Best Tips to See the Northern Lights
Seeing the magical colors of the Northern Lights dancing in the sky should be an experience on everyone’s bucket list. You’re in for a few chilly evenings, but with the right guide you will be warmed with hot cocoa and a sizzling bonfire.
The natural phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis occurs when solar winds of energized particles from the sun move towards earth. Due to the earth’s protective atmosphere, the energized particles are magnetically pulled to the north and south poles of our planet. This then creates the waves of vibrant lights in the sky. While the Northern Lights are known as a winter event, this phenomenon actually happens year-round, it is just too light to view them during the summer months.
Where To Go
To have the best chance of seeing the aurora borealis in all its glory, a remote destination close to the arctic circle is ideal.
- The Scandinavian countries are a few of the best places to visit for this experience with their knowledgeable guides.
- Lapland, Finland is home to the iconic glass igloos at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. Imagine seeing the Northern Lights without ever leaving your bed!
- For a stay “closer” to home, visit Winterlake Lodge in Alaska with a bonus viewing of the Iditarod dog sledding race.
- Iceland is another perfect destination and the Hotel Húsafell will have everything sorted out for your midnight excursion.
- Statistically the very best time of year to see the Northern Lights is at the Spring Equinox in March.
What To Bring
Packing the correct gear will make all the difference on this wintery hunt. If you are new to winter travel, know that quality over quantity is the key.
- Wool clothing will keep your insides warm so opt for 100 percent wool base layers.
- An insulated jacket and snow pants are necessary for your outer layer, these even come as onesies for convenience.
- Lastly, accessories are imperative–thick socks, hefty boots, and insulated gloves will keep your extremities warm in addition to a hat and neck cover. Some of these heavy outer layers will be provided by your guide.
- Other than clothing, you’ll want to have a high quality camera with you. Your iPhone jus t won’t do this light show justice. Everything else will be included with your guided experience.
What To Expect
Like the weather, the Northern Lights are unpredictable and even in the best conditions, they might have a bit of stage fright.
- This is a tricky expedition and patience is essential but the expert guides will be watching the reports and position you in the best spot for the evening.
- The Northern Lights can show up in a spectrum of colors from gray to red and are best viewed on a clear night after midnight.
- To maximize your chances of seeing the Lights, plan at least two excursions out to catch them.
- Make sure to come with the right mindset and plan other fun activities in case your hunt is unsuccessful. These regions are a mecca for ice fishing, seeing reindeer, dog sledding, and more.
If we’ve convinced you to take a winter trip in hopes of seeing the Northern Lights, now is the time to start planning. Tell us more about your travel style and what you’re hoping to see and do HERE, and we’ll reach out to brainstorm destinations!