Where to See the Northern Lights

This content was last updated on 26.02.2024 23:28

The Northern Lights, also known as the "Aurora Borealis", is one of the most enchanting spectacles that nature offers us. These lights, visible only in countries within the Arctic Circle, captivate with their beauty. The Northern Lights, in various colors like green, red, pink, purple, and yellow, dancing across the sky, can be observed in the northern countries during September, October, March, and April. You can find the answers to where the Northern Lights can be seen and how they form in our article titled "10 Places Where You Can Watch the Northern Lights".

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights are a natural light display that occurs near the North Pole at certain times of the year. Typically appearing in shades of green or faint red, these lights can occasionally take on colors such as purple, pink, and yellow. Another name for the Northern Lights is Aurora Borealis. The counterpart phenomenon at the South Pole is called Aurora Australis. However, Aurora Borealis is more popular as it is easier to observe.

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How are the Northern Lights Formed?

The answer to how the Northern Lights are formed is somewhat complex. This mesmerizing light display is actually a physical phenomenon created by solar rays and Earth's magnetic field. The magnetic field surrounding Earth often protects us from harmful solar radiation. However, occasionally, solar eruptions occur, resulting in particles being ejected into space. These free-moving particles in space, influenced by solar winds, enter Earth's atmosphere and collide with gas molecules.

It is through these collisions that magnificent light reflections occur. When charged particles from the Sun collide with oxygen molecules, they emit light in shades of yellow, green, and red, while collisions with nitrogen molecules produce light in blue, purple, and red hues.

The constant variation of these lights, shaped by Earth's magnetic field, is referred to as the "Dance of the Spirits".

Where Can You See the Northern Lights?

The extraordinary and uniquely beautiful displays of the Northern Lights can be witnessed where? Generally, the Northern Lights are observed near the North Pole and in countries close to it. The Southern Lights, which form in the same way as these lights, are more commonly seen near the South Pole. Very rarely, occurrences of these lights have been observed close to the equator as well. However, to witness the spectacular view of the Northern Lights, especially at night, you need to visit the northern countries.

Reykjavik – Iceland


Where can you see the Northern Lights in Iceland? Iceland, one of the most intriguing countries in the North, offers one of the most beautiful spots to witness the Northern Lights. Iceland is a land of snow, and its capital, Reykjavik, is a small and charming city. The most suitable time to watch the Northern Lights in Iceland is from September to April. Particularly, areas slightly outside the city, away from light pollution, become the most beautiful places to observe the Northern Lights. In Iceland, you can also find waterfalls, hot springs, geysers, and many delightful restaurants to explore. Additionally, you have the opportunity to see the locations where Game of Thrones was filmed in this beautiful country.

Tromsø – Norway


Norway is undoubtedly one of the first countries that come to mind when talking about the Northern Lights. In this beautiful Nordic country, you can witness the Northern Lights from various locations. Especially during the equinox periods in September, October, and March, April, it's possible to see the Northern Lights in Norway. Additionally, the extra darkness of the sky during the winter months like November and December creates a magnificent atmosphere for the Northern Lights. Tromsø is among the places where you can observe the Northern Lights well in Norway.

Greenland – Denmark


If you want to experience a winter landscape like the ones in postcards, your main destination should be Greenland. Located entirely within the Arctic Circle, Greenland is one of the clearest spots to see the Northern Lights. Through tours to this region, you can both explore the area and have the opportunity to watch the Northern Lights. In Greenland, amidst magnificent glaciers, you can witness the Northern Lights and create unforgettable moments.

Yellowknife – Northern Canada


As the capital of the Northwest Territories of Canada, Yellowknife is one of the most beautiful places to watch the Northern Lights. This city, situated in one of the places where the polar climate is truly experienced, resembles a paradise covered in snow. While the main attraction of visits to Yellowknife is generally the Northern Lights, there are many different activities that visitors can experience. Here, visitors have the opportunity to explore traditional life and taste local dishes such as fish soup.

Abisko – Northern Sweden


Abisko, a beautiful and small town in Scandinavia, is also one of the most stunning places to see the Northern Lights. Thanks to its clear skies, watching the Northern Lights here is much easier. One of the interesting features of this town is that, according to the 2005 census, only 85 people were living here. Additionally, it is one of the more affordable places among those where you can see the Northern Lights. The Sami people living in Abisko continue to preserve and maintain their traditional way of life. So, exploring the traditional life of the Sami people here can be quite enjoyable.

Calgary – Canada


There are many places in Canada where you can see the Northern Lights, and Calgary is one of them. Located in the province of Alberta, Calgary stands as one of Canada's largest and wealthiest cities. Due to its location and climate, Calgary is also very suitable for winter sports. The city, situated very close to the Rocky Mountains, enjoys exceptionally clean air. This clean air creates a suitable environment for observing the Northern Lights.

Finland Lapland – Finland

Finland Lapland

Finland, with its nature, husky dogs, reindeer, and igloo houses, provides a true winter fairy tale. When you add the Northern Lights to this scenery, it's impossible not to be captivated. Finland, a country you can choose to watch the Northern Lights, mesmerizes with its nature. Moreover, rich social activity opportunities and reasonable prices make it even more appealing. Here, you can comfortably observe the Northern Lights in glass-roofed hotels or join tours to explore the igloo houses in the northern parts of the country.

Alaska – USA


Among the places where you can observe the Northern Lights is Alaska, located in the northernmost part of the USA. Alaska's long nights provide favorable conditions for observing the Northern Lights for extended periods. Additionally, it's possible to watch the Northern Lights from almost all cities in Alaska. To visit Alaska, you need to obtain a U.S. visa. Moreover, it's not very likely to see the Northern Lights here during the summer season. So, if you want to increase your chances, it's better to choose the winter months.

Siberia – Russia


Russia is one of the most beautiful countries where you can see the Northern Lights. However, it is considerably colder compared to other options. Getting to Siberia from Turkey is not too difficult. In addition to watching the Northern Lights in Siberia, there are many winter activities such as skiing and dog sledding with huskies. The long nights also provide more time to observe the Northern Lights. If you go there, don't forget to capture the most beautiful photos of the Northern Lights and bring your warmest clothes.

Svalbard – Norway


Svalbard, one of the places where you can see the Northern Lights, is a small island belonging to Norway. Located within the Arctic region, this island is incredibly enchanting with its unique atmosphere. The Northern Lights can be observed here, especially during November and February. To see the Northern Lights, you need to climb to higher points. Additionally, if you happen to be here during times other than the "Polar Night," when there is no daylight, you also have the chance to see polar bears and reindeer.

When are the Northern Lights Most Beautifully Seen?

The most beautiful times to see the Northern Lights are in September, October, March, and April. During these months, the nights are longer and darker, making it easier to witness the Northern Lights. Additionally, the Northern Lights are most beautifully seen against a dark sky. To capture the beauty of this spectacle, it's essential to catch the right time.

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