The aurora borealis is one of the most fascinating and exciting shows nature can offer and everyone should admire it at least once in their lifetime. Scientifically these are solar particles that collide with the atmospheric gases giving birth to bright wakes; in simpler terms, these are sinuous colored waves dancing in the sky during the Arctic winter. The best time to go hunting for the aurora borealis goes from the end of September to the beginning of March, when the night sky is clear and serene, but which are the places to go to if you want to see the aurora borealis?
Finnish Lapland is a great place to see the aurora borealis. While waiting for the night, you can have a sauna in a traditional wood hut with snow diving at the end of it, stroll through the snowy forests, or ride on a sleigh pulled by huskies or reindeers. The most romantic ones can enjoy one or more dreamlike nights at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, where you can sleep in a glass igloo, totally symbiotic with nature and admiring the aurora borealis from a privileged point of view.
Abisko, in the Swedish Lapland, is one of the best places in the world to see the aurora borealis. All due to a particular micro climate and its distance from any kind of atmospheric and light pollution: it is located about 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. Here is also the Aurora Sky Station of Abisko, on top of Mount Nuolja, open until the end of March.
Even the northernmost parts of Norway are great places to observe the aurora borealis in all its splendor, especially in the area from Tromsø to Alta and the Lofoten Islands. Temperatures during winter are really stiff and for this reason many prefer to try their luck in the fall, when it becomes dark early but the temperatures are slightly milder.
Did you know that you can see the aurora borealis also from Ireland? The wild Inishowen peninsula, in Donegal, attracts astronomers and enthusiasts every year who are waiting for the bright wakes to appear in the sky. The area has a lot to offer even in the daytime, with the possibility to watch different types of sea birds, stroll on the cliffs and drink a beer in the inevitable pubs.
Denali National Park, Alaska
The heart of Alaska is one of the most fascinating places to see the aurora borealis, where you can start to look for it by the end of August. Even though Denali National Park is far from the towns, it is easy to reach and will offer you an unforgettable experience!
Svalbard is an archipelago that belongs to Norway but is located in the Arctic Ocean, between the 74th and 81st parallel. At these latitudes, as well as it being more likely to see the aurora borealis, you can also experience the polar night, where these islands remain practically devoid of light day and night.
In Iceland, the aurora borealis is visible, with some luck, from September to April. Of course, the winter here is quite extreme, characterized by very low temperatures, but the aurora show is sure to reward you after all the difficulties! And if you are not lucky you can visit Reykjavik, the capital, dive into the hot water of the Blue Lagoon (yes, even in winter) or take a snowmobile or ski trip in the places where many of the scenes of Game of Thrones were filmed.
In this great island in the extreme north of the world, the aurora borealis sightings in the long winter months are very frequent, but it is also possible to admire this show in spring and autumn. Due to the scarcity of cities, houses and roads, light and atmospheric pollution is really minimized, making Greenland one of the best places to see the aurora borealis.
The Canadian region where it is easier to see the aurora borealis is Ontario, but with the right conditions it is possible to remain ecstatic in front of the sky colored by bright wakes also in the states of Yukon, North Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. The days can be filled with snow rides and pancakes with the world’s best maple syrup.