The thrill of witnessing the Aurora is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many.
Autumn is considered one of the best times of the year to see these blazing colours in the sky. Whilst the Aurora occurs all year round, in Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland, it isn’t visible in high summer because there is too much daylight. Not surprisingly, Aurora addicts in these parts of the world spend the entire summer longing for the darker skies of autumn.
Below are best places where you can become a real Northern light hunter.
1 – Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
Fairbanks is situated within a ring-shaped region around the North Pole called the auroral oval. it is one of the best places on Earth for experiencing the beautiful and mysterious northern lights. Bright, energetic curtains of yellow, green, red or even purple light brighten our night skies regularly. This location provides a terrific balance of occurrence, frequency and activity.
A Traveller can experience the aurora from a heated “aurorium” cabin, on an overnight sled dog trip, by snow cat tour to a panoramic vista, in a horse drawn sleigh, on a flight above the Arctic Circle, or simply walk outside and look up to see the captivating northern lights weave their way across the night sky. If the aurora appears in the middle of the night, many hotels offer wake-up calls so you won’t miss a moment.
2 – Ivalo, Lapland, Finland
In northernmost Lapland it is possible to see the Northern Lights almost every evening, provided that it is dark and the sky is clear. In the Ivalo region a profusion of Northern Lights are witnessed, though clouds can impair visibility in the same way as the light summer nights. On average, Northern Lights can be seen in northernmost Lapland up to 200 nights a year. Ivalo is an ideal starting point to observe Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland.
3 – Murmansk, Russia
Only eight countries reach north above the Arctic Circle, but without a doubt Russia reigns supreme. Murmansk, in the extreme northwest near Finland, enjoys over 40 days of uninterrupted night, making it one of the world’s premier destinations for the aurora borealis, and with over 300,000 residents you can enjoy all the cosmopolitan comforts of civilization amidst the serenity of the arctic.
4 – Kiruna, Sweden
Abisko National Park, a couple of kilometres north of Kiruna, is a prime location for viewing the northern lights. The scientifically proven ‘blue hole’ – a patch of sky over the Torneträsk lake that usually remains clear despite overcast weather in surrounding areas – gives Abisko its own microclimate, which is suitable for catching the lights.
In addition to guided tours, back-country camping and trekking out into the park at night, travellers can also take a chair-lift up to the Aurora Sky Stationand its lookout tower to get a better view of the park.
5 – Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is still the most affordable and accessible place to see the Northern Lights, but it’s getting more popular.You can see the Northern lights in Iceland as early as August, as soon as the night skies get dark enough and weather conditions are favourable. It helps if it’s cool and crisp outside, and a small moon helps make them easier to spot.
You can see them as late as April, and from any corner of Iceland, anytime between dusk and dawn, and seeing the Northern lights concurrently with a sunrise or sunset is one of the most spectacular sights you’ll ever see in your life.