Where Should I Travel To See The Northern Lights?

Where Should I Travel To See The Northern Lights?

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I think it’s time that I finally make a plan to see the Northern Lights, I’m just not sure the best way to go about it. My indecision often gets the best of me, and causes me to just put off ideas like this. Fortunately OMAAT readers collectively know just about everything, so I’d love some feedback on this.

I’ve never seen the Northern Lights

I’ve traveled millions of miles and have visited many countries, but I’ve never seen the Northern Lights in my 15+ years of heavy travel. I haven’t even seen the Northern Lights on a northerly transatlantic flight in winter. I did almost see them in Whitehorse, but couldn’t quite get it together.

Now, in fairness, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised I haven’t seen them. I have a tendency to travel to warmer climates and am solar powered, which probably partly explains why I haven’t had much luck with this. Still, I’m absolutely fascinated by the Northern Lights, and I think I need to come up with a plan to see them in early 2022.

The challenge with planning a Northern Lights trip

There are obviously lots of places you can travel to that give you the opportunity to potentially see the Northern Lights. But there are also some challenges with that:

  • The best time to predict when you’ll see the Northern Lights is last minute, but the issue is that most of the best viewing spots are pretty remote, especially for someone in Florida
  • No matter how well you plan your trip, there’s no guarantee that you’ll see the Northern Lights, so it can be tough to decide how long of a trip to plan — the longer you stay the better your odds, but at the same time if you don’t see the Northern Lights you’ll probably be pretty bummed
  • I suppose the best hybrid approach would be to travel to a city that’s far north that you’ve been wanting to visit anyway, and hope that conditions are good and that you can get out of the city; but at the same time that also doesn’t give you the best odds for seeing the Northern Lights

What’s the best place to see the Northern Lights?

I’m hoping to plan a Northern Lights trip for March 2022, give or take. It seems March is one of the best times to see the Northern Lights, and it also has the benefit of being a bit less cold and dark in many far north places than January, for example. It also works better with my current schedule.

I know there are plenty of places you can go to see the Northern Lights, from Alaska, to Arctic Canada, to Iceland, to the Faroe Islands, to Finland, to Norway. I’d love to hear some more specific recommendations from OMAAT readers about where to go, though:

  • If you’ve done a Northern Lights trip, where did you go, how long did you go far, and how often did you see the Northern Lights?
  • What’s the best place for seeing the Northern Lights that has other things to offer as well, ranging from outdoor activities, to a really cool hotel?

A few initial thoughts:

  • I’ve been wanting to return to Iceland, so perhaps this is a good opportunity to do so; I imagine I’d want to go somewhere far north in Iceland to maximize odds of seeing the Northern Lights, though, so does anyone have a place there they recommend? Or is it realistic to see the Northern Lights in places not too far from Reykjavik?
  • I’ve been wanting to travel to the Canadian Arctic (the airline situation up there is fascinating), though is there anywhere up there that’s best for seeing the Northern Lights?
  • I’m totally open to Finland and Norway, and know there are even several hotels there catering specifically to Northern Lights, many with rooms that have glass domes
  • While the whole concept of ice hotels does fascinate me, I struggle with the cold, so go easy on me please with those kinds of recommendations 😉

So yeah, long story short I’m very receptive to ideas here. If you’ve taken a trip to see the Northern Lights, I’d love to learn — would you do it again, or what would you do differently?

Bottom line

I know many people are fascinated by the Northern Lights, yet somehow in all of my travels I’ve never been able to see them. I think it’s time to change that, so I’d love some tips. I think I should have time in March to plan a trip like this (if that’s not too late in the season), I just need to figure out what gives me the best odds, and what destination offers the best experience otherwise in terms of activities, accommodation, etc.

Have you ever planned a trip to see the Northern Lights, and if so, what was your experience like?

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  1. Jared Guest

    Places I lead excursion to each year to see the Northern Lights. Expeditions away from habitation do require training and the ability to carry your essentials.

    1. Deep Arctic from Alert, CA.
    2. Iceland (near Akyureri)
    3. Barrow, AK
    4. Finland, MN
    5. Lapland, FI
    6. Norilsk, RU

    On the other hand, you can also travel south right now to see the beautiful (and perhaps even more spectacular) Aurora Australis!

    1. Melissa Willson Guest

      Hi Jared, I have brain injury from a car accident and I have many disabilities. I am wanting to definitely see Iceland, Finland, Norway, (maybe Lapland, not sure) I know that it really depends on the moon phases (full moon is the best) would be the best times to go. I have been looking at a few different tour companies, think I have found a very good one. Want to talk to me more, email me [email protected]

  2. Alex N Guest

    My wife and I had a great experience in Tromsø - we only stayed two nights in October and spent one on a lights tour with Wandering Owl. They provided thermal gear, the guide was excellent and we got a great show from two different locations, then had a fire and ate reindeer stew. It was an incredibly memorable experience.

  3. Lonnie Donath Guest

    Hello, I just wanted to comment with my experience. I too have always wanted to see the northern lights and just so happened to see them on my first try recently. My wife and I took a trip to Fairbanks Alaska about a month ago and stayed in Chena hot springs resort for 4 nights. We saw them two out of the 4 nights we were there, even though it was cloudy on the second night, we still saw them.

  4. O.K. Guest

    Been to Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Northern Canada to see the lights. My personal ranking is in that order: Finland > Norway > Iceland > Canada. I had the best overall time in Finland... amazing lights, relatively temperate winters, nice nature activities to do during the day. I loved Norway culturally but not as good for the lights unless you go to the northern tip. Iceland has beautiful nature but also not as good as...

    Been to Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Northern Canada to see the lights. My personal ranking is in that order: Finland > Norway > Iceland > Canada. I had the best overall time in Finland... amazing lights, relatively temperate winters, nice nature activities to do during the day. I loved Norway culturally but not as good for the lights unless you go to the northern tip. Iceland has beautiful nature but also not as good as Finland for the lights. Northern Canada was freezing (-40 degrees) and there was nothing interesting to do during the day... just not worth it.

  5. Tomm fjellberg Guest

    Come to Norway.;Tromso or Alta is an excellent place,go on a husky ride,or a whale safari ,but we saw the Northeren ligths here in oslo as well only last week.
    Or do the Hurtigruten or Havila (BRAND NEW SHIPS)from Bodø to Tromso or even northcape ;
    In Hammerfest ; a brand new all suites Turistua just opened ....

  6. Nathan Guest

    Thompson, MB lived in Ontario for 18 years saw them once as a kid but in Thompson I'd see them 3 4 times a week

  7. Eli Casper Guest

    https://www.gi.alaska.edu/monitors/aurora-forecast

  8. Melanie Varrone Guest

    Winters in upstate New York can be a good place as well. I've seen them many times there. Some spectacular, some not so much. I grew up there so was lucky to see them as much I did.

    1. gabriel Guest

      awesome. didnt know we can see northenlights here in New York. where in upstate can I got to see them?

  9. Eli M Andersen Guest

    Go to Tromsø in North Norwsy, you will see the most beautiful Northern light that you ever will ser.
    Good Luck.
    This is from a Norwegian, from Bergenz and now living in Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean.
    Good Luck,
    Ms. Eli M. Andersen

  10. Sanjay Guest

    Your best bet is Tromso, Norway. You're almost guaranteed to see the lights in a really spectacular way because of the unique geographic conditions. It's also a cute town to spend some time in.

  11. Jacob Mochel Guest

    Currently in Inari, Finland (Lapland region) we were blessed with clear skies NYE but didn’t have enough magic to get much Aurora. Like before comments you’ve got to manage the moon and hope for a lot of atmospheric energy in space… We got super lucky last night with the skies clearing after a dusting of snow and saw kp3 level auroras. Unless you really want to be in negative degrees and experience the ice hotels..I’d...

    Currently in Inari, Finland (Lapland region) we were blessed with clear skies NYE but didn’t have enough magic to get much Aurora. Like before comments you’ve got to manage the moon and hope for a lot of atmospheric energy in space… We got super lucky last night with the skies clearing after a dusting of snow and saw kp3 level auroras. Unless you really want to be in negative degrees and experience the ice hotels..I’d plan for mid fall to enjoy more outdoor activities as well as high levels of space energy for color.

  12. Jonathan Ozol Guest

    Fairbanks AK in the fall. Stay at the kitschy Pikes Lodge and check out the Aurora forecast. Go to Chena hot springs for one day and Denali another. Incredible

  13. Richard Lynch Guest

    Having lived in Fort McMurray Alberta for over twenty years the northern lights can be very spectacular there. They used to have a thriving tour group for the lights but I haven't lived there for six years so you would have to google to see what is available due to covid.

  14. Robert Member

    The best place to see them is on the upper deck of a 747

    Was woken up by a FA on a SFO-FRA flight last September and was able to see them from my window. Unforgettable

  15. Vun Guest

    Tromso or Alta in Norway.
    Kiruna in Sweden

  16. Ferdinand Magellan Guest

    (1) Svalbard, in Norway, flying through Oslo and Bergen. Basically guaranteed, if you go this time of the year, as long as the skies are ever clear.
    (2) Iceland, but only in November, December or January.
    And, most importantly:
    (a) pick a time of the month when the moon isn't out much.
    (b) check the local weather forecast; if it's overcast or raining, you'll see nothing.
    (c) check for sunspot...

    (1) Svalbard, in Norway, flying through Oslo and Bergen. Basically guaranteed, if you go this time of the year, as long as the skies are ever clear.
    (2) Iceland, but only in November, December or January.
    And, most importantly:
    (a) pick a time of the month when the moon isn't out much.
    (b) check the local weather forecast; if it's overcast or raining, you'll see nothing.
    (c) check for sunspot activity a month earlier, which is a very reliable indicator, subject to weather and moonlight.
    The best strategy is to book no more than a week ahead, so you can check all this out beforehand.

  17. Scott Guest

    I recommend Finland. Spend a few days in Helsinki then fly up to Rovaniemi next to the Arctic Circle. Great hotels, nature spots and multiple tour options to see The Northern Lights. You can see them from a cabin in the woods, a journey on your own or even by wearing a warm wetsuit and floating on your back in a lake.

  18. Ben Guest

    I live in Norway and frequency see them in Tromsø. It's got a less cloudy climate than Iceland, and in my opinion has more to offer. I'd say taking the Hurtigruten to Lofoten or North Cape is a good bet, lots of dark skies and fun activities. For example husky or reindeer sledding, cross country skiing (Tromso has many prepared trails) etc. The floating sauna in Tromso (pust) is also a fun activity the locals...

    I live in Norway and frequency see them in Tromsø. It's got a less cloudy climate than Iceland, and in my opinion has more to offer. I'd say taking the Hurtigruten to Lofoten or North Cape is a good bet, lots of dark skies and fun activities. For example husky or reindeer sledding, cross country skiing (Tromso has many prepared trails) etc. The floating sauna in Tromso (pust) is also a fun activity the locals enjoy. Tromsø also has connections to London or Frankfurt.

  19. James S Guest

    I watched a YouTube video about an overnight train in Finland with some cool bedrooms to see them. Good review opportunity

  20. Fly eagles fly. Guest

    I just booked a trip to ivalo, Finland to try and experience the lights, vodka,snow, deer meats and darkness. Flying Lufthansa Saturday service non stop A319 fra-Ivl on lifemiles. Boo yah. I will be heavily in awe looking up in the sky.

    Anyone in ivalo, I’m happy to meet up. Just look for the intoxicated Philadelphia Eagles fan. Go birds. Dallas stinks.

    1. Jacob Mochel Guest

      BYOB, current restrictions have the bars and all restaurants closing booze sales at 5pm. Jan 3 new guidelines come out

  21. VICTORIA M Guest

    MY BUCKET LIST AS WELL….TRAVELED AROUND THE WORLD AND HAVE NEVER SEEN THEM….I WAS HOPING FOR A GEODESIC DOME IN FINLAND….FAR NORTH…AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO FREEZE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT!!!!

    1. Chloe Guest

      Can the person that wrote about the train tour tell more that sound very exciting to me. I would love to know more about that.

  22. Ron Roberts Guest

    If you would like to see some our photos, just ask.

  23. Ron Roberts Guest

    We went to Tromso Norway in December of 2017. We stayed at the Raddison Blu hotel. We did not book the northern lights excursion until 2 days before we went. We went with arctic Explorers. We saw the green, purple, lights dance directly over heads. They were visible to the naked eye. Absolutely stunning.

  24. Thrawn Guest

    We just came back yesterday from Tromso, Norway where we saw the lights at 3 days of our 4 days trip.
    First day they were even in Tromso but we were too tired to go outside of the city. Second day we had a tour to a camp and we saw amazing lights a lot that night.
    Third day we had a car and just drove around and saw them several times.
    4th day it was too cloudy :/

    Can absolutely recommend the capital of northerm lights ;-)

  25. Julene Guest

    I had the best views in Tromso, Norway. I stayed 3 nights and saw the lights twice.

    1. George Sherwood Guest

      Yellowknife, NwT, or Iceland. Plenty to see in Iceland. Recommend Hotel Ranga in Hella. They will call your room when the show starts.

  26. Thomas Sills Guest

    In the Northern Hemisphere the best time is autumn equinox (between Sept. 21 and 24).

    Schedule more than one night in case of overcast, or just bad luck.

  27. Thomas & Tryna Sills Guest

    Yes, schedule when the moon will interfere least. And equinoxes are the best time.

  28. Thomas Sills Guest

    In Bettles, Alaska, a young first nations girl from the village nearby taught my wife a lot, including to identify tracks in the snow. They visited often each of our 4 days. But don't expect this. The young lady completely avoided everyone except my wife.

  29. Thomas & Tryna Sills Guest

    We went to Bettles Alaska. It was a great choice. Stayed 4 nights in case of overcast, but saw wonderful lights every night horizon to horizon. Dramatic. Magnificent. Unique. Tiny village. No light pollution. One inn: Bettles Lodge. Few visitors, and all there for the same purpose. Learn about the lights and photographing them. Research ahead and bring the right photo equipment. No crowds. North of the arctic circle about 40 miles, which is under...

    We went to Bettles Alaska. It was a great choice. Stayed 4 nights in case of overcast, but saw wonderful lights every night horizon to horizon. Dramatic. Magnificent. Unique. Tiny village. No light pollution. One inn: Bettles Lodge. Few visitors, and all there for the same purpose. Learn about the lights and photographing them. Research ahead and bring the right photo equipment. No crowds. North of the arctic circle about 40 miles, which is under the middle of the aurora 'donut'. Far inland, so less weather interference. No other settlements for many miles. Prepare for cold. We saw -36 F in daytime in March. But there's no liquid water there then to prepare for. . Try to ride the ice road. Do dog mushing in wilderness. Take an airplane ride over the mountains.

  30. Ian Guest

    We have done three Norway Coastal Voyage round trips with Hurtigruten in late September, February and March over a six year period. We were lucky seeing the lights on a number of nights, even when south of the artic circle Great ships and customer service

    1. Janet Guest

      We did a Hurtigruten coastal cruise in December a few years ago and saw the lights twice.

  31. Stephanie COLE Guest

    I've seen them twice in Western Greenland on an Adventure Canada expedition. You have to be above 61°North I think. I can heartily recommend Adcenture Canada trips. You need to go after the autumnal equinox when things are getting darker. I saw them at Whitehorse by chance in late Sept 2019 but not much luck out of Fairbanks shortly afterwards even on an aurora chasing trip! Be prepared to see white lights as well as...

    I've seen them twice in Western Greenland on an Adventure Canada expedition. You have to be above 61°North I think. I can heartily recommend Adcenture Canada trips. You need to go after the autumnal equinox when things are getting darker. I saw them at Whitehorse by chance in late Sept 2019 but not much luck out of Fairbanks shortly afterwards even on an aurora chasing trip! Be prepared to see white lights as well as green lights and for them to be unexpected. The best lights I saw were photo murals in the Fairbanks hotel! It seems that March is likely to be more reliable for lights. Iceland sounds great and perhaps Norway going on the Hurtigruten along the coast & fjords. There are also southern lights which you can catch in Australia or southern New Zealand. I believe that you can see them around Winnipeg and down into Minnesota. I still dream about my delayed Norway/Sweden trip! Be aware that you have to have clear nights to see the lights as storms or cloud will block them out. Lots of interesting lights watching channels on YouTube at present. Good luck

  32. Heikki Heinonen Guest

    Ben,

    thanks of your blog.

    As being a Finn, I would try Lapland. In Finland, there are numerous hotels, which provide nice cubes to watch from room. I personally see it as "be outside and experience the darkness and enjoy the solid -20 Celsius (-4F or so). Being born near of EFRV. I watched Northen Lights (in finnish "revontulet") every winter at home.

  33. Richmond_Surrey Guest

    My favourite place is Fairbanks. I usually go to Cleary Summit of Steesy Hwy. Or sometimes watch it from my accomodation, if it's in good location.

    Tromso area is good too. Had the best shots in Meistervik area, near Malangen Hotel.

    You need time and patience.

  34. Alaska Joe Guest

    Come up to Fairbanks, Alaska! Fairbanks is in the interior, not too far south of the Arctic Circle. Because of its location, it generally has a lot of clear nights, unlike more coastal locations further south. It is also a direct flight from Seattle so you can use your Alaska Airlines Miles or Delta Sky Pesos. Lots of great tours for aurora viewing. You can also visit (and stay in) an ice palace at Chena...

    Come up to Fairbanks, Alaska! Fairbanks is in the interior, not too far south of the Arctic Circle. Because of its location, it generally has a lot of clear nights, unlike more coastal locations further south. It is also a direct flight from Seattle so you can use your Alaska Airlines Miles or Delta Sky Pesos. Lots of great tours for aurora viewing. You can also visit (and stay in) an ice palace at Chena Hot Springs. It’s cold, but typically that means the weather is clear and your chances of seeing the aurora are higher.

  35. Stephanie Lynn Head Guest

    I want to say I know seeing them in person is the goal here but with that said in my opinion you should download the ISS
    ( INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION) APP!
    IVE HAD IT FOR TWO YEARS AND I LOVE IT! IN NIGHT MODE OPTION YOU LITERALLY GET TO SEE THEM FROM SPACE DURING FLY OVERS! ITS SO BEAUTIFUL AND SURREAL AND THEY SHOW IT IN SUCH A PEACEFUL AND SERENE MAJESTIC WAY...

    I want to say I know seeing them in person is the goal here but with that said in my opinion you should download the ISS
    ( INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION) APP!
    IVE HAD IT FOR TWO YEARS AND I LOVE IT! IN NIGHT MODE OPTION YOU LITERALLY GET TO SEE THEM FROM SPACE DURING FLY OVERS! ITS SO BEAUTIFUL AND SURREAL AND THEY SHOW IT IN SUCH A PEACEFUL AND SERENE MAJESTIC WAY ITS TRULY CAPTIVATING.
    THERE ARE ALSO SOUTHERN LIGHTS ALSO.
    JUST A SUGGESTION FOR A VIEW ING UNTIL YOUR ABLE TO MAKE THE TRIP IN PERSON. BUT YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY TRY THIS OUT! ILL WATCH IT ON LOOP FOR HOURS YOU SEE THE EARTH AT NIGHT AND CAN MAKE OUT DIFFERENT COUNTRIES , STATES , ETC. AS SEEN FROM THEIR POV. YOU SEEM AS ABSOLUTELY THRILLED BY THE IDEA OF THEIR BEAUTY AND AWESOMENESS AND MYSELF. AFTER SEEING THESE VIDEO OF RECORDED LIVE FEEDS ITS TRULY A TRIP ON MY BUCKET LIST. MY AUNT SAW THEM FROM PHRUDO BAY ALASKA ABOUT 20 YEARS AGO WITH MY GRANDFATHER. SHE HAD A MISSIONARY FRIEND UP THERE THEY STAYED A GOOD BIT WITH TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY. RUSSIA HAS A GOOD BIT OF COVERAGE AS WELL.
    HAPPY PLANNING. I HOPE THE SUGGESTION OF THE APP HELPS AS YOU CAN TELL MUCH MORE ABOUT HOW WIDE SPREAD THE LIGHTS TRULY ARE AND OTHER POSSIBLE DESTINATION OPTIONS . GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY TRAVELS.

  36. Nader Mourey Guest

    I have been a few times..and the best place is Tromso(TOS) in Norwegian arctic,or Rovaniemi (RVN) in the Finnish arctic.The norway location is nicer but Norway wont let anyone in unless they have an EU DIGITAL COVID CERTIFICATE,or a non EU one that has been approved for scanning,and for now The US/Canada QR code certificates are not one of the accepted ones.

  37. Rozzy Guest

    Hotel Ranga about an hour outside of Reykjavik will wake you if the lights appear. great hotel and service and close enough to other attractions that you don't feel limited at all.
    having said that, the best viewing I've had, despite 22 Iceland trips, was for four hours on a Trans Canadian flight. I was stuck to the window the entire time as it was the most amazing experience EVER.

  38. Yash Guest

    Happy New Year Ben;
    So, I Visited Norway in Feb 2020( before the Covid craziness) and we went to Tromso to see the Auroras
    We took 2 tours( One in a Tesla and One in a Bus)
    I would highly recommend both,
    The Tesla one is a private tour in a Model X and the main benefit is that it is a private tour in a Heated Car( which is essential...

    Happy New Year Ben;
    So, I Visited Norway in Feb 2020( before the Covid craziness) and we went to Tromso to see the Auroras
    We took 2 tours( One in a Tesla and One in a Bus)
    I would highly recommend both,
    The Tesla one is a private tour in a Model X and the main benefit is that it is a private tour in a Heated Car( which is essential cuz it gets super cold) the drivers there all communicate with each other and they have Apps which can predict the Aurora activity and as soon as someone sees them, they all meet at that point, we saw some pretty spectacular Auroras on both the days err nights
    Tesla tours are generally really expensive though
    The bus tours while cheaper are also pretty cool,
    They took us to the Finnish border, we had a campfire with tea coffee hot chocolate and hot dogs, it was a great experience overall

    Tromso is amazing overall, Apart from the Auroras, you can do a Snow mobile tour, A reindeer feeding tour, whale watching, Husky ride, go to a Snow bar, and if you are feeling Adventurous, you can go to the Snow dome or go to Alta to stay at the ice hotel

    Hope you have an amazing Holiday
    Cheers

  39. Leslie Guest

    Kakslauttanen in the Finnish Lapland is a great spot. We saw the lights 2 out of 3 nights. Fly in/out of Ivalo via Gatwick or Helsinki on Finnnish Air. They have glass igloos which are fairly basic and you have to shower in a separate building, or spacious cabins with saunas and an igloo roof on the back half - much more comfortable. The breakfast and dinner (included in the nightly rate) were surprisingly good....

    Kakslauttanen in the Finnish Lapland is a great spot. We saw the lights 2 out of 3 nights. Fly in/out of Ivalo via Gatwick or Helsinki on Finnnish Air. They have glass igloos which are fairly basic and you have to shower in a separate building, or spacious cabins with saunas and an igloo roof on the back half - much more comfortable. The breakfast and dinner (included in the nightly rate) were surprisingly good. Lots of day activities (dog sleds, x-country skiing, snowshoeing) and I think there is an ice hotel hereby if you want to try it for a night. From there, you can tack on a few days in Helsinki and a day trip to Talinn, Estonia, and/or a couple days in St. Petersburg if you have the time. Well worth a trip.

  40. Robert Guest

    The best place is Fairbanks, Alaska. The Aurora Borealis Institute center is also there, to collect data on the Northern Lights, so you know it's a great location.

  41. AG Guest

    Like I previous said, its a no brainer. Churchill, Manitoba in August. Swim with beluga whales during a beautiful summer day then see the northern lights during a clear and beautiful summer night. Both are guaranteed all while wearing tshirt and shorts =)

    Getting there is straightforward and easy and by the way, a great and easy redemption!

  42. Gregg Guest

    Ben,

    If you have the time, take a 7 or 12 day Hurtigruten cruise along the Norwegian coast from Bergen up to Kirkenes (on the Russian border). You’re pretty much guaranteed to see the northern lights, and you will stop in some absolutely gorgeous cities like Trondheim, Tromso, and Bodo. It’s extremely relaxing, and the bigger ships like the Midnatsun and Trollfjord are like regular cruise ships but without the hype. It’s been billed as...

    Ben,

    If you have the time, take a 7 or 12 day Hurtigruten cruise along the Norwegian coast from Bergen up to Kirkenes (on the Russian border). You’re pretty much guaranteed to see the northern lights, and you will stop in some absolutely gorgeous cities like Trondheim, Tromso, and Bodo. It’s extremely relaxing, and the bigger ships like the Midnatsun and Trollfjord are like regular cruise ships but without the hype. It’s been billed as the most beautiful voyage in the world. I’ve done it, and highly recommend that you and Ford make the journey. You won’t regret it.

  43. Chris Guest

    Best spot is northern Finland or Sweden in the laplands away from the coast where the clouds make it hit or miss. We had Northern lights 3 of 4 nights at the Asgard cottages here https://tours.aurora-service.eu/your-cottage/. The best chance to see anything is if you are in a small group that is mobile in the evening time. If you stay at somewhere like Kakslauttanen then you rely on the weather and lights to be directly...

    Best spot is northern Finland or Sweden in the laplands away from the coast where the clouds make it hit or miss. We had Northern lights 3 of 4 nights at the Asgard cottages here https://tours.aurora-service.eu/your-cottage/. The best chance to see anything is if you are in a small group that is mobile in the evening time. If you stay at somewhere like Kakslauttanen then you rely on the weather and lights to be directly overhead. With the Aurora service tours, they have a few teams around the Finnish laplands that report back and forth to each other to assure that you get a chance. Just schedule around new moon phase.

  44. MeanMeosh Member

    If you prefer to stay domestic - the best spot in the US is supposed to be Coldfoot, Alaska. You're so far out of civilization that light pollution isn't a concern, and the drier airmass gives you a much better chance at a clear night than the North Slope up towards the Arctic Ocean. The surrounding Brooks Range is easily one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. The problem is, it's at least...

    If you prefer to stay domestic - the best spot in the US is supposed to be Coldfoot, Alaska. You're so far out of civilization that light pollution isn't a concern, and the drier airmass gives you a much better chance at a clear night than the North Slope up towards the Arctic Ocean. The surrounding Brooks Range is easily one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. The problem is, it's at least a 7 hour drive from Fairbanks, and it's arguably the coldest place in North America during winter. Even in March, temperatures frequently drop below zero. There's also very limited accommodations up there. I'd recommend Boreal Lodge in Wiseman if you decide to brave it. Chena Hot Springs outside Fairbanks is a lot more accessible if you'd rather not get that far off the beaten path.

    Internationally - the "easiest" option is probably Lapland, Finland. There are daily flights on AY from HEL to Rovaniemi and Ivalo that actually time pretty well with AY's US arrivals, at least the new DFW nonstop. If you aren't on board with the ice hotel idea, there are many resort-style hotels where you can stay in a conventional hotel room and venture out for tours when you're ready. Sounds like you have a large stash of AAdvantage miles to burn anyway, so 57.5k miles to get you to Ivalo would be one way to chip away at the balance. I'm tentatively planning a trip up to Ivalo late October '22. It's right at new moon, so maybe I'll get lucky with the weather.

    Whatever you choose, if you need to plan in advance, just go with the knowledge that you are at the mercy of the weather and that you could fail entirely at seeing the aurora. Oh and forget about using Hyatt points for your hotel :)

  45. Fjc Guest

    I would think you'd get a better show in the summer with the tilt of the axis towards the sun ... Though the nights are shorter.

    I've seen them in the summer near Timmins Ontario ... About 7 hours drive North of Toronto from what I remember. The people I was with said it was a regular occurrence.

  46. CK Guest

    You seem to eliminate Fairbanks Alaska? I believe Fairbanks and Yellowknife Canada are two places tough to beat if you want to maximize your chance to see the lights in March. There are fansy hotels for aurora observations around the towns which you will not be disappointed.

  47. Brian Guest

    You can see the northern lights in Iceland without going to far from Reykjavik. You just have to have good weather. I have seen them in January there, just keep watching the Icelandic northern lights report on the government’s website. I would not recommend a tour. The tours promise to bring you out another night if you don’t see them but they aren’t flexible enough to chase the lights. I was able to see them...

    You can see the northern lights in Iceland without going to far from Reykjavik. You just have to have good weather. I have seen them in January there, just keep watching the Icelandic northern lights report on the government’s website. I would not recommend a tour. The tours promise to bring you out another night if you don’t see them but they aren’t flexible enough to chase the lights. I was able to see them because I had a car and was tracking activity on my phone so I left way after the tours when the clouds were clearing and saw all the tour busses return while I was on my way out. Heading away from the city towards selfloss I saw the lights about an hour later.

  48. MT Guest

    A good spot is Yellowknife, Canada. You can go further north for better odds but then hotels, etc begins to get challenging. I'd say a 3 night stay should likely be a safe bet to get at least one viewing. Feb-Mar is a good time. We are also currently on an upswing in activity from the bottom on what is a 12 year cycle if I am not mistaken, so the odds in 2023/24 will be better than 2022.

  49. Andrew-Stuart New Member

    I was told my well-meaning friends that I would probably be able to see the northern lights from Anchorage. Boy, were they wrong! Two nights of being up all night and sleeping through the day. Finally on day 3, a cashier in Anchorage recommended that we fly to Fairbanks. So we did that. And waited. And waited. But then, just after midnight, the clouds cleared, the snow stopped falling and the light show began! It...

    I was told my well-meaning friends that I would probably be able to see the northern lights from Anchorage. Boy, were they wrong! Two nights of being up all night and sleeping through the day. Finally on day 3, a cashier in Anchorage recommended that we fly to Fairbanks. So we did that. And waited. And waited. But then, just after midnight, the clouds cleared, the snow stopped falling and the light show began! It was absolutely magical. Definitely something that you should add to your bucket list and have fun ticking it off. And we were able to get a flight from Fairbanks to Seattle. Not sure if those flights still operate...

  50. 2PAXfly Member

    You can find more at my blog post: https://www.2paxfly.com/2016/07/10/the-chase-to-see-the-northern-lights-aurora-borealis-from-tromso-norway/

    Contact me if you would like more detail.

  51. 2PAXfly Member

    You have to see them. They are magnificent. But, the process of seeing them is like a kid waiting for a parade. It seems like its never coming. You spend a couple of hours travelling, then you wait, and wait, and then they appear, maybe just, or maybe lighting up the whole sky. And then you head home early in the morning tired, but very happy.

    We went to Tromsø, Norway, used Chasing Lights as...

    You have to see them. They are magnificent. But, the process of seeing them is like a kid waiting for a parade. It seems like its never coming. You spend a couple of hours travelling, then you wait, and wait, and then they appear, maybe just, or maybe lighting up the whole sky. And then you head home early in the morning tired, but very happy.

    We went to Tromsø, Norway, used Chasing Lights as our tour operator. They provide everything from the human sized 'Doona', to hot chocolate and were great. We provided the rum and the chemical hand and foot warmers that you will need. We went back in 2015 at Christmas time, so it was -20ºC at night on our chase to see the lights. I'll place a link in the next comment to my blog post on the trip.

  52. AlanT98 Guest

    I went with friends to Kiruna, Sweden in late january 2020, sleeping in cozy cabins at Jukkasjarvi. The 3 nights we stayed there was cloudy and snowing the whole time but thankfully we found out Abisko wasnt cloudy and with a rented car we went there and managed to watch the northern lights for few hours. It was magical!

  53. Nathaniel Guest

    We’ve made two trips to see the northern lights. First to fairbanks was successful in February a few years ago. Weather was brutal. It was -15 fairenheit during the day. Ice carving world championships definitely worth checking out during that time. Make sure your rental car company includes an extension cord to plug the engine block heater in at night. Second trip to Iceland failed. There for 4 nights in late March and snowy the...

    We’ve made two trips to see the northern lights. First to fairbanks was successful in February a few years ago. Weather was brutal. It was -15 fairenheit during the day. Ice carving world championships definitely worth checking out during that time. Make sure your rental car company includes an extension cord to plug the engine block heater in at night. Second trip to Iceland failed. There for 4 nights in late March and snowy the whole time. Whiteout conditions with the wind.

    1. FBH Guest

      Inuvik is said to experience aurora borealis 250+ times per year. In my experience of high latitude road building, I'd recommend this region from the middle of November through the middle of January, which features 24 hours of darkness for convenient (and mind boggling) viewing on your schedule. There is a healthy aurora tourist industry there although it's probably just as hamstrung as the rest of the service industries.

  54. Christi Guest

    Ill go with. Terribly fascinated also. 2 minds better than 1? Ill bring beer-

  55. Ben O. Guest

    I thought the ice hotel in jukkasjarvi was a lot of fun and at least when I went the norther lights where beautiful. I would recommend only one night in the actual ice hotel as while it’s super neat to be there when the crowds leave, it’s basically camping and a bit uncomfortable (especially if you need to get up middle of the night to use the bathroom). But still a nice experience

  56. Lynda Guest

    Our family took a round trip on the Hurtgruten from Bergen. Saw the aurora several times in the far northern towns of Norway. Tromso is the best place to go. Lots to see nearby. Ice hotel, beautiful church, dog sled rides.
    Would like to see it again-maybe Alaska.

  57. Chris Giranda Guest

    Chena Hot Springs and Fairbanks in March
    Plenty of daily activities

  58. Mike Guest

    Chena Hot Springs outside Fairbanks, AK.

  59. Tan Guest

    Been to Yellowknife in Canada years ago, basically it’s 5 days trips and we are short to see the light 4 nights. As you may know the highest chance to see is over there, and it will be the best place to visit in winter time as well.

    Hope you enjoy the extreme weather and lovely view of the light there.

  60. profan Guest

    Murmansk, Russia.
    https://www.56thparallel.com/northern-lights/

  61. David Guest

    We went to Chena hot springs last month. It was amazing. But total travel time from dallas was 18 hours. We joked it would have been easier to go to Iceland.

  62. Ines Oliveira Guest

    I saw the northern lights in Norway some years ago in early November. I went to Oslo and then to Tromso. Near Tromso there are some fjords where the northern lights offer a beautiful show. Kilpisjarvi in the Finnish Lapland is a short drive away and is a very good spot to watch the northern lights.
    The odds of seeing an aurora are higher with clear skies and when nights are longer. You can...

    I saw the northern lights in Norway some years ago in early November. I went to Oslo and then to Tromso. Near Tromso there are some fjords where the northern lights offer a beautiful show. Kilpisjarvi in the Finnish Lapland is a short drive away and is a very good spot to watch the northern lights.
    The odds of seeing an aurora are higher with clear skies and when nights are longer. You can book a guided tour but we rented a car and used an app to chased the auroras by ourselves. We ended up finding the same spots as the guided tours.
    Hope you get to see it. It’s the most beautiful natural phenomenon I’ve ever seen.

  63. Mark Fischl Guest

    Reyjkavik is a great place to go to see the lights, especially in March. The weather, as always, is hit or miss. We have been twice in late Feb/ early March and saw the lights on our second trip. The area by Keflavik is excellent for viewing if you get a clear night. Arrange a tour. They refund you if the weather doesn't cooperate. In addition Reykjavik is an absolutely charming city to visit.

  64. STP Guest

    Wife and I saw them outside of Fairbanks a couple years back. It was a excellent show. Like the video posted in the article. The KP index was a 7, we had a moonless night with absolutely zero clouds. Only way it could have been better is if the KP was a 8 or 9.
    My advice is to watch the weather for clouds since you need a clear sky, also as someone mentioned,...

    Wife and I saw them outside of Fairbanks a couple years back. It was a excellent show. Like the video posted in the article. The KP index was a 7, we had a moonless night with absolutely zero clouds. Only way it could have been better is if the KP was a 8 or 9.
    My advice is to watch the weather for clouds since you need a clear sky, also as someone mentioned, you want a new moon as even the light from the moon can affect the light show and most important is paying attention to the KP index. Shoot for when it's 7-9. Goes without saying but the higher the number, the stronger the solar storm.

  65. Gilgamesh Guest

    I went to Troms0 Norway to see them. While I don't have any other attempts at other locations to compare it to all the research that I did said that it's the absolute best place to go that isn't in the middle of nowhere.

    I got lucky enough that not only did we see them our first night out, which isn't a guarantee, but they were extremely vibrant. One of those days where there...

    I went to Troms0 Norway to see them. While I don't have any other attempts at other locations to compare it to all the research that I did said that it's the absolute best place to go that isn't in the middle of nowhere.

    I got lucky enough that not only did we see them our first night out, which isn't a guarantee, but they were extremely vibrant. One of those days where there were news stories about how far south everyone was seeing them. So luck is also a huge Factor.

  66. Carl Michaelsen Guest

    Several years ago, my wife and I took the train from Winnipeg to Churchill to see the polar bears. It was around her birthday, October 11. It's two nights up and two nights back, and we saw the lights all four nights from our cozy bed. They were only visible from around 1 to 3 in the morning as I recall. The polar bears were spectacular as well.

  67. An Atlantan Guest

    An article written by a staff writer for the Anchorage Daily News appeared about a week ago in newspapers across the US, giving guidance on seeing the northern lights. Here's a link that does not require a subscription to read the article: https://www.yakimaherald.com/northern-lights-viewing-in-alaska-is-expected-to-be-good-this-winter-and-even-better/article_b8477009-db72-5875-9af6-468a7bd3877c.html

    According to the expert quoted in the article, we are entering a period where the northern lights are expected to be better than they have been the past few years. This year...

    An article written by a staff writer for the Anchorage Daily News appeared about a week ago in newspapers across the US, giving guidance on seeing the northern lights. Here's a link that does not require a subscription to read the article: https://www.yakimaherald.com/northern-lights-viewing-in-alaska-is-expected-to-be-good-this-winter-and-even-better/article_b8477009-db72-5875-9af6-468a7bd3877c.html

    According to the expert quoted in the article, we are entering a period where the northern lights are expected to be better than they have been the past few years. This year is supposed to be good, and the following several years even better. Apparently the sun's magnetic fields reverse on an 11 year cycle. Solar winds that are kicked up during the changeover cause storms that intensify the Northern Lights. We are about to enter a changeover period.

    Re: how to time your visit, I suggest checking Aurorasaurus.org (a NASA site, I believe) periodically to see when are where sightings are occurring. The sun rotates every 27 days, so there's some possibility of experiencing good viewing 27 days after reports of good viewing. There's some good information in the “Learn” section of that website.

    Most good viewing locations have already been suggested in the comments above. Learn about the “auroral oval” and you can identify some good possible locations.

    We had wonderful viewing conditions for three nights while staying in a temporary camp out on the tundra near Churchill, Manitoba in early November several years ago. We were there to see polar bears, and seeing extraordinary Northern Lights was an unexpected bonus.

    Getting to Churchill involved a commercial flight (and overnight) to Winnipeg. From there, our outfitter arranged a charter flight to Churchill.

    Good luck!

  68. Sarah Mitchell Guest

    Hello! I saw them in Northern Norway for the first time last month in November. I looked at the Aurora forecast for 6 days before I went and everyday it said 3/10 to see them. Until the Saturday night (which is when I had booked a Northern lights tour) and the forecast went upto 7/10. They are not as bright as you see in the photos, but it was still magical. Any tour will take...

    Hello! I saw them in Northern Norway for the first time last month in November. I looked at the Aurora forecast for 6 days before I went and everyday it said 3/10 to see them. Until the Saturday night (which is when I had booked a Northern lights tour) and the forecast went upto 7/10. They are not as bright as you see in the photos, but it was still magical. Any tour will take you out of an area with artificial light and into the darkness of the countryside, where you have a much better chance of seeing them. But how good they are is just luck on the night. Northern Norway is a good bet. I flew to Tromsø, then flew with a Norwegian domestic airline called Widerøe, to an airport called Sørkjosen. Then got a taxi to a town on an island 40mins away called Skjervøy. It is an incredibly beautiful fisherman’s town with guaranteed Orca sightings from November to late January. Orcas and Auroras… you won’t be disappointed!

  69. Another Lump Guest

    Iceland. It's the warmest option by far. Since you have to go in winter to have a reasonable chance, all the other options are frigid. Luckily there are plenty of other things there to see and do to keep you busy. Best to devote a week or so, since they are hard to predict. You can always leave early if you get lucky.

  70. Rob Guest

    It would be much more helpful to do the research and then write an article, as opposed to just musing and asking a bunch of questions.

  71. Alan Gold

    I visited Alaska in winter, Fairbanks and Barrows, but unfortunately the sky was too cloudy to see the lights. When the plane took off from Barrows and we passed through the clouds the lights were amazing. Shame I did not get to see them from the ground.
    That said, I would highly recommend Chena Hot Springs outside of Fairbanks. It is far enough from the city that there is little light pollution. Sitting the...

    I visited Alaska in winter, Fairbanks and Barrows, but unfortunately the sky was too cloudy to see the lights. When the plane took off from Barrows and we passed through the clouds the lights were amazing. Shame I did not get to see them from the ground.
    That said, I would highly recommend Chena Hot Springs outside of Fairbanks. It is far enough from the city that there is little light pollution. Sitting the springs with the temperature well below zero is an amazing experience. Your hair freezes almost immediately. They also have an ice hotel in winter if that is to your liking.

  72. Marty Mohr Guest

    And if you don't wish to leave the country, there is always Fairbanks, Alaska.

  73. Tacoman Guest

    Lucky- I’ll love to see the updated thinking after the comments and your research results are in!

    1. Carl Michaelsen Guest

      Several years ago, my wife and I took the train from Winnipeg to Churchill to see the polar bears. It was around her birthday, October 11. We had a bedroom, and it's two nights up and two nights back. We saw the lights all 4 nights in spectacular fashion around 1 to 3 in the morning as I recall. The polar bears were spectacular as well.

  74. Loretta Chuckrow Guest

    I went to Fairbanks in late August and saw an amazing show of Northern lights. The advantage to that time of year was it wasn't extremely cold at night, and it was not overcast. The challenge was that there wasn't true night yet because we were so far north. I definitely made sure I went when there was no moon, and it was dark enough to see the Northern Lights for 5 nights in a...

    I went to Fairbanks in late August and saw an amazing show of Northern lights. The advantage to that time of year was it wasn't extremely cold at night, and it was not overcast. The challenge was that there wasn't true night yet because we were so far north. I definitely made sure I went when there was no moon, and it was dark enough to see the Northern Lights for 5 nights in a row. We took a land tour and a cruise from Fairbanks and ended up seeing the Lights in Fairbanks and Denali Park.

  75. JTF Guest

    With best wishes for the New Year, for Canada Whitehorse (from Vancouver), Yellowknife (from Edmonton) and Churchill are all options; two long viewing seasons, and a range of tour and stay choices. If cross-references are permitted in comments, here's a good listing: https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/where-to-see-northern-lights-in-canada?auto=true

  76. CanadianPug Guest

    Go south and as soon as you can’t see them, you’ve gone far enough.

  77. dolores Guest

    We flew into Kittila Finland on Lufthansa - easy connection first class from Chicago to Munich and business class to Kittila. We stayed at Levin Iglut in an igloo suite - wonderful food and hotel and close to great skiing and good restaurants in Levi.

    1. Joey Guest

      Yes. Agree with Dolores. Levi was awesome. Levin Iglut was great (750 Euro/night for the lowest level igloo). They have 30ish igloos and a restaurant on site. Plenty to do. Dog sledding. Reindeer sledding. Ice go-karting. Lots of food options. An ice hotel about 20-30 minutes away. It's a big ski destination for Russians. I was actually looking to go back this March, myself. We saw the northern lights 2 out of the 3 nights.

    2. Jon Guest

      We went to Finland a few weeks ago for Thanksgiving and can echo the praise for Levi and Levin Inglut. Direct flights to Helsinki on Finnair (with easy business class award availability). Helsinki is a great small city to spend a few days (highly recommend Savoy restaurant and the hotel Kamp is the only remotely luxury option). Short flight up to Kitilla and Levin Inglut is magical (but you must get the suite in the...

      We went to Finland a few weeks ago for Thanksgiving and can echo the praise for Levi and Levin Inglut. Direct flights to Helsinki on Finnair (with easy business class award availability). Helsinki is a great small city to spend a few days (highly recommend Savoy restaurant and the hotel Kamp is the only remotely luxury option). Short flight up to Kitilla and Levin Inglut is magical (but you must get the suite in the first row - wouldn’t bother for the other rooms). Be sure to schedule some winter activities - it’s crazy cold but so worth it.

  78. Dolores Guest

    You have picked the best time- the lights are most intense around the equinox-March 20 in 2022. Make sure you download one of the Northern Lights apps for your phone.
    We have seen them in Norway around Tromso and Senja Island and in Finnish Lapland near Levi in an igloo hotel. If it is not clear, you will have to chase them and it is best to do that with a local company that specializes in this.

  79. Paul M Guest

    I was lucky enough to see them every year when I was working at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta but they are more spectacular the further north you go.

    I have known a few Japanese friends who booked tours to Yellowknife from Toronto before they returned to Japan but personally I would go to Iceland as it's easier to get to, cheaper and there is more to do there than Yellowknife.

  80. Ole Guest

    Depends on your goal. If the goal is to combine this trip with few other things - (re)visit a place, try new premium product etc, then try Finland/Norway-Svalbard. If your goal is Northern Lights, then I’d say Canadian Arctic or Fairbanks. The winter in Fairbanks is a magical - Chena Hot Springs, North Pole, Dalton Hwy etc. You won’t be disappointed.

    In 2014, we took a tour with Northern Alaska Tour Company in Fairbanks. They...

    Depends on your goal. If the goal is to combine this trip with few other things - (re)visit a place, try new premium product etc, then try Finland/Norway-Svalbard. If your goal is Northern Lights, then I’d say Canadian Arctic or Fairbanks. The winter in Fairbanks is a magical - Chena Hot Springs, North Pole, Dalton Hwy etc. You won’t be disappointed.

    In 2014, we took a tour with Northern Alaska Tour Company in Fairbanks. They have nice comfy coaches that take you to Arctic Circle thru Dalton Hwy, stop by the Alaska Pipeline, Yukon River etc. They also own a large cabin in woods, where they stop for Northern Lights. The cabin is kept warm 24hrs, they serve free hot chocolate, ramen etc to keep you warm. Their guide will be outside looking for activity while you enjoy their warm comfortable cabin.

    Irrespective of where you go, plz consider these things to maximize your chances:
    1. Plan a trip that allows you to go on Northern Lights viewing trips for at least 3 nights if not more
    2. Pick dates around new moon
    3. Go to a remote place away from
    Light pollution
    4. If you are not into DSLRs/Mirrorless cameras, download an app that allows to take Northern Light pictures on your camera
    5. DIY or a professional tour, make sure they have place where you can get comfy while you wait for the lights. They don’t have a schedule so you’d want to be in a warm
    Place while you wait

  81. MG Guest

    We saw them in Alta, Norway two years back. Great town and a nice small airport with plenty of connections. Less touristy yet not desolate with things to do. They do have a nice ice hotel as well.

    1. MG Guest

      Adding on. We did SAS from MIA to Copenhagen. Copenhagen to Oslo, and Oslo to Alta

    2. The ITDA Guest

      I'm flying inaugural Finnair DFW-HEL on 2/6, going to Lapland for a few days to see if I'm more lucky than last time (it was KP4 at Fairbanks a few years ago).

      Then fly HEL-LHR, hopefully it's going to be their new J product, the bird just delivered on 12/29. Do you think 2/13 AY1337 is going to have the new product?

      Probably still too cold for you. But let me know if you're flying that, I can share my Antarctica cruise experience if you're interested.

  82. Wayne Bourque Guest

    I live in Alberta but recently lived in Whitehorse, Yukon for six months and I was lucky from end of October to mid November was a peak this year and on Nov 7 or so I caught the amazing night.Got some amazing pictures and video. Staying in Whitehorse and driving north on clear nights and following the AP, will work. All the best

  83. Jeffrey Erlbaum Guest

    Went to Iceland in February a few years ago. Took a trip to one of the national parks in the middle of the night to see the lights, only time during the trip we were cold! Stayed for a while, moved to another spot, saw some wispy cloud like formations in the sky. A fellow traveler with a professional camera took pictures of it and sent them to us a few weeks later. Huge difference...

    Went to Iceland in February a few years ago. Took a trip to one of the national parks in the middle of the night to see the lights, only time during the trip we were cold! Stayed for a while, moved to another spot, saw some wispy cloud like formations in the sky. A fellow traveler with a professional camera took pictures of it and sent them to us a few weeks later. Huge difference between what was visible with the naked eye and a camera, the colors were incredible. Thinking of going again, this time I wouldn't go with a tour bus(normally do private tours but didn't think it was necessary for this), we waited over an hour at 2am for a few people who didn't seem to care that 40 others were sitting on a bus waiting for them.

  84. Daniel from Finland Guest

    I would love to welcome you to Finland (and see you fly Finnair Business Class, which I have dubbed "the best premium economy in the world", after your BA First mockery (they're in full savings mode, making the soft product somewhere between terrible and horrible).

    But at the same time, I have to say that those Northern Light hotels that we have in Finnish Lapland are outrageously priced and not of very high standards,...

    I would love to welcome you to Finland (and see you fly Finnair Business Class, which I have dubbed "the best premium economy in the world", after your BA First mockery (they're in full savings mode, making the soft product somewhere between terrible and horrible).

    But at the same time, I have to say that those Northern Light hotels that we have in Finnish Lapland are outrageously priced and not of very high standards, I'm afraid. I'm not sure they're much better in Sweden or Norway, though. In this part of the world, everything is so expensive, and usually the quality doesn't really match the price.

  85. D3kingg Guest

    Finland. Finnair credit to American. Take a train up north from Helsinki . Eat some reindeer pizza and black licorice flavored ice cream.

  86. Kim Guest

    Guess I got lucky and saw them multiple nights when I was in Iceland about 5 years ago. This was in September. Even saw them in Reykjavik. Was much better when we got away from the capital due to the light pollution. Had a couple of nights of great viewing on the Snaefellsness peninsula. We didn’t do any tours. Saw them great from our lodgings.

  87. Karim Guest

    Highly recommend Tromso. If you stay a few days, you are all but guaranteed to see them. A lot of companies offer tours to see them and would highly recommend as they staff with meteorological experts.

  88. Dawn Dalton Guest

    I am 30km West of Edmonton Alberta and we see them regularly. You do not need to go to Arctic Canada.

  89. AG Guest

    Churchill, Manitoba for sure! pretty much guaranteed in August or Feb/March. Best thing about Churchill is that its also the best place in the world to see Polar Bears and Beluga Whales. In one day, you can see a polar bear, swim with beluga whales, have dinner and then go out to see the Northern Lights...all in one day! They call it the Churchill Trifecta and August is the best month for it, FYI

    ...

    Churchill, Manitoba for sure! pretty much guaranteed in August or Feb/March. Best thing about Churchill is that its also the best place in the world to see Polar Bears and Beluga Whales. In one day, you can see a polar bear, swim with beluga whales, have dinner and then go out to see the Northern Lights...all in one day! They call it the Churchill Trifecta and August is the best month for it, FYI

    How do I know? Cause my wife and I did it last year and thats also what the locals told us. We saw over 80 polar bears and swam with what seemed like hundreds of playful and friendly beluga whales. We couldnt believe it! Seeing the Northern Lights later that night was just the cherry on the sundae =)

  90. Max Guest

    I would recommend to take a cruise up north. As far as I know, Hurtigruten even offers a northern light guarantee on their post-ship route and on their norway expeditions, which means that they will offer you a second 7 day cruise for free if you don‘t see the northern lights on your trip.

  91. Nate nate Guest

    Finland (and Sweden) makes sense for me as it would be an opportunity to fly Finnair and use your stash of AA miles.

  92. Gabe Guest

    Yellowknife is one of the best places to see them.

  93. SeppoAlaruikka New Member

    The Northern Lights can be seen occasionally in Northern Finland for example in the city of Rovaniemi. The clouds make seeing them unpredictable.

    My best moment ever was when I saw the Northern Lights crown in my own yard in the city of Oulu in Finland. I was surrounded by street lights because I live some two kilometers from the city center. The crown looked like this: https://www.123rf.com/photo_65477601_colorful-northern-lights-crown-aurora-borealis-in-the-sky.html.

    The Northern Lights can be seen occasionally in Northern Finland for example in the city of Rovaniemi. The clouds make seeing them unpredictable.

    My best moment ever was when I saw the Northern Lights crown in my own yard in the city of Oulu in Finland. I was surrounded by street lights because I live some two kilometers from the city center. The crown looked like this: https://www.123rf.com/photo_65477601_colorful-northern-lights-crown-aurora-borealis-in-the-sky.html.

  94. Benjamin G Guttery Guest

    FYI Ben, there are also the "Southern Lights" or "Aurora Australis". Since winter in the Southern hemisphere is flipped, March to September is best for them. Many nice places to see them including one of the best, Tasmania, New Zealand, Falkland Islands, Antarctica (admittedly difficult), and most of Patagonia (Argentina & Chile) along with a ton of lesser known places like; South Georgia, Stewart Islands, Ushuaia (Argentina), and Victoria Australia.

    I hear they have...

    FYI Ben, there are also the "Southern Lights" or "Aurora Australis". Since winter in the Southern hemisphere is flipped, March to September is best for them. Many nice places to see them including one of the best, Tasmania, New Zealand, Falkland Islands, Antarctica (admittedly difficult), and most of Patagonia (Argentina & Chile) along with a ton of lesser known places like; South Georgia, Stewart Islands, Ushuaia (Argentina), and Victoria Australia.

    I hear they have more Reds/Yellows/and Violets than the typical Green/Blue of the Northern Lights!

  95. Mike B Guest

    Back in 2012 I took a group trip to Fairbanks, Alaska right at the Equinox in March with goals of seeing and doing general Alaska winter stuff like dogsledding, seeing a big ice sculpture competition that is held there every year at that time (Not sure how Covid affected the contest) and seeing aurora. We drove partway up to the highway to the North Slope and stayed at the only hotel in the region—It was...

    Back in 2012 I took a group trip to Fairbanks, Alaska right at the Equinox in March with goals of seeing and doing general Alaska winter stuff like dogsledding, seeing a big ice sculpture competition that is held there every year at that time (Not sure how Covid affected the contest) and seeing aurora. We drove partway up to the highway to the North Slope and stayed at the only hotel in the region—It was built to house workers for the Alaska Pipeline in the 70s, and wasn’t great—I called it “An old Motel 6 without the spacious rooms.” but it was clean and adequate. We saw some amazing aurora from the hotel grounds at night, and during two night time excursions to the nearby village of Coldfoot. Very much worth doing.

  96. Ryan Guest

    I've seen them near Fairbanks, AK and in Tromso, Norway. I'm currently in Sweden seeking them out (no luck the first 2 nights). A LOT of it depends on luck. I would recommend you aim for northern Canada or northern Alaska, but a lot comes down to your preferences. What type of activity do you want to be doing when you see them? Dog sled ride? Snowmobile? Sitting in a hot tub staring up? Camping?...

    I've seen them near Fairbanks, AK and in Tromso, Norway. I'm currently in Sweden seeking them out (no luck the first 2 nights). A LOT of it depends on luck. I would recommend you aim for northern Canada or northern Alaska, but a lot comes down to your preferences. What type of activity do you want to be doing when you see them? Dog sled ride? Snowmobile? Sitting in a hot tub staring up? Camping? Glamping? Ice hotel? Boat out on the northern seas? Think about that, and then the place options will get narrowed down a lot. Personally, I recommend Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks. Great place to stare up while enjoying a drink in some outdoor hot springs.

  97. Kevin Wolfe Guest

    I think the best place is off my deck in Wasilla Alaska. Download Aurora Forecast for state of Alaska and your all set.

  98. Bruce Guest

    Flew from Seattle to Reykjavik for three days, never saw Northern Lights because it was cloudy/overcast for all three days - who knew Reykjavik had the same weather as Seattle? lol

  99. DavidP Guest

    I don’t see any mention of this in the blog or comments section yet, but no matter where you want to go, you will want to look up the moon phase calendar on Timeanddate. You want to schedule it to line up with a New Moon for the darkest skies. For me on the east coast, the cheapest option was Reykjavik and the northern lights tours there allow you to go out again on subsequent...

    I don’t see any mention of this in the blog or comments section yet, but no matter where you want to go, you will want to look up the moon phase calendar on Timeanddate. You want to schedule it to line up with a New Moon for the darkest skies. For me on the east coast, the cheapest option was Reykjavik and the northern lights tours there allow you to go out again on subsequent nights, making it worthwhile to go on your first night there so that you have some buffer to try again on another night.

    1. Dave Bryson Guest

      How about Nova Scotia or Newfoundland any luck there

  100. Conrad Guest

    I have been to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories specifically to see the Northern Lights four times in the past eight years, staying four nights each time. Out of those 16 nights in YZF, I’ve seen the Northern lights 12 of them, with 10 or those displays being utterly fantastic. March is definitely the best time to go (the earlier the better for viewing purposes), as there’s the Snow King Festival going on during the...

    I have been to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories specifically to see the Northern Lights four times in the past eight years, staying four nights each time. Out of those 16 nights in YZF, I’ve seen the Northern lights 12 of them, with 10 or those displays being utterly fantastic. March is definitely the best time to go (the earlier the better for viewing purposes), as there’s the Snow King Festival going on during the day (in a village made entirely of ice on the Great Slave Lake), which somewhat makes up for the fact that there’s not that much to do to entertain yourself during the day in YZF (it’s got a nice little history museum, and there’s dogsledding and a few good restaurants). I can’t recommend it more highly; of the friends I’ve brought there (from NYC, so not an easy trip!) over the years, several have returned for repeat viewings.

  101. Hanggomae Guest

    Best place to see northern light is in the airplane from west coast to Europe route. Usually depart in the afternoon or evening at PST. And fly north of canada and Greenland.

    Or west coast to Middle East route.

  102. Amazon Annie Guest

    Went to Iceland in February. Stayed 10 days in Reykjavik only. Took a tour in a fabulously equipped van that could get waaaay out of town with knowledgeable drivers who knew where to go. If you do this, skip the big bus northern lights tour and take. The smaller van. Worth the extra bucks. Cold is a challenge for me,too. I live in Hawaii and even had trouble getting clothes to go (had to order online) but was well worth it. Wishing you well.

  103. Flossie Guest

    I went to Churchill, Manitoba in February and saw great auroras. The skies are usually clear that month. Plan your trip according to the moon phase, dark skies are usually best. The community encourages the tourist industry and there is a fabulous museum. Dinner on the Tundra Buggy under the aurora is spectacular. I stayed at Blue Sky Bed And Sled and rode a dog sled, plus learned about the ethical treatment of sled dogs. I would definitely go back to Churchill.

  104. TA Guest

    One of my bucket list items. Looking for a travel buddy?

  105. Santa Guest

    Best place by far is Longyearbyen on the Spitsbergen archipelo in december or january because of the polar nights. It will be dark 24 hours a day, so if the skies are clear you will have the best odds. You can go there on Sas points, it's only 10000 points for an economy roundtrip from Oslo. It's the best deal out there.

  106. JetSetGo Guest

    All I can tell you is don’t try to see northern lights in Iceland. As you are aware, three things have to happen in order for one to see northern lights: minimal moon, solar activity, and clear sky. Iceland is cloudy all the time, chances are even there is northern lights, you are not going to see it especially down by Reykjavík with the volcanic activity that basically make Reykjavík overcast all the time. Despite...

    All I can tell you is don’t try to see northern lights in Iceland. As you are aware, three things have to happen in order for one to see northern lights: minimal moon, solar activity, and clear sky. Iceland is cloudy all the time, chances are even there is northern lights, you are not going to see it especially down by Reykjavík with the volcanic activity that basically make Reykjavík overcast all the time. Despite what those blue lagoon brochures tell you, it’s very unlikely for you to see it in Iceland unless you live there full time.

  107. chicagomike Guest

    I was doing some light research on this last month and came to the conclusion Yellowknife would be the best place to go. I'd love to do it as a road trip but not sure I want to do winter road trip. Althought they say you can see them in summer up there. Pricey to fly there but WestJet does it from Alberta. If I was going to fly to see the lights I think I may be better of in terms of cost by just following the crowds to Iceland.

    1. Bandmeeting Guest

      I’ve seen the lights 6 or 7 times, none of which were in the winter. That said, I think you get a better show in the winter but I’m not sure.

    2. BenjaminGuttery New Member

      Everyone is saying Iceland is the worst place to attempt to see them.

  108. iV Guest

    Great Bear Lake in Canada located just outside Yellowknife.

  109. UA-NYC Guest

    Swedish Laplands are pretty great - could add in a visit to the Treehotel and/or Icehotel

    1. Flossie Guest

      I went to Churchill, Manitoba in February and saw great auroras. The skies are usually clear that month. Plan your trip according to the moon phase, dark skies are usually best. The community encourages the tourist industry and there is a fabulous museum. Dinner on the Tundra Buggy under the aurora is spectacular. I stayed at Blue Sky Bed And Sled and rode a dog sled, plus learned about the ethical treatment of sled dogs. I would definitely go back to Churchill.

  110. Michael Guest

    Safest place is the region around Tromsö in Norway. Due to the topography there is a very good chance to find a valley with clear sky (or your guide is going to find it) even when the weather is general is not good. In general northern Scandinavia has the best chances - with Tromsö as top. Iceland is great if you get a clear sky which is pretty rare in the region - same for Svalbard.

    1. DFW Knight Guest

      +1 here. I saw them in the lofoten islands around 2009.

    2. D3kingg Guest

      @Michael

      Bodo/ Glimt

  111. Bill Guest

    PS. We saw a whole horizon of lights on a Cathay flight ORD-HKG.

  112. Bill Guest

    We went to Whitehorse two weeks ago. Four nights there saw faint lights two nights. We would have gone to Scandinavia but closed borders or varying requirements to travel through countries changing we decided on Canada. At least we knew we could get home. Some food for thought - solar cycle is nine years and we are about half way on the “up” swing so I can feed your procrastination with that. We did fly...

    We went to Whitehorse two weeks ago. Four nights there saw faint lights two nights. We would have gone to Scandinavia but closed borders or varying requirements to travel through countries changing we decided on Canada. At least we knew we could get home. Some food for thought - solar cycle is nine years and we are about half way on the “up” swing so I can feed your procrastination with that. We did fly Air North so now domestic F seems even worse in its pandemic version.

  113. uldguy Diamond

    By far the best place to see the northern lights is Kakslautenen Artic Resort in northern Sweden. Incredible views from glass ceiling bedrooms. Plus unlike Norway, Sweden still is open to Americans.

    1. Adi Guest

      Kakslauttanen is in Finland

    2. SeppoAlaruikka New Member

      I understand that you mean Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. It is located in Finland.

  114. del Guest

    I actually just got back from a trip in Dec (taking that FAI fare before word really got out that it was there). We ended up spending 2 nights in Fairbanks on the offchance we'd get lucky, and I knew I could reschedule last minute if weather wasn't going to hold out...

    Anyway, it worked out pretty darn well, and ended up being perfectly clear on the second night and we got an awesome show!...

    I actually just got back from a trip in Dec (taking that FAI fare before word really got out that it was there). We ended up spending 2 nights in Fairbanks on the offchance we'd get lucky, and I knew I could reschedule last minute if weather wasn't going to hold out...

    Anyway, it worked out pretty darn well, and ended up being perfectly clear on the second night and we got an awesome show! More than I'd ever hoped really, and from what I read and heard while I was there, it's not even a question of how active it is but rather a question of how clear the sky will be. The only downside was it was significantly colder than forecast, and I don't think I ever want to feel -32F again.

  115. Matt (Phrantic) Guest

    Churchill Manitoba Canada - Best place for polar bears and northern lights. Pretty sure the flights there survived the covid-era too.

    1. HC Guest

      Deplar Farm in Iceland should be a pretty good bet. Small, remote, luxurious. Lots of outdoor activities too.

    2. HC Guest

      Oops sorry didn’t meant to reply to this.

  116. MP Guest

    I can't share any firsthand advice either, but a good friend had a great experience seeing the northern lights near Yellowknife a few years ago

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DavidP Guest

I don’t see any mention of this in the blog or comments section yet, but no matter where you want to go, you will want to look up the moon phase calendar on Timeanddate. You want to schedule it to line up with a New Moon for the darkest skies. For me on the east coast, the cheapest option was Reykjavik and the northern lights tours there allow you to go out again on subsequent nights, making it worthwhile to go on your first night there so that you have some buffer to try again on another night.

2
Heikki Heinonen Guest

Ben, thanks of your blog. As being a Finn, I would try Lapland. In Finland, there are numerous hotels, which provide nice cubes to watch from room. I personally see it as "be outside and experience the darkness and enjoy the solid -20 Celsius (-4F or so). Being born near of EFRV. I watched Northen Lights (in finnish "revontulet") every winter at home.

1
AG Guest

Like I previous said, its a no brainer. Churchill, Manitoba in August. Swim with beluga whales during a beautiful summer day then see the northern lights during a clear and beautiful summer night. Both are guaranteed all while wearing tshirt and shorts =) Getting there is straightforward and easy and by the way, a great and easy redemption!

1
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