See the northern lights
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase we will earn a commission at no additional cost to you. We chose these companies / hotels because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases.
The northern lights, polar light or Aurora Borealis is a true spectacle of nature! Green, sometimes purple, red and yellow streaks of light colors the dark skies. This phenomenon can be seen over Scandinavia, Iceland, Canada and Greenland and will carry you into a fairy tale adventure. In this article we will talk about the best time and best places to view the northern lights. This SHOULD be on everyone's your bucket list.
What are the northern lights?
The northern light is a special natural phenomenon. It is a light phenomenon that can be seen mainly in the dark in winter period around the poles. Bright colors dance through the air and are very mobile. The light seems to move in arcs, rays or curtain-like forms. This in combination with orange colors on the horizon produces a breathtaking sky. The light is caused by eruptions on the sun, where charged particles are thrown into the universe.
In the vicinity of the North and South Pole they penetrate the atmosphere at high speed and contain a lot of energy, which in the higher atmosphere comes into contact with oxygen and nitrogen. This creates this special light.
What is the best time to see the northern nights
The best months to see the northern Lights is the period from September to March. Most trips are organized between October and February. September and March are however recommended periods for a Northern Lights trip if you ask us. During these months you can enjoy the autumn colors during the day and usually you will have more stable weather. In both months it is dark enough in the evening to see the Aurora Borealis.
The combination of the factors dark, cold and cloudy provide one of the most beautiful spectacles of nature. Because you are dependent on nature for seeing the northern lights, it is wise to book a northern light trip for at least 1 week. On a clear day you are most likely to spot the phenomenon between 6 pm and 1 am. The less full the moon, the better chance you have to see the northern lights. A tip: a lot of hotels offer a wake up service when the spectacle is taking place.
In the following countries the Northern Lights can best be seen
From September / October to March you can best go to Iceland. During this period it is very dark and the chance of seeing Aurora Borealis is the greatest.
The Best Places to See the Northern Lights in Iceland are:
- Öskjuhlið (is the closest thing to a forest in Reykjavik)
- Ásbyrgi Canyon
Canada is also an ideal country to see the Northern Lights. The state of Yukon is known as the perfect place to view Aurora Borealis. In Canada, the Northern Lights are often not only green in color, but also sometimes purple light rays moving between the green light paths. Another state where you can go is Northwest Territories. A well-known place in Yukon is Whitehorse and a familiar place in the Northwest Territories is Yellowknife.
A part of Lapland falls in Sweden and there too you can the Northern Lights. In Sweden you can try to spot the Northern Lights in the Abisko National Park. Here you can not only see green light rays, but often also purple or pink rays. Think of a beautiful snowy landscape and your Aurora experience is complete.
In Norway you will find plenty of places where you can see the Northern Lights. It is advisable to travel to Norway in winter. In the summer there is to much light and on some days it does not even get dark. In winter the chance of good visibility is much higher, but you also have more chance of clouds. The best places to see the Northern Lights in Norway are almost all in the north. Think for example of Spitsbergen, Lofoten or Troms.
The Northern Lights can also be admired from the largest island in the world, we are talking about the gigantic country Greenland. A good period to see Aurora Borealis here is between the months of August and April.