The Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis as it is sometimes referred, has had viewers in awe at its natural beauty. Storytellers have conjured tales of magic and entrances to other worlds, geographers have studied endlessly to explained how it happens and photographers have captured its essence in their still images. It is a phenomenon that everyone should see in person at least once in their lives.
The Northern Light show is caused by charged particles from the sun that become trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field. The result is an awe-inspiring dance of colours in the sky, nature’s own emerald green, magenta and turquoise light show.
Although it is available to see all year round in certain areas of the world, the best time to see them is from late September to late March. There is a range of places on earth where it can be witnessed and here, at Far Out, we have put together a list of places where you can have the opportunity to witness the spectacle that is the Northern Lights.
Moray Coast, Scotland
Closer to home for UK residents, this Scottish mainland destination is great for viewing the Northern Lights.
Stretching east of the Highlands’ capital Inverness. Nairn overlooking Moray Firth has a sunny and dry climate, which is perfect for spotting the aurora.
One of the more common choices for spotting the Northern Lights, Reykjavik boasts some great opportunities to view the aurora.
Sometimes you may have to do a little chasing along the close line for clear skies but it is located in a prime spot to view the dancing light show. The place also has some of the best waterfalls, trails, hot springs and views there are to see without getting to witness the Northern Lights, so if you are unlucky there is always a plan B.
Great Slave Lake in Yellowknife boasts its own village that has special activities for northern lights tourism. Jasper National Park and Wood Buffalo are also popular viewing spots in Canada.
Thanks to its northern positioning it is the perfect place to view the aurora. This, mixed with the low light pollution in the areas most popular with viewers, makes it one of the best spots to see the Northern Lights.
The village of Ersfjordbotn, just 12 miles from Tromsø, is another spot popular for aurora searches.
Others locations in the area where you can get a good view include Lofoten Islands and the far northern towns of Alta, Nordkapp, and Kirkenes.
In the area close to where the popular Icehotel is situated, Kiruna is a great place to view the Northern Lights.
A short drive from the town you will find great spots to view the aurora. There are plenty of views and wildlife to take in as well in the mountainous Abisko National Park.
Your chances may dwindle if you try and view the aurora in the northern parts of Greenland as they are too far north.
But the more south you go the better chance you will have of capturing this wondrous natural attraction.