Chasing The Northern Lights
Here is a list of the top destinations around the world for a chance to catch Aurao Boreliais, or the Northern Lights, nature's own dancing light show in person!
The Northern Lights, also known as Arora Borealis, are a naturally occurring, breathtaking light show to witness and should be an experience that makes it onto every traveler’s bucket list. This cosmic show of lights which was previously believed to be the reflections of torches or campfires was dubbed the Goddess of the Dawn before we used science to determine its origin.
Getting its name from it's proximity to the Aurora Oval, the Northern Lights are an atmospheric phenomenon caused by charged particles from the sun colliding with atoms in Earth's upper atmosphere. This event causes tiny flashes of light that show up in the night sky as dancing waves of color. Some might describe it as rippling curtains of light or an eerie glow.
This remarkable occurrence can be best seen in areas of the world that are closest to the Artic Circle where the night skies are the darkest. The most ideal times of the year to view the Northern Lights are between late August and March. There are several destinations around the globe to choose from with multiple options from day tours, and multi-day treks to unique lodging opportunities for personalized viewing. If you’re looking for a vacation that offers the chance to see the most amazing natural light show on the planet, we have a list of the best places below!
There are many areas in Alaska to view the Northern Lights, but Alaskan Cruises are one of the best choices for catching the Northern Lights. Cruises can offer the darkest skies because of the lack of light pollution. Alaska’s Northern Lights season extends into April, but the best time to take an Alaskan cruise is in September, if offered, because nights are longer and their skies are the darkest.
If cruises aren’t your thing, you can get a stellar view during land tours in Fairbanks, Alaska. This is because Fairbanks is located directly under the aurora oval. If you are there between February and March you will get a chance to see ice sculptures at the World Ice Art Championships or take in the land via dog-sledding or snowmobile tours. For an excellent chance to view the awesome Aurora lights you can stay at one of the top glamping resorts, Borealis Basecamp, which is located on 100 acres of the boreal forest about 25 miles from Fairbanks.
Canada has a multitude of tours to help you get an incredible view of the Northern Lights, but in Churchill, Manitoba, CA, you can take in the wildlife, see Polar Bears, and sled dogs, and learn about the culture of Churchill.
Yellowknife is one of the best places in Canada to view the Northern Lights. It is known as the "Aurora Capital of North America” because it is positioned directly in the middle of the auroral oval. The lights can best be seen from November to the beginning of April, but there is a chance you might see them from late summer to early fall. Located on the northern shore of Great Slave Lake, Yellowknife is a place you can also participate in activities like ice fishing and cross-country skiing. In the month of March, they run an event called the Snowking’s Winter Festival where they offer entertainment, a snow-carving competition, ice sliding, and a snow castle.
In Sweden, you will find the weather to be a bit warmer than in Canada or Alaska. In Kiruna, you can experience some R&R at the Artic Bath and Spa. Located in a remote area of northern Sweden you can enjoy their outdoor jacuzzies, get a facial and a massage, or dip in their open-air cold bath and follow it up in a warm sauna. Cabins at the Arctic Bath are perfect for a romantic getaway!
**Real clients of Cirillo Travel Group experiencing the Northern Lights in Iceland!
Get ready for an incredible experience in Iceland. There are many daily tours offered that whisk you right out of the city center of Reykjavík at dusk for a drive out into the remote areas with little to no light pollution for a chance to see the lights dance across the sky. Most of the tour operators we work with have the policy to take you out the next night if the weather or visibility is low to ensure you get to experience the show. There are also great hotels and eco-cabins around the country, prime for daily viewings right from your accommodations!
Tomosø is one of the best places in northern Norway to view the lights. It is located 220 miles above the Arctic Circle and this part of the country is dark from the early afternoon until late morning from the end of September to late March. You can choose to see the Northern Lights on your own while out touring the town or book a guided tour with Northern Lights Safari. You even have the option to take a husky trekking expedition in the Arctic wilderness while you are there.
If you really want to immerse yourself in the artic countryside you can do so by staying at the Kakslauttanen Resort. Here you can watch the Northern Lights from inside the comfort and warmth of your own glass igloo. They have accommodations for parties of two or four. The 2 person igloos offer their own toilet, with showers and saunas inside separate buildings. Imagine staying cozy and having a roof of glass during this amazing light show
Orkney Scotland is a group of islands about 10 miles from Scotland's remote northern coast. It is one of the best places in the country to see the Northern Lights. Fall and winter are the best seasons because that time of year brings the coldest and clearest skies, which are the best combination for ideal viewing conditions. While visiting Orkney, you will take in beautiful coastlines and can learn history dating back 5,000 years in the historic town and capital, Kirkwall. Come for the Northern Lights stay for the whiskey!
If you have always dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights in person, or you have decided to add them to your bucket list, Cirillo Travel Group can help you plan the trip of a lifetime! Submit a travel request form HERE to get the conversation started!
Let us plan all the details at no additional cost to you!