About 20 years ago, when I lived in Sweden, friends threw me a surprise birthday party. The best gift that night, apart from being with friends, was a spectacular show of the Northern Lights. But what is the best place to see the Northern Lights? If you have ever wanted to see the Northern Lights (a.k.a. Aurora Borealis), we know the best places and tours to see them.
Famous for spectacular shows of Aurora Borealis, northern Norway, Sweden and Finland also have a great tourism infrastructure. Enjoy skiing, dog sledding or a stay in the Ice Hotel in Sweden and spend your evenings out of doors to see the Northern Lights. Clear skies are a must and for that reason Sweden and Finland have a slight edge over Norway.
Finland Northern Lights
Finnish Wilderness Week
Arctic Sweden & the Icehotel
Arctic Lights & whales
Iceland is a very popular travel destination in summer, but few people know that Northern Lights tourism is actually a bigger draw. Enjoy a soak in a hot spring while seeing the Aurora Borealis - how perfect can a vacation get? And despite the country's name, winter night temperatures hover around -5ºC (23ºF), which considering the high latitude can be considered balmy!
Iceland Northern Lights
Alaska and Northern Canada
Depending on where you live these can be great places to travel to to see the Northern Lights. But if you live far away the air fare can get expensive. If you do go, be sure to travel away from the big cities and stay away from any operator who dabbles in mass tourism.
Northern Lights Eco Escape
Svalbard and Greenland
You cannot get much further north than Spitsbergen, the main island in the Svalbard Archipelago. Greenland is also at a high northern latitude. Generally, the further north you go, the better the chances of seeing the Northern Lights. There is one caveat though. You need dark nights to see the Aurora and being so close to the north pole, you will only get those in fall, winter and early spring. So be sure to travel to Spitsbergen and Greenland early or late in the season to see the Aurora Borealis.
Scoresby Sund Aurora Borealis Adventure
Central Spitsbergen Aurora Borealis
Greenland’s Northern Lights - Fly & Cruise
And what about Scotland to see the Northern Lights?
Some blog posts list Scotland as a great place to see the Northern Lights. I'd worry about the weather though.