The Aurora Zone Blog

Where is the Best Place to see the Northern Lights?

Ali Mclean

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Where is the Best Place to see the Northern Lights? – The simple answer is there is no best place!

It’s the question we are asked more than any other “where is the best place to see the Northern Lights?”

Many destinations promote themselves as being the very best place on the planet for viewing the Aurora whilst others (perhaps wisely) choose to remain closely guarded secrets. We thought we would delve a little further and see if we could come up with a definitive answer by asking three of Northern Scandinavia’s top Aurora Hunters.

Over the years, these guys have spent thousands upon thousands of hours under dark Arctic skies tracking down the Northern Lights to the delight of their delighted clients.

They live in The Aurora Zone, they work in The Aurora Zone and they have an intimate and almost uncanny understanding of this most remarkable of Mother Nature’s spectacular wonders.

Here is what they, the genuine professionals, have to say on the single biggest issue surrounding the Aurora Borealis:

“Where is the best place to see the Northern Lights?”

Markku Inkila – Professional Northern Lights Photographer and Guide

“I have seen the Northern Lights so many times that I can’t count them…….. but one place for me is the very best place to see and photograph the Northern Lights is River Paatsjoki at Nellim. The success percentage here is at least 90%.”

Markku spends much of his time chasing down the Northern Lights between Nellim and Muotka in Finnish Lapland. Such is his devotion to the area, he is currently building his new home just 25 miles away from Paatsjoki Bridge. And, in Lapland, 25 miles is considered to be little more than a hop, a skip and a jump.

Markku Inkila 2
Northern Lights in Nellim. Image: Markku Inkila

For the kind of view below, we’d be prepared to travel a lot further than 25 miles!!

Northern Lights Holidays based just nine kilometres from Paatsjoki Bridge:
Autumn Lights Over Lake Inari
The Aurora Quest
Aurora in the Wild
Northern Lights Over Lake Inari

Markku under northern lights
Northern Lights guide and photographer. Image Markku Inkila

Antti Pietikainen - Professional Northern Lights Photographer and Guide

You need to be far enough north, south of Sodankylä, Kittilä, Luosto you don't see northern lights regularly. If you get this far north then the chances are that the Northern lights will appear approximately every second night.

Locally it is just a matter of taste where you would like to go but always considering the light pollution of course!

Toasting the Aurora
Toasting the Northern Lights Image: Antti Pietikainen

I really like Muonio (Finnish Lapland) and its surroundings.

Here you get many different landscapes and vegetation zones: Old national park forest, lakes and rivers, treeless mountain tops which are also easy to reach with a car. 100km north you have tundra and the climate changes. If it's cloudy in Muonio it's likely that higher north there are clear skies".

The Aurora Zone
The Aurora Zone Image: Antti Pietikainen

The guy is simply a Northern Lights genius and takes his profession very seriously indeed. As you can see from the picture above, one of Antti’s traditions at the end of every Aurora season is to stand naked under the lights and toast the lights before the midnight sun obscures them during the summer months.

Northern Lights Holidays based near Muonio:
Northern Lights Quest
Northern Lights Photography

Chad Blakley - Professional Northern Lights Photographer and Guide

“The best place to see the northern lights is in Abisko National Park!

Due to its location in a rain shadow, Abisko National Park experiences more cloud-free nights and clear skies than virtually any other location in the aurora oval. Based on research by the IRF you have an 80% chance of seeing the lights if you are in Abisko for three or more nights. As far as we know we have the best success rate of any destination on Earth!”

Chad Blakely1
Chad from LightsOverLapland

Chad is American but his determination to capture the very best of the Aurora Borealis has brought him across the Atlantic and he now lives surrounded by Swedish mountains in Abisko. He is undoubtedly a man who is worth listening to when discussing the best places to see the Aurora.

 Northern Lights Holidays based in Abisko:

Abisko - Tailor-Made

Abisko - Autumn Auroras


Chad Blakely 12th Sept
Is the best place Abisko? Image: LightsOverLapland

Read 9216 times Last modified on Wednesday, 06 January 2021

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The Aurora Zone was born from a desire to share Mother Nature’s greatest wonder with our clients. We’ve explored the destinations, researched the science, and fallen in love with the Scandinavian way of life. It’s our mission to pass this knowledge on to you, providing you with the very best chance of experiencing the magic for yourself on your Northern Lights holiday.

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