You may have seen the Northern Lights in photographs or video, but there’s nothing that can prepare you for seeing them in all their glory in person. They’re one of the most beautiful, majestic, and magical displays that nature has to offer.
If the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, have captured your curiosity, it’s about time you planned your trip to see them in person. There are countless destinations where viewing the Northern Lights is possible, and it can seem overwhelming to even settle on a location before planning your trip. Here are some of the top vantage points to really take in the Northern Lights, and make the most of your experience.
Alaska is considered one of the best places for seeing the Northern Lights. Pretty much all of Alaska is good for it, but Fairbanks is at the top of the list. Fairbanks sits in the auroral oval, which is a ring-shaped area around the North Pole. Fairbanks is directly beneath a band of aurora activity, so the town regularly experiences the beautiful displays.
Seeing the Northern Lights here is possible year-round, but winter months are ideal because of the longer nights. It occurs most frequently from August through April, between 10 pm and 3 am.
Norway is already a magical country to visit, but if you visit between October and March, you’ll be able to catch the beauty of the Northern Lights. There is no shortage of breathtaking vantage points, but Svalbard is the top spot.
Svalbard is a string of Arctic Islands between mainland Norway and the North Pole and is one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas. It experiences polar night between November and February, making it the only inhabited place in the world where you can experience the Northern Lights phenomenon during the day.
You might not have even thought about viewing the Northern Lights from Pennsylvania, but you can! Cherry Springs State Park is tucked away from the light pollution of large cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The area was actually given the highest designation from the International Dark-Sky Association, classified as a Gold Level International Dark Sky Park.
Even if you miss viewing the Northern Lights, you’ll still get a spectacular view of the stars that you don’t normally get.
If you’re looking for the ultimate experience when viewing the Northern Lights, Sweden should be at the top of your list. It’s one of the more popular (although more expensive) destinations. The temperatures in Sweden are a little milder compared to some of the other destinations, thanks to the Gulf Stream.
But the temperature isn’t the only reason why Sweden is the ultimate Northern Lights destination. Sweden is home to the original Icehotel. The entire structure is newly sculpted entirely out of ice each winter by artists and has been for the last 24 years. Can you imagine experiencing the Northern Lights from a hotel made entirely of ice?
Icehotel offers plenty of different excursions, from snowmobile safaris to photography tours, to dog sledding.