The amazing phenomenon and magical light show of the Northern Lights, also called the “Aurora Borealis,” is a breathtaking and majestic artistic display. Words cannot explain its mystical allure or the range of its beauty.
The Lights happen when atmospheric gases collide with solar particles and a neon light show occurs that can last for minutes or for days. They are the most genuinely viable especially in Northern Scandinavia in the “Aurora Zone,” an area of 2,000 to 3,000 kilometers from the magnetic pole at a latitude of 66 to 69 degrees north.
You need to be in the Auroral band, but far removed from any light pollution, such as artificial light in large cities and ski resorts that can dull the Aurora. Preferred are dark and cold nights with clear skies and in winter because of the extended hours of darkness.
Some of the prime places to see those gorgeous Northern Lights are:
Alaska is one of the best places in the United States for spotting the Aurora, and Fairbanks is especially recommended. It has the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, which issues Aurora viewing forecasts.
Some of the world’s greatest hotspots are in the Northwest Territories and in the Yukon. In Yellowknife, there are one-day to five-day aurora tours, and the Yukon offers one-day and four-day tours.
Finland’s low density of human population, with reindeer more common than people, makes the exquisite lakes and forests virtually free of light pollution. One recommendation is visiting the small village of Luosto, or staying in a glass igloo in Kakslauttanen.
All of Iceland is included, and you can also explore hot springs, majestic waterfalls, ice caves, glacier walks and volcanic landscape. The Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon on the southeast coast is an iceberg-filled lagoon that reflects the lights.
Especially recommended is Nappstinden. The whole country is something special to see with fjords, fishing villages with vibrantly colored buildings, whale watching, reindeer sledding and more.
The effects of the Gulf Stream in Lapland make the temperatures milder in comparison to other popular aurora regions.
With a large part of Russia within the Arctic Circle, it is a gold mine for spotting the Aurora. Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula is a prime location. December and January are optimal in some northern areas because of the complete absence of sun for six weeks.
Nuuk is far less traveled because there are no roads, and boats and planes are the primary transports. It is a good place to see icebergs, glaciers, and go snowmobiling, dog sledding, and snowshoeing.
Schedule enough time to spot the majestic Northern Lights because they do not appear every night. However, they are a must-see experience and are well worth waiting for.