The Northern Lights (also called aurora borealis) seems like the kind of thing that would only exist in a painting or a science fiction movie. Fortunately for us, the lights are very much real and accessible enough to take a trip. From what travelers say, that trip is well worth the cost. They also report that the pictures, though they are phenomenal, just don’t do it justice. You have the see them in person to believe them. The following is our guide to the best locations and best times to see the Northern Lights.
First, you must reach the right latitude. You won’t be able to catch the Northern Lights near the equator. Seeing them requires you to be above a latitude of 55°. Next, you need to pick a location. Shoot for places with low light pollution so you can see the lights as well as possible. Lastly, you need to time it right. Each location varies, but generally, August-May is the best time to go.
Iceland is one of the most famous aurora viewing countries, and for good reason. It has the right latitude and plenty of dark, rural areas. The lights can be seen from just about anywhere in the country, but travelers often recommend the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon as a beautiful vantage point. Besides the lights, Iceland is an incredible place to visit.
Fairbanks is another location that is perfect for seeing the lights. It is well above the minimum latitude, has low light pollution, and has the surrounding scenery to make your viewing magical. If you prefer, you can take a Northern Lights tour, where an expert guide drives you far outside the city to the best viewing spots. Once you’re done here, you can check out the famous Denali National Park.
This area is such a famous location that it even has a teepee campground named “Aurora Village.” Just like the previous two picks, this town has the high latitude and low light pollution needed to see the lights in all their glory. For a unique and comfortable experience, you can view aurora from a heated chair. Canadian nights get very cold, so we definitely recommend it!
Though it is over 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, this town in Norway doesn’t get as cold as you’d think. Travelers report that the best place to see the lights is near a fjord, where they can bounce off of the water and add to the view. This town also has a popular planetarium, so you can see the night sky in all of its glory.
Abisko knows how great of a location it is for the lights and has tailored their tourism accordingly. At the Aurora Sky Station, you can be transported to the facility by chairlift and then have a 4-course luxury dinner underneath the beautiful sky.
The Tips Of Southern Hemisphere Continents
If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you may want to choose a southern continent rather than one of the locations listed. The northern spots are more famous because there are so many of them, but you can find beautiful views in the south, too. Try to get as far south as you can in places like Chile, Argentina, and New Zealand.
You have the see the Northern Lights to believe them. With our guide, you can get to the perfect location and at the ideal time. Choose whichever location makes the most sense for where you live or your existing travel plans. No matter where you choose, you won’t be disappointed.