The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are a natural phenomenon occurring in the Northern hemisphere, where glowing lights appear in the sky during the night usually in shades of green and blue. It is a rare, breathtaking spectacle, and because of this it is a popular activity on many bucket lists. To make sure you can complete this activity, there are a few elements to take into account before going to chase the Northern Lights.
The lights frequently appear from September to April during the night (specifically 9pm to 1am). Some tourists recommend using an Aurora forecasting app, as it can accurately predict when and where the lights will appear. Although, it is important to note that they are not always accurate, so it is advised to go out every night regardless of the forecast!
Every year, many travellers return disappointed after trips that are made with the sole purpose to view the Northern Lights. Therefore, it is important to pick a destination that provides alternative activities and sights that interest you.
The top three countries to visit when wanting to see the Northern Lights that have both the perfect conditions to view them and a multitude of activities to get up to during the day are: Tromso (Norway), Reykjavik (Iceland) and Abisko (Sweden).
These three cities all have their attractions, with some overlapping, but others being very specific to the country. Tromso is rated as the third best destination by TripAdvisor for its historic monuments like the Arctic Cathedral, as well as being a popular retail destination. The Norwegian city offers activities such as sailing, fishing, whale watching, and reindeer sledding as its top tourist attractions.
Iceland is known for its self heating lakes and springs, so if you are more interested in glacier hiking or visiting one of the three National Parks, it might be more rewarding for you to stay at Reykjavik. Activities such as whale watching and horse riding are also popular in Iceland.
Abisko is popular for those interested in both the natural and cultural splendour of a country, as it offers frozen waterfalls and landscapes as well as dog sledding, reindeer tours and the infamous Ice Hotel.
It has been suggested that with the changing climate, the appearance of the Northern Lights will become less frequent. If witnessing them is on your Bucket List, waiting to be ticked off, the sooner you go the better!