Floating like a dream cloud above the lake
Drifting in and out of sight
Forty miles above us
Watching the Northern Lights–Barenaked Ladies, “Watching the Northern Lights” (2010)
See Nature’s light show
Everyone should have “seeing the Northern Lights” on their Bucket Lists. Also known as the Aurora Borealis, it’s one of the most spectacular natural phenomena. From late November until March atmospheric gases collide with solar particles to create colorful curtains within the Northern Lights zone. Whether it lasts for minutes or days, here are some of the best places from which to view this impressive light show:
Visit the handcrafted Icehotel in Lapland. They offer a horseback tour of the event. You could also try the nearby Aurora Sky Station in Abisko which offers optimal viewing conditions 900 meters above sea level. Take the chairlift and dine on a four-course meal prior to your evening of sky-watching.
If you abhor the cold but still wish to witness the northern lights, stay at the Chena Hot Springs Resort. Experience the mineral-rich healing waters of the “adults-only” Rock Lake while you enjoy the famed celestial display of yellow, green, and deep purple. The resort is situated directly under a band of the aurora activity so check in between August and May.
What’s a light show without music, right? Book your flight for some time during the yearly Northern Lights festival. It’s a nine-day event there just north of the Arctic Circle. It includes over 40 performances by various entertainers. Some take place outside which, theoretically, means they occur right beneath the aurora borealis. If you miss the festival, visit between October and mid-March when the lights are seen regularly.
200 nights each year, the northern lights can be seen over Finland. At the Kakslauttanen Resort, you can see the light show as you drift off to sleep in one of the resort’s glass igloos 55 miles north of the Arctic Circle. You can also see the aurora from a reindeer-drawn sleigh ride through the nearby wilderness.
Greenland provides visitors near-perfect visibility for viewing the lights. You’re almost guaranteed a sighting if you visit for three or four nights from September until the start of April. The Hotel Arctic’s igloos’ double rooms include electric heating, skylights and reportedly expansive front windows so you can enjoy the show from your bed.