Ahhhh, the Aurora Borealis. Nope, that isn’t some kind of illness (thank goodness), it is the scientific name for the iconic Northern Lights. This beautiful spectacle is one of the most impressive naturally occurring nighttime displays in the world, and is caused by solar particles that are blown into the Earth’s atmosphere that create whirling swirls of green, pinks, and blues. Although it sounds pretty scientific, the Northern Lights are incredibly pretty on their own, and is something you must see throughout your lifetime. The Aurora Borealis can be seen throughout the year, but it is more prominent from September to March and in certain areas of the world. Here are the best places to see the Northern Lights.
Yellowknife – Canada
Although the Aurora Borealis is one of the most incredible sights you will ever see, it can be unpredictable. Many who travel to see the Northern Lights are disappointed – because they cannot be turned on by a switch. However, if you travel to Yellowknife in Canada, you have a 95% chance of seeing the spectacle in the flesh. In this area, the Northern Lights are so prominent that they have become part of everyday culture.
Saariselka – Finland
Located in Lapland, the Aurora Borealis can be seen for much of the year in Saariskela. In fact, there are only four months of the year where the Northern Lights are less visible. Thanks to the Christmassy feel of this area, you will be overwhelmed by the magic of the Aurora Borealis as you wander the snow-laden forests, partake in a reindeer safari, or even visit Santa!
Cairngorms National Park – Scotland
When you think of the Northern Lights, you probably don’t think of the United Kingdom. But if you know where to go, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the scientific phenomenon. In the Cairngorms National Park, the locals call the Northern Lights the ‘Merry Dancers,’ and they are often seen during the winter months. If not, you’ve got a whole host of other activities to check out in the largest national park in Britain.
Fairbanks, Alaska – United States
If you’ve always fancied a trip to Alaska, here’s the ultimate reason why you should book a flight to Fairbanks. At just 150 miles away from the Arctic Circle, Fairbanks is one of the most impressive locations to watch the Northern Lights. With an international airport ready to await your arrival, this area is devoted to the Aurora Borealis and offers a variety of tours to see the Northern Lights – and if you’ve got time, you can even check out the hot springs. Yes, please!
Kiruna – Sweden
The Northern Lights are so much more than a scientific spectacle to the indigenous people of Sweden and Scandinavia. To them, the Northern Lights represent the souls of their ancestors and the energy and love they bring to the world. Because of this, the Northern Lights are sacred, and a huge part of their culture. Luckily, you can see the Northern Lights for many months of the year, and even warm up (or not) afterward in their famous ice hotel.
Akureyri – Iceland
One of the most popular destinations to see the Northern Lights is Iceland. This northern area is the perfect resting point to catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis and can be seen amongst the hot springs, the gushing geysers, rocky mountains, glaciers and even waterfalls. Although much of the country is exposed to the lights, it’s best to head towards the north and the area of Akureyri.
Have you always wanted to see the Northern Lights? Well, there are loads of places to see them alive in the flesh, and these are just a few of them…