Many scholars and scientists believe the Northern Lights were created when the Roman goddess Aurora met with Borealis, the Greek north wind. Other people, let’s call them daydreamers, irrationally believe that the natural light display is caused by the collision of solar wind and magnetospheric charged particles. Whichever theory you subscribe to, this radiant spectacle is a true wonder to behold, especially when you capture the lights from one of these four viewing spots.
Iceland – This is where professional photographers choose to view the Northern Lights, mostly due to the island nation’s stark, surreal landscapes. During the midwinter months, when the lights shine brightest, they can be seen clear across the island. For ideal viewing, head to the northern coast to the volcanic Reykjanes Peninsula.
Alaska – You will see many astounding sights on your journey to Alaska—calving glaciers, soaring eagles, breaching whales—and if you visit Fairbanks, Denali or the Yukon Territory, you can add the Northern Lights to that list. The only thing you have to ask yourself (or us!) is how you want to see them: shimmering off the water from the deck of your cruise ship? Silhouetted by mountains during a train ride? Or even up close and personal during a flightseeing ride? Now those are wonderful choices!
We’ve had many clients unexpectedly see a Northern Lights viewing while on an Alaska cruise, so be sure to step out on to your balcony occasionally, or listen to the crew or other passengers to see if there is a sighting.
Lapland – The Northern Lights are practically inescapable in Lapland—a region that stretches over Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia—as they appear during the high season two out of every three nights. Like Alaska, you have many unique options for viewing: you can take a reindeer safari to popular lookout points, find your own spot in a snowmobile, or go to the top of Haldde Mountain to visit the world’s first Northern Lights Observatory.
Canada – There are plenty of great options across Canada. In the west, the lights reflect beautifully off of Muncho Lake at the Northern Rockies Lodge in British Columbia; and in the Yukon town of Whitehorse, you can soak in the view while soaking in the Takhini Hotsprings. In central Canada, mind-blowing display dances across the skies in Churchill, Manitoba, more than 300 nights a year. And to the east, restored villages and national historic sites provide a picturesque foreground to your photos in Battle Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador.