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Best time to see the northern lights?

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Best time to see the northern lights?

I have heard you can see the northern ligts in Alaska and some other places too and Im thinking about to go - still not sure where to go - but at least it would be great to know when I should plan to do it. Any suggestions - isnt better to see it in some specific month? I have been trying to read and find information e.g. I found this site informative for Norway http://www.visitnorway.com/northern-lights and I found this one informative for Iceland http://www.northernlightsiceland.com/ Did not find anything for Finland or Russia or Alaska but I think a good starting point is to think about when to go - any advise on this matter?

Greater Sydney...
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1. Re: Best time to see the northern lights?

G'day Evelina,

To the right of the screen page you will see a list of Top Questions and the 4th one from the bottom contains the information you are seeking.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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2. Re: Best time to see the northern lights?

Canada is also a good northern lights destination.

Wherever you choose, however, be sure there are enough other things to keep you busy. It is possible to travel somewhere for a week (or more) and never had the right conditions to see the aurora so you will want to be sure there are other things of interest for you.

Hamburg, Germany
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3. Re: Best time to see the northern lights?

I went to Iceland and loved it, can easily recommend it! Spent 10 days there and saw the NL!

London, United...
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4. Re: Best time to see the northern lights?

I also went to Iceland and wasn´t disappointed. Easily recommended! Even though you don´t see the NL, there are so many other lovely places to visit and things to do!

Chugiak, Alaska
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5. Re: Best time to see the northern lights?

If I lived in the UK or Europe, I'd go to Iceland or Norway. As stated, make sure you have other things to do so that seeing the Lights is bonus rather than the whole trip. That way you won't be disappointed if they aren't active or you get cloudy days.

Perth, Scotland
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6. Re: Best time to see the northern lights?

The best time to see the Northern Lights is when it is as dark as possible, there is no human light pollution and as little light from the moon as possible (i.e. the dark of the moon or new moon) and the skies are clear with no clouds. I have read the the time around the winter and spring solstice is good as well as the skies tend to be clear then. Plus the further north you are the better your chances, above the Arctic Circle is said to be best. From the UK there are a variety of countries you could visit . The best from a journey point of view are Finland, Lapland, Iceland and Norway. Also 2013 is being touted as a good year to see the Northern Lights as we are in a solar maxima period at present, where the sun is a lot more active than normal.

However, as other posters have warned, whether or not you see them is very unpredictable. So you want to have a Plan B and possibly a Plan C in case the skies are cloudy or the lights just don't come out. Otherwise you might feel it is a wasted trip.

I did a lot of research on the best place and time to view the Northern Lights. Originally I was going to do a cruise either from UK or with the Hurtigruten Line. The former is a good option as you have other things to do on cruises, although it can apparently be quite rough traveling from UK to Norway. Hurtigruten describe their trips as "cruising" and the ships are big, but they are also working ferries with a tight schedule sailing up and down the Norwegian coast from Bergen up to Kirkenes in the Arctic circle and back to Bergen. I was going to fly into Tromso and pick up a Hurtigruten ship to travel up to Kirkenes, their furthest port of call in the Arctic circle, then back to Tromso and spend a few days there to increase my chances of seeing the Northern Lights. Alternatively you could just stay in Tromso. I looked at Finland and Lapland but personally felt there was not much else there that we would enjoy doing.

In the end I decided on Iceland for a variety of reasons. It is very close We live in Scotland and Icelandair flies direct to Reykjavik from Glasgow in just over 2 hours. It also flies daily (I think) from London and does some good deals. Iceland has amazing scenery and a good road system. I chose a week in mid March that was in the dark of the moon and close to the spring solstice. Also I reasoned the days would be a bit longer then so we could see more, but the nights would still be dark enough for the Northern Lights.

My Plan B was courtesy of an excellent company called Discover the World which specialises in destinations like Iceland and Norway and lately Alaska. They had just started tours the previous year to Iceland to see orcas. For the past few years the herring have come into Grundarfjordur Bay on the Snaefellsnes peninsua to the north of Reykjavik.in February and March, and the orcas have followed. Discover the World do a bespoke trip just to see orcas, but I thought I would expand our holiday a bit so Plan C was hiring a car as my husband really enjoys driving and we both like the independence of driving holidays, although you need to read the warnings about driving there. We drove up to Grundarfjordur the first day and stayed at the delightful Hotel Framnes. The people who own the hotel also run the only boat trip. We were lucky enough to see loads of orcas right in the bay on an absolutely perfect day. In fact you could sit in the hot tub outside the hotel and watch the orcas in the bay through binoculars. (If you like hot tubs Iceland is the place for you!) We spent 2 nights in Grundarfjordur as the Sanesfellnes Peninsula is magical and then drove down to South West Iceland. We saw quite a lot of Iceland in a week and saw absolutely stunning scenery and my husband was able to get some amazing photographs. I booked the car and hotels with Discover the World who seem to be well known in Iceland. We are definitely going to go back in better weather and drive the whole way round Iceland.

I'm glad I looked at other things to do as we had perfect conditions for seeing the Northern Lights, but out of 5 clear still nights we only saw them properly on one night. However what an amazing incredible display that was. Most of the hotels will call you if there are any displays so you have to have all your clod weather gear and cameras ready to go.

Good luck with hunting the Northern Lights.

Dublin, Ireland
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7. Re: Best time to see the northern lights?

I went to Iceland and loved it. Even though you won´t see the NL, you will be visiting an amazing country with natural treasures on every corner. I fell in love with it at least.

8. Re: Best time to see the northern lights?

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