Aurora Borealis aka Northern Lights is a natural phenomenon that can be found in the northern and southern hemispheres. The scientific name for the northern lights is aurora borealis, while the scientific name for the southern lights is aurora australis. Witnessing this natural phenomenon becomes the bucket list of some people who are fascinated by this light show.
This light can appear and disappear in an instant so those who want to witness this must stay up all night. The aurora borealis in the northern hemisphere is centered around the Arctic Circle, namely in countries such as Iceland, Scotland, Canada, Scandinavia, Greenland and Siberia. Here are the places to see the aurora borealis in the countries mentioned above.
- Svalbard, Norway
Location: Norwegian Islands between mainland Norway and the North Pole
The higher latitude in a location will make it a good place to watch the aurora borealis. Formerly known as Spitsbergen or Spitzbergen, Svalbard is an archipelago in Norway. It is in the furthest north. This frozen archipelago is located in the deepest Arctic Circle. This is the place to see the favorite aurora borealis.
In the months between November and February, Svalbard is heavily visited by tourists. Another natural phenomenon that can be enjoyed is polar night, when the sky is illuminated by a dark blue light. This happens when the sun does not rise for 24 hours. This view is also a big attraction for tourists.
Because Svalbard from mid-November to late January has no daylight, so it is a perfect place to watch the aurora borealis. This increases the chances of witnessing the appearance of these natural phenomena.
- Yellowknife, Canada
Location: on the northern shore of Great Slave Lake
Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories of Canada. This is the place to see the best aurora borealis in the world. 80-90% of all land in Canada is under the Aurora Oval making it the home to witness this natural phenomenon.
The aurora oval is the area with the strongest geomagnetic activity resulting in the brightest and most frequent display of the aurora borealis in the world. Yellowknife is known as the “Aurora Capital of North America,” for its prime location and outstanding scenic conditions. Tourists have a 95% chance of seeing the aurora borealis on the shores of the Great Slave Lake.
- Troms, Norway
Location: in northern Norway
Norway is located above the Arctic Circle making it one of the places to see the famous aurora borealis. Located in the aurora oval area, Tromsø always provides travelers with a great opportunity to experience the northern lights regardless of the solar cycle.
Troms has excellent connectivity with flights. Hence this place is more accessible from all over the world. With a cooler coastal climate, Tromsø is more lively than other places to see the northern lights. Other attractions in this place include snowboarding, reindeer and the city’s nightlife on the weekends which is quite lively.
- Voyageurs National Park, United States
Address: 360 Minnesota 11 East, International Falls, MN 56649, United States
Operating hours: 09.00 – 17.00
Phone: +1 218-283-6600
Voyageurs National Park is located on the Minnesota-Canada border. This is a magical place covering an area of 218,000 hectares. Here visitors will be able to witness the view of the northern lights show in a sky that is not polluted by light pollution and an impressive meteor shower.
This park, which is one-third water, has the place to see the aurora borealis at its best. Visitors can enjoy the light show from the houseboat or houseboat. Voyageurs National Park is an ideal place to view the northern lights as it is an area of wilderness that spans miles without the light pollution that the cities have.
- Fairbanks, Alaska
Location: inside Fairbanks North Star Borough
Fairbanks is another place in the world to see the aurora borealis because it is right below the Auroral Oval. This ring-shaped area is located above the Earth’s geomagnetic north pole, which is where auroral activity is concentrated.
Tourists can see the northern lights which last from August 21 to April 21 on an average of 4 out of 5 clear nights during the aurora season. Tourists can enjoy other activities at the end of summer such as riding the Riverboat Discovery or panning for gold. If you want to experience a festive holiday, tourists can visit Santa Claus’ House in the North Pole city.
- Lapland, Finland
Location: in the Arctic Circle, bordered by Sweden, Norway, Russia and the Baltic Sea
Laplandi is in the Arctic Circle in Northern Europe. In a year the aurora borealis can be seen at about 200 nights from this area in Finland. Also known as the home of Santa Claus, Lapland is also home to the Sami, the only indigenous people in the European Union, and about 190,000 reindeer.
Aurora hunters can expect to see the northern lights on any clear night between September and March in northern Lapland, especially when the stars are out.
- Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
Location: located in Kiruna Town, Norrbotten County
During the darkest months, the optimal time to see the northern lights in Sweden is from December to March. In Swedish Lapland in the north of the country, visitors can see clear skies in late August or early to mid-April.
Jukkasjärvi is a small village in Sweden located about 125 miles above the Arctic Circle on the Torne River. This is the ideal place to see the aurora borealis. It is also the site of Sweden’s first ice hotel.
If you want to see the aurora from a height, tourists can take a night flight tour from Jukkasjärvi. If the aurora borealis does not appear, tourists can visit the Esrange Space Center for an unforgettable view of the Swedish sky.
- Orkney, Scotland
Location: Off the northeast coast of Scotland
Orkney is a charming island group on the remote north coast of Scotland. This place is one of the best locations for viewing the aurora borealis in the country. The best seasons for viewing the aurora, referred to in the local dialect as “Mirrie Dancers”, are fall and winter.
Throughout the year this place presents cool nights accompanied by clear skies resulting in ideal viewing conditions. Here there are several places that can be visited to witness this spectacular natural phenomenon, including from the top of Wideford Hill. Other places are along the beach at Birsay and on the beach at Dingieshow.
Orkney is also home to stunning coastal views, apart from the auroras of course. Here the number of sheep is innumerable. Tourists can also visit the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This object consists of several monuments that are 5,000 years old.
- Reykjavik, Iceland
Location: on the Icelandic Coast
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and is the most accessible place. In addition, this place is very popular for watching the aurora borealis. What attracts tourists here is not only the aurora borealis, but there are many other places to explore in Iceland. Reykjavik is a land of volcanoes, geysers and blue ice.
On the way to Reykjavik from the airport tourists will pass the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. Here also there are many places that are used as Game of Thrones locations. The best time to see the aurora borealis in Iceland is from September to April.
To see the optimal light view away from light pollution, tourists can visit skjuhlið. This is a dense forest in Reykjavik that has walkways and trails for viewing shows at night. Above this forest can be found Perlan, which is the only planetarium in the country as well as a museum featuring exhibits about Iceland.
- Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Location: In western Greenland
Although Greenland is not an easily accessible place to witness the northern lights, but tourists who visit there will be happy to come to this country. The Kalaallit Nunaat tundra, as Greenlanders call this country, is one of the best aurora viewing spots in the world.
The time to see this light is from September to early June, when tourists can enjoy the midnight sun. Located in an alcove right along the Arctic Circle, the small town of Kangerlussuaq in a year is blessed with 300 days of clear skies. This makes it an ideal place to view the aurora borealis, especially between October and April.
Those are places to see the aurora borealis that you can visit if you want to witness this amazing natural phenomenon. Generally these places are in countries that are around the Arctic Circle.
Are you one of those people who really want to be able to see the aurora borealis? If seeing the northern lights is on your bucket list, be sure to visit one of the countries above.