9 Unreal Northern Lights Tours Around the World

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Everyone has seen photos taken during Northern Lights tours around the globe with famously illuminated lights on display with vibrant colors.

They feature spectrum’s of typical ghostly greens, but more rarely reds, and violets appearing in Earth’s atmosphere towards the Arctic Circle.

They often appear as curtains that spread across the night or as arcs that evolve and change. But not many people get to see this natural wonder in the flesh.

Named “Aurora”, meaning “day/dawn” in Greek (after the mistaken belief that these were the first lights of a new day), they’re actually formed by solar winds that disturb our magnetosphere, causing protons and neutrons to drop into the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

The excitation and ionization of atmospheric constituents emit light of varying colors as protons gain electrons from the atmosphere. But really, despite the difficult-to-understand science, the Aurora is simply beautiful.

With the midnight sun in these extreme locations, summer isn’t the time to see the Northern Lights – though it still happens, it’s just not visible.

Instead, you’ll have to brave the winter and its long nights if you want to be in with a chance of Aurora spotting.

Seeing the Aurora borealis in the north (and Aurora australis nearer to the south pole) is an awe-inspiring spectacle to behold, so wrapping up against icy conditions is a small price to pay.

It’s no wonder that seeing these unreal light shows is on the top of most people’s bucket lists.

Here are 9 amazing locations for Northern Lights tours, many of which can be experienced with Aurora Zone, which offer spectacular viewing opportunities.

9 Unreal Northern Lights Tours

1. Salla, Finland

Northern Lights Tours in Finland

Located deep within Finnish Lapland and close to the Russian border, Sala is an arctic village split between a small ski resort, with surrounding accommodation, and a more northerly residential area.

All around is snowy wilderness resulting in some fabulously dark skies; the ideal conditions for Northern Lights tours.

Interestingly, Salla claims to be the birthplace of skiing because a ski dating back to 3200BC was found here (though older has been found).

Ideally located with everything you need in easy reach, from the cabins to the ski slopes, to the snowy expanse where you will be gazing up at the beautiful array of light, making it a really beautiful and multi-purpose destination for your Aurora viewing needs.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Finland (Travel Guide)

2. Inari, Finland 

Northern Lights in Finland

Practically a hidden gem when it comes to Northern Lights viewing locations, Inari is little known in the Aurora world.

However, though this may have something to do with its tiny population, which means a lack of settlement lights, making this a top-notch place for Northern Lights tours.

To put that into perspective there are actually more reindeer living in the Inari area than people, but really that shouldn’t be surprising: this is Lapland after all.

The village of Inari itself is known as a cultural center for the Sami people, the indigenous people of Finland, with several sites on and around Lake Inari being once-sacred.

With several campsites nearby, you don’t have to drive to any special area to see the Aurora, all you have to do is take a stroll down to the lakeside, look upward and watch the beautiful display unfold.

The reflection of these otherworldly streams of light in the water is something else.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Finland (Travel Guide)

3. The Yukon, Canada 

Northern Lights Tours in the Yukon Canada

With an area of 186,000 miles and a population of only 35,000 Canada’s northwestern-most province, The Yukon is a paragon of wilderness waiting to be explored.

The vast emptiness of this region makes it so there is little to no light pollution and a completely unobstructed view of the crisp clear winter’s sky: arguably the best and most atmospheric conditions by which to see the Northern Lights.

The province is so famed for the lights that its capital Whitehorse boasts a French-language newspaper called “L’Aurore boréale” – Aurora borealis.

From this city, Northern Lights tours by snowmobile or husky sled can be arranged, but even further north, in the gold rush town of Dawson City, the views are even more remote and, as a result, even more spectacular.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Canada (Travel Guide)

4. Lannavaara, Sweden

Northern Lights in Sweden

Another hidden gem, this time located in Swedish Lapland, Lannavaara is a well-kept secret made up of a small village surrounded by frozen lakes and stretches of frosty forest.

The arctic skies are clear here making this a pretty idyllic location for being hypnotized by the Northern Lights, add to this a distant mountain backdrop and you have yourself a truly breathtaking sight.

Whilst Lannavaara may seem isolated, it is actually a draw for tourists interested in gold as the area is rich with it, so you could try your hand at panning for gold.

The nearby area can also be explored for its sheer snowy wonder. And for an added bonus the world-famous ICEHOTEL is a two-hour transfer away if you feel like something a little different.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Sweden (Travel Guide)

5. Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Northern Lights Tours in Iceland

Aurora borealis goes hand in hand with Iceland, an island nation famous for its hot springs, a good diet, life expectancy and, of course, the Northern Lights.

Although this spectacular natural phenomenon can be viewed from many spots across the country, including its capital Reykjavik, the most stunning place has to be the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

Dubbed “Iceland in Miniature” – since many of the island’s sights can be glimpsed in this one area – the peninsula is home to the symbolic Snæfellsjökull volcano (1,446 meters tall), but also the majorly iconic mountain, Kirkjufell, which juts out of the land starkly.

The Northern Lights, when viewed with this dramatic natural scenery in the foreground, is nothing short of breathtaking.

6. Sommarøy, Norway

Northern Lights Tours in Norway

A remote island located around 22 miles from the city of Tromsø on the mainland, Sommarøy is a tourist location in itself without even considering the Northern Lights tours.

The natural scenery alone, which includes white sand beaches (usually the hallmark of tropical coral atolls), is enough to draw visitors.

Even in winter, when the island is covered in snow, this is a fantastic place to view the Northern Lights.

Away from the city lights, but not located in the middle of inaccessible wilderness, the island of Sommarøy makes for an Aurora-viewing location with a difference.

Each year between November and January the waters around the island are filled with migratory whales, such as orca, fin whales, and humpback whales.

The chance to see even one of these majestic creatures in their natural habitat on the same vacation as seeing the Northern Lights is something that says “once in a lifetime,” don’t you think?

Another great way to experience the Northern Lights is by taking a Norway Northern Lights cruise.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Norway (Travel Guide)

7. Ilulissat, Greenland

Northern Lights Tours in Greenland

Set near an Icefjord protected by UNESCO and named after the Greenlandic word for icebergs, the small town of Ilulissat has everything when it comes to breathtaking views of the Northern Lights.

Not only can visitors take in the Aurora borealis in a top destination, but Ilulissat is also home to the world’s most active glaciers.

This makes for an extra impressive experience as the ice creaks and cracks.

Fittingly, the Ilulissat Icefjord holds the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere, with many of the icebergs breaking off from it being over a kilometer thick.

By night, a visitor to Ilulissat can marvel at the Northern Lights, by day, you can watch ice fall from the glacier.

Because of all of this moving ice the water is rich with minerals, which plant and animals love and visitors can often see seals, fish, birds and even whales.

Husky sledding is also big here, so big that sled dogs outnumber people in the area.

Don’t leave home without: Greenland & The Arctic (Lonely Planet Travel Guide)

8. Alta, Norway

Northern Lights in Norway

Often cited as the northernmost city in the world, Alta is a cold city with a lot of heart. A combination of minimal light pollution and stable climate has given Alta the label of ‘the city of the Northern Light’.

The Northern Lights spotted here 200 nights a year it’s not hard to see why: the chance of feasting your eyes on the Aurora here is very high.

They say that when the onshore wind blows, a drive towards the coast along the Altafjord is a better bet for spotting the lights. Alongside viewing the famous lights Alta is packed full of activities for visitors to get involved in.

Museums, restaurants, and cultural sites dot the city and it is home to the first Northern Lights Observatory, built here in 1859, where the phenomenon was studied by Kristian Birkeland (who appears on the Norwegian 200-kroner banknote).

With diverse activities, rich history, and husky sledding, Alta has it all when it comes to that special trip to see the Northern Lights.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Norway (Travel Guide)

9. Chena Hot Springs, Alaska

Northern Lights Tours at Chena Hot Springs, Alaska

If you want to take in the Northern Lights display whilst enjoying the comforts of a hot spring resort then this place is perfect for you.

The Aurora can be seen from the resort illuminating the surrounding hills and mountains and dancing around the sky.

Staff from the resort will take you to the best spots to see the lights complete with a cup of hot chocolate or warming soup.

Combining comfort with spectacular views, the accessibility of this Aurora viewing spot is a big plus.

Nearby attractions include the ice museum where you can take in sculpted ice creations with an equally icy apple martini in hand.

Other activities such as dog sledding and snowmobiling are a lot of fun and afterward, guests can spend their evening winding down in the hot springs.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Alaska (Travel Guide)

Northern Lights Tours

Choosing A Northern Lights Tour

Luckily there are many fabulous places located below the Arctic Circle where we have the opportunity to view the Aurora Borealis and there is no shortage of Northern Lights tours available.

You could even consider taking a Northern Lights Cruise to see them against a variety of landscapes.

Regardless of which country you end up viewing them from, you’re sure to have your mind blown by an out of this world display of color and amazement.


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Best Places to see the Northern Lights


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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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2 thoughts on “9 Unreal Northern Lights Tours Around the World”

  1. A few years ago we did a trip into the northern reaches of Canada. We picked the season when the lights were most visible, even though it was damn cold to boot, and off we went. We set our alarms for some ungodly hour of the morning, 2 am, and took our hire car on a drive through mud and snow until we found a little parking spot outside of the well lit town where we sat and waited.

    We waited and waited and waited until eventually we just couldn’t stay awake any longer. We did this for a few nights in a row.

    Unfortunately we never did get to see the Northern Lights.

    On the flip side, we now have an excuse to try again!

    Thanks for the article and the brilliant photos.

    • Sometimes that happens! Been there myself a few times. But no matter how many times you try and fail, when you do see them, it is so worth it!


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