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Where Can You Find the Northern Lights? Top 4 Nordic Destinations to Explore

22. April 2021, 16 min reading time

Last update: September 08, 2022

Setting eyes upon the Northern Lights is at the top of many bucket lists entering the auroral season. The auroral season begins from mid-September to early April. However, the big question is, where are the Northern Lights? 

The answer: The Nordic countries. Present within the Auroral Zone and consisting of the most spectacular places to see the Green Lady at her best, each distinct destination is unique. Filled with rich culture and heritage, breathtaking landmarks, and authentic scenery, they all bring diverse experiences to travelers.

Discover mighty glaciers, volcanic mountains, lava fields, towering forests, gushing waterfalls, free-flowing rivers, and arctic wilderness during a Northern Lights adventure. With both the Westfjords in Iceland and Norway placed at the top of Lonely Planet's published list of Top Destinations to Travel in 2022, it's no wonder tourists are excited to visit the Nordics.

We are overjoyed to share an insight into some of the most fabulous places to witness the phenomena. You will no longer need to ask, where are the Northern Lights? We have all the answers for you right here.

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights are caused by charged particles released by the sun interacting with our Earth’s atmosphere.

In our Earth’s atmosphere, different atoms and gases circle inside. Various colors are formed when the charged particles from the sun pass through the Earth’s orbit and collide with these other atoms and gases. We call these the Northern Lights. 

This reaction occurs high up in the Earth's atmosphere, and depending on which level the charged particles pass through, it vibrates different colors across the sky.

The Aurora Zone

Did you know that the Auroral Oval is a belt of light that encircles the geomagnetic poles in the Nordic Regions and provides some of the finest displays of the Northern Lights?

Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland are all positioned well within this region, offering numerous Nordic adventures to watch the sky illuminate the land. 

Although extremely unpredictable but most definitely worth waiting for, Lady Aurora is prevalent between the months of September through April. That’s right! You can see her as early as autumn, most definitely during the winter, and as late as the spring.

Top Destination Choices to Mesmerise the Northern Lights

1. Reykjavik, Iceland


A glimpse of the Northern Light in Iceland

Did you know that you do not need to travel far away from Reykjavik to be able to witness the Northern Lights in Iceland? It is known that locals can see the lights dancing even from their bedroom windows. Just imagine the Aurora Borealis tapping on your front door and bringing the show to you. Remarkable, isn’t it?

As many travelers' starting point, Reykjavik is a must-see destination as the world's northernmost capital. It rests peacefully in Iceland's midwest and teams with the beautiful Flaxaflói Bay. The city is cultural and rich with history, and Reykjavik's shoreline, coves, and surrounding islands boast a variety of arctic wildlife and birds, calling all nature lovers to witness.

The most famous landmarks in Reykjavik include Lake Tjörnin, Hallgrímskirkja Church, and Harpa Concert Hall. Also, hosting many galleries, museums, architectural sites, and historical places, you can easily see Iceland's rich culture and exciting history.

Departing the capital and entering the diverse wilderness of Iceland, you have the option to embark on an incredible tour that takes you on a whirlwind adventure following the Northern Lights. Visit Iceland’s most famous landmarks and enrich your knowledge of ancient history on the breathtaking Golden Circle route featuring Pingvellir National Park, the Great Geysir, and the fascinating Gullfoss Waterfall.

Make wishes at Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfall, unwind in the Secret Lagoon, indulge in an exquisite menu at the unique Friðheimar Greenhouse restaurant, and visualize the immense Sólheimajökull glacier up close. Explore the famous Reynisfjara Black Beach, eat ice cream at the small fishing harbor of Vík village, enjoy the volume of Fjarðrágljúfur Canyon, hike Skaftafell National Park, and witness the magic of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

An adventure seeker's dream - three days of heartwarming activities while witnessing the Northern Lights.

Northern Lights Tours in Iceland

2. Lofoten Islands, Norway


Magnificent Lofoten Eruptive Province

The magnificent Lofoten Islands are dotted around the Norwegian sea, well above the Arctic Circle, and provide some of the most desirable viewing places to see the Northern Lights. Its pointy mountains, impressive beaches, and untouched lands offer a variety of exciting adventures.

Did you know the most-wanted mountain peak and one of the main characteristics of the Lofoten Islands is Svolværgeita? With its two horn towers over Svolvær, it is a popular choice for many avid hikers each year attempting to make the 1.5m jump between them.

Lofoten's legacy tells of fishermen that come to the island to participate in the celebrated "lofotfiske" - the cod winter fishing in Northern Norway. Over 1000 travelers arrive yearly to stand at the bay and welcome the fishermen home.

Imagine capturing all this and more on the most splendid and informative Northern Lights photography tour. Visit Gimsøy island in the north of the archipelago and genuinely learn the ins and outs of the Northern Lights amidst the brightened sky. Drive down the Atlantic coast and the Vestfjord side with a backdrop of sheltered bays, clear lagoons, and the rising peaks of the Lofoten archipelago as you learn how to capture professional photographs of the moving wonder.

Read our Northern Lights Photography Guide to get ahead—our favorite for delivering imprinted memories in your mind and your hand. 

Northern Lights Tours in Norway

3. Rovaniemi, Finland


What could be a better way to enjoy colorful auroras?

Deep in the heart of the Finnish Lapland, travelers can marvel at the magical Rovaniemi when tinted by the Northern Lights. This distinct area is known as the 'Greater Capital Region of Lapland' and is the official home to all the children's favorite - Mr. Santa Claus.

Surrounded by vast snow-capped landscapes that snake through the town and areas untouched that glisten in the winter light, Rovaniemi has magically enchanting Nordic adventures lined up and designed specifically for all traveler types.

Departing from Rovaniemi, you can taste the icy wilderness as you journey to the mystical Arctic Snowcastle. Did you know it features the most extensive ice restaurant in the area? To enlighten your taste buds, choose from a selection of locally prepared dishes from authentic Icelandic cuisine. Not only that, you have the chance to marvel at the delicately designed sculptures in both the rooms and the ice chapel. You’re definitely in for a frosted treat!

Overall, Finland is a great destination to enjoy aurora-soaked nights in the most magical way possible.

Northern Lights Tours in Finland

 4. Abisko, Sweden


Gorgeous Aurora Borealis lights up the sky in Sweden.

Positioned in the center of the Aurora Oval and offering some of the best conditions in the world for the Northern Lights, Abisko National Park in the Swedish Lapland is a top destination for adventurers.

Did you know that Abisko National Park is the best place in the world to see the Northern Lights because of its blue hole and microclimate? Surrounded by illuminated mountains and cuddled with frosty fresh air, this pristine destination has the most cloud-free nights compared to other places in the Arctic Circle.

Another exciting place to visit is the Aurora Sky Station, situated on Mt. Njullá, 900 meters above sea level. Here you can enjoy a glorious panoramic view of the Northern Lights as they entertain you throughout the night.

Leaving Abisko, join an excellent tour allowing you to appreciate an authentic Sami tent or beautiful wooden cabin while tasting a local deliciously and hearing fairytales of the Northern Lights. After your tummies are warmed, embark on a comfortable ride to a local's favorite secret spot and relax and enjoy the scenic landscapes as you drive out into the wilderness.

Please keep your eyes peeled for the magnificent sighting of Aurora Borealis as she dances from above. A relaxing evening under the magic of the sky in Sweden.

Northern Lights Tours in Sweden

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At Booknordics.com, we have placed together the most epic adventures to experience in Scandinavia, giving you a more in-depth choice of the best possible ways to enjoy your holidays.

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