Is there one particular place in the world that’s best to see the phenomenon known as the northern lights? The effect known more scientifically as Aurelia Borealis is a stunning display of colourful waves in the night sky. The effect is best seen in the north of the world on a cold winter night. I’ve been lucky enough to witness the northern lights on a number of occasions. But what’s the best place in the world to see them? Well, luckily for you I’ve created a bit of a list of potential destinations
I grew up in Canada and as a kid there were times we saw the northern lights dancing off in the sky from the deck of our house. And the truth is we didn’t live all too far north. If you head to places like the North-West Territories they will be on display with quite a bit of regularity. In fact, one time in northern British Columbia I managed to witness the phenomenon in the middle of the summer. I actually think this time was even more special than the others for the sheer fact that 1) it was really unexpected and 2) the dusk sky was still blue so the colour spectrum was even more impressive than I could have imagined. It was one of my favourite nights of star photography yet!
The region of Lapland in the Scandinavian country of Finland is quickly becoming the best place in the world to see the northern lights. Moreover, it is also becoming the most popular. I love the idea of visiting Lapland for the lights because there is so much more to it than just watching the sky at night. In Lapland you can race off on a dog sled, you can go on a ride through the snow being pulled by reindeer, or you can ever jump on a snowmobile if you’re more adventurous. The opportunities for activity in Lapland go well beyond the lights which makes it very inciting to me as a visitor.
While you’re unlikely to see the northern lights from the lower 48, Alaska will provide ample opportunities for spotting the lights during the winter months. Sure, there are better places to see the lights and the truth is that Alaska tends to have too cloudy weather for this to be a sure thing, but as far as accessibility goes, it is hard to beat. And as the locals will tell you, when the northern lights pop out in Alaska, they come out with a force unlike anywhere else in the world. Like a digital wave rolling across the sky, it’s quite the sight.
Yes, I’m quite aware of the fact that New Zealand is not in the north so seeing the northern lights should be impossible there. However, this phenomena actually does happen at both poles so even though you might be tempted to call these the southern lights you’re still looking at the same scientific situation. People forget that New Zealand is actually a great winter country full of mountains, glaciers, and snow. They also forget that this a a great place to see the northern lights.