The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, have unusually been on show over the UK earlier this month. Did you miss them? We did! Light pollution, and being tucked up safely in our beds ready to spend another day tracking down deals, meant that whilst some parts of the UK were being amazed by the spectacle in the sky, we just plain weren’t.
It’s pretty rare that the UK gets such a good show though, so if you want to have a better chance of a guaranteed sighting, here are a few places you can go. The best time to see the Aurora Borealis is from November to March, which is handy as you still have time to get your trip sorted.
We’ve heard that this is going to be one of the best years ever to see them too – so if you’ve always wanted to visit, why not make it this year?
These small islands belong to Denmark but lie north of Scotland. A lack of light pollution makes for great views, but the weather here can be more than a little inclement – think Scotland and then some!
The dark shores of Lake Superior, as well as the tundra in the Northwest Territories are great places for a spot of exploring and some sky-watching.
Going to this icy expanse sure isn’t for the faint of heart, but being so high in the Arctic circle you’ll find plenty more hours of darkness, and that means more chances to see the Northern Lights.
The traditional destination for us Brits when we want to see the Aurora, they have things down to a fine art here. In some places, like Luosto, they have beepers connected to the Northern Lights Research Centre so you are instantly alerted when there’s good activity.
Head away from the bright lights of Reykjavik to UNESCO World Heritage Site of Þingvellir National Park for huge, wide open skies and plenty of chances to spot the Aurora Borealis. For a really exciting treat, go to a geothermal pool for a midnight swim!
Tromso in Norway lies far up inside the Arctic Circle and is one of the most popular locations in the world for seeing the Northern Lights. You can cruise the Fjords by day, and keep an eye out for activity in the skies by night.
Abisko in the Swedish part of Lapland is geographically the closest to the highest activity areas, and it’s also a really dark part of the world, so you’ll be able to see the Aurora without too much other light getting in your way.
The best place to see the Northern Lights in the USA, you could combine your trip with a cruise down the stunning Alaskan Fjords. Fairbanks is the best centre for seeing the Lights, but you’ll want to head out away from the bright urban areas for the best views.
Make sure you book at least a week away – a short break just isn’t long enough for a trip that relies so heavily on having good weather. Avoid going during a full moon too, as this can cause too much light in the sky, meaning a worse viewing experience.
Tempted? You know where to go for the best deals.