
though, you can also enjoy everything the Iñupiat culture has to offer.
3. Bláskógabyggð, Iceland
Iceland has exploded in popularity over the last few years as a top tourist destination, but if you needed another reason to visit the tiny Viking nation, then their view of the Northern Lights is it. While the lights aren’t exactly hard to find all across the island,
the most convenient spot to set up shop is the flat terrain of Thingvellir National Park, close to the capital, Reykjavík.
4. Abisko, Sweden
Often labeled the best place in the world to see the Northern Lights, Abisko National Park, in Swedish Lapland,
plays host to the aurora borealis nearly every night during peak season thanks to mountains on both sides shielding the area from clouds, rain, and snow.
5. Tromsø, Norway
While most people head out into the wilderness to see the Northern Lights, Tromsø is actually the largest city north of the Arctic Circle, known both as the ‘Paris of the North’ and the ‘City of Light’.
The nights here can last 24 hours during December and January, so the lights of the city aren’t a problem here like they could be in other locations.
6. Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
It’s not as easy to get to as some of the other places on the list, but with clear skies nearly all year round, Kangerlussuaq in Greenland is a great spot to take in the aurora borealis.
Although only about 550 people live there, the town actually has an international airport, so don’t be put off by its remoteness.