The rules are simple when hoping to see the Northern Lights: you should be near the North Pole on a winter night when the sky is clear. It's not worth trying your luck on a snowy day. All you will get is a stiff neck. Here are our picks of the best places to spot the Northern Lights. From Iceland to Canada and Norway, here are a selection of places to admire this magical phenomenon.
Viewing the Northern Lights in Iceland
Iceland is the ultimate land of Northern Lights hunters and is full of places to see the sky ablaze with colour. From the outskirts of Reykjavik to the fringes of the north-west fjords, the Northern Lights can be seen from October to March.
Seeing the Northern Lights in Canada
Canada's proximity to the North Pole makes it a prime location for observing the Northern Lights. It is said that, according to Inuit tradition, shamans could travel to the Northern Lights and draw knowledge and spirituality from them. Examples include the provinces of Yukon, Saskatchewan, Nunavu, Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Quebec. If the length of your trip does not allow for enough time to travel around the country, you can admire the phenomenon on the outskirts of Montreal, as long as the sky is clear and there is no light pollution.
Admiring the Northern Lights in Norway
Northern Norway, especially Tromsø and the Lofoten Islands, is the best place to see the Northern Lights. There's nothing like a trip to the Norwegian Svalbarg archipelago, where the island of Spitsbergen is located, to take your adventure even further and maximise your chances of admiring the phenomenon. Svalbarg is the country's most northern territory, with a small population, and the perfect place to hunt the Northern Lights.
Discovering the Northern Lights in Alaska
Alaska, a kingdom of trappers and wildlife, is also known for its Northern Lights. Fairbanks, the second largest city in the state, is a great spot for Northern Lights hunters. Located inland, north of Anchorage, it is the starting point for many expeditions.
Seeing the Northern Lights in Greenland
The second largest island in the world is great for viewing the Northern Lights. Enjoy the long (and cold) winter nights in Greenland to marvel at the show.
Seeing the Northern Lights in Sweden
As in Norway, the best place for observing the Northern Lights in Sweden is the north of the country. The easiest way to maximise your chances is to go to Swedish Lapland. In addition to its fantastic forests, the 'last wilderness in Europe', as it is often called, is a great place for viewing the Northern Lights. There are plenty of activities to choose from, from trapper huts with outdoor hot tubs to night sleigh trips in pursuit of the Northern Lights.
Viewing the Northern Lights in Finland
It is in northern Lapland, on the outskirts of the country, that you will have the best opportunity to catch sight of this magical phenomenon. Local statistics are a complete dream: it is possible to observe the Northern Lights every other winter night in Finnish Lapland. It's enough to make you come back with stars in your eyes.
Watching the Northern Lights in Scotland
Known as the 'Mirrie Dancers' in Gaelic folklore, the Northern Lights are common in Scotland, especially on the northern tip of Skye Island and in the Ullapool area. It is not surprising when you consider that the north of Scotland is situated at the same latitude as the Norwegian city of Stavanger or Nunivak Island in Alaska.
Cover picture : Asaf Kliger/imagebank.sweden.se