Top 8 Places to Spot the Northern Lights in Scandinavia
The Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis, are a natural light display caused by the interaction between charged particles from the sun and the Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere. This energy creates a stunning and vibrant spectacle, featuring lights in shades of purple, blue, pink, or green that seem to gracefully dance across the sky. The Northern Lights are most commonly seen in high-latitude regions near the Arctic Circle, such as the Scandinavia region.
If you are planning a trip to see this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, Scandinavia is the best place to go! We have hand-picked some of the best spots in the polar region to witness the Northern Lights, in countries such as Norway, Sweden and Finland. You will also find some inspiration for different activities you can try while experiencing the Northern Lights!
1. Tromsø, Norway
Tromsø is the most northern city located in Norway. Due to its position above the Arctic Circle, it is one of the best places in the world to witness the Northern Lights! It also has a lively city, with plenty of restaurants to taste local cuisines, bars and cafes. Tromsø has lots of natural beauty and wilderness areas to explore, and is a popular destination for many exciting outdoor winter activities, such as hiking, dog sledding and snowmobiling. All of these activities and more can be done while witnessing the Northern Lights in Tromsø!
2. Abisko, Sweden
Abisko is a small village located in northern Sweden, close to the western border with Norway. The village's location within the auroral oval and its clear skies make it an ideal spot for observing the mesmerising Aurora Borealis, especially during the winter months. The village is situated near Abisko National Park, one of Sweden's oldest national parks, which features stunning mountains, forests, and the pristine Lake Torneträsk. You can try a Northern Lights Chase in Abisko National Park to experience its natural beauty!
3. Kiruna, Sweden
Kiruna is the northernmost town in Sweden, situated approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes away from Abisko by car. Kiruna is home to the famous Icehotel in the nearby village of Jukkasjärvi, a unique accommodation built every year from snow and ice, which attracts many visitors. Like Abisko, Kiruna is situated within the auroral oval, making it a great location for observing the Northern Lights. You can enjoy snowmobiling under the Northern Lights in Kiruna or a simple Northern Lights chase by minivan in Kiruna!
4. Rovaniemi, Finland
Rovaniemi is the largest and capital city of Lapland, situated in northern Finland. It is located just south of the Arctic Circle, making it a popular destination for visitors to cross over the Arctic Circle line. Rovaniemi is also known as the official hometown of Santa Claus, with the famous Santa Claus Village. Like other northern locations, Rovaniemi provides excellent chances to witness the Northern Lights, especially during the winter months. You can take part in some really exciting Northern Lights experiences in Rovaniemi, such as a Northern Lights snowmobile safari in Rovaniemi, ice floating under the Northern Lights in Rovaniemi or a Northern Lights photography tour in Rovaniemi.
5. Saariselkä, Finland
Saariselkä is another popular destination in the northern part of Finnish Lapland. It is situated approximately 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, making it one of the northernmost tourist resorts in Finland. The area surrounding Saariselkä is characterised by pristine Arctic landscapes, including vast wilderness areas, fells and forests. It is situated close to the famous Lake Inari, the largest lake in the Sámi homeland. Saariselkä’s dark skies and remote locations also provide excellent opportunities to spot the Aurora Borealis. You can enjoy some exciting Northern Lights experiences around Saariselkä and Lake Inari.
6. Lofoten Islands, Norway
The Lofoten Islands are an archipelago in Norway, extending into the Norwegian Sea off the northwestern coast of the country, above the Arctic Circle. The islands are renowned for their dramatic and rugged scenery, characterised by towering mountains, deep fjords, white sandy beaches, and vibrant fishing villages. Once again, they are an ideal location for spotting the Northern Lights phenomenon, due to their position near the Arctic Circle and the long, dark nights in the winter. For a more unique adventure on the coast, take part in a Northern Lights experience in Lofoten.
7. Levi, Finland
Levi is another popular destination situated in the western part of Finnish Lapland. Levi is a renowned winter sports resort and one of the largest ski resorts in Finland, featuring trails for all levels. The area is popular for nature enthusiasts, as there are plenty of opportunities for discovering the natural beauty of Lapland in the remote wilderness. Levi is also located approximately 170 kilometres (105 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, creating optimal conditions for viewing the Aurora Borealis, particularly during the winter months. Enjoy some interesting outdoor activities to experience the Northern Lights in Levi!
8. Svalbard, Norway
The final destination on our list is Svalbard, an archipelago located in the Arctic Ocean, about midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. Svalbard is known for its vast and untouched Arctic wilderness, featuring glaciers, fjords, tundra, and polar deserts. Of course, the dark Arctic skies in Svalbard also provide a stunning background to the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. You can try a snowmobile safari under the Northern Lights in Svalbard or a Northern Lights chase in Svalbard.
Scandinavia, with its high-latitude locations near the Arctic Circle, provides optimal conditions for Northern Lights sightings. From the varied landscapes of Tromsø, the picturesque scenery of Abisko, and the remote wilderness of Saariselkä, each destination offers a unique and unforgettable experience.