Optimal viewing for finlande northernlights: locations and tips

Discovering the Spectacle of Finland’s Northern Lights

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are one of nature’s most enchanting phenomena, and Finland offers some of the world’s most accessible viewing opportunities. Each year, this Nordic nation draws thousands of sky-watchers hoping to catch a glimpse of the celestial dance. In this article, we’ll explore the prime locations and offer tips to maximize your chances of experiencing the wonder of Finland’s Northern Lights.

Understanding the Aurora Borealis

The Aurora Borealis is a natural light display caused by the collision of solar wind and magnetospheric charged particles with the high altitude atmosphere. These collisions result in beautiful, flowing colors, typically green, pink, and violet, that illuminate the night sky. The phenomenon occurs predominantly in high-latitude regions around the Arctic and Antarctic.

When to Witness the Northern Lights in Finland

Timing is crucial when planning to view the Northern Lights. In Finland, the Aurora season spans from late September to March, with the peak incidence often between December and February. During these months, the nights are longest, providing a more extended window to view the dazzling display.

Best Locations in Finland for Northern Lights Viewing

Finland’s geographic position within the “Aurora Zone” makes it a hotspot for Northern Lights activity. Here are some top locations for potential sightings:

  • Rovaniemi: Known as the gateway to the Arctic, Rovaniemi boasts excellent viewing conditions. It’s also home to the Santa Claus Village for a magical combined experience.
  • Kakslauttanen: An idyllic spot famous for its glass igloos, providing a comfortable way to observe the Northern Lights from the warmth of your bed.
  • Ivalo and Inari: These less populated areas offer darker skies and are situated near the beautiful Lake Inari, adding to the overall visual spectacle.
  • Luosto: This small resort town contributes minimal light pollution, enhancing the clarity of Aurora displays.
  • Kilpisjärvi: Located in the arm of Lapland, it boasts some of Finland’s most consistent Aurora sightings.

Maximizing Your Northern Lights Experience

To optimize your chances of witnessing the Northern Lights, consider the following tips:

  • Check the Weather: Clear skies are essential for Aurora viewing. Monitor the weather forecasts and Aurora activity alerts to choose the best nights for observation.
  • Avoid Light Pollution: Seek out locations away from city lights to enhance visibility. Even small sources of light can diminish the intensity of the Auroras.
  • Be Patient: Aurora watching can require patience. Be prepared to wait and keep an eye on the sky — the lights can appear anytime during the night.
  • Dress Appropriately: Temperatures in Finnish Lapland can be extremely cold. Dress in layers, and don’t forget winter accessories such as hats, gloves, and thermal socks.
  • Consider a Guide: Local guides can significantly enhance your viewing experience by taking you to the best spots and providing valuable information about the phenomenon.
  • Use a Tripod: If you’re planning to photograph the Aurora, a tripod is essential to stabilize your camera for long exposures.
  • Stay Multiple Nights: Increase your chances of a sighting by planning to stay in a Northern Lights hotspot for several nights.

Photographing the Northern Lights

Many visitors aim to capture the magic of the Northern Lights with their cameras. To do so effectively:

  • Use a manual mode to adjust exposure settings.
  • Set your aperture wide to allow as much light in as possible.
  • Increase the ISO but be wary of too much grain.
  • Long exposures are necessary, so a remote shutter release can be very helpful.
  • Research the best camera settings beforehand, as the Auroras can appear suddenly and fade quickly.

Planning Your Finnish Aurora Adventure

Organizing your trip in advance is paramount to a successful Northern Lights experience. Booking accommodations early is suggested, particularly in popular destinations like Kakslauttanen and Rovaniemi. Consider renting a car for flexibility in chasing the best Aurora viewing conditions. Finally, remember that the Northern Lights are a natural occurrence and sightings can never be guaranteed — but with proper planning, your chances are greatly improved.

Experiencing Finland Beyond the Northern Lights

While the Northern Lights are a highlight of any Finnish winter trip, the country offers a wealth of other activities. From snowmobiling and dog-sledding to ice fishing and skiing, there’s plenty to explore. Embrace the Finnish concept of ‘sisu’, finding joy and endurance in the face of the brisk Arctic environment, and you’ll take home not just memories of the Auroras, but of an entire cultural experience.

Final Thoughts on Chasing Auroras

As we’ve explored the optimal places and times for viewing the Northern Lights in Finland, it’s clear that successful sightings involve a mix of strategic planning and a touch of luck. Keep a spirit of adventure, stay warm and comfy, and let nature’s most captivating light show come to you under the vast Finnish skies.