Our team of professionals receive hundreds of emails per month from future guests asking us all sorts of questions about the northern lights, but one question leads the pack: When is the best time to travel to the Arctic to see the northern lights?
The answer to this question can be very difficult to answer for some tour operators but we are happy to say that Lights Over Lapland operates exclusively in Abisko National Park. Abisko is in a small valley with a unique microclimate that provides us with more clear skies than any other location in the Aurora Zone.
This means that you can visit us any time between October and March and have a very strong chance of success. As a matter of fact, no place on Earth provides travelers with a better chance to see the auroras than Abisko National Park, Sweden.
Now that you know that any time between October and March is a great time to see the lights in Abisko we think it is a good idea to discuss the three distinct phases of the aurora season:
Autumn – October and November:
The Autumn Aurora season is very special. During this timeframe, the winter has not yet tightened its grip on the National Park which means that it is the single warmest time of the year to chase the auroras. The warmth means that most of the rivers and lakes in the National Park will be open – this gives our guests the opportunity to see the auroras dancing in the sky above Abisko as well as reflecting in the calm waters which many travelers believe to be the best way to see the lights. If you want to visit us before most of the other tourists arrive and hope to see Abisko in its most pure form then the Autumn is the right time to travel. Finally, a visit during the Autumn means that you will be in Abisko during one of the most active portions of the aurora season due to the increase in Solar activity around the equinox.
We have seen some very impressive auroras in October and November – you can see a real-time video that was captured during one of our trips last October below:
Are you ready to see the lights this the Autumn in person? Take a look at our Autumn Aurora Adventures.
Polar Night – December and January:
Polar night is the Arctic in a nutshell. During this time of the year the Sun never raises above the horizon so there are nearly 20 hours of darkness every day which means that you can potentially see the auroras in the late afternoon if the conditions are right. The cold temperatures start to settle in and snow usually begins to accumulate in December which opens a treasure trove of winter activities to choose from. Our adventures during Polar Night allow our guests to enjoy all of the things that come to mind when you think of a traditional holiday in the Arctic such as Dogsledding, snowmobiling, sleigh rides and lots of pristine snow. This timeframe also includes the opportunity to enjoy your Christmas or New Year holiday in a winter wonderland.
For many of our guests the combination of traditional winter activities during the day and aurora hunting in the snow packed wilderness at night is a stereotypically perfect way to enjoy the northern lights. You can see a beautiful example of an aurora dancing in the sky during Polar Night below:
Winter/Spring – February and March:
Late winter is a classic time to come see the northern lights. The Sun returns to Abisko in early February, bathing the Arctic in its beautiful golden rays and all forms of life in the Arctic start to enjoy its warmth and energy. The entire region is still covered in a deep layer of snow and the combination of sunlight and deep powder truly is a sight to behold. The lakes and rivers are frozen over which gives you a chance to explore the ice like a true Arctic explorer and take in scenes that few people on Earth ever get to appreciate. All our winter activities like dogsledding, ice fishing and snowshoe hiking are still available and thanks to the increase in daylight there is a lot of extra time to explore the National Park during the day.
As we approach the end of the season we start to feel the benefit of watching the northern lights around the Spring Equinox which brings another increase in aurora activity. You can read more about this increase in activity around the Equinox here and watch another incredible real-time aurora video that was captured during one of our tours in late winter below: