Have you ever yearned to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the Northern Lights?
Well, get ready because 2025 is predicted to be an ideal year to view this magical phenomenon. But where should you go to make the most of this experience?
Look no further as Nadia Bess, a luxury travel professional with a fast-growing community of happy clients, is here to unveil the most captivating destinations to experience the magical spectacle of the Aurora Borealis.
As a seasoned traveler and connoisseur of luxury experiences, Nadia’s expertise extends far beyond her insightful recommendations for viewing the Northern Lights. Through her business, Besst Travels, she aims to curate personalized and captivating luxury travel journeys to remote destinations for her clients.
Here are some general tips from Nadia for the best possible odds of viewing the Northern Lights:
- Spend as much time as possible above the Arctic Circle to increase your chances of seeing them. Even though the Northern Lights are present every night outside of summer, you need the right conditions (no clouds, clear sky, cold temperatures, solar wind speeds, etc.) to see them. Some people stay North for two weeks and don’t see them once. Popping into the North for a night or two won’t leave you with great odds of seeing the lights; ideally, you want at least a week north of the Arctic Circle to give yourself the best odds of seeing them.
- Download an app that sends you notifications when there are Northern Lights outside. Because solar storm tracking has become more technologically advanced in recent years, the apps can be pretty accurate. One to consider is “My Aurora Forecast.” Many travelers focus on the KP Index, but that number just indicates how far south the lights can be seen that night. The numbers you should be focusing on are the solar wind statistics and the cloud coverage in your local area. When high solar wind activity and low cloud coverage are forecasted for your area, you have great odds of seeing the lights.
- The absolute ideal time to visit is the last two weeks of February and the first week of March, preferably two weeks after the full moon (so it will be darker). While 2025 is predicted to be the most active year this decade, 2024 and 2026 should offer great viewing opportunities as well.
Nadia has also shared her top recommendations of locations with great possibilities of viewing the mesmerizing display of nature’s celestial phenomenon while also offering fun activities and accommodations to occupy you during the daytime.
Rovaniemi, Finland: The Home of Santa Claus
Rovaniemi is the capital of Finnish Lapland and lies directly on the Arctic Circle.
It is conveniently served by an airport with direct flights from Helsinki and is also known for being the “official” hometown of Santa Claus, which makes it a great tourist attraction for those who are traveling with their children.
In this area, you can stay in unique accommodations such as glass igloos, treehouses, and a hotel on an island in the middle of a river, all designed for prime Northern Lights viewing.
Some of the hotels even have alarm systems that will (optionally) wake you up if the Northern Lights become active!
During the daytime, you can occupy yourself with dogsledding, ice floating, reindeer farm visits, meeting Santa Claus, and even riding onboard a working icebreaker boat. If you have even more energy, a day trip to Riisitunturi National Park, where snow-covered trees bend over to create a Dr. Seuss-esque landscape, is ideal for photographers and hiking enthusiasts.
Kiruna, Sweden: Winter Wonders Await
After flying to Kiruna, Sweden, travelers can access one of the most famous hotels in the region – Icehotel. This hotel has been rebuilt with ice from the river every year since 1989 (a portion of the hotel is now permanent thanks to solar-powered cooling systems) and was even featured in the James Bond film Die Another Day.
Different architects, engineers, designers, and artists submit proposals for ice designs annually, so the hotel has a new look every year.
Guests can spend the night in a room carved out of ice for a truly authentic experience or can instead sleep in the warm rooms next door for a more comfortable experience. You can spend your days learning how to carve ice sculptures, going reindeer sledding, and embarking on moose and Northern Light safaris via horseback.
For the ultimate Northern Lights experience, spend at least one of your evenings in Abisko National Park, just 1 hour North. Due to the “blue hole” created by the mountains surrounding the park, which minimize cloud coverage, this Park is rumored to be the best spot in the world to view the Northern Lights. Take a chairlift to the Aurora Sky Station (weather dependent) for even better views.
If you have more time, Nadia recommends considering a 3-hour train ride south to Harads, a captivating destination just south of the Arctic Circle.
With a population of only 600 people, Harads is a hidden gem for snowmobiling, dog sledding, and, of course, witnessing the Northern Lights, in addition to epic lodging options. From a spherical glass treehouse suspended in the forest, a hotel whose rooms and sauna float on a river, to a traditional log cabin with a private jacuzzi and sauna, you’ll be amazed by all of the hotel options to choose from.
Narvik, Norway: The Gateway to the Wolves
Nadia’s next enchanting location for experiencing auroras is Narvik, Norway, where the airport offers direct flights to multiple airports throughout Scandinavia.
Narvik is the top skiing destination in Norway and also offers opportunities for you to sleep in an Arctic Dome, learn about Sami heritage, and take the Arctic Train to explore the landscape. Numerous Northern Light activities are on offer, as well as whale-watching excursions.
For history buffs, Narvik was also the site of a major battle during World War 2 and offers a museum for guests to learn more about history.
In 2024, the new Six Senses Svart will also open, which will allow guests to combine a wellness getaway with Northern Lights viewing opportunities.
One hour from Narvik (and 3 hours from Kiruna, Sweden) is an epic opportunity to stay in a private lodge within a wolf enclosure. Staying at this lodge allows you access to the wolf park outside of opening hours and even have encounters with some wolves who are accustomed to humans.
From the large windows in your private lodge, you will also have endless viewing opportunities of the wolves at night and the Aurora Borealis.
This experience is only available for roughly 15 groups each year and is only bookable via property buyout. Booking far in advance ensures you can access this hidden gem.
Churchill, Canada: Polar Bears, Belugas, and Wolves
Outside of Churchill, Canada, and only accessible by charter plane, Churchill Wild comprises three unique ecolodges that offer arguably the most exceptional wildlife adventure experience on the planet.
Depending on the lodge(s) you choose, you can do anything from participate in an immersive ground-level polar bear experience to float above beluga whales and observe other wildlife, such as black bears, wolves, foxes, and moose.
These lodges have been operating for 30 years and are considered one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World.
The lodges also offer prime Northern Light viewing opportunities, especially from September to November, when there is enough darkness to observe the phenomenon. These are located just south of the Arctic Circle, where the Northern Lights are most active and visible, and the remote location has minimal light interference.
Expedition Cruises: Access Some Truly Remarkable Destinations
By embarking on an expedition cruise, you can view the Northern Lights from locations that few travelers ever visit, such as the Northwest Passage, Greenland, Svalbard, and the North Pole. All of these destinations will offer prime Northern Light viewing opportunities away from the light pollution of cities.
These expeditions will also allow you to experience indigenous community interactions, active adventure activities to view the fjords and glaciers, and wildlife viewings of bears, beluga whales, reindeer, and walruses, among other arctic species.
These spots surely promise a treat for your eyes and your lens. With Nadia’s guidance, this experience can truly be as magical as it seems. By entrusting your trip with Besst Travels, travelers can embark on unforgettable journeys that transcend the boundaries of ordinary exploration, allowing them to immerse themselves in the enchanting magic of the Aurora Borealis and beyond.
So, stop waiting and visit Nadia’s website today to design your exclusive luxury trip to view the Northern Lights for yourself.