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The Best Countries From Which to See the Northern Lights in 2024

February 5, 2024

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Do you dream of seeing the Northern Lights, where ripples of light cast a cascade of colors across the night sky? Well, 2024 is your year! The Northern Lights will be extra dazzling due to increased solar activity. Check out our list of the best countries to see the northern lights and why they are prime viewing spots. So, let’s get started!

1. Iceland

Best Time to See the Northern Lights - Iceland

Iceland is a fantastic spot for catching the Northern Lights, especially at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon near the Vatnajokull Glacier. This region boasts clear skies and remote locations, perfect for seeing the aurora away from city lights. 

 

Kirkjufell, north of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, is a perfect spot for photographers to capture the Northern Lights. The mountain’s distinctive shape and nearby waterfall create an ideal setting for witnessing this mesmerizing natural display. Other great places in Southern Iceland include Thingvellir National Park and the town of Vik.

 

The best time to witness this natural light show is from September to April, with January offering the darkest nights for viewing and photography.

2. Canada

Best Time to See the Northern Lights - Canada

Canada’s a great spot for catching the Aurora Northern Lights when heading north to Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. The closer you are to the magnetic pole, the higher the chances of witnessing this spectacular display.

 

For a top-notch experience, go to Churchill, Manitoba, in February, situated under the auroral oval. Jasper and Banff national parks in the Canadian Rockies are also fantastic spots for Northern Lights viewing, with Jasper being the world’s largest Dark Sky Preserve.

 

The best time to catch the Northern Lights in Canada is from September to March, especially around the equinoxes in March and September. Longer nights during these months mean more opportunities to witness the lights.

 

Other notable places in Canada to see the Northern Lights include Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, Fort McMurray in Alberta, and Battle Harbour in Newfoundland & Labrador.

3. Norway

Best Time to See the Northern Lights - Norway

Norway is one of the best spots to catch the Northern Lights, thanks to its location in the auroral oval—a prime area for aurora activity. With stunning fjords, snowy mountains, and frequent vivid displays, Norway offers a magical experience.

 

Plan your visit between September and April for optimal North Lights viewing, when the nights are the longest and darkest. Northern regions, like Tromsø, boast up to 200 aurora nights annually, especially after 6 pm. The farther north you go, the better your chances.

 

Explore other noteworthy locations like the Lofoten Islands, Svalbard, Kirkenes, Bodø, the Vesterålen Islands, and Varanger for an equally enchanting Northern Lights spectacle.

4. Alaska

Best Time to See the Northern Lights - Alaska

Due to its proximity to the Arctic Circle, Alaska is an ideal spot for catching the Aurora Northern Lights. The best time to see the northern lights in Alaska is from late August to mid-April, with the lights most active from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. March’s clearer spring skies, the Spring Equinox, and a new moon make it the best time for avid Aurora hunters.

 

Alaska’s diverse landscapes, from the Brooks Mountains to the Boreal forest, offer a stunning backdrop for the Northern Lights. You can enhance your viewing experience with Northern Lights tours, which guide you to the best spots and provide insights about the aurora. 

 

Murphy Dome, the highest peak in the area, and Chena Lake near Fairbanks are popular due to their open spaces and recreational activities. Besides Fairbanks, other prime locations to see the Northern Lights include Denali National Park, Nome, and remote villages like Coldfoot in the Yukon Territory.

5. Finland

Best Time to See the Northern Lights - Finland

Finland, especially Lapland in the north, is a prime spot for Northern Lights enthusiasts due to its location in the “aurora zone.” The snowy landscapes provide an ideal backdrop, and cities like Rovaniemi offer around 150 nights of displays every year.

 

The best time to catch the Northern Lights in Finland is from late August to April, with the peak season spanning September through March. March is particularly clear for viewing, with the brightest auroras around midnight.

 

For optimal viewing, steer clear of city lights and explore the wilderness of northern Finland with locals in Rovaniemi and Kemi. 

 

Other great spots to fully experience Finland’s natural beauty and enhance your Aurora Northern Lights experience include Ivalo, Inari, Kakslauttanen, Levi, and Saariselkä.

6. Sweden

Best Time to See the Northern Lights - Sweden

Sweden is one of the best countries to see the Northern Lights because its northern parts, including  Abisko and Kiruna, lie in the “Northern Lights Belt,” with high solar activity, and it’s super dark in winter. Sweden’s landscapes, with snowy terrains and frozen lakes, make the Northern Lights even more magical.

 

For the best time, go during the shoulder seasons in late September to early November or March to April. The most amazing light shows usually happen around 10:00 to 11:00 pm, especially in March around midnight.

 

Jukkasjärvi and Harads are also excellent choices for witnessing the Northern Lights in Sweden. Jukkasjärvi is just a quick 20-minute drive from Kiruna, and Harads’ Treehotel accommodation provides a comfy stay with panoramic windows to catch the Northern Lights at their absolute best.

7. Greenland

Best Time to See the Northern Lights - Greenland

Greenland is one of the best countries to see the Northern Lights because most of Greenland is in the Arctic Circle. With its small towns and population, there are only a few city lights messing with your view. You can catch the Northern Lights in action in the capital, Nuuk. 

 

During the shorter days of late September to March or April, the nights are dark, clear, and free from clouds. For a top-notch experience, go to Northeast Greenland National Park or head to South Greenland if you can’t stand heavy parkas and extreme cold like the more northern spots.

 

Kangerlussuaq is one of the best spots to see the Aurora Northern Lights from October to April when the Arctic nights get super dark. You’ll start seeing the Northern Lights in Greenland in August at the end of summer. 

 

Other spots in Greenland to view the Northern Lights include Sisimiut, Ilulissat, Nuuk, Kulusuk, and Tasiilaq.

Takeaway

Get ready for a fantastic adventure this year as the Northern Lights light up the night sky like never before. These countries offer incredible experiences to witness this spectacular light show in nature. So, gear up and immerse yourself in the beauty of the celestial display that awaits you!

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