Aurora Borealis – Where to see & best time to see
The northern lights is the most spectacular light display on earth. Watch the magical and colourful Aurora Borealis dance about in the night sky on your next holiday now. This is your last chance before they dim for a decade. Here you will find out the best place to see it. As well as the best time to view them, taking into account public holidays in Singapore.
Best place to see Northern Lights
Flying to Europe for Singaporeans is definitely a shorter distance than to North America. Also, it is costs less, thus I have left northern Canada and Alaska out. Here’s where you can view the northern lights in Europe.
I have included 2 cities in this list – Reykjavik and Tromso. Also, 2 remote towns in the Swedish and Finnish Lapland. Our pick is Iceland as it is accessible as well as affordable.
1. Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland is a beautiful arctic island with hot springs, volcanoes and wilderness. Reykjavik is so convinent for viewing the Aurora Borealis. It is the capital city of Iceland and served by a lot of flights, making it accessible to fly into and visit. You could watch the northern lights from just a 15 minutes drive away from the city of Reykjavik . A fantastic place would be Alftanes. There you can watch the Northern lights from across a bay and witness the dancing lights reflect in the sea.
2. Tromso, Norway
Tromso is the only big city in the northern part of Norway. It is possibly one of the most expensive place to view the northern lights too. Tromso is surrounded by snowcaped mountains, the landscape is dramatic and beautiful. Not only you could view the aurora lights here, there is a lot of activities you could do near Tromso. For example, fjord excursions, whale safaris, reindeer farm visits and husky sledging. If you’re lucky, you could even see both the northern lights and whales at the same time. Like in this video – northern lights Norway!
3. Abisko, Sweden
Abisko is a remote place in the Swedish Lapland. It is famous for its natural beauty and vast area of mountains, forests and glaciers. Abisko is also the driest part of Sweden and the Aurora belt, due to its location in a micro-climate. That increases your chances of having clear skies and viewing the heavenly aurora lights. Also, there is a observation tower in Abisko National Park known as the Aurora Sky Station. It’s a great place for visitors to view the Aurora Borealis.
4. Ivalo, Finland
Ivalo is a frontier town 550km north of the Arctic Circle. The town is closer to Russia than to Sweden and is a 1.5 hours flight from Helsinki. Ivalo is not as close to the Auora belt center as in Iceland or Tromso but the skies are less cloudy. The famous glass iglo hotel, Kakslauttanen Igloo West Village is half an hour away from Ivalo. That is if you fancy sleeping in a thermal igloo. You could have a 360 degrees view of the Aurora Borealis from within the warmth and comfort of your hotel room.
Best time to see Northern Lights
(utilise Singapore Public Holidays 2015 / 2016 to see it!)
For most Singaporeans, holiday trips to the Arctic are expensive and a rarity. So plan the best time to visit to maximise your chances of viewing the aurora lights. Anytime between October to March is great as there are fewer hours of sunlight in winter. Try to avoid the full moon as the chances of witnessing the northern lights is higher when skies are dark.
Also, give yourselves the best shot of viewing the Aurora Borealis by extending your stay to 3 to 4 nights. The more time spent at an Aurora hotspot, the better! The mystic Aurora Borealis is unpredictable. Yet, scientists say that you’ve a 80% chance of seeing the auroras if you stay put in the area for at least 3 days.
How to predict & plan a trip to see the Aurora Borealis
Nature is unpredictable. It would be nearly impossible to know the exact dates that the northern lights will appear. It is harder to predict the lights than to predict the weather! Yet, there’s tools and resources that predict the possibility of witnessing the Aurora Borealis.
Tips on to increase your chances of viewing the northern lights:
- Use information from ‘Auroral Activity by Solar Rotation’ map to plan your trip. The greatest activity expected on each day is plotted 28 days in advance.
- Check the level of aurora activity predicted in the area on the days of interest closer to your date of arrival. Use the Auora-Service.eu forecast for hourly, daily and 3 days Forecast.
- Check the cloudiness index too, as clear skies are a need to view the lights.
- Avoid the full moon as it can be bright, but it is still possible to see the aurora lights during full moon.
- Plan ahead to get the best deals on flights and hotels.