5 Places to see the Amazing Aurora Borealis
The Northern Lights is one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular presentations.
In general, a sighting of the Aurora Borealis can never be guaranteed, but, if you are lucky enough to see this amazing sight, it certainly is one that you will never forget. It is a phenomenon of solar winds interacting with the earth’s magnetic fields to give an unusual and breathtaking array of lighting in the sky.
Always a favorite for tourists and nature photography, the incredible light show is only visible in certain parts of the world and here are some of the best viewing spots.
1. The Oulanka National Park, Finland
Ideal conditions for a sighting are a clear dark sky and the Oulanka National Park, which is set in the far north of Finland, is certainly one of the best places where these conditions prevail. This is because it is near to the Arctic Circle and is a vast open space of 270 square kilometers covering some of Lapland and therefore has minimal light pollution. It’s especially good for those visiting in late October or late March.
2. The Lofoten Islands, Norway
From almost anywhere in Norway it is possible to view the Aurora Borealis. In the Lofoten Islands, your chances of seeing them are ideal, as this area in Northern Norway is so close to the Arctic Circle. Although dry, crisp weather and clear skies are found inland, eastern winds can hamper sightings so often, the coast provides better viewing conditions for the Northern Lights. It is easier to see and usually clearer in wild open regions, as lighting in urban areas interferes with the depth of the coloring of the Aurora. Other places considered good for sightings in Norway are Tromso right up in the wilds of North Norway and Lillehammer, slightly further to the South.
3. The Kola Peninsula, Murmansk, Russia
This region of Russia is well- known for rain, snow and cloudy skies, so the sighting the Northern Lights in this area definitely cannot be guaranteed. However, if the sky is clear, the lights can be a spectacular show that lasts for several days at a time. Murmansk is located at the northern tip of the Kola Peninsula right inside the Arctic Circle and the days are long and dark with freezing temperatures. Although not the ideal place to spend your annual vacation, it is if you want to see the Aurora Borealis; the best time to go is February, March, September and October.
4. Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Kangerlussuaq is located in the north of the Arctic Circle. This area is one of the exceptional places for viewing the Northern Lights as it has 300 days and nights of clear sky each year and doesn’t suffer from the light pollution that prevents viewing in other locations. Greenland is definitely for intrepid travelers. It is a forbidding glacial landscape and undeveloped. Dog sleds and snowmobiles are your means of transport and there is limited accommodation. A hotel, or some cabins could be available, otherwise you may rent a room in one of the village houses. It is a quaint, rustic and unusual experience, topped off by nature’s amazing light show.
5. Denali National Park, Alaska
Situated well within the best viewing zone for the Northern Lights, Denali National Park in Alaska has almost twenty-four hours of darkness in winter. There are no city lights to interfere with the incredible light show and accommodation in the park is plentiful and comfortable. Your chances of observing the Aurora Borealis here are very high.