Where are the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights can be found beneath the auroral oval, which determines the range of polar lights. This belt is around both magnetic poles of the Earth - so you have a Northern auroral oval and a Southern one.
In the Northern hemisphere, the geographic area beneath the auroral oval encompasses the latitudes between 60 and 75 degrees, right up high in the Arctic Circle. It takes in the northern parts of Sweden, Finland, Norway, just above Iceland, Russia, Canada and Alaska as well as southern Greenland.
The Northern Lights can appear at lower latitudes but not as frequently or reliable. You might have heard about them being seen in Scotland or Northern England, but this is only a result of particularly strong solar storms and cannot be relied upon.
A natural occurrence, unfortunately for those desperate to see guaranteed Northern Lights on a tour, the aurora activity is not consistent and the auroral oval – the appearance of light as a ring around the poles – constantly shifts. You might see a strong showing in Swedish Lapland whilst in Iceland, it is dim. It goes in waves across the region. It can be tracked though, and space weather stations will show the predictions a few days out. in Sweden do not necessarily mean strong aurora in Canada and vice versa.
The current state of auroral ovals in the northern and southern hemispheres might be observed via OVATION Auroral Forecast section on the website, Space Weather Live.
How to see Northern Lights?
What is important to remember when you are looking for the Northern Lights on tour is to look NORTHWARD. Find a spot with clear skies and watch in the Northern direction - it pays to also look now and then through your phone as dim lights come up brighter on devices!!
Local guides will assist you with finding the clearest spot on any given night for optimum viewing. Read here if you would like to know when is the best time to see the Northern Lights.
What are the best places to see the Northern Lights?
There are clearly many places to see the Northern Lights across the auroral dome so it all comes down to what sort of holiday you are hoping to enjoy at the same time. We specialise in the Northern Scandinavia and Iceland region which offers very accessible destinations for viewing the Northern Lights. There are many airlines flying directly into the small cities that have become magnets for those searching for the Northern Lights. If you are wishing to avoid these crowds, we can help you out. It is important to be away from any sources of artificial light, such as street lighting. Then it is just a matter of deciding your tour features - glass igloos, coastal mountains, Icelandic waterfalls or hot tubs?
Multi-destination Northern Lights Tours
Here are several of our tours which visit three to four places that are often considered the best places to see the Northern Lights.
Chase the Northern Lights, Finland & Norway visits Kirkenes, Tromsø, Ivalo, Lofoten Islands and more.
Need to know: 14 days - Escorted Small Group tour to Norway and Finland with southbound Norwegian Coastal Voyage.
Lapland Circle, Finland, Sweden & Norway visits Kiruna, Tromsø, Ivalo and more.
Need to know: 11 days - Independent tour - Staying at ICEHOTEL, Tromsø and 3 nights in Glass Igloos.
Northern Lights in Iceland visits Akureyri, Golden Circle, Reykjavik and more.
Need to know: 7 days - An independent winter tour of Iceland to the land of ice and fire in the middle of the North Atlantic. We will take you out to see the most famous sights around the Golden Circle, hot springs and much more.
To see our complete list of Northern Lights tours, click here.