Where are the best places to see the Northern Lights?

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I have never written a bucket list of things to do and places to see while I still walk the Earth. However, if I ever do this then you can be sure that seeing the Northern Lights will be high up on my list.

The majesty of the Aurora Borealis has been well documented elsewhere, so I will just use this opportunity to ask the question ‘where are the best places to see the Northern Lights?’.

Scotland

The closest I have ever been to seeing the Northern Lights was perhaps when I went to Aberdeen as a kid with my school. I remember looking up to the sky at night, expecting to see a blazing show of supernatural lights that would take my breath away and make me become instantly cooler and more worldly wise. In the end I saw nothing at all and remained a hapless 14 year old with little or no fashion sense. Apparently the light pollution in Aberdeen now means that it isn´t a very good place to see the lights anymore. Going further north is a better idea. Actually, I was once on the Isle of Skye and that is supposedly a decent place to see the lights as well, although I once again saw nothing when I was there.

Scandinavia

imagesFor those people living in Europe, the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights is to head as far north in Scandinavia as you can. However, even getting into the cold and snowy Lapland region isn´t a guarantee of seeing the lights in action. I remember reading a Bill Bryson book in which he spent ages in Norway hoping for a glimpse of some celestial action. Around the dates of the equinox is regarded as being the best time for travelling anywhere to see the Aurora Borealis in all its splendour. There are many places that are set up with the light chasing tourist firmly in mind, so it offers a relatively easy and very fun way to live out your dreams.

North America

I guess that a lights chasing trip to North America would be pretty special, although I always associate the phenomenon with Northern Europe in my mind. As you would guess, Alaska is a top place to see the lights here, while parts of Canada also offer you a front seat view. March is noted as a good time to see the lights here, with some great small towns offering clear skies and friendly places to stay. After investigating it a little I think that a trip to Alaska to see the Northern Lights could be just about the most exciting and adventurous trip ever.

Greenland

Wow, can you even imagine being in Greenland never mind seeing the Aurora Borealis while you are there? This just looks like such an amazing, faraway place that I go all misty eyed and restless whenever I see pictures of the quaint little wooden houses. It is the least densely popular country in the world and 88% of the 56,000 people who live here are native Inuits. Greenland is the world´s biggest island (let´s not get started on the Australia debate) but getting here could be tough and will probably involve passing through Copenhagen. The capital is Nuuk – which I am sure was called Godthab when I was in school – and as the world´s most northerly capital city and also one of the smallest offers a unique place to see the lights from.

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