The best places to see the Northern Lights in 2024

The best places to see the Northern Lights in 2024

If seeing the Northern Lights is on your bucket list, this is the year to tick it off. Experts have predicted that the solar maximum that is currently underway - the period of greatest solar activity within the sun’s cycle - means we can expect the aurora borealis to be especially vibrant in 2024. There won’t be a better time to see the Northern Lights for at least another 11 years!

There are several ways of maximising your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. Make sure you know the best time to go to a specific destination (usually during the longer winter nights). The general rule of thumb is to head north, although the good news for Northern Lights hunters is that during a solar maximum the chances of seeing them farther south are increased. For the best chance of catching the celestial wonder, we’ve rounded up some of the top spots to see the Northern Lights in 2024. Happy hunting 😊

Reykjavik, Iceland

A major hub for international flights, the Icelandic capital has been identified as one of the easier places to witness the Northern Lights. Visitors don’t have to go far outside of the city to see them. Make tracks for one of the many parks and reserves or join a dedicated Northern Lights tour from Reykjavik.

One option is to visit the Aurora Basecamp just outside of Reykjavik. The facility includes The Dark Park, a heated dome which offers a real-time simulation of the Northern Lights before heading out into the night with a guide to see the real thing. Whichever part of the country you aim for, the Iceland aurora forecast shows up-to-date weather conditions and cloud coverage to help with the search.

When to go: September to mid-April.

Northern Lights in Reykjavík, Iceland

Alaska, USA

If you’re wondering where’s the best place to see the Northern Lights in the USA there’s really only one answer. Alaska's Arctic regions offer some of the most reliable sightings in the world. While Anchorage can provide opportunities, Fairbanks and further north are typically used as jumping-off points for Northern Lights tours.

Stay in an igloo at Borealis Basecamp, explore the wilderness on a dog sled and soak in hot springs. Alaska has it all when it comes to ultimate winter adventures.

When to go: Late August to mid-April.

Northern Lights in Alaska, USA

Tromsø, Norway

Tromsø is in the centre of the aurora borealis zone, which means there's always a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights. With relatively mild temperatures thanks to the Gulf Stream, Tromsø makes a good base for your Northern Lights hunt.

One of the most direct routes is to take the Fjellheisen gondola to the top of Mount Storsteinen. Another good place to see the Northern Lights is on one of the islands such as Sommarøy, also in Norway. This scarcely populated island has a hotel with a sauna and sea bath, with activities including backcountry skiing, winter sea kayaking and Northern Lights tours.

When to go: September to early April. 

Northern Lights in Tromsø, Norway

Lapland, Finland

Who hasn’t always wanted to visit Lapland, Europe’s last great wilderness and home to Santa Claus? Finnish Lapland, bordering Russia, Norway, and Sweden, boasts some of the world’s purest air. The Northern Lights are visible on roughly 200 nights a year!

As well as Aurora-spotting by snowshoe and dog sled you can enjoy the spectacle from inside purpose-built spaces like treehouses, glass huts, and domes. Finland has it all.

When to go: Late August to April.

Northern Lights in Lapland

Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Did you know that Northern Scotland shares the same latitude as some Scandinavian locations and parts of Alaska, meaning you can go in search of the Northern Lights without leaving the United Kingdom? 

The islands of the Outer Hebrides – Lewis and Harris – and the northern tip of the Isle of Skye are amongst some of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Scotland. On the mainland, top spots include Applecross, the Cairngorms Dark Sky Park, and if the conditions are right, the aurora borealis can sometimes even be seen in Edinburgh

When to go: September to March.

Northern Lights in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland

This year’s solar maximum conditions mean that sightings have occurred in other parts of the UK further south, including the Lake District, and Whitley Bay and Yorkshire in Northern England. Some people have even claimed to have seen them in the far southwest, in Cornwall! According to the Met Office North Wales and Northern Ireland are surer bets for witnessing the Northern Lights.

Check out the new Northern Lights Steps here.

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