Top Northern Lights Tours & Vacations 2024/2025 [reviews...

Northern Lights Tours & Travel Packages 2024/2025

14 Northern Lights trips. Compare tour itineraries from 11 tour companies. 93 reviews. 4.8/5 avg rating.

Small Group Northern Lights Tours

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Top Northern Lights Attractions & Experiences

Top Northern Lights Experiences

    • Gazing in wonderment at your first unforgettable glimpse of one of nature’s most entrancing and mysterious creations. 
    • Viewing a celestial display in which multiple colors dance across the sky in a succession of greens, reds, blues, purples and yellows. 
    • Seeking out places of solitude in which to view the lights, and reveling in the stillness of a dark winter’s night. 
    • Encountering the Northern Lights on a cruise along the Norwegian coast in winter or across the far North Atlantic in fall or spring, when the flashing lights pierce the night darkness.

Northern Lights Tours & Travel Guide

Northern Lights Attractions & Landmarks Guide

A chance to view the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) – which paint the night sky with dazzling displays of green, pink, red, yellow, purple, blue, and white -- is one of the most exciting and magical sights on a trip to the Arctic. You may spot them in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia, and other far-north destinations. 

The Northern Lights were dubbed the aurora borealis in honor of Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn, and Boreas, the ancient Greek name for the northern wind. They have been the subject of superstition and wonder for millennia, identified with solar activity only since the late 19th century. 

What Causes the Northern Lights? 

The scientific explanation is complex, but here’s the brief version: They result when solar flares, sunspots or sun storms send charged particles into the earth’s upper atmosphere, where they collide with molecules of oxygen and nitrogen to create the swirling, flickering, glowing kaleidoscope-like effect of the aurora borealis. The particles are drawn through space to the earth’s two magnetic poles; in the far south, the similar effect is known as the aurora australis. (The Northern Lights are better known than the southern because the Arctic polar region is much more populated and accessible than the Antarctic.) 

Colors of the Northern Lights vary according to whether the sun’s particles collide with oxygen or nitrogen molecules, or both. The altitude of the collisions, which can range from 50 to 400 miles up, affects the colors as well, as does the intensity of the solar flares, stronger in some years than others. The lights typically appear for around a half hour at a time, and may reappear a few hours later. All these factors add to the unpredictability of viewing.  

North America and Europe offer the best opportunities to see the aurora borealis, partly because of atmospheric conditions but also because of accessibility and tourist infrastructure. The area where the lights are seen most often is called the aurora zone.

Seeing the Northern Lights in North America 

The Northern Lights appear in the Fairbanks, Alaska, area an average of between 230 and 300 nights per year, making viewing a good probability in all but the sunny midsummer months. (Going farther north doesn’t necessarily produce better conditions.) You can reach Fairbanks by taking an expeditionary-style or small-ship cruise to the Anchorage area and adding a land tour north to Fairbanks, where the lights are visible just a few miles outside of town. But if you wish, you can even travel by dog sled to get out into the wilderness via guided tour. 

In far northwestern Canada, the provinces of Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Manitoba are the top spots for viewing. The town of Whitehorse in the Yukon is among the most accessible, or you could combine a polar bear viewing expedition with an aurora tour in Churchill, northern Manitoba. 

Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland

Iceland is one of the most popular and accessible locations to see the Northern Lights, but it's important to note that only the far northern part of Iceland is located above the Arctic Circle, and weather conditions are often cloudy. That said, a week-long tour of the island nation may well yield at least one or two nights when viewing is good. Look into a photography tour for tips on capturing the amazing light show.

Seeing the Northern Lights Elsewhere in Europe

Sweden’s Abisko National Park near Kiruna in the northern part of the country is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, places to see the Northern Lights in the world. The area is remote so there’s less light to interfere, and has less precipitation than perhaps any other region in the aurora zone. Tours take visitors to the Aurora Sky Station, where a chairlift leads to a viewing platform above the trees. 

Tromso, Norway, is another popular viewing area in Scandinavia, with a number of aurora tours based there. The Hurtigruten ships – the half-cruise, half-cargo vessels that travel the Norwegian coast – call in Tromso along the voyage. 

Lapland, Finland, is a third excellent viewing area in Scandinavia. The town of Rovaniemi, located right on the Arctic Circle, is a center for Lapland tourism.  

Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, is closer to the North American continent but more easily reached from Europe or by small cruise ship. While most travel there comes in the sunny summer months, a fall or spring trip may provide good views of the Northern Lights. 

Your best opportunity in Russia is probably going to be an expeditionary-style cruise across the Northeast Passage that skirts the upper reaches of northern Russia from Europe to Asia and over to Alaska. Otherwise Russia’s tourist infrastructure isn’t well established in the aurora zone.

Northern Lights Reviews & Ratings

4.8/5  Excellent
93  Reviews
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Nov 2019

Written on

Perfect introduction to Iceland!

Overall I had a spectacular time on this trip. The scenery was unbelievable and the group was great. I was a bit underwhelmed by our guide - while he was super nice ...



Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

Perfect winter trip for February half term.

A beautiful location in the middle of the Finnish wilderness. Lots of activity in the outdoors. Healthy food with unexpectedly excellent vegetarian options. Great ...



Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

A wonderful winter adventure...!

An awesome holiday that found the balance between being a holiday and an adventure. There was enough inclusive activities, both guide-lead and self-lead, to keep u...



Oct 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

Beautiful Finnish wilderness holiday

We had a really good time with a family of 5. The setting is beautiful - a low-key lodge in the forest, on the edge of a frozen lake. There are lovely walks from t...



Jan 2018

Provided byExodus Travels

Winter Wonderland

Expectations were high for this trip and I have to say they were met and exceeded. Never been away at Christmas before or done the skiing this - so we were nervou...

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