The clocks have gone back and the winter is officially on the way. In some parts of Europe, it’s that time of year when your chances of seeing one of nature’s most stunning spectacles, the northern lights start to increase. Witnessing the aurora has certainly been one of the most magical experiences of my life, and I can 100% say that it is worth braving the cold and the darkness to see them. So today we’re going to look at some of the best places in Europe to see the northern lights so that you can start planning your next winter adventure.
Great Places In Europe To See The Northern Lights
The northern lights can be seen from September until April in latitudes above 55° north. To have the best chances of seeing the northern lights you need clear skies and no light pollution, along with a good amount of patience. Choosing a location for your aurora hunting trip can be difficult, as the aurora are fickle, as is the weather. It’s not just about finding a location that is far north, but also taking in to consideration the weather conditions, light pollution, ease of access and of course the cost. Finding a destination that not only offers the chance to watch the aurora but also has lots of other activities on offer too will make sure that you have an unforgettable trip whatever happens.
Levi is situated in Finnish Lapland, and can be a great destination for winter sports during the day and northern lights hunting at night. Although there can be quite a lot of light pollution around the town itself, a shoot trip out to the Sirkka lake (Sirkkajärvi) and you’ll find yourself out in the beautiful Lapland wilderness. Of course there are also plenty of northern lights excursions to choose from too, such as snowmobile or reindeer safaris, or driving to the top of the Levi fell in a snow cat. We saw the northern lights for two nights in a row when we were in Levi in February 2017, and even with the light pollution from the town, we got a beautiful show from the top of the fell.
Although Iceland sits further south than many of the popular northern lights destinations, the chances of seeing the aurora here can be pretty good. Because of the crazy weather and often high winds coming in from the ocean, the weather can change pretty quickly. And whilst this can sometimes work to your disadvantage, it can also work in your favour. Just because a night starts out cloudy, doesn’t mean that it will stay that way, and you might find you get clear skies after all. And even if you don’t get to see the aurora, a trip to Iceland is never disappointing with such incredible scenery at every turn.
Lofoten is another destination that is breathtaking with or without the northern lights. These tiny fishing villages scattered around this dramatic archipelago are surrounded by imposing peaks that rise up out of the ocean. The coastal weather means that it can be quite cloudy around these islands, but when the skies are clear you’ve got a good chance of aurora spotting.
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