Viewing the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is a phenomenon high on many of our bucket lists. There is something magical about the dramatic whisps of greens, purples, pinks and yellows streaming across a night sky, and the fact you never know when you might catch it adds an even deeper level of mystique to the phenomenon.
Luckily, you can increase your chances of experiencing the Northern Lights by choosing a location that gives you the best odds of seeing them. Read on to learn about some of the best spots around the globe to visit during aurora season so you can check this experience off your list:
Fairbanks, Alaska, is often considered one of the best places for aurora viewing, not just in the United States, but in the world. Its extreme northern location within the Arctic oval, minimal light pollution and extended hours of darkness during aurora season make conditions ideal for catching a glimpse of the light show that can come and go at any moment from September through April.
The area also enjoys a unique climate that is quite dry, resulting in clear skies and minimal cloud cover. There are great places for hiking or taking a drive near the city, so you can scan the night sky or opt for one of the many aurora-viewing tours or lodges designed for optimal viewing opportunities.
Tromsø, Norway, is also located within the aurora oval, making it another great option. Because this geographic oval is where the highest concentration of aurora activity is found, it is highly likely you will see the colorful phenomenon even when the activity level is low. Along with great aurora-viewing tours taking you away from the city lights for a better chance of seeing the aurora, Tromsø also offers plenty of great activities during the day to make your trip complete, like riding Fjellheisen cable car to the top of Mount Storsteinen or visiting a reindeer farm.
Abisko National Park, Sweden
Sweden’s Abisko National Park, like the other destinations on this list, also lies within the aurora oval and has a dry climate with little cloud cover. This means conditions are ideal, giving visitors some of the best chances to experience the sweeping streams of light as they come and go across the night sky. The park is known for its Aurora Sky Station, situated 2,952 feet above sea level on Mount Njullá, giving you some of the best chances of success.
When you aren’t busy scanning the night skies for the main event, you can also enjoy some of Sweden’s incredible natural beauty at Abisko. Go ice skating on frozen Lake Torneträsk, Scandinavia’s largest alpine lake; take a dogsled tour; or enjoy some world-class downhill skiing.
Anyone who’s visited a destination known for its northern lights viewing during certain times of the year knows, just because you visit doesn’t mean you’ll be able to actually see the northern lights. A lot has to come together for them to be visible, and if the weather doesn’t cooperate, you might be out of luck. However, a new cruise aims to help travelers avoid the disappointment of traveling across the world just to be left lightless.
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