Where to See the Northern Lights

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Written by
Kate Herz

Published on: November 2nd, 2018

Last modified: July 28th, 2023

Seeing the northern lights is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will stay with you forever. Also known as the aurora borealis, this natural phenomenon occurs when electrically charged particles collide in the atmosphere – creating astonishing waves of colourful light.

Experiencing this otherworldly wonder in person requires careful planning when it comes to location and timing. Luckily, our travel designers know exactly how to set up the perfect trip to optimise your chances. We also work with fantastic local partners and guides who are experts in pinpointing the best times, places and conditions to see the most stunning skies.

Leave the planning to us, and prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure in search of the northern lights.

1. Norwegian Lapland

Located above the Arctic Circle, Norwegian Lapland is undoubtedly the best place to see the northern lights in Norway. The best time to visit is from October to March, when nights are long and exceptionally dark. The lack of development here means light pollution is low, further increasing your chances of spotting the greenish glow. 


This sweeping region is one of the most remote and beautiful destinations in Scandinavia, offering all kinds of activities to add to your trip. You can explore the stunning winter wilderness on foot, snowmobile or even dog sled.

Norway’s Lofoten Islands are also a great place to see the northern lights, with a unique coastal atmosphere that makes the experience all the more magical. And if you’re looking for a more urban feel, make the vibrant city of Tromsø your home base – it’s known as ‘the Arctic capital’.


Where to stay in Norwegian Lapland

2. Swedish Lapland

Swedish Lapland is gorgeous all year round, but the best time to visit for a glimpse of the aurora borealis is from November to February. The charming town of Abisko boasts unusually clear weather, making sightings even more likely.  

This northern region of Sweden offers a unique variety of ways to see the northern lights, whether on a snowmobile safari or while snowshoeing through the frosty landscape. You can also take a photography tour, go in search of reindeer and meet the local Sámi people. 


One of our favourite places to stay here is Treehotel, composed of seven exquisitely modern treehouses with privileged views of the surroundings. It offers all kinds of unique experiences, from relaxing at a spa in the middle of the forest to enjoying dinner atop a frozen lake.

Where to stay in Swedish Lapland

3. Northern Iceland

Known as the world capital of the aurora borealis, Iceland is definitely one of the best places on earth to see the northern lights. We suggest visiting from December to March and heading to Northern Iceland, where the nights are longer and the skies tend to be clearer.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is a particularly great place to go, with a wonderfully varied landscape that you can even explore by boat.


Stay at Deplar Farm for a luxuriously remote experience, or Torfhús Retreat for a cosy escape in close proximity to the Golden Circle.

Although we love the capital city of Reykjavik, it’s not the best option for spotting the northern lights in Iceland due to its relatively high population density and light pollution. That said, there are still plenty of things to do here, whether you’re into art and culture or nightlife and cuisine.

Where to stay in Northern Iceland

4. Finnish Lapland

Finland is a truly unique destination with a wide variety of natural and cultural claims to fame. The best place in the country to see the northern lights is Finnish Lapland, a delightfully unspoiled wonderland where the skies are often illuminated during long winter nights.

Finnish Lapland offers some especially fun experiences for families. You can visit the Lainio Snow Village, meet Father Christmas and get acquainted with friendly reindeer. Spend your days living out a real-life fairytale and your nights gazing up at the glowing heavens.


We highly recommend a stay at Octola, a haven of secluded luxury designed according to local architectural traditions. Here you can explore the natural paradise around you, relax in the sauna and jacuzzi, or taste impeccable Nordic cuisine made with locally sourced products.

Where to stay in Finnish Lapland

5. Ilulissat, Greenland

Greenland may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of the northern lights, and in fact it’s a relatively undiscovered destination. If you ask us, that only makes it more tempting. Visit in the depths of winter to maximise your chances of seeing the dreamy midnight landscape lit up from above, aim for the end of September to the middle of April.

This is a place for brave explorers in search of dramatic landscapes and life-changing experiences. Greenland abounds with outdoor adventures, from fishing and kayaking to mountain biking and hiking through its deserts, pastures and glacial coastlines. 

The city of Ilulissat sits on the shore of an iceberg-filled bay, making it a particularly scenic place to see the aurora borealis. It’s also the ideal point of departure for nature excursions and trips to ancient Inuit cultural sites. At the Hotel Arctic, you can even live out the fantasy of sleeping in an actual igloo – with some luxurious upgrades, of course.

Feeling inspired? Our expert travel designers are always on hand to give you advice on where to see the northern lights.