They are unpredictable. So anyone who dreams of watching this phenomenon needs to know which are the best places in the world to see the Aurora Borealis or Australis.
Few scenarios are as romantic as this one: a proposal of marriage, in the cold of Norway, under the spectacle of the Aurora Borealis. It’s no wonder that @dkphotographyau’s image has gone viral in the last few weeks and a lot of people talk about it!
However, to repeat such a scene – with or without marriage proposals – it takes a little luck and fingers crossed. You might be in a good spot to watch Aurora, but they are unpredictable. That’s why it’s important to maximize your chances of watching it by being in the right place at the right time.
The best regions to watch the Aurora Borealis show are between latitude 66 to 69 degrees North. There are areas closest to the North Pole, which include Alaska, Canada, Greenland, northern Scandinavia and Russia. This region may even extend a little further when solar activity is at its highest, but it is better not to count on it.
There is also the Aurora Australis, when the phenomenon occurs at the South Pole of the planet, which appear from March in some places.
A great tip before venturing to these freezing destinations is to check the kp index website, which measures electromagnetic activities in the atmosphere and shows how the chances of Nordic lights appear. If he points to a number greater than two, this is considered good for the chances of notifying the Boreal Author.
Check out the 11 best places in the world to see Aurora:
1) Jokulsarlon, Iceland | Best place: Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
According to experts, it is possible to see the Aurora Borealis all over Iceland, but there is one perfect spot: the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, on the southeastern coast of Iceland, 250 km from Reykjavik. There, an iceberg inside the lagoon reflects the lights even more. A good recommendation is to check the local weather forecast before going. Rain or snow can kill your chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis.
2) Fairbanks, Alaska, United States | Best place: Hot spring
Just imagine: the cold and tiredness after days of hunting the Aurora Borealis. If there’s one good thing about watching it in a hot spring, it’s that you’ll solve both of these problems.
You can watch the show at Chena Resort, which has hot springs. The resort even has an “alarm” system, which alerts guests if lights start to come on in the middle of the night.
The city of Fairbanks, Alaska, is the best place to see the Aurora Borealis in the United States. You can check the weather conditions for the region and Aurora on the University of Alaska website.
3) Paatsjoki, Finland | Best place: Paatsjoki Bridge, Nellim, near the Finland-Russia border
There are four-night tours between December and March that take you to see the Aurora Borealis. Experts in the field say that the chances of seeing Nordic lights there are 90%. You can check the tour website on the Nellim Aurora Quest tour.
4) Unstad, Lofoten, Norway
Have you seen this video of professional surfer Mick Fanning surfing the Aurora Borealis? So, Unstad, Norway, is one of the best places to get some freezing surf – and also to warn the Nordic lights. Every year, there is a local surfing championship there, which ends up being more of a festival than anything else, for the spectacle it is! You can check when the championship is going on on the website by clicking here.
Oh, and that’s where the marriage proposal we talked about above took place!
5) Cairngorms National Park, Scotland | In your rental van
Britain’s largest national park is one of the best places to see the Nordic lights in the country. There is a parking lot with a spectacular view great for seeing the Aurora Borealis. The information is on the Visit Cairngorms website. There is also a nice region to do snow sports, hiking and even playing golf.
6) Kangerlussuaq, Greenland | Best place to see Aurora Borealis: Dog sledding expedition
Greenland’s only international airport is in the town of Kangerlussuaq, which opens the way to the rest of the country. There are short tours that take you to the Aurora Borealis from October to April. However, the coolest expedition takes place between February and April, which are three days on dog sleds to the city of Sisimiut.
7) Yellowknife, Canada | On a chair – with blankets – on a camping trip
The city of Yellowknife is a great place to watch the Northern Lights. If you drive 25 minutes from the city center, there is a place called Aurora Village, a campsite where you can enjoy the dawn in a lounge full of design, with heated chairs and guides in several languages speaking about the show. It’s even better to warm up, as temperatures can reach minus 40ºC!
8) Tromso, Norway | Best place: On the deck of a steamship
Also known as the “Paris of the North”, the city of Tromsø is beautiful and super accessible to see the Aurora Borealis. The Norwegian Department of Tourism recommends a boat trip along the coast of the country on the Astronomy Voyage, which takes place from October to March, and follows the Aurora Borealis – with several astronomers on board.
9) Abisko, Sweden | Best spot: at a typical country dinner
There, you can stay overnight in an ice hotel or enjoy a night at the Aurora Sky Station, arriving by cable car and enjoying a four-course dinner before heading out to watch the Aurora Borealis show.
10) Muonio, Finland | Best place: in a cabin in the middle of nature
The village of Muonio is not a big tourist destination, but just looking at this picture on Antti Pietikainen’s Instagram, you might already be convinced. There, in addition to seeing the Aurora, it is worth visiting the neighborhood like Olos, Levi and Pallas. Pallas-Yllastunturi National Park is a ski and trekking destination, just a 25-minute drive from the village.
11) Southern Hemisphere | Best place: at the southern ends of continents
Antarctica is without a doubt the best place to see the Aurora Australis, but it’s also the most inaccessible – unless you’re a scientist or a researcher. However, you can see the Aurora Australis in the extreme south of South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. A good option is Stewart Island, in New Zealand. There are only 400 inhabitants there and it is covered in stunning nature.
Is that you? Do you already know which is the best place to see the Aurora Borealis or Australis?