Witnessing the Northern Lights is a travel bucket list item for many. The bright colours flashing through the sky are a magical experience for anyone who is lucky enough to see them. These lights, also known as the aurora borealis, are best observed above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres during the winter season. The combination of a northern location and winter may seem strange for a vacation destination, but here are some of the top destinations to see the Northern Lights and also experience a great trip.
A northern European island, Iceland has become a popular travel destination for many reasons. Beautiful landscapes with volcanoes, glaciers and waterfalls make it an incredible place to visit. Situated just below the Arctic Circle, this also makes it a perfect spot to catch the Northern Lights. From October to March, the days are the shortest and darkest making this the optimal period for the lights. When the conditions are good, they may be observed almost anywhere in the country but if you want to have the best visual experience, we recommend staying somewhere rural to avoid light pollution in the city. During the day, Iceland has much to offer such as geothermal baths, whale watching and breathtaking scenery!
If you are travelling to Norway for the Northern Lights, you should consider Tromso for your stay. Tromso is found in the north of the country and if you visit during the winter months, you have a strong chance of seeing the lights. Nicknamed ‘Paris of the North’, the city is a great place to spend a few days. With many restaurants and cultural activities in town and Arctic wildlife to observe, this is a truly unique destination. If you are more of a city person, Tromso is the perfect spot as many bars even offer rooftop viewpoints to watch the Northern Lights.
In Canada, the best place to see the Northern Lights is the Northwest Territories. The low humidity and clear nights of the Canadian subarctic make this an ideal location. There are two main seasons to catch the aurora borealis, fall and winter. With warmer temperatures in the fall, the lakes have yet to freeze allowing you to watch the night sky out on a boat or you can camp and see the sky light up while sitting beside a cozy campfire. If you choose to go in the winter, you can enjoy activities such as dog sledding or ice fishing. Making a trip to Northern Canada would be an unforgettable adventure!
These are just a few recommendations for locations to visit if you want to experience the Northern Lights firsthand. Before you go, make sure to brush up on your photography skills and learn any tips and tricks for capturing night photography or the best camera techniques for the lights. The photos may not do the real experience justice, but you can try your best to capture the brilliant show of the aurora borealis!
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