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Greatest locations to see the Northern Lights 2024

Greatest locations to see the Northern Lights 2024


One of many world’s most well-known pure sights, the Northern Lights appeal to folks to areas across the Arctic in hopes of seeing the uncommon show.

Brought on by the redirection of particles from the solar that hit the Earth’s environment, the beautiful atmospheric phenomenon is seen because the Holy Grail of skywatching and largely happens in areas round Norway, Finland, Sweden and Greenland.

The lights will be seen in different elements of the world; the UK has even had sightings in Scotland, Merseyside and Wales this winter throughout a interval of heightened geomagnetic exercise.

Sadly, such sightings are uncommon and most of the people eager to see the aurora borealis (the scientific title for the phenomenon, coined by Galileo Galilei) must journey additional north.

That will help you in your quest to see the spectacular gentle present, we’ve put collectively an inventory of the very best locations for seeing the Northern Lights and when to go to maximise your probabilities.

Learn extra on journey inspiration:

Tromso, Norway

There’s a excessive chance of seeing the lights in Tromso

(Getty Photos)

Tromso sits on the centre of the Northern Lights’ oval, that means that the lights will be seen even when exercise is low. In accordance with the tourism web site, Tromso is “one of many locations on the planet with the very best chance of seeing the lights”, and there may be “at all times a great likelihood of seeing” them between September and April.

Temperatures are moderated by the Norwegian Sea and westerly winds, that means that they’re much milder than common for the latitude, with averages of between 2C and -1C throughout peak viewing instances (in comparison with Svalbard, the place the common January excessive is -13C).

When to go to Tromso

Your greatest likelihood of seeing the lights in Tromso is between September and April, when the skies are darkish sufficient for them to be seen.

Svalbard, Norway

The lights shine over Svalbard

(Getty Photos/iStockphoto)

This Norwegian archipelago is house to extra polar bears than folks and experiences harsh winters, with the solar not correctly rising over the horizon between mid-November and mid-January.

Whereas the islands don’t expertise whole darkness (and due to this fact you aren’t assured to see the lights), the primary island, Spitsbergen, hosts a number of several types of expedition to provide the greatest likelihood of catching the phenomenon. When you’re fortunate, it’s possible you’ll even see some polar wildlife resembling reindeer, Arctic foxes and walruses too.

When to go to Svalbard

The lights season right here is barely shorter than in Tromso, operating from September till the center of March. The most effective time of day to attempt to see the lights is between 6pm and midnight.

Rovaniemi, Finland

See the aurora within the official house of Santa Claus

(Getty Photos)

Positioned in Finnish Lapland, Rovaniemi markets itself because the ‘Official Dwelling of Santa Claus’ and accommodates a Santa Claus Village and Santa Park. The Northern Lights are seen right here on “round 150 nights a 12 months” from August, and the tourism web sites offers concepts for close by areas to view them.

Amongst its options are the Arctic Backyard (a 10-minute stroll away) and the highest of Ounasvaara fell (an extended, 45-minute stroll from the city). Amongst different snow-based actions – resembling sledding – you’ll be able to be part of snowmobile journeys and ice floating excursions as particular methods to benefit from the lights.

When to go to Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi is one vacation spot the place the lights season is exceptionally lengthy, operating from late August to early April. Nevertheless, the very best time to go to is in the course of the Polar Evening interval, from mid-November to mid-January.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Whisps of purple and inexperienced illuminate central Reykjavik

(Getty Photos/iStockphoto)

Iceland is positioned roughly 65 levels north, making the nation a wonderful choice for these making an attempt to see the Northern Lights. They are often seen in a number of areas, resembling Thingvellir Nationwide Park or Kirkjufell Mountain, however the very best place to remain when visiting must be Reykjavik. The Icelandic capital is a typical Nordic metropolis in fashion and acts as a wonderful base for seeing the pure sights of the nation within the day earlier than occurring a guided journey to see the lights by night time.

When to go to Reykjavik

Iceland has a reasonably typical size to its lights season, operating from September to April.

Abisko, Sweden

Abisko Nationwide Park receives no gentle air pollution

(Getty Photos/iStockphoto)

Located in Swedish Lapland, proper on the coronary heart of the aurora oval, Abisko Nationwide Park receives no gentle air pollution and has one of many lowest rainfall climates within the Nordic space. With many surrounding mountains to maintain the skies clear, Abisko additionally gives the prospect to check out a number of actions resembling snowmobiling, fishing and mountaineering.

The Aurora Sky Station markets itself as “the very best place on Earth to expertise Northern Lights”, however it appears that evidently this confidence isn’t unfounded: in case you have been to remain for 3 nights in Abisko, you’d have an 88 per cent likelihood of seeing the lights, whereas the federal government web site additionally claims that the realm typically receives “greater than two weeks of consecutive northern lights nights”.

When to go to Abisko

Maximise your possibilities of catching the lights by visiting between mid-September and early March.

Yukon, Canada

Guide a tour of Yukon to observe the waltz of the aurora

(Getty Photos/iStockphoto)

With a land space of 483,450sqkm, the Yukon is an unlimited area which is sort of as giant because the entirety of Spain. Roughly 80 per cent of the territory is wilderness; it’s house to the longest river in Canada, the second tallest peak in North America (Mount Logan, at 5,959m excessive), the smallest desert on the planet (Carcross, at 1.6sqkm) and dozens of animal species, from moose to brown bears.

With this in thoughts, whereas exploring by yourself could also be tempting, in the case of viewing the lights you’re greatest off reserving a tour. It’s a good suggestion to base your self in Whitehorse (the capital, with a inhabitants of simply over 28,000), the place guided excursions will take you to close by spots to provide the greatest likelihood of seeing the sunshine present.

When to go to Yukon

One other place with a lights season lasting practically eight months, Yukon’s most lively time for gentle shows is between October and mid-November.

Ilulissat, Greenland

The aurora dances over Ilulissat

(Getty Photos/iStockphoto)

Probably the most sparsely populated nation on the planet, Greenland gives the prospect to see the lights with uninterrupted calm and tranquility. With a inhabitants of just below 5,000 folks, Ilulissat is “wealthy in Inuit historical past” and is house to “tens of millions of icebergs”. Low ranges of sunshine air pollution and plenty of clear nights will provide a great likelihood of seeing the lights throughout your keep.

With a inhabitants of simply over 500, areas resembling Kangerlussuaq additionally provide good alternatives to see the lights however could also be too distant for some.

With three new airports coming to the island, entry will quickly be simpler than ever.

When to go to Ilulissat

Together with the remainder of Greenland, Ilulissat has a reasonably typical season, lasting from September to March.

Outer Hebrides, Scotland

The northern lights over the Hebrides in Scotland

(PA Media)

Dwelling to “among the darkest skies within the UK”, among the islands within the Outer Hebrides sit on the identical latitude as elements of Norway and Alaska. The aurora has been seen as far south as Edinburgh, however the islands of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra are your greatest likelihood for seeing the lights within the UK.

Extra accessible than a lot of the different areas on this record, the islands are additionally usually a great spot for seeing totally different astronomical sights, such because the Orion Nebula, the Milky Approach and the Andromeda Galaxy.

When to go to the Outer Hebrides

Lights season in these islands runs from September to April, though the very best time to see the lights is in the course of the Equinox and Solstice, so between March and April and September and October respectively.

Fairbanks, Alaska, USA

Darkish skies and dry circumstances bless Fairbanks

(Getty Photos/iStockphoto)

The second largest metropolis (by inhabitants) in Alaska, Fairbanks is located close to the centre of the state and is house to only over 32,000 folks. Positioned on an identical latitude to Iceland, circumstances listed here are excellent for viewing the lights: darkish skies, dry circumstances and an absence of sunshine air pollution.

One of many principal advantages of Fairbanks (versus another areas on the record) is the truth that you don’t even have to go away town to see the lights, and as a serious settlement, all the required facilities can be found alongside the numerous excursions on provide.

When to go to Fairbanks

The season right here lasts barely longer than common, stretching from late August to April.

Finnish Lapland

See the lights on snowmobiles or reindeer-drawn sleighs in Finnish Lapland

(Lehtikuva/AFP by way of Getty Photos)

Whereas Rovaniemi has already been talked about on this record, there are such a lot of worthy locations in Finnish Lapland that your complete space must be advisable. Levi is the most important ski resort in Finland however is much less crowded than different European resorts, and gives the prospect to see the lights on snowmobiles or on reindeer-drawn sleighs. Harriniva is one other resort that provides related actions, with the Muonio River including one other scenic contact. Saariselka gives a special, village setting with glorious spots for viewing the lights solely half a kilometre away.

When to go to Finnish Lapland

The official Finnish tourism web site states that the very best instances to see the lights are in autumn and spring, originally and the tip of the season, with the season itself operating from mid-August till early April.

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