Despite their name, Northern Lights can be seen in both hemispheres, the trick is to be close to the planet’s magnetic poles. These beautiful spectacles of light and color are called aurora borealis in the north, and aurora australis in the south. The explanation for this phenomenon is simple, despite their magical appearance – they are created by certain particles emanating from the sun when they hit the earth’s atmosphere. The ensuing light parade can take many shapes and forms, from a pale green or pink shade on the sky to eerie glowing curtains. Read on to find out which are the best places to watch the Northern Lights.
Fairbanks has an ideal position on the globe for the viewing of Northern Lights, and although you will not be able to see them too well from inside the city, a short drive will ensure that there is virtually no light pollution that can obstruct your view. Fairbanks is, according to many, one of the best places to live in Alaska, and if you look behind the modern parts of the city, you can discover a historical charm that is hard to resist.
Faroe Islands, Denmark
These 18 islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean are far enough up north so that they have access to the sight of the Northern Lights a good part of the year. These beautiful rugged islands populated with more puffins and sheep than people turn even more amazing at night, when you can observe the rippling streams of the aurora borealis on the sky.
Kangerlussuaq is a small settlement on the coast of Greenland, a tiny town that is surrounded by amazing scenery. It is also renowned for its aurora borealis – after all, there are 99% chances of seeing it November through March. You won’t lack any interesting things to do in daylight, because you can go hiking in the tundra, go horseback riding on shaggy ponies, fish for cod or go dog sledding.
This tiny little Swedish town of about 500 inhabitants is famous or two things, mainly: for its utterly amazing Northern Lights in winter, and for the equally amazing ice-hotel. Although ice hotels, that is hotels built entirely out of ice are quite common nowadays, the original thing was built in Jukkasjärvi. So spend half the night staring at the aurora, and the other half sleeping in a room of ice.
The Siberian city of Murmansk is the largest city in the world north of the Arctic Circle, and a nice place for a visit anytime, but especially when there are Northern Lights to be seen. Although Murmansk is not within the Northern Lights zone (an oval area around the magnetic pole), there are very high chances of seeing the aurora.