The chance to glimpse the Northern Lights is a staple on many travellers’ bucket lists. The dance of lights across a night sky is a once in a lifetime sight that can never be forgotten. Here’s a rundown of some of the best spots to view this incredible natural phenomenon.
As the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik is one of the most affordable and accessible places to witness the Northern Lights. One of the best spots to try your luck? Relaxing in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa with a front row seat to the skies above.
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
Leave the city lights behind and opt for the quiet, wide open plains of Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park. It’s just 40 kilometres northeast of Reykjavik so can be done in an easy overnight trip. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is where the North American and Eurasian continental plates meet and holds significant cultural value.
If you like the sound of some unique accommodation to go with the show, Jukkasjarvi is home to the country’s first ice hotel. It’s also popular for its night flight Northern Lights tours for an airborne viewing experience that puts a whole new spin on the experience. The Esrange Space Center is the perfect backup plan to admire the starry night skies should the lights not come out to play.
It’s only a small village but it has a big reputation for the Northern Lights. With just a small marina and a few stores, Nellim offers an isolated location that is culturally authentic, peaceful and has minimal light pollution so can get the clearest possible view of the Aurora.
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Tromso in the Lofoten Islands flaunts a spectacular location above the Arctic Circle that makes it a standout viewing point for the Northern Lights. It is perched between fjords, mountain peaks and islands and is also a cruise port, so so you could even glimpse the lights from the deck on a cruise if you’re lucky.
In Greenland the Northern Lights are known as ‘Arsarnerit’, which means ‘those playing ball’. Old Inuit myths tell a story where the dance of lights are the souls of the dead playing ball with walrus skulls. Kangerlussuaq is a prime spot to see it, a small town in western Greenland that’s perched right in the centre of the northern lights belt. It’s also conveniently where many travellers arrive into the country.
It is possible to see the aurora in Northern Russia if you’re willing to brave an icy Siberian winter to see it. The Kola Peninsula is an ideal spot in the Northern Lights zone – mostly located beyond the Arctic Circle – where the lights can be seen up to 200 times a year. Lake Lovozero is a treasured spot.
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