Chasing the dancing sky. Where to catch the northern lights?
Journeys | 22.01.2020
Many travelers have a list of things that they want to try or see during the trip. To dive, to try surfing, to go on a safari and… to chase the northern lights. Even those who like to relax in warm places are ready to put on a thick jacket and a warm hat, go north and have patience to see the sky dancing. We'll tell you where to go for the northern lights.
Lapland, Finland
It is difficult to imagine a more winter (in the most fabulous sense) place than the north of Finland. Giant snowy firs, deers, the residence of Santa Claus and many places to view the northern lights.

The area of Finnish Lapland is more than 90,000 m², so the choice is large. It is better to watch the lights in a park where there will be no light from roads or nearby settlements. You can, for example, climb the Riisitunturi Mountain in the dark or head north to look at the sky through the snowy firs in Ylläs Park.
Khibiny, Russia
Khibiny are plateau mountains on the Kola Peninsula. There are no peaks (the highest point is 1,200 m), but the surroundings are interesting in the landscape. The polar regions have an ascetic nature, and in winter everything becomes very minimalistic, just for chasing the northern lights.

You can watch the sky here from October to April, you can go on a tour with the locals, where they'll show the best places. Most often these are the surroundings of the cities of Kirovsk or Apatity.
Lofoten Islands, Norway
For an epic picture, you should go to the northwest coast of Norway. The Lofoten archipelago in the North Sea is known for auroras, fishing, and more recently, social media photos. Landscapes with sharp mountain peaks and huddling red and yellow houses below became the love of travelers.

You can watch the northern lights here on beautiful beaches with mountain views (for example, Flakstad beach) or even go on an easy walk to see the northern lights away from the light of road cars or fishing villages. In Lofoten, everything is in relative proximity to each other, strong flares of lights can be seen even near a small settlement, like the village of Nusfjord. In winter, the islands are not cold due to the proximity of the Gulf Stream.
Yukon, Canada
Yukon is one of two territories in northern Canada beyond the Arctic Circle. This is the place of origin of Native Canadians: Indians and Eskimos (Inuit). The Yukon is sparsely populated due to the Arctic climate, so you will not meet many people and even tourists there, the air is clean, nature is untouched and it is even more interesting to observe the northern lights here.

You can catch the lights right next to the capital of the Yukon – Whitehorse. This is a small town with a population of just over 23 thousand people. By the way, this is a largest part of the population of the territory. You can also go to the Kluane National Park, which is 150 kilometers from the city and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of wildlife.
Alaska, USA
Bordering the Canadian Yukon, American Alaska is home to 17 national parks, the largest US state with the lowest population. Incredible expanses, mountain peaks and harsh nature from adventure films.

Alaska is very large, it is 1,717,854 km² of beauty and it is difficult to guess where the lights will appear. Therefore, it is better to go on a trip around the state and constantly monitor the situation in the sky. Thus the chances are much greater. Almost any famous national park is suitable for observation. For example, Denali. It is also worth a trip to the town of North Pole directly to the sign that leads to the Arctic Circle.
Iceland
Iceland combines all that is impressive in nature: waterfalls, canyons, geysers, volcanoes, glaciers as well as the northern lights. Depending on the flare, the island has a choice of dozens of different landscapes. For example, you can see the lights over the Godafoss waterfall or (if you're lucky) look at the sky shimmering in different colors near the popular peak Kirkjufell. Iceland in the winter is a completely different experience, when the already impressive views become even more severe, and there are much less people at popular locations, if you meet anyone at all.
Kiruna, Sweden
Among the countries of Northern Europe it is not necessary to go to 30 degree frosts of Lapland or to walk along the mountains of Norway. The northern lights can be seen in calm Sweden.

Popular spots for observing the radiance are located near the northernmost city of Sweden – Kiruna. They glorify the cold here and even built an ice hotel. But travelers often only take tours from here to go chasing the "fox tails". Many go further from the city to Abisko Park, where there is the Northern Lights Observation Center located at an altitude of 900 meters above sea level. Also in Sweden, you can observe the sky from a height in the Björkliden ski resort overlooking the Lapporten valley.
Orkney Islands, Scotland
It is unlikely that you ever thought of Scotland if you planned to see the northern lights. Of the 70 Orkney islands, only 17 are inhabited, so these places are also wild and not so popular among travelers compared to winter Finland. But the archipelago still has a connection with Scandinavia. Orkney Islands were the main base of the Vikings, from where they raided Scotland, England and Ireland. Here the Yarls ruled, sacrifices were made, and the islands did not know independence while there were invaders from the north.

In winter, the days here are short and with a strong flash in the sun you can see the northern lights above the steep cliffs at the border of the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. Some hills are so shaped as if nature designed them to observe the sky. If you want to see a romantic seascape, we advise you to go catch the shine to the Noup Head lighthouse. But be careful at the cliffs, the Orkney Islands are called the land of incessant winds.

Tips

  • Northern lights are only partially related to temperatures. The main thing to keep track of is the activity of the sun. There are many applications for this, from simple to the most detailed with graphs and a sky map. Everyone chooses for himself. If you enter Aurora or Northern Lights in the search line, you will quickly find options.
  • The light of cities and roads may interfere greatly. Therefore, even if popular observation points are conditionally located in settlements, always try to go away from the light.
  • Clear sky is your friend. In overcast, you will not even understand that the flare appeared. But you should not be afraid of light rare clouds, they will not interfere with a strong flare.
  • Sometimes you really have to chase the northern lights. Somewhere there may be a good flash, but somewhere else at that moment there will be a light show. The main thing is not to get overwhelmed. Otherwise, you can skip everything in search of the perfect moment.
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