A Foolproof Guide to Seeing the Northern Lights

Nature's most spectacular light show is both unreliable and unpredictable, making it one of the most sought-after travel experiences out there. Follow our guide for the best chance of catching a sighting.

Under the stars in Finnish Lapland


Guests at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort can watch the Northern Lights from inside a glass igloo. The windows have been designed to prevent frosting over or steaming up, ensuring that you have a crystal-clear view. As winter descends and outside temperatures drop to a bone-chilling minus 40 degrees, choose to cosy up in a traditional snow igloo where the inside temperature is a cool minus three.

Snowmobiling in Canada


Far away from light pollution, hidden in Canada's northern wilderness is a serene mountain lodge only accessible by float plane. Take an exhilarating snowmobile journey across the ice ridge of the Great Slave Lake, where the pristine landscape lends itself to some of the brightest Aurora Borealis viewing around. Afterwards, head back to Blachford Lake Lodge for a dip in the outdoor hot tub, where you're likely to catch a second viewing.

At 35,000ft in the UK


Join a team of expert astronomers on an Aurora Flight departing from London and Manchester. Eliminating the chance of rain and cloud - two of the most common factors that can spoil a land-based sighting - you'll cruise at 35,000ft above the earth's weather systems. Chase the lights way up north near the Shetland Islands as your flight cabin is sunk into darkness, leaving only vivid greens and purples streaking across the sky.

On a city break in Reykjavik


With landscapes akin to Games of Thrones film sets, Iceland's terrain is gobsmacking as it is. Numerous companies offer group tours direct from the Reykjavik, but for small groups Gateway to Iceland's enthusiastic trip leaders are the best there are. Base yourself at the design-led Ion City Hotel and stay in their luxurious junior suite, which has a private sauna on the balcony overlooking the capital.

Go it alone in the Finnish wilderness: Apukka Resort

Scan the sky from your sauna on skis as, aside from the cosy-cabins and ice-carved bedrooms, this unique Lapland resort offers a clear-roofed wagon that can be driven to the remote Finnish wilderness to search for the lights. You'll go deep into the forest first thing in the morning, giving you complete privacy on your light hunt.

Set your Aurora Alarm in Luosto


Ignore the temptation to hit snooze as your "Aurora Alarm" beeps at the first sight of the lights. The nearby Northern Lights Research Centre, situated in the town of Sodanklya, alerts the Aurora Chalet of sightings, almost guaranteeing a glimpse. On cloudless nights, sleep in a panoramic glass igloo, which blends beautifully with the pale, Arctic landscape.

Go off grid in Åre


Pull on your snowshoes and plough through snow-laden firs as you set across Sweden's largest ski resort, where the lights season starts as early as August. Take a break from the hunt and join Wildspirit Bushcraft duo Claire and Richard, who have lived off-grid mountainside with their pack of huskies for five years.

Enjoy from bubbling Alaskan hot springs


Settle in for a soak in Chena Hot Spring Resort geothermal waters, hot tubs and natural-rock lake and gaze skywards. The rustic lodge allows for optimum Alaskan Aurora viewing due to its isolated location. Standout activities also include dogsledding, snowmobiling and their popular snow-coach tour where you'll be driven to a deserted hilltop yurt with a 360-degree view.