Are you looking for the best Scandinavia northern lights destinations? This guide showcases the best destinations in Scandinavia to see the northern lights – let us know your favorite places to see them!
Wonderful and inspiring, Scandinavia is one of the most amazing travel destinations, capturing the hearts and minds of travel enthusiasts from all over the globe.
Pretty much everyone who feels the passion to explore the world has the remarkable region at the top of their bucket list – and rightly so! After all, hard to think of a person who doesn’t find the visions of majestic fjords, dramatic coastal sceneries, and, of course, the marvelous phenomenon of the northern lights at least slightly appealing.
But what are the best places to go hunting the aurora borealis? Clearly, not every destination will do if this particular activity is a part of your holiday program.
To help you plan your Scandinavia itinerary, we’ve prepared a list of the top places in the Nordics, promising quite a good chance of catching the elusive aurora.
Top Scandinavia Northern Lights Destinations
Probably, the most popular choice on the list, as this beautiful city is a part of most Northern Lights vacation packages available on the market today.
The town hosts the annual Northern Lights Festival, so travel companies know what they are doing! The city prides itself on relatively stable and comfortable weather, so if you stay in Tromso for a few days sometime between October and March (and make sure to follow our tips for a successful hunt), you are almost guaranteed to see the magic happen.
And the city is a lovely place to explore, housing the Polar Museum, Arctic Cathedral, and Fjellheisen, just to name a few of its amazing sights.
But there is also an obvious drawback – Tromso is crowded with tourists, so you need to plan far in advance if you want to book a downtown hotel and be prepared for quite a pricey stay.
Lofoten Islands, Norway
A highlight of any Norway trip and one of the most spectacular places on Earth, the Lofoten Islands, are less known as a great place to look for the northern lights, and that’s a good thing.
When a destination is spoiled with tourists, all experiences become a tiny bit suitable-for-all. Standardized of sorts – they lose a personal touch.
And that’s where the Lofoten Islands triumph over Tromso, as hunting the other-worldly phenomenon there feels like a much more special occasion than in the “number-one” city.
The unstable weather in the region actually is an advantage despite what it might seem at first. On the one hand, it makes it hard to plan a hunt in advance.
But on the other, it brings a wonderful element of spontaneity. On the night when the stars align just right, or the KP index is in your favor (whatever you prefer to rely on in this case), you are welcome to try your luck and join one of the hunting trips when you hop on a van and just drive around until you find what you are looking for.
Norway offers a lot of great places for northern lights hunting. After all, it’s one of the country’s calling cards. But a very few are as special as Svalbard, one of the northernmost inhabited places on the planet.
Basking in complete darkness for over 84 days a year, the archipelago is a perfect setting for enjoying the varicolored natural wonder. Just imagine: standing in the middle of vast land with the moon and the countless stars to keep you company and admiring the magical polar lights dancing above your head. Sounds pretty great, right?
Well, all is possible on Svalbard. But please note that seeking the aurora away from the settlements is allowed only with a tour due to safety reasons (polar bears are a real threat in the area), but it hardly lessens the experience in any way.
Plus, Svalbard is the only place on the list where you can see the northern lights at any time of the day, so there is no need to stay up till 3 am to enjoy the one-of-a-kind show.
Although Norway is the most popular choice for northern lights seeking, it’s not the only country in Scandinavia that offers to enjoy this incredible activity.
Finland, for example, has some remarkable options, and one of the most magical ones is dreamy Rovaniemi. The city is an embodiment of the Christmas spirit where everything is meant to fill you with joy and wonder.
Taking a Helsinki to Rovaniemi train called Santa Claus express, meeting Father Christmas himself, and enjoying a masterclass at Mrs. Gingerbread’s Bakery will make anyone’s inner child giddy.
But Santa Claus Village is not the only reason why the lovely town should be on your travel agenda. Rovaniemi also offers a unique opportunity to admire the stunning polar lights during a reindeer safari! How cool is that?
The aurora borealis season in the area starts as early as the end of August and lasts till the beginning of April. But remember that the destination tends to be really crowded in winter.
Traveling in the middle of autumn or the beginning of spring is the best option for northern light hunting, as this way you can avoid the peak of a tourist season and enjoy the experience when it’s not that freezing outside.
Abisko Sky Station, Sweden
Another remarkable place to admire the magical views is nestled in Sweden, very high in the mountains. Set in the heart of the Swedish Lapland region, Abisko Sky Station boasts the best possible location for aurora hunting.
Prevailing winds specific to the region guarantee clear skies almost 100% of the time, while a location far in the mountains eliminates light pollution of any kind, so the chances of catching the desired panoramas at the station are incredibly high.
But there is a price to pay for such a wonderfully distant location – the station might be closed on very short notice because of safety reasons.
The Abisko Sky Station was designed to provide the best possible northern light experience. You can choose to grit the stunning spectacle outside or admire the lights through the huge observation window, basking in the warmth of a fireplace.
Or you can order a four-course dinner at the station’s cozy restaurant and make the evening even more romantic. And, if lady luck is not on your side and you won’t be able to enjoy the breathtaking aurora, the station will offer an alternative program for the evening.
Fortunately, this substitute is rarely needed and most voyagers find what they are looking for. And hardly any replacement can be sufficient here anyway, there is just nothing that can match the feeling of awe you get when you admire the breathtaking phenomenon.
Of course, hunting for northern lights is not as easy as most people tend to think. Even when everything is in your favor and all the signs indicate that tonight is the night, the miracle might still not happen.
But choosing the right location and following the basic rules of aurora seeking help to increase your chances significantly. And don’t get upset if you don’t succeed on the first night – fortune favors not just the bold but also the patient.
What are your favorite destinations in Scandinavia for the northern lights? Let us know in the comments!
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