12 Best Places to Watch the Northern Lights

In Norway, children were once forbidden to talk to the northern lights or even wave a white handkerchief at them. According to legend, this caused misfortune and would encourage the northern lights to bring the children home.

Today, of course, children are no longer afraid of the Northern Lights. But the northern lights, also called the aurora borealis, have not lost their mystical charm and spirit.

The northern lights are a green, purple, and red veil that appears on the northern globe. In the south they are called the southern lights. However, because Australia is so northerly, the southern lights are rarely seen. The aurora borealis and australasian aurora are collectively called the northern lights. In Europe, the chances of seeing the aurora borealis are much higher – with a little luck you can see them in different countries from the end of August to the end of April.

Northern Lights: This is how it’s made

On the one hand, happiness depends on the correct solar activity – only then do colored particles appear in the air. Because the polar lights are created by explosions in the sun. When electrically charged particles turn into solar storms as a result of the explosions and escape from the manganese field, they disrupt the Earth’s magnetic field. It is shifted up and down – towards the North Pole and the South Pole. In the Earth’s atmosphere, they meet with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen, creating a colorful light – at an altitude of up to 140 kilometers.

For the lights to be visible to us, the sky must be clear; In the case of clouds or light effects from cities in the area, the lights may be there, but they are not visible. So you definitely have to be patient on the aurora borealis trek. If all the factors are applied and the eruptions and solar storm are particularly strong, you can even see the lights in Germany!

However, in some places, namely those in the so-called Northern Lights Oval, the chances are especially good. Brought to you by a travel reporter in several countries:

Norway | Sweden | Finland | Faroe Islands and Greenland | Iceland | Scotland | Canada

1. The Lofoten Archipelago in Norway

The chances of seeing the aurora borealis in the northern part of Norway are generally not bad. The first northern lights appear from mid to late August – and remain a part of the starry night sky until April. Tromsø is often cited as the starting point for Northern Lights tours, but they are usually very bright in the city itself. If you want to see the Northern Lights in Tromsø, go to the offshore islands.

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On the other hand, the Lofoten Islands offer ideal conditions – here you can see the lights almost everywhere, if they are there. The archipelago is sparsely populated, so light pollution is not very high.

2. Senja Island in Norway

The island of Senja south of Tromsø is no longer an insider’s tip among Norway lovers, but it often lags behind Lofoten and Västeralen when it comes to holiday options. The island is also referred to as “mini Norway” – because everything that is special about Norway can be found here: mountains, fjords, beautiful beaches, seclusion, waterfalls and the northern lights.

The Aurora Observatory advertises the best view of the northern lights, but it’s not free. A visit there is absolutely not necessary – because the lights are visible almost everywhere due to the small number of people when they dance in the sky.

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3. The Vesterålen Archipelago in Norway

Norway was the third country in the world to launch rockets into space – in 1962 some were launched from Andøya Island in Vesterålen to scientifically explore the northern lights. Until then, no one knew how the green veil was created and why it could be seen especially well in some areas.

You can learn more at the Aurora Spaceship in Andøya. There, classrooms and visitors are taught the scientific background of the Northern Lights. And if you run a Northern Lights Research Center, you usually don’t quite do it like this: the aurora opportunities are very good in Vesterålen, a little north of the Lofoten Islands. It is best to climb mountains or hills, but there is also good visibility on the coasts of Andenes or Nyksund, for example.

4. Kiruna in Sweden

When you hear the aurora borealis and the Swedes, you usually hear the name of a city: Kiruna. Kiruna is not just a city, but a municipality – this is the most likely way to spot the Northern Lights, especially outside the city. However: Kiruna in Swedish Lapland is one of the places to see the northern lights that is best reached by plane.