Seeing the Northern Lights in Finland – Best Time and Places

Traveling to see the Northern Lights in Finland is totally worth it. There are parts of Finland where you can not only observe the aurora borealis up to 200 times a year but also experience bright, intense displays.

I’ve photographed the Northern Lights in Finland many times, and the breathtaking landscapes and gorgeous aurora displays are completely unlike anywhere else.

Seeing the Northern Lights in Finland, northern lights finland

Seeing the Northern Lights in Finland – Best Time and Places

Of course, in order to see amazing views of the “Green Lady,” you have to know the best time and places in Finland to see the Northern Lights. That’s where this article comes in – by the time you’ve finished reading it, you should be able to plan a trip to Finland that will give you the best chance of seeing the aurora borealis in all its spectacular glory.

Ready to find out where to see the Northern Lights in Finland? Let’s get into it!

Best time to see the Northern Lights in Finland

The best Finland Northern Lights months are September to March. Within this time, the end of September and mid-March would be the best times when the solar activity increases. It is possible to see the Northern Lights in Finland on a dark night in August, but there are fewer hours of darkness at that time of year, which means you will have less of a chance of seeing an aurora display.

Northern Lights in Finland, can you see the northern lights from finland

Best time to see the Northern Lights in Finland – Olli Sorvari

Weather is also an important consideration for the best time of year for Northern Lights in Finland. From December to January, Finland is often quite snowy, which can mean clouds and therefore lower visibility for aurora displays. If you visit Finland at this time of year, be prepared to plan your aurora chasing around cloudy weather.

From February to March, skies tend to be much clearer, and there aren’t as many tourists as in December to January. If you can, plan your visit to Finland anytime from September to November or from February to March, the best time to see the Northern Lights in Finland.

In terms of the best time of day to see the aurora in Finland, it tends to be from 10 PM to 2 AM, when the sky is darker and the Lights are most active.

What month is best to see Northern Lights in Finland?

In summary, these are the best months to see the Northern Lights in Finland:

  • September, October, and November – The weather in September and October tends to be warmer than throughout the winter, so if you’ll be doing your aurora viewing outside, this is the best time of year for it. Also, solar activity increases around the autumn equinox, which will improve your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.
  • December and January – The nights are longer and very dark, so as long as the sky isn’t cloudy, you should get great views of the Northern Lights. Because it’s the holiday season, Finnish Lapland (the best place in Finland to see the Northern Lights and also Santa’s supposed residence) can get a lot of visitors around this time. One thing’s for sure – the snow on the ground will add a festive atmosphere to both your trip and your Finland aurora photos.
  • February and March – Fewer crowds and clearer skies mean you’ll have a great chance to see the Northern Lights in a peaceful setting. Also, around the spring equinox in March, solar activity levels increase, creating spectacular aurora displays.

Best places in Finland to see the Northern Lights

Now that you know when to visit Finland to see the Northern Lights, you’ll of course be wondering where to see Northern Lights in Finland. Luckily, the answer is easy: Finnish Lapland is the best place in Finland to see the aurora borealis.

This region is in the northern part of Finland and is located within the so-called “aurora zone.” Within the zone, there is a) a better chance to see a Northern Lights display and b) a better chance that the display will be more intense, both of which are ideal for aurora chasers.

To sum it up, these are the best places in Finland to see the Northern Lights:

  1. Rovaniemi – Aurora displays can be seen here up to 150 times per year.
  2. Kemi – The best place to watch the aurora dance from the comfort of a glass villa.
  3. Saariselkä – One of the most likely places to see the Northern Lights, since the aurora borealis can be seen here up to 200 times per year.
  4. Ivalo – Small village outside Saariselkä that’s a great, quiet location to see the Northern Lights.
  5. Kakslauttanen – A resort with very little light pollution that is only 30 minutes from Ivalo’s airport, so it’s rather convenient to get to.
  6. Ylläs – The streetlamps in this village are shut off at 10 PM so everyone can see the aurora borealis without any light pollution.
  7. Levi – The biggest ski resort in Finland. Ideal if you want to see the Northern Lights while skiing or from the top of a mountain.

1. Rovaniemi

If you want to have one of the best chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Finland, head to Rovaniemi; there are aurora displays here up to 150 times per year! The best view is usually from outside the city limits because there can be light pollution from the city’s lights, but you can also sometimes see the Northern Lights from within the city.

Rovaniemi, the northern lights finland

1. Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi is also the official hometown of Santa Claus in Finnish Lapland, so it’s an especially festive place to visit around Christmastime. Stay at Santa’s Igloos Arctic Circle, one of the best Northern Lights hotels in Finland, if you want the full Christmassy experience, or book a treehouse suite at the Arctic Treehouse Hotel, where you’ll be able to watch aurora displays from your bedroom.

You can even enjoy a Northern Lights snowmobile tour with campfire snacks, what is very recommended if you have never seeing the Aurora before.

2. Kemi

Kemi is one of the most intriguing locations to see the Northern Lights in Finland. It’s home to the biggest snow fort in the world, Snow Castle, which houses a hotel, restaurant, and chapel. The structure is rebuilt every winter, so you’ll always see something different.

Kemi, finland northern light

2. Kemi

Kemi’s remote location on the shores of Bothnian Bay means you’ll experience quiet and low light pollution. Kemi’s Seaside Glass Villas, which is one of the best Northern Lights hotels in Finland, offer sea views from the glass walls of your bedroom, so if you’re lucky enough to see an aurora display, it will shimmer over a beautiful expanse of ocean.

3. Saariselkä

You’re practically guaranteed to see the Northern Lights in Saariselkä, where aurora displays are visible up to 200 times per year. It’s highly likely that you’ll see a Finland aurora borealis on any clear night during the winter.

Saariselkä is located near Urho Kekkonen National Park, one of Finland’s largest protected areas, where you can explore lovely, forested landscapes. Saariselkä itself is home to a series of mountains, so there’s no shortage of beautiful natural scenery.

Saariselkä, auroras boreales en Finlandia

3. Saariselkä

A great place to stay in Saariselkä is Northern Lights Village, which has cabins with glass roofs, so you can enjoy aurora displays from the comfort of your room, and laser-heated windows, so you can easily clear off any snow that’s blocking your view.

For tours, I recommend this one, which will take you to the most picturesque spots to photograph the Northern Lights.

4. Ivalo

Ivalo is a small village outside Saariselkä and the northernmost location on our list of the best places in Finland to see the Northern Lights. As you probably know, the farther north you go, the better the chance of seeing the Northern Lights, so Ivalo is a fantastic location to take in the Northern Lights over Finland.

Ivalo, aurora borealis in finland

4. Ivalo

Bunk in a cozy cabin at the Aurora Village and glimpse Finland’s Northern Lights through a glass roof.

5. Kakslauttanen

One of the most popular places in Finland to see Northern Lights is Kakslauttanen. This resort is located about 30 minutes from Ivalo Airport and 10 minutes from Saariselkä, so it’s easier to get to and less remote than many other Finnish Northern Lights locations.

Kakslauttanen, best time to see the northern lights in finland

5. Kakslauttanen

That being said, there is very little light pollution around Kakslauttanen, so there’s still a good chance of seeing an aurora display from there.

The Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is a very famous Finnish Northern Lights hotel and is considered one of the top 10 Northern Lights hotels in the world. There are plenty of options for accommodation within the resort (glass igloos, wooden chalets, snow igloos, a traditional Finnish house), so your accommodation’s level of comfort and style is entirely up to you.

6. Ylläs

If you want to see the aurora borealis in Finland, you won’t find any place as accommodating as Ylläs is. In this village, the streetlights are shut off at 10 PM so that everyone can more easily see the Northern Lights.

Ylläs is near Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, which has the world’s cleanest air. The park has plenty of fells (mountain-like structures) and forests, which provide the perfect foreground for Northern Lights Finland pictures.

Ylläs, best times to see northern lights in finland

6. Ylläs

I highly recommend staying at Lodge 67° N in the Ylläs area. It’s a cozy hotel that’s owned by a couple and has several saunas that are ideal for relaxing after a long night of aurora hunting.

If you would like to join a tour to increase our chances of dancing with “Lady Aurora”, book this wonderful tour.

7. Levi

Levi is home to the biggest ski resort in Finland as well as plenty of bustling activity. If you want to keep busy outside of aurora chasing, this is the place for you: you can go skiing, snowboarding, bar hopping, horseback riding, ice fishing, and more.

Of course, since Levi is in the “aurora zone,” it is also a great place to see the Northern Lights. You may have to venture a bit out of town to get the best view, but it will absolutely be worth it to see the Northern Lights in Finland.

Levi, can you see the northern lights in finland

7. Levi

If you want to sleep under the Northern Lights while you’re in Finland, look no further than Levi Igloos. These glass igloos have outdoor jacuzzies and private terraces, so you can do your Finland aurora chasing in comfort and style.

For tours, I recommend this Northern Lights Hunting Photo Tour; you will live an experience you will never forget.

Best Finland aurora borealis tours

There is so much to see and do in Finland, but so many visitors visit specifically to see the Northern Lights, particularly in the wintertime. Thankfully, that it’s not difficult since there are many Finland aurora borealis tours.

You can’t go wrong with any of the one-night tours I’ve listed above, but if you prefer a Finland Northern Lights tour package, these are my favorite ones:

Finally, if you really want to get the best possible Northern Lights Finland photos, check out our guide to photographing the Northern Lights.

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COFOUNDER & PHOTO TOUR LEADER

Dan is a professional nature and landscape photographer, photography educator, and co-founder of Capture the Atlas. His base camp is in Philadelphia, USA, but he spends long periods of time exploring and photographing new locations around the world.

Apart from shooting the Milky Way, the Northern Lights, and any landscape that can stir powerful emotions, he enjoys leading photo tours to some of the most remote places on Earth.

You can find more about Dan here.

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