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Where Are the Northern Lights: Top 7 Destinations to Explore!

22. April 2021, 20 min reading time

Setting eyes upon the glorious wonder that is the Northern Lights, is top of many wanderlusters bucket-lists entering the auroral season. 

The big question is, where are the Northern Lights? 

The Nordic countries, being present within the Auroral Zone, consist of the most spectacular places to see the Green Lady at her best. Each distinct destination offers its own uniqueness and represents its culture and heritage while bringing a diverse personality to the table. 

Phenomenal glaciers, volcanic mountains, vast landscapes, lava fields, towering forests, gushing waterfalls, free-flowing rivers and arctic wilderness, all with a slice of ancient history can be found within 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


To put it simply, 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 are circling inside, when the charged particles from the sun pass through the Earth’s orbit and collide with these different atoms and gases, various colours are formed as a result and 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, depends on what colour is presented.

 

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 chances of seeing the Northern Lights?

Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Faroe Islands and Greenland are all positioned well within this region and all offer 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 August through April. That’s right! You can see her as early as Autumn, most definitely during Winter and as late as Spring.

We are pleased to share that Booknordics.com works alongside hand-selected tour operators who are greatly experienced in studying weather maps and auroral forecasts, learning when, where and how great a chance you have at spotting Aurora Borealis.

 

Potential Northern Lights Sightings

1. Reykjavik, Iceland


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The 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? 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, bringing the show to you. Remarkable isn’t it?

As many travellers' 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 popular landmarks in Reykjavik include Lake Tjörnin, Hallgrímskirkja Church and Harpa Concert Hall. Also hosting many galleries, museums, architectural sites and historical places where one can learn deeply, all about the rich culture and interesting history of Iceland.

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 a wonderful menu at the unique Friðheimar Greenhouse restaurant and visualise the great Sólheimajökull glacier up close.

Explore the famous Reynisfjara Black Beach, eat ice cream at the small fishing harbour of Vík village, enjoy the volume of Fjarðrágljúfur Canyon and Skaftafell National Park and witness the magic of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

An adventure seekers dream - three days of heartwarming activities whilst holding hands with the Northern Lights.

2. Lofoten Islands, Norway


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Magnificent Lofoten Eruptive Province


The magnificent Lofoten Islands are found 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, circled sea, impressive beaches and untouched lands offer a variety of exciting adventures. No wonder here is world-famous.

Did you know the most lusted 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 many-year legacy tells of fishermen that come to Lofoten to participate in the celebrated "lofotfiske" - the cod winter fishing in Northern Norway. Inviting over 1000 travellers per year 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 truly learn the ins and outs of the Northern Lights amidst relaxing under 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.

Our favourite for delivering imprinted memories in your mind and also in your hand. 

Northern Lights Photography Tour

 

3. Rovaniemi, Finland


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What could be a better way to enjoy the colourful auroras?


Deep in the heart of the Finnish Lapland, travellers can marvel at the magical Rovaniemi, tinted by the Northern Lights.

Known as the 'Greater Capital Region of Lapland' and home to all the children's favourite and adults alike, the ultimate wonder - 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 traveller types.

Departing from Rovaniemi, you can taste the icy wilderness as you journey to the mystical Arctic Snowcastle. Did you know it features the largest ice restaurant in the area? To enlighten your taste buds, you get to choose from a selection of locally prepared dishes of truly authentic Icelandic cuisine.

Not only that, you have the chance to marvel at the delicately designed sculptures of the famously designed hotel, in both the rooms and the ice chapel. You’re definitely in for a frosted treat!

Perfect for couples and families wishing to experience a true winter wonderland and enjoy aurora-soaked nights in the most magical way possible.

Arctic Snowcastle with Dinner in Ice Restaurant

 

4. Abisko, Sweden


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Gorgeous Aurora Borealis lights up the sky of Abisko Nature Reserve


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

Did you know that Abisko National Park is known for being 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 interesting place is situated on Mt. Njullá, 900 meters above sea level, the Aurora Sky Station. Here you can enjoy a glorious panoramic view of the Northern Lights as they entertain you throughout the night.

Leaving Abisko, you can join an excellent tour allowing you to cosy yourselves in an authentic Sami tent or beautiful wooden cabin all whilst tasting a local deliciously and hearing fairytales of the Northern Lights.

After your tummies are warmed, you’ll embark on a comfortable ride to a locals favourite secret spot. Relax and enjoy the scenic landscapes as you drive out into the wilderness and venture as far as needed.

Keep your eyes peeled for the magnificent sighting of Aurora Borealis as she sings to you from above. A soothing evening under the magic of the sky.

The Longest Northern Lights Tour in Abisko

5. Faroe Islands


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Memorable destination to escape


Did you know that the Faroe Islands are about halfway between Norway and Iceland, however, actually belong to the Kingdom of Denmark?

18 mountainous islands make up the Faroe Island archipelago and 17 of them are home to around 50,000 inhabitants, 40% living in the capital Tórshavn.

Interesting truth about Tórshavn, it is in fact named after the Norse God of Thunder - Thor. What better place to witness the Northern Lights than on Thor’s harbour, right in the centre of this picturesque destination and one of the smallest capital cities in the world.

With an abundance of idyllic cafes and restaurants, its historically-written quaint old town and its rich cultural scene, Tórshavn is where the local Faroese traditions are held out and celebrated with families, friends and avid travellers.

The Faroe Islands, full of charm and appeal, dotted with memorable landscapes, whispered in folktales, embedded by peaceful mountains, strengthened by deep fjords, energised by roaring waterfalls and the shining wild ocean - is a prime destination to add a backdrop of vivid colours forming from the Northern Lights.

Whichever island you choose to share with Aurora Borealis, you will not be disappointed. All with diverse characteristics, ambitious personalities and stubborn beauty - each one distinctly contributes striking activities to embark upon.

One of our ultimate favourites, in the secluded village of Gásadalur of Vágar Island, you will find Múlafossur, one of the prettiest waterfalls in the world. Known as one of the most spectacular views in the Faroe Islands, the glorious waterfall simply falls off the gigantic cliffs whilst the towering mountain Árnafjall watches from behind.

We simply cannot think of anywhere more magical. Can you?

 

6. Kangerlussuaq, Greenland


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A magical Northern Lights evening in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland


As Greenland’s only international flight entry point, Kangerlussuaq is the perfect starting point to any travellers adventure when visiting the icy Arctic island.

Kangerlussuaq, meaning ‘big fjord’, shares its name with the immaculate fjord that it rests upon and at the halfway point, travellers can cross over the famous Arctic Circle.

Greenland’s ice cap, knocking on Kangerlussuaq door, is a natural wonder embedded in travellers' wish lists. Feasting your eyes on the once inaccessible frosted friend, along with the Northern Lights, is a sight worth shouting about.

The sheer volume of the fjord's frozen expanse is breathtakingly spectacular and a true wonder of nature. With its jagged edges, snaking ice rivers, impressive wildlife and sparkling blue icebergs, it's an outdoor lovers paradise. We would know!

With a low number of inhabitants and over 300 days of the clear wiped sky, Aurora Borealis is excitedly visible over this spectacular Arctic wilderness. Illuminating the sky, the Green Lady can be seen silently snaking through the endless tundra that rolls across valleys and into the distant mountains.

Whatever adventure you choose to decorate your Greenland escape, the endless opportunities to witness the Northern Lights in this out-of-this-world island is impressive, it most certainly puts this destination on our most-wanted list!

7. Thy National Park and Samsø, Denmark


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Explore the beautiful and wild nature of Thy National Park


Covering a total of 244 km², Thy National Park is a rugged coastal wilderness offering naturists a chance at possibly seeing the Northern Lights in one of the best natural desert-like terrain areas in the Nordics.

The wild and windswept lands of this beautiful national park are shaped by the contrasting elements of mother nature. Layered with sand-swept forests from overlapping dunes and dust sprinkled mountains with roaming lonesome wildlife - it paints an adventurous background for a potential Northern Lights display.

Hiking, biking and horse riding trails wind through the enormous variety of crooked trees and grant the avid outdoor lover the glorious opportunity to create friendships with the many bird species found resting upon them. 

Keen anglers can make their catch of the day from the 200+ and growing lakes splashed inland or take their chances on the open ocean with the locals. Others simply set up camp for the night in one of the provided shelters, sip on warm berry juice and bury themselves in the elegance of the night sky.

Or maybe, as a traveller, you like island life? We would definitely understand why.

Nestled 15km off the shores of the Jutland peninsula, Samsø, once a Viking meeting place, holds mysteries, myths and local legacies along its shores.

Speckled with churches, beaches, rolling hills and several areas where there is close to absolute zero light pollution, makes this a perfect destination for an incredible milky way jackpot in the pristine night sky. 

If you enjoy astrophotography, this is your place.

 

Top Destination Choices to Mesmerise the Northern Lights


We hope that our dedicated list of Top 7 destinations to experience the Northern Lights in the Nordics has helped you decide which amazing destination you would like to visit. 

At Booknordics.com, we have also placed together the most epic ways to experience the Northern Lights in Norway, Iceland and Finland, giving you a more in-depth choice of the best possible ways to enjoy your winter vacations surrounded by the celestial colours of the sky.

We have an endless list of adventures awaiting you here at Booknordics.com and we cannot wait to hear how thrilled you are with yours.

Happy Nordic Travels!

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