Recognised as one of the most awe-inspiring natural phenomena of our planet, millions of people go in search of the Aurora Borealis every year. Desperate to enjoy the dancing greens, yellows and purples above the Northern Hemisphere skies, beauty-lovers travel the length of the planet to witness the sight.
Here we explore five of the most beautiful cities in which to enjoy the Northern Lights.
One of the most affordable and accessible places to see the Northern Lights, the capital of Iceland provides a stunning setting for the event. There is plenty to do during the day in Reykjavik as well whilst waiting for the lights to start dancing with snowmobile and skiing trips available. Located just 50 miles from the city is one of the world’s most stunning spa and health retreats, the Blue Lagoon spa is positioned between two tectonic plates, giving it unique access to the healing powers of naturally-occurring geothermal waters.
The capital of Sweden is enduringly popular all year round thanks to clean air, high standards of living and beautiful architecture. However, tourism enjoys a boon in winter as holidaymakers come in search of the Northern Lights. The spectacle can be enjoyed within the city or visitors can take the short train journey to the village of Kiruna, home of Jukkasjäroi Ice Hotel – the world’s first of its kind.
The capital of Finland is widely regard as one of the most pleasant and beautiful places to live on Earth, and the winter appearances of the Northern Lights only make the region more attractive to visitors. Visible between 10 and 20 nights a year in the southern city of Helsinki, a short trip to Lapland in the North can give you access to the lights on just about any clear night between September and March.
The Norwegian city island of Svalbard is one of the most northerly parts of the civilised world and is located well into the Arctic Circle. The island receives absolutely no daylight between mid-November and the end of January, making it perfect for sighting the Aurora Borealis.
Visiting outside of this period, you can also be treated to other beautiful spectacles, with Svalbard known for its wildlife. Lucky visitors may be able to catch a glimpse of polar bears, reindeers and walruses on a Svalbard Wildlife Expedition.
Approaching by sea through the beautiful Norwegian Fjords provides even more awe-inspiring sights and stunning scenery to enjoy. Specialist cruise travel agents Cruise1st are currently selling cabins aboard Norwegian Fjords cruises, giving passengers numerous chances to enjoy the Northern Lights.
If you don’t want to travel to Europe to take in the Northern Lights, the Alaskan city of Anchorage also has access to the spectacle. The Eagle River Nature Centre, located about 22 miles from downtown Anchorage, has been named the best place in the city to enjoy the phenomenon. The area is full of secluded log cabins and lodges in the vast woods which can be rented out by visitors wanting to enjoy the Northern Lights in peace.