It doesn’t matter how much you’ve heard about them or how many photos you’ve seen, one glimpse of the Northern lights and your jaw will be on the floor. The dancing colours across a pitch black sky isn’t the sort of thing you’ll be able to keep your cool about. How you see them and where you see them will only enhance the experience.
Try one (or all ) of these incredible destinations for a glimpse of one of nature’s most impressive shows.
You might catch a glimpse from Reykjakik but as it is in most places, the best way to see the famed Aurora Borealis will be from areas away from city lights. From the valley of the UNESCO World Heritage Pinvellir National Park the views are breathtaking – skies so dark that the colours pop. Increase your odds by taking to the waters. On a cruise tour you’ll be able to stay warm and wait in comfort while your crew uses tracking equipment to find the perfect spot. Once the show starts however you’ll do best to head outside to take it in. The sound is as much a part of the show as the lights.
When you’re not tracking lights: Don’t miss the Blue Lagoon.
Canada has its own spectacular views of the Aurora Borealis to share. You can sometimes catch views from the provinces but the territories offer the most reliable sightings. Head to Yellowknife ( or Whitehorse to its east ) where operators and guides know where to see the best show and have set up viewing stations to help you make the most of your waiting hours. Expect to be up late into the night for the best views but the show will be well worth the wait.
When you’re not tracking lights: Explore the fishing lodges and wilderness trails in the area.
Sweden offers a unique opportunity to take in the Northern Lights. Head for Abisko National Park where a unique phenomenon creates the famous “blue hole of Absiko.” The area of the sky high above Tornetrask Lake is clear regardless of the weather patterns around it making it an ideal spot – surrounded by the snow and ice – in which to glimpse the dancing lights.
When you’re not tracking lights: Explore the remote area by snowmobile and develop an appreciation for the beauty of the ice.
The northern Norwegian city of Tromso – 350km north of the Arctic Circle – is a dream spot for sky-watchers. The combination of midnight sun and northern lights makes it well worth the trek to the “gateway of the Arctic” Come between September and March for the best views of the Aurora Borealis.
When not Tracking the Lights: Explore the lively and colourful city of Tromso and keep warm inside the museums and art galleries in the city. Both the Tromso Contemporary Art Gallery and the Art Musuem of Northern Norway are worth a visit.