Finland’s Northern Lights

Northern_Lights_WEB

The best places to see the Aurora Borealis in Finland.

Nature’s most spectacular light show, the Aurora Borealis, lights up the sky in Finland on roughly 200 nights a year. Due to the optimal location, Finland is found to be one of the best places in the world to experience the Aurora Borealis. Let the hunt begin!

Many have come to Finland to see the light once in their lifetime, but have ended up staying and moving to Northern Lapland permanently to photograph the Aurora Borealis. Several locations in the area have catered toward the needs of the Aurora hunters.

Aurora Borealis, what are they?

A scientist would say that the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, occur when charged particles sent by the solar wind collide with Earth’s atmosphere and create energy. This energy is then given off as the dancing lights in the sky.

However, Sami legends say that the Fox runs across the Arctic fells and lights up the sky with sparks flying from its tail whirling up the snow. The modern Finnish term ”revontulet”, the fox’s fires, comes from this exact myth.

Time to head up north, but when?

The high season for the lights is in Nothern Lapland between September and March, but the lights are seen occasionally in the Southern Finland as well.

Best time of day to see the lights is usually an hour or two before and after midnight. The dancing of the lights might last 20 seconds or several hours, so come prepared and armed with patience.

Even with today’s technology the lights can’t be guaranteed, the only thing that one can do is to follow the weather forecast and keep spotting. The Aurora Borealis appear for you right then and there. As the Fox moves in mysterious ways, it’s good to plan other activities for the trip as well.

Pro tips to keep in mind when looking for the Aurora Borealis

1. Look up!
When you notice that the night sky is clear and starry, that’s when it’s go time. Look for a clear and starry sky to find the green red lights.

2. Wrap up warm
As the lights appear and disappear very unexpectedly, staying outside and hunting for the lights requires clothing and equipment suitable for that. The clear winter nights are very chilly and it would be a shame if you missed the lights because of your toes were too cold.

3. Sign up for aurora alerts
The Finnish Meteorological Institute has informative aurora alerts on their Auroras Now! website where you can sign up for email alerts that whenever the weather looks good and the Northern Lights are likely.

4. Keep extra batteries!
The cold weather empties batteries faster than anything, so carry extras!

Top locations for the Aurora Borealis

1. Saariselkä
Fly to Ivalo and stay in town or explore in the neighboring towns Saariselkä and Inari. Check out Siida, the Sami Museum during the day and hunt for the lights on a husky safari in the night. Stay at the famous glass igloos of Kakslauttanen and enjoy the lights trough the glass ceiling while laying on a comfy bed!

2. Rovaniemi
The official home town of Santa Claus is also a prime location for enjoying the Aurora Borealis. Visit Santa in his office during the day and learn about life in the Arctic Circle in Arktikum. When the night comes, get on a snowmobile and enjoy the adventure while looking for the light display in the sky.

3. Kilpisjärvi
A town where Finland, Norway and Sweden come together and share the breathtaking vast landscapes and endless fells. Embrace the silence and listen to the Aurora Borealis make a slight cracking sound as they move across the skies.

About the Author