The Aurora Borealis is one of the most beautiful sights in the world, like a dance of nocturnal rainbows in the sky. According to reports, the lights will start to dim after 2016 and will appear less frequently till the next solar moon in 2024. Before you miss your chance, here are six places to tick this one off your bucket list.
#1 Abisko, Sweden
The Abisko Mountain Station in Abisko National Park is considered one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, not just because of the spectacular view but because of the experience. Visitors can go all the way up to the summit and watch the lights from the deck or inside by a log fire. You can also throw in a fancy 4-course dinner. But you can’t deny, the view from up here is better. Prevailing winds in Abisko means that clouds rarely form and the lights really shine through. Bonus: stay the night at the famous Ice Hotel!
#2 Churchill, Manitoba
Take the Via Rail train from Winnipeg to Churchill for the best seats in the house. It’s a two-day journey that travels across 1,609km but you can’t bet it’s worth it when you’re comfortably tucked inside a plexiglass-covered dome and watching the show. The lights are best seen between 10pm to 2am so to make the rest of your trip really worthwhile, stay and get up close to polar bears, which are also an attraction in Manitoba.
#3 Reykjavik, Iceland
The perk: it’s so easy to view the Northern Lights in Reykjavik just by walking around. The city isn’t too big and you’ll easily find your way to the Grótta light house, or Hljómskálagarður parks or Öskjuhlíð hill where the scenery of your surroundings are also very pretty. The pit: Reykjavik is rather cloudy and the lights look better on nights that are clear and pitch black.
#4 Fairbanks, Alaska
There’s a ring-shaped region around the North Pole called the Auroral Oval and Fairbanks is right smack in the middle of it. This location is terrific for clear nights with minimum clouds in the sky. So you can see the Northern Lights well and bright from inside a heated “aurorium” cabin, on a horse drawn sleigh, a flight over the Arctic Circle or an overnight dog sled trip. If none of that interests you and you’d prefer sleeping in your hotel, many of them have wake-up calls when the lights are too beautiful to miss.
#5 The Lapland Regions of Finland
See the Northern Lights far and wide at areas like Ivalo, Kaklauttanen and Lake Inari near Nellim; which is Finland’s third-largest lake. And if you stay at the Hotel Aurora in Luosto, Northern Finland, you’ll get an “Aurora Alarm” that beeps when you should look outside your window. The Northern Lights Research Center in a nearby town relays the signal, in case you were wondering.
#6 Northern Canada
The Aurora Oval covers plenty of Canada, including Yukon, Northern Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. But Alberta is home to the world’s largest dark sky preserves; Jasper National Park and Wood Buffalo National park. Fort McCurray in Northern Alberta claims to have more clear nights than any other spot in Canada. You can see planets, constellations and the backbone of the Milky Way with just the naked eye.