Northern Lights Vacations: What You Need to Know
The Northern Lights are one of the most fascinating wonders in the world, and if viewing them isn’t on your bucket list, it should be. Also known as “aurora borealis,” these lights in the night sky are seen above the magnetic poles in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Shades of red, yellow, green, and blue all take center stage in the sky in a light show that is unlike anything else in the world. The lights are stunningly beautiful, but can be tricky to track down. If you want to catch a glimpse of this natural phenomenon but aren’t sure where to start, read on to find out more about the best times and places to see the Northern Lights…
1. The Best Places to See the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights occur in an oval shaped area over the magnetic poles in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, with the strongest areas being at a latitude of 66 to 69 degrees North, or the “Auroral Zone”. Areas with the highest probability of seeing the Northern Lights are most of Alaska, parts of Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. Specifically, some of the best destinations for viewing the lights are Tromsø, Norway, Abisko, Sweden, Yellowknife, Canada, Muonio, Finnish Lapland, Jokulsarlon, Iceland, and Fairbanks, Alaska. The best areas to see the lights are areas that aren’t affected by light pollution, so places that are as remote as possible and far away from big cities.
Avoya Insider Tip: Be sure and check the weather before you go searching for the lights, because cloudy or stormy skies can ruin the experience. Make sure it’s a clear night so you’ll have prime viewing conditions!
2. The Best Times to Go
Although predicting when the lights will occur is nearly impossible, there are specific times to go that will help up your chances of seeing them. A bit of planning goes a long way! It must be dark out, and the best sightings typically occur in locations that are at higher latitudes, so the best time of year for viewing is from late August to mid April. From late September until late March is when you’ll have your absolute best chance of seeing the lights, because it is darker earlier. Anytime from 6pm to 4am is prime viewing time, with the most intense times being from 10 to 11pm.
3. The Best Northern Lights Vacations:
Are you ready to plan a trip to see the Northern Lights, but aren’t sure where to start? A cruise or guided tour are both great options. Viewing the lights via a cruise or tour is great because you’ll have the guidance of knowledgeable experts who know exactly where and when to go, and will help make sure you have the best Northern Lights experience possible.
Baltic cruises and Alaska cruises are the best options for viewing the Northern Lights. There are hundreds of cruises to choose from that all sail to prime viewing spots such as Iceland, Norway, Alaska, and Canada. From the ship, passengers will see snow covered towns, breathtaking snowy fjords, dramatic glaciers, and more. Aside from viewing the Northern Lights, cruises offer incredible shore excursions such as dogsledding, snow-shoeing, cultural tours, and more.
Here are a few of our favorite Northern Lights cruises to the Baltic and Alaska:
On a guided tour to the Baltic or Alaska regions, you’ll be able to experience the thrill of viewing the Northern Lights without worrying about planning. You’ll just be along for the ride of a lifetime exploring the wintery scenery of the Arctic. Tours offer activities such as hiking to waterfalls in Norway or enjoying a dip in the hot springs in Iceland, and of course plenty of options for catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Here are some of our favorite guided tours to the Baltic and Alaska:
Witnessing the Northern Lights in person is a once in a lifetime experience that you will cherish for a lifetime. Although it can be a challenge to track down the lights, your journey to find the Northern Lights will take you on an incredible adventure that will be unlike any vacation you’ve been on.