Dreaming about Finland Northern Lights trip and wondering what is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Finland? You are in the right place.
Finland, a Nordic gem nestled in northern Europe, offers a remarkable blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and unique experiences. Chasing the Northern Lights in Finland is a bucket list experience for most of the travelers and I bet you are one of them.
This is why I have gathered everything you need to know to see the Northern Lights in Finland during your trip. Starting from practical tips, frequently asked questions, and of course, the best places and best time to see Northern Lights in Finland.
*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Quick Summary about Finland Northern Lights
Best place to see the Northern Lights in Finland: Lapland.
Best season for the Northern Lights in Finland: winter season.
Best months to see the Northern Lights in Finland: December and January.
Best time of the day to see the Northern Lights in Finland: between 9 pm and 2 am.
Best hotel to see the Northern Lights in Finland: Golden Crown – Levin Iglut.
Best tour for chasing Northern Lights in Finland: Northern Lights Photography Tour.
What are the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are colorful natural light displays in the Earth’s sky, typically seen in high-latitude regions like North America or Northern Scandinavia. In fact, Finland is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights.
They are caused by charged particles from the sun colliding with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, creating beautiful dancing lights in the night sky.
What is my number one tip for seeing the Aurora Borealis in 2023? You will need to head to a dark and pollution-free location during the winter months. There is no guarantee that you will see the Northern Lights, however, this travel guide will help you maximize your chances, so keep on reading.
Is Finland a good place to see the Northern Lights?
Absolutely! Finland, with its vast northern expanses and unique geographical location, is undeniably one of the best places to see the Northern Lights and witness the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis.
Finland’s strategic location in the auroral zone, particularly in Lapland, ensures that it is well-positioned to offer an optimal Northern Lights viewing experience.
This darkness is essential for witnessing the Northern Lights, as it provides the contrast needed for these ethereal colors to come alive in the night sky. The clarity of the night sky in Finland enhances the chances of a spectacular display.
One of the unique aspects of Northern Lights tourism in Finland is the availability of remarkable accommodations. Glass igloos and ice hotels, designed for comfortable and cozy stays, allow guests to enjoy uninterrupted views of the Northern Lights from the warmth of their rooms. It’s an experience unlike any other.
Apart from the main event of Northern Lights viewing, Finland offers a plethora of winter activities. Travelers can embark on husky sledding adventures, snowmobile excursions, or even try their hand at ice fishing.
We will dive deeper into how to experience the Northern Lights in Finland and how to plan your Finland Northern Lights trip.
Where can you see the Northern Lights in Finland?
Finland, with its northernmost regions situated within the Aurora Borealis belt, is a prime destination for seeing Northern Lights. Let’s explore the best locations for seeing the Northern Lights in Finland.
Lapland – The Northern Paradise
Finnish Lapland is often hailed as the Northern Lights capital of the country. Its proximity to the Arctic Circle ensures frequent and stunning displays of the Aurora activity.
In particular, towns like Rovaniemi, Saariselkä, and Inari in Lapland are some of the best places to see Northern Lights in Finland. Inari not only offers a fantastic Northern Lights show but it is home to Sámi culture.
If you want to escape the crowds, head to Luosto which is a real hidden gem in Finland to see the Northern Lights. It is a cozy and intimate place to experience this natural phenomenon.
The dark, polar nights of Lapland during winter create the perfect setting for witnessing the Northern Lights in all their glory.
The Kilpisjärvi Region
Located in northwestern Finland, near the borders of Sweden and Norway, Kilpisjärvi offers a remote and peaceful setting to see the Northern Lights.
The stunning landscapes of Kilpisjärvi, including the mighty Saana Fell and the pristine wilderness, provide a beautiful setting for the light show.
Aurora Village in Ivalo
The Aurora Village in Ivalo, located in Northern Lapland, is a great place for hunting Northern Lights. Here, you can stay in comfortable glass igloos, and witness the lights from the warmth and comfort of your accommodation.
Oulanka National Park
While Oulanka National Park is not as well-known for Northern Lights viewing as some northern regions like Lapland, it offers a good chance to witness this natural wonder.
The park’s pristine natural environment and relatively low light pollution create a favorable atmosphere for Northern Lights sightings.
What is the best time to see Northern Lights in Finland?
For travelers eager to experience this magical display in Finland, choosing the right time of year, month, and even the time of day is crucial. Let’s delve into the factors that determine the best time to visit Finland for Northern Lights.
Best time of the year to see Northern lights in Finland
The best time to see the Northern Lights in Finland is during the winter months, particularly from September to March. This period coincides with the polar nights, where parts of Finland experience prolonged darkness.
Dark Winter Nights: The Northern Lights are best observed when the sky is dark. In Finland, during the winter, the nights are long and the days are short, creating the ideal circumstances for the Aurora hunting.
Solar Activity: The intensity and frequency of the Northern Lights are closely linked to solar activity. The sun goes through an approximately 11-year solar cycle, known as the solar maximum and minimum.
The solar maximum, characterized by increased solar activity, often leads to more frequent and vivid Northern Lights displays. These peaks in solar activity make the Northern Lights more likely during the winter months when the skies are darkest.
Clear Night: While the winter months provide long nights, they can also bring cloudy and overcast weather, which obstructs Northern Lights viewing. To maximize your chances, choose the period between late September and early March when there’s a higher probability of clear skies in many parts of Finland.
Best months to see the Northern Lights in Finland
Within the winter window, certain months stand out as the best time to see the Northern Lights in Finland.
October is often considered the beginning of the Northern Lights season in Finland. Solar activity is usually on the rise, and the nights are sufficiently dark.
December and January, are typically the prime time and your best chance for Northern Lights viewing in Finland. The combination of long, dark nights and increased solar activity during the solar maximum offers excellent opportunities to witness this natural wonder.
Early April is the end of the Aurora season which means that you will need some extra luck to find the Northern Lights during this time of the year.
Best time of the day to see Northern Lights in Finland
The Northern Lights can be observed during the nighttime hours, so the best time of the day is, of course, after sunset. However, it’s not just about waiting for the entire night.
To increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights, it is advisable to stay out between 9 pm, and 2 am, as this is when lights tend to be most active.
Additional Tips For Seeing the Northern Lights in Finland
Where to stay to see the Northern Lights?
If you’re planning to witness this celestial spectacle in Finland, one of the best Northern Lights hotels is the glass igloo. These unique structures offer an opportunity to watch the Northern Lights in all their glory while staying in warmth and comfort.
Glass igloos have become iconic symbols of Northern Lights tourism in Finland, and for good reason. These specialized accommodations combine the rustic charm of traditional Lapland with cutting-edge design and technology.
The primary draw of staying in a glass igloo is the unobstructed view of the night sky. The entire roof of the igloo is made of glass, providing an expansive window to the heavens. This feature allows you to gaze at the stars and, more importantly, to watch the Northern Lights dance across the sky without stepping outside into the cold.
Best tours in Finland to see the Northern Lights
Joining a local guide can be a great advantage when hunting for the Northern Lights. These tours are led by Aurora experts and they know all the best tricks to maximize your chances of seeing the magical light show.
From Rovaniemi: Lapland Aurora Hunt with Barbeque
⭐️ Rating: 4.5 | ⌛️ Tour Length: 3 hours | 📆 Check rates and availability
If you’re seeking an unforgettable Northern Lights experience in the heart of Lapland, look no further. This tour is guided by experts who know the best locations for Northern Lights viewing in Lapland.
As you explore the winter wonderland, you’ll have the opportunity to savor a traditional Lapland barbecue. This hearty meal, prepared over an open fire, is a delightful taste of Finnish cuisine.
Your journey will take you into the Arctic wilderness, far from city lights, in search of the Northern Lights. The pristine surroundings and minimal light pollution create an ideal setting for witnessing the auroras.
Northern Lights Photography Tour
⭐️ Rating: 5 | ⌛️ Tour Length: 3-4 hours | 📆 Check rates and availability
If you are a photography enthusiast, you will love this tour. The guide is not only a local expert on Northern Lights, but also an experienced photographer specializing in Northern Light photography.
Your guide will take you to recommended viewpoints and provide valuable advice on camera settings, composition, and angles, making sure you capture extraordinary Northern Lights shots.
Your Northern Lights journey doesn’t end when the tour concludes. Professional photos from your trip are included, allowing you to cherish the memories and share your remarkable images with friends and family.
PRIVATE Party dinner in a Glass Igloo Under Northern Lights
⭐️ Rating: 5 | ⌛️ Tour Length: 3.5 hours | 📆 Check rates and availability
Maybe you are looking for a cozy and romantic experience? Then dinner in a glass igloo under the Northern Lights should be on the top of your bucket list.
Enjoy the authentic taste of Lapland with a meal cooked right on an open fire. It’s a culinary experience that allows you to try traditional Lapland cuisine and more.
The tour takes place in a unique glass igloo, providing you with the chance to connect with the natural world while being embraced by warmth and comfort. The glass walls offer an unobstructed view of the surrounding wilderness.
If luck is on your side with the weather, you may not only be treated to a starry night but also the dancing colors of the Northern Lights. Gazing into the night sky from your glass igloo is an unparalleled experience in Finland.
Remember we talked about the best time during the day to see Northern Lights? You should book the latest available option at 9 pm for the highest chances to see the Northern Lights.
How to take photos and capture Aurora Borealis?
Capturing the Aurora Borealis in photographs can be a rewarding experience. However, it requires the right equipment, techniques, and a bit of planning. Here’s a guide on how to take photos of the Northern Lights.
A DSLR or mirrorless camera with manual settings is ideal for capturing the Northern Lights. These cameras allow you to adjust exposure settings.
A fast, wide-angle lens with a low f-number (e.g., f/2.8 or lower) is crucial for capturing more of the night sky and allowing more light to reach the sensor.
To avoid camera shaking during long exposures, use a sturdy tripod.
Start with an ISO between 800 and 3200, and adjust as needed based on the auroral activity and your camera’s noise performance.
Use a wide aperture (e.g., f/2.8) to gather more light.
Experiment with different shutter speeds, usually between 5 to 30 seconds, depending on the auroral activity. Start with shorter exposures and lengthen them as needed.
More photography tips for the Northern Lights in Finland
- Pick a location with minimal light pollution and a clear view of the northern horizon. Remote areas away from city lights are best.
- Focus manually on a bright star or distant light source. Turn off autofocus to prevent focus shifting during the shoot.
- To minimize camera shake during the exposure, use a remote shutter release or set a timer.
- Cold temperatures can drain your camera’s battery quickly. Carry spare batteries and keep them warm by storing them in an inside pocket.
- Before the auroras become active, take a few test shots to fine-tune your settings and composition.
Remember that capturing the Northern Lights takes practice, and each situation can be different. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts don’t bring perfect results.
Frequently asked questions about Northern Lights in Finland
Are the Northern Lights visible from Helsinki?
Yes, you can see the Northern Lights in Helsinki, however, your chances are very small. Considering the city lights, pollution, and weather conditions, it can happen once or twice per year. So for the best experience, head further north.
Can I see the Northern Lights when visiting Southern Finland?
Seeing the Northern Lights in Southern Finland is less common compared to the northern regions, but it is still possible under the right conditions. If you are a tourist who is coming to Finland on vacation, I wouldn’t take the risk. You will have a better chance in the Northern Finland.
Do the Northern Lights happen every night in Finland?
While Finland offers excellent opportunities for Northern Lights viewing, there is no guarantee that you will see them every night. Patience, timing, and favorable conditions all play a role in the likelihood of witnessing this natural phenomenon.
How to track the Northern Lights in Finland?
Of course, you might be lucky and find the Northern Lights when visiting Northern Finland, but usually seeing the Northern Lights requires tracking and deeper understanding.
While there is a science behind the Northern Lights, you can use modern technology and follow the Aurora forecast to increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. For more, check out the Finnish Meteorological Institute and download the Aurora App.
Can I see the Northern Lights during the summer months?
Seeing the Northern Lights during the summer months is highly unlikely, if not impossible. The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are typically visible during the dark winter months when the nights are long and the skies are at their darkest.
What activities can I do while chasing Northern Lights in Finland?
Some popular activities to enjoy while on your Northern Lights chase in Finland: Husky Sledding, Snowmobiling, Ice Fishing, Sami Culture Experiences, Aurora Sauna Experiences, Sledging and Tobogganing, Aurora Snowshoeing and more.
Further reading for the best time to see Northern Lights in Finland
Going to Sweden next?
- 12 Best Hotels in Stockholm With a View That You Will Love
- 40 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Stockholm, Sweden
- Complete Itinerary: How to Spend 2 days in Stockholm
- 5 Best Cruises and Boat Tours in Stockholm, Sweden
- 17 Best Free Things to Do in Stockholm + Stockholm Budget Tips
- 130+ Best Sweden Quotes and Sweden Instagram Captions
- 13 Best Photo Spots in Stockholm For Stunning Stockholm Postcards
Catching the Northern Lights is a lifetime experience and one of the best things to do in Finland. I am sure that this Aurora Borealis guide will help you plan your trip and maximize your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Finland.
I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.