Fire, Ice and Northern Lights

Travel Inspiration The Best Places to See the Northern Lights in 2024

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Where Can I See the Northern Lights?

The northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, are a natural phenomenon that can be seen in the night sky during the winter months in countries like Norway, Iceland, and Greenland in the Nordic region. While aurora activity is concentrated at the magnetic poles, the aurora borealis can sometimes be seen in the UK though the conditions do still need to be dark and clear.

Though the northern lights have fascinated and frightened humans for centuries, they are nothing to be afraid of. In fact, the lights we see in the night sky are caused by activity on the surface of the sun. Solar storms on the sun’s surface give out huge clouds of electrically charged particles which travel millions of miles and even collide with the earth, creating a mind-boggling display of light in the sky.

Witnessing the northern lights is on the bucket lists of many individuals from around the world and it’s easy to understand why. Tying in a northern lights tour with your trip to a Nordic country will transport you to a different world and create magical memories that will last a lifetime.

In this post, we’ll uncover the best places to see the northern lights as well as some expert tips for the best chance of viewing them. So, keep on reading to find out more.


The spectacular country of Norway is one of the most northern countries in Europe, making it one of the best places to see the northern lights in the world. Norway attracts thousands of visitors each season looking for the illusive aurora borealis over the snow-covered wilderness.

While the phenomenon that creates the northern lights display is perpetually occurring, they’re much harder to see during the daylight hours. Though the Arctic Circle’s midnight sun makes it impossible to see them during summer, the long dark nights of winter are perfect for viewing the northern lights.

The peak season for northern lights viewing in Norway is between November and February, however you have a good chance of seeing them anytime between September and March, with March offering the best chance of clear skies.

The Best Places to See the Northern Lights in Norway:

  • Svalbard, Norway

Located 900km north of the Norwegian mainland and 1,300km from the North Pole, Longyearbyen is the world’s northernmost settlement and the largest inhabited area of Svalbard. It is highly likely you will see the northern lights on your trip to Svalbard when visiting at the right time of year.

The polar night from November until the end of January means that there is less than an hour of daylight in Svalbard in winter. For this reason, people from all over the world are drawn to Svalbard to experience the northern lights make a spectacular appearance in the sky.

  • Tromsø, Norway

There is a good chance of seeing the northern lights in Tromsø, Norway, from September until early April. Tromsø is in the centre of the northern lights oval, meaning it is possible to see the aurora borealis even when the activity is very low. If the Northern Lights are what you’re after, our Northern Lights in Norway trip offers multiple opportunities to view this incredible phenomenon.


Fire, Ice and Northern Lights
Due to Iceland’s very northern location and dark winters, there are very few places in the world where your chances are higher for experiencing the aurora borealis phenomenon. There are no guarantees that you will see the northern lights during your stay but guided northern light tours provide the best chance of a sighting, guiding spectators outside populated areas and away from light pollution.

The best time to see the northern lights in Iceland is between September and April. The general rule is that the darker it is, the better the chance of seeing the vibrant colours of the aurora. Iceland is very dark in winter, reaching up to twenty hours of darkness during and around the winter solstice, which occurs on December 21 each year.

The Best Places to See the Northern Lights in Iceland:

  • Vík, Iceland

Just a 2.5 hour drive from Reykjavik and nestled between volcanic cliffs, black sand beaches and the mighty Mýrdalsjökull glacier, Vík offers jaw-dropping landscapes and pristine night skies, making it the perfect destination for viewing the northern lights.

Imagine standing on Vík’s famous black sand beaches, gazing up at the vibrant colours of the aurora borealis dancing across the night sky. It’s a magical experience that will leave you in awe and a must-visit destination when planning a trip to Iceland.


Most of Greenland lies within the Arctic Circle, making it a prime location for seeing the Northern Lights. The uniquely small towns and settlements of Greenland keep light pollution to a minimum, and the hundreds of clear sky days throughout the year means the odds of seeing the aurora borealis are often favourable.

Visiting Greenland between the end of September to April will allow you the best possible chance of seeing the northern lights spectacle. If you are travelling to Greenland during this period, you can see the northern lights from anywhere in the country, whilst in South Greenland the northern lights can be seen from as early as the end of August.

The Best Places to See the Northern Lights in Greenland:

  • Ilulissat, Greenland

In Ilulissat there are excellent opportunities for seeing the northern lights. The word ‘Ilulissat’ means ‘icebergs’ referring to the town’s location as a neighbour to the Ilulissat Icefjord, offering the chance to see the northern lights dancing above the impressive icebergs that reside here.

During the winter there are guided northern lights tours in Ilulissat that will take you to the outskirts of the town. The northern lights make an appearance almost every night in this part of Greenland, so you have a very good chance of seeing them on your visit here during your trip to Greenland.

What is the Best Time to See the Northern Lights?

The best time to go is now. From 2024 to 2026, the northern lights activity is expected to reach its highest levels in 11 years as the Sun reaches its solar maximum which occurs approximately halfway through its estimated 11-year solar cycle.

Whereas 5 years ago you might’ve had to wait weeks to see anything, auroral displays are expected to make an appearance every few days. This means that you will have a greater chance of viewing a vibrant, dynamic display and perhaps even catch a glimpse of those rare red, pink and purple hues.

What is The Best Time of Day to See the Northern Lights?

The best time of day to see the northern lights is at night as the dark skies make it easier to discern the aurora’s colours dancing above you. To maximise your chances of catching the northern lights, you should plan your trip typically around 21:00 to 02:00 and pick a clear night with minimal clouds.

What is The Best Time of Year to See the Northern Lights?

In terms of the best time of year to see the northern lights, you are most likely to see the northern lights aurora in winter between the months of October and April. This is because the night sky is darker during these winter months and there are fewer daylight hours.

Tips for Seeing the Northern Lights:

  • Visit between October and April – visiting the Nordic region between the winter months of October and April allows the best possible chance of viewing the aurora borealis spectacle.
  • Check the forecast – we recommend checking the regional aurora forecast page and picking a clear night with minimal clouds for the best viewing opportunity.
  • Get away from the glare of city lights – a guided northern lights tour into the wilderness, away from the glare of city lights, will greatly improve your view of the sky.
  • Stay up late – the peak time to see the northern lights is typically between 23:00 and 02:00 so you’ll need to stay up late to be in for a chance of viewing the aurora borealis. Some hotels offer “wake up” services if the northern lights come out during the night.
  • Be patient unfortunately sightings can never be guaranteed, and they don’t appear on any kind of schedule. You might have to wait a few hours, so patience is a necessity.
  • Wrap up warm – as you might have to wait several hours to catch a glimpse of the northern lights, make sure to wrap up warm – thermal layers and insulated outwear are essential. If you’re on a guided northern lights tour, you’ll likely be loaned warm outerwear.
From the majestic landscapes of Iceland where the aurora borealis paints the sky above glaciers to the remote Arctic wilderness of Norway where the unpolluted darkness of nighttime enhances the vibrant colours of the northern lights, each destination on our list of best places to see this natural phenomenon has its own unique charm and offers a truly unforgettable experience.