Northern lights aka. aurora borealis are probably the most magical natural phenomenon in the world. In the darkest skies, colourful lights form and move in the most mesmerising way imaginable. If you are lucky enough to have seen them once in your life you will know this. If not, you should definitely add seeing northern lights to your bucket list asap!
What causes aurora borealis to happen?
Here is a very scientific explanation. In short, “when charged particles from the sun strike atoms in Earth’s atmosphere, they cause electrons in the atoms to move to a higher-energy state. When the electrons drop back to a lower energy state, they release a photon: light. This process creates the beautiful aurora, or northern lights.”.
Alternatively, you can just see them as pure magic, we won’t judge.
Without further ado, here is a list of the best places in the world to see northern lights.
Jasper National Park, Canada
The Jasper National Park is located in the Canadian Rockies and is a great place to not only enjoy the local nature and wildlife, but it also has one of the largest areas of designated Dark Sky in the world. This means that there is no light pollution that would impede you from seeing the sky. While you’re there, take the opportunity to hike in the Columbia Icefield Glacier and take a relaxing swim in the Miette Hot Springs. The perfect day adventure!
Right in the middle of the Aurora Oval is Tromsø, Norway. Apart from its amazing view of northern lights while away from the city, there is a lot of exploring to do for all the adventurous travellers among you. Go sky-watching in a Lavvu – a traditional Norwegian tent – and enjoy the captivating stillness that this beautiful part of the world has to offer.
Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
If you don’t immediately think of Scotland when you think of northern lights, but you should! The Scottish Highlands sit at the same latitude as the best sky-watching zones in Scandinavia and the American continent. At the Cairngorms National Park you can enjoy the lights thanks to low light pollution and clear skies. Make sure to attend a Dark Sky event at the Glenlivet Estate to learn more about this natural phenomenon if you can.
Alaska is definitely one of the places that come to mind when speaking of northern lights. As with many of these locations, make sure to pack plenty of warm clothing as the weather gets very cold, especially during sky-watching hours. Fairbanks is located directly under the Aurora Oval, which means that it is always a great place to look for aurora borealis. While you’re there, take a dip in the Chena Hot Springs and visit the Ice Museum for a unique experience.
Iceland is not only a beautiful country that we have written about before, but it is also an amazing sky-watching spot. Go visit the Hallgrimskirkja cathedral and go ice skating on Lake Tjörnin while you’re there to end your adventure holiday with a bang.
Are northern lights on your current bucket list? Let us know in the Facebook comments.
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