Want to find the best places to see the northern lights in Scandinavia? Then you need to go a bit north, as it is in the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, and Finland that you have the best chance of seeing the magical sky. The time of year also plays in, and generally you autumn, winter, and early spring are the best times to see the northern lights. Also, it is a good idea to get away from cities and communities, so that the sky is as dark as possible.
This fantastic spectacle, which in Latin is called Aurora borealis, occurs when electrically charged particles are ejected from the sun and then collide with atoms and molecules, so that the night sky lights up in bright colors, such as green, pink, and purple.
You can never take the northern lights for granted, so in addition to choosing the right place and the right time of year, you also need a little luck. But even when the northern lights do not appear, you can experience a special light during the so-called polar night, when blue light illuminates the white winter landscape.
Here, you will find five tips on really good places to see the northern lights, as well as tips on campsites nearby where you can camp seasonally or spend the night with your motorhome or caravan. Just keep in mind that there is a lot of snow in the northern parts of Scandinavia in winter. During the cold time of the year, you may need to check which roads are passable and which campsites are open. You also need to make sure that your camping vehicle is equipped for cold and winter road conditions.
Tromsø is the largest city in Northern Norway and is a popular destination regardless of whether you are looking for nature experiences or cultural activities. In addition to seeing the northern lights and beautiful views, there are several interesting sights here, such as the Arctic Cathedral, the Polaria experience center, and the Polar Museum, where you can learn more about, among other things, hunting and polar expeditions.
If you want to see the Northern Lights in Tromsø, you should aim to visit the region between the end of September and the end of March. If you want to experience the midnight sun instead, you should be here between May 20 and June 20.
The region of Tromsø and Northern Norway is considered to be one the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. Here, you can also combine the experience with other special and memorable activities, such as winter fishing, whale watching, dog sledding, and learning more about Sami culture.
North of Tromsø, you will find Lyngsfjord, which offers a beautiful landscape with mountains, valleys, and glaciers. In the area, where you will find Reisa National Park and Treriksröset, there are good opportunities for both short and long hikes, as well as fishing and skiing, depending on the season.
Are you planning on camping in Norway? Then you should read our article about traveling to Norway with a motorhome or caravan. You can also find tips and inspiration about places to see and visit in our article about visiting Northern Norway with your motorhome or caravan.
Abisko is located approximately 100 kilometers northwest of Kiruna in northern Sweden. Here, you will find Abisko National Park, where many tourists come to experience the northern lights, midnight sun, hiking, and skiing. For example, you can hike the Kungsleden and get to Lapporten, which is one of Sweden’s most photographed mountain motifs.
Many different factors affect the chances of seeing the northern lights, of which the time of year is one. If you want the best possible conditions, you should visit Abisko between mid-November and mid-March, but you can also see the northern lights earlier in the autumn.
Abisko National Park is considered one of the world’s best places to experience the northern lights. Thanks to the surrounding mountains, few light sources disturb and therefore, the view is very clear. In addition, the spectacular Aurora Sky Station is located here, which you can reach with a lift and have a “northern lights dinner”.
There are many different hiking tours in Abisko National Park, both full- and half-day tours, for example to Kårsafallen. In winter, you can also go skiing or snowboarding at the Riksgränsen or experience winter adventures, such as dog sledding.
Are you interested in winter camping in Sweden? Then you should check out our article about 6 good winter campsites in Sweden.
Rovaniemi is located in Finnish Lapland and is perhaps best known for being the official home of Santa Claus. Here, you can meet Santa Claus in the Santa Claus Village, all days of the year. In addition, you can see the northern lights, experience the midnight sun, engage in winter sports, or visit the science center Arktikum.
If you want to see the northern lights in Rovaniemi, you should go there between the end of August and April. The northern lights actually occur all year round, but the evenings must be dark enough for you to see the light phenomenon. Therefore, autumn, winter, and early spring are recommended.
Rovaniemi offers good opportunities to see the northern lights in a fantastic setting. In winter, you can see the light phenomenon over a snow-covered landscape, perhaps from a cozy cabin or on a sleigh ride. In addition, you can take the opportunity to meet Santa Claus at the same time and discover everything that Finnish Lapland has to offer.
Rovaniemi is perfect for those who want to experience winter adventures, such as skiing or snowboarding, or perhaps going on a dog sledding trip. If you travel south, you can visit the almost merged cities of Torneå (Finland) and Haparanda (Sweden) as well as the wild Kukkolaforsen, which is famous for its special whitefish fishing. You can also get to the larger city of Oulu.
Do you want to know more about what it’s like to travel with a motorhome or motorhome in Finland? Then you should not miss reading our article about camping in Finland.
Kiruna is a city in northern Sweden, located approximately 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. Here, you can experience the northern lights and midnight sun, Sami culture, and Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise. In Kiruna, there is also the world’s largest iron ore mine and a fascinating project that involves moving large parts of the city, due to the mining.
If you’re lucky, you can see the northern lights in Kiruna as early as the end of August. The fantastic light can then be seen throughout the winter months, and right up until mid-April.
Since Kiruna is located far north in Sweden, this is an excellent place to see the northern lights. At the same time, Kiruna is a city that has many other interesting things to offer. Take advantage of learning more about Sami culture or taking a trip down the Kiruna mine.
If you enjoy nature, you can hike from Nikkaluokta to Kebnekaise mountain station, which is open during the summer season. This is a great starting point if you want to climb Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise, which measures 2,096 meters above sea level. Another exciting excursion destination is the Esrange Space Center, where there is an unmanned exhibition outside the gates. In addition, you can visit the ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, which offers a very special environment with fantastic ice sculptures.
Do you want to see more of Sweden? In our article about going with your motorhome through Sweden for 1-3 weeks, you will find tips on several different inspiring routes for those who travel with camping vehicles.
Lofoten is an island in northern Norway that offers fantastic nature, dramatic mountains, and spectacular views. The area is also known for its picturesque little fishing villages, its art galleries, and its local delicacies, such as skrei and dried fish. Another sight that you don’t want to miss is the Lofotr Viking Museum in Bøstad.
The best time to see the northern lights in Lofoten is between the end of September and the end of March. In other words, if you want to see the magical spectacle in the sky, you should visit in autumn, winter, or early spring.
Northern Norway is known as a great place to see the northern lights. Lofoten is also referred to as one of the most beautiful places along the Norwegian coast, and the northern lights look fantastic against the steep mountains.
Not far from Lofoten, you will find Hamarøy with the Knut Hamsun Centre, where you can get to know the exciting writer and Nobel laureate Knut Hamsun. Right next to the center, which has a unique architecture, you can also visit Hamsun’s childhood home.
For those who want to camp in Norway, we have more good tips for you. You can read about the best winter campsites in Norway.
What should you think about when you want to see the northern lights in Scandinavia? First of all, you need to choose the season carefully. The northern lights are mainly seen in autumn, winter, and early spring. It is also good to be aware of there not being any “northern lights guarantee”. The fantastic spectacle appears when it wants, and therefore, it is a idea good to plan having plenty of time at the site, so that you have several chances to see it.
Since the northern lights are best seen during the winter months, and since you need to go a bit north, you need to think about preparing your camper van for cold and winter road conditions.
In addition to admiring the spectacle in the sky, you may want to photograph the magic. Photographing the Northern Lights is an art in itself, so it can be helpful to do some research on the best way to capture the magical light beforehand. You may also need a tripod. Now, you should be good to go!