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Best Time and Places to See Northern Lights in Finland

Best Time and Places to See Northern Lights in Finland

Fancy seeing the Northern Lights in all their glory? Discover the best time and places to see the Northern Lights in Finland for a magical time under the dancing sky.

Picture the scene: With a warm fire roaring next to you, you sit tentatively and watch the skies. And, just as you’re losing all hope, you see the glistening shades of colour light up the sky, and warmth enters your chest.

No, you’re not dreaming. You’re watching the Northern Lights in Finland. 

But, before you jump in and start booking your tickets to this majestic country, here are all the essential details you’ll need.

Top Tip: Once you know where and when to visit, read about the best Northern Lights hotels in Finland.

Best Time to See The Northern Lights in Finland: At a Glance

What Is the Finland Aurora Borealis?

Northern Lights Apukka Resort Rovaniemi-3

Funnily enough, these dancing lights – the Aurora Borealis – that you see at night are actually from the sun. Solar storms on the surface of the sun cause loads of electrically charged particles to propel toward the Earth.

This is all very scientific, but it’s just the solar winds colliding with oxygen and nitrogen to create dazzling skylights. These lights can appear in many forms, such as spirals, rays, flickers, and curtains of light.

Best Time for Northern Lights in Finland

The best time to see Northern Lights in Finland tends to happen around nighttime, so your best chance to see them is between 10 pm and 3 am. This is when you are most likely to see the curtain of light. 

It’s also best to look for them at night when there are little to no clouds.

When to See Northern Lights in Finland?

Northern Lights Rovaniemi

The northern region of Finland falls within the Arctic Circle, which results in long nights during winter and long days in summer. As you need darkness to be able to see the Northern Lights, your best chances of seeing them are between September and March.

There are about 200 days a year to see the Northern Lights in Lapland. This makes it one of the best places in the world to see the mesmerising lights in the sky.

Which Month is The Best Time to See Northern Lights Finland?

Northern Lights Rovaniemi-1

At the height of winter, you’ll experience total darkness the entire day, so you can imagine there’s a better chance of seeing the lights, right? Well, it’s not that simple, and here’s why.

September and October

In these months, you’ll still have daylight, but there is higher geomagnetic activity – so there are more solar storms. There is also no snow just yet, so the lakes are crystal clear, and you can get beautiful reflections of the lights in the water.

The weather in September and October is also a lot warmer, and shades of red and orange come alive in the autumn forests.

November to January

These are months when you’re in almost total darkness the whole day, so there’s a higher chance of seeing these Finland lights. However, these are the months when you can expect lots of snowfall, and where there is snowfall, there are clouds.

This means less vision of the aurora in Finland. Accommodation costs during this time are also more expensive, but there is an abundance of winter activities like skiing.

Top Tip: Are the Northern Lights not enough to persuade you to visit? Discover why Finland is one of the best places to travel in November.

February and March

February is the best time to visit Finland to see the Northern Lights in Lapland. Not only are there clear skies, but there is geomagnetic activity similar to those during autumn. 

There is also still snow during this time, so you can spend the days skiing or snowboarding and the nights looking up at the sky.

Best Places to See Northern Lights in Finland

Arctic Fox Igloos: Finland Northern Lights Igloo 1

The best region to see the Northern Lights in Finland is undoubtedly Lapland. It is in the country’s northern parts and within the Polar circle. 

But some towns and villages provide unforgettable views of this mesmerising night sky show. Let’s take a look…

Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi, Finland 

I simply have to start with Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland and possibly the best place to see the Aurora zone. This is a bustling metropolis and is most notably known as the home of Santa Claus.

Aside from the Arktikum, a science centre and museum for the arctic – you can also see the Northern Light up to 150 times a year. With a mountainous landscape and still lakes, you can capture some truly picturesque photos of the Northern Lights with a mountainous landscape and still lakes.

If you want a more exciting way to see the dancing sky, go skiing at the Ounasvaara Ski Resort. They offer night skiing, which is the perfect opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis.

Top Tip: If you want to learn more, read about the best things to do in Rovaniemi.

Where to Stay in Rovaniemi: Apukka Resort

Julianna Barnaby Apukka Resort Rovaniemi

Take it from me – nothing beats staring at the sky from the comfort of a warm room. And you can do precisely that at the Apukka Resort in one of their Glass Igloo cabins. 

This is where I stayed during a recent trip and it made for a truly unforgettable experience, as the warm bed keeps you comfy while the sky puts on a show.

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Ivalo

If you want to visit a smaller town without missing the Northern Lights, then Ivalo is a fantastic option. The town is also the northernmost on this list, so you can expect a rustic yet beautiful experience.

The best area to explore is the Hammastunturi Wilderness Area, as there is little to no light pollution. Here, you might spot reindeer as they migrate through the pine forests, and it’ll be even more memorable if you see them under the Northern Lights.

Where to Stay in Ivalo: Aurora Village Ivalo

Aurora Village Ivalo

The Aurora Village Ivalo is another one of those accommodations where you can see the Northern Lights from the comfort of your bed. The Ravintola Loimu on-site provides delicious meals, and the walking tours serve as the perfect opportunity to explore.

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Kemi

On the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia is the small village of Kemi. One of the many memorable sights here is the Kemi Snowcastle – the sculpture appears to have risen from the ground, as saltwater ice and snow make up this entire building.

Another one of those famous attractions includes the iconic Icebreaker Sampo ship, the iconic vessel is shown to be breaking through the rigid ice of Bothnian Bay. 

Where to Stay in Kemi: Seaside Glass Villas

Seaside Glass Villas

You wouldn’t think seeing the Northern Lights in comfort could get much better. But the Seaside Glass Villas pairs the Aurora Borealis perfectly with seaside views. With the Seaview restaurant on-site and a sauna to relax in, you can really have an enjoyable time in Kemi.

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Kittilä

If you’re searching for a lovely resort town in Northern Finland, look no further than Kittilä, the town is popular amongst visitors due to its fantastic Levi Ski Resort.

The resort is no more than a 20-minute drive away from Kittilä and, as you can imagine, the views of the Northern Lights from here are spectacular. On average, you can see the Finland Aurora lights up to 111 times a year from this picturesque town.

Where to Stay in Kittilä: Lyra’s Hideaway 

Lyra's Hideaway

Lya’s Hideaway is the perfect spot to stay, with easy access to the Levi ski lifts and unrivalled mountainside views. And if the views aren’t enough, the private hot tub and sauna will keep you warm on cold nights.

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Saariselkä

Saariselkä is a ski resort region in Lapland that provides unrivalled views of the Northern Lights over Urho Kekkonen National Park. Saariselkä experiences the Aurora Borealis for a staggering average of 200 days per year, so you’re almost guaranteed to see them here.

The ski resort opens in winter around the end of November, so it’s best to visit from December onwards. 

It’s well worth the wait, though, as the ski resort offers nighttime skiing. This means you’ve got a fantastic opportunity to ski under the glowing night sky.

Where to Stay in Saariselkä: Star Arctic Hotel

Star Arctic Hotel

The Star Arctic Hotel offers the best of both worlds, with cosy accommodation and quick access to outdoor activities. There are large glass walls that allow you to take in the breathtaking Northern Lights and ski lifts are no more than a couple hundred feet away.

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Top Tips for Seeing Finland Northern Lights

Can I Increase My Chances of Seeing the Aurora Borealis in Finland?

The best way to give yourself a chance to see the Northern Lights is by visiting during the winter and early spring seasons. Also, keep an eye on the weather forecast, as this can often help you know if there will be cloud cover or not.

To see the Northern Lights at their vibrant best, it’s also a good idea to visit remote regions of Lapland.

Do the Northern Lights Happen Every Night?

Technically, the Northern Lights happen every night of the year. But this doesn’t mean you can see them every night. 

Sometimes bad weather prevents vision. Or the geomagnetic storms are not strong enough to produce the Northern Lights’ mesmerising dance.

Are There Northern Lights Tours I Can Join?

There are some great Northern Lights Lapland tours you can join, and most of them take place at Rovaniemi.

Here are some top picks you can join:

Best Places to See the Northern Lights in Finland: Map

Northern Lights Rovaniemi-2
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