The Northern Lights- What to know and where to see them

By Dave Gregory

Blissfully sat atop many a traveller’s wish list, the Northern Lights are one of the most spellbinding must see sights when it comes to exploring the world. Enchanting, magical and somewhat miraculous, the lights treat their watchers to one of the most unique night sky shows on the planet, whispering across the night time sky in hues of green, blue, red and violet.

Chasing the perfect light show

For many professional travellers and Northern Lights chasers, heading north whilst consulting the auroral forecast becomes a long term commitment, but for those of us who barely have the time to squeeze in a short break, there are plenty of realistic options when it comes to spotting these night time marvels.

The lights occur most frequently and prolifically in areas known as auroral zones, which exist amongst countries such as Siberia, Alaska, Arctic Scandinavia, Canada, Greenland and Manitoba. Searching for the Northern Lights can become quite a feat however, as increased solar activity tends to affect their occurrence and position, with sightings even reported in Scotland and as far south as the Mediterranean.

Picking your viewing spot

For many who want to treat themselves to a glimpse of the Northern Lights, selecting a destination can be one of the most daunting aspects. Many offer different out of this world experiences, whether you want to bathe in the soothing waters of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, or sleep in unique style at the Icehotel in Sweden. Norway offers some of the most spectacular coastal cruises, whilst Finland offers the ideal romantic experience in a heated glass igloo or a log cabin.

Whether you want to combine an action packed winter sports break with some night-time sightseeing, or you’d rather blend relaxed days of pampering with cosy nights of light spotting, you can find the perfect combination to ensure your stay is filled with memorable experiences.

When to enjoy your night sky trip

Many specialists recommend travelling to see the lights when the atmospheric conditions are likely to be as clear as possible, making spring and autumn the ideal time to head north. That said, many experts cite late November to mid March as the ideal viewing time. Others propose different areas require different recommendations, for example, Finland is thought to be best visited in the winter, when the snow is thick and there are plenty of wintery activities on offer besides seeking the lights.

And if I can’t see the lights…

Of course, no trip to see the Northern Lights guarantees you will catch sight of them, so it’s best to pack a dash of realism alongside any optimism in your suitcase. Many travel packages combine some of the most out of this world experiences aside from seeing the lights, ensuring your adventures across the wintery landscapes will still be filled with once in a lifetime sights and experiences. From husky sledding, ice fishing and snowmobiling, to reindeer safaris and snowshoe tours, there is something to entice every type of traveller besides the auroral light show.

However you decide to tailor your Northern Lights trip, you can be sure it will become one of the most memorable experiences you can ever hope to encounter.

Author Bio: Dave Gregory is an avid traveler working as a digital content account  manager for Site Visibility.