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The magical feeling of witnessing the Northern Lights is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that many seek to have in their trip to Finland. However, this natural phenomenon can be elusive sometimes. Here we give you the best tips not to miss the beautiful Aurora Borealis.
Although many people pictures the Northern Lights always to happen on the cold and snowy winter season, actually the best seasons to witness the Aurora Borealis are autumn and spring, for two main reasons:
On the one hand, the equinox is the period of the year when the earth’s orientation towards the sun maximises the probability of solar flares interacting with the planet’s magnetic field, which is the natural phenomenon that generates the Auroras.
On the other hand, winter skies are more likely to be covered with clouds, which will impede you to see the Northern Lights even if they are indeed happening.
Here you can find some tips to enjoy your Northern Lights hunt like a pro.
Head up North
It might seem like something obvious but the chances to see Northern Lights are greater in Lapland. In the northernmost part of the country the Auroras shine almost every other clear night between September and March, while in southern Finland the chances to seen them are limited to about 10-20 nights a year.
Look for a clear sky forecast
Planning a trip based on the weather can be a tricky endeavour. However, as we mentioned before you will need to wait for a clear and starry night to have good chances of seeing the northern lights. If the forecast for the time you are in Finland is cloudy, it might be not worth your time to go out and try to find Auroras.
Go out, go long, and go ready.
Auroras might just appear unexpectedly and disappear just as suddenly at any time between sunset to right before dawn. That is why patience is a great virtue for Northern Light hunters.
Furthermore, bright lights and buildings can disrupt the sightseeing experience. It is advisable to get away from the town or city and go a bit further into the forest. Hilltops and lakeshores can be good makeshift viewpoints.
It tends to be very cold on clear winter nights when the lights are more visible. On top of that, being many hours in the wilderness exposes the body to sub-zero temperatures. Make sure to dress up properly, with several layers of insulating clothing, and bring some warm beverages with you.
A great alternative, of course, is to book a profesional Aurora Safari tour. The professional guides will make sure to choose the best spot to see the Northern Lights and to provide you with appropriate clothing. On top of that, you will get to enjoy a great side activity such as snowmobile driving or snowshoe hiking!
A more relaxed (and pricy) option is to book one purpose-built glass igloo or see-though cottage where you can watch the lights from the comfort of your warm bed.
Sign up for Aurora alert services
Northern Lights hunting has also adapted to the smartphone era. Nowaday, several apps and websites track solar flares and provide forecasts of likelihood, intensity and location of Auroras, both Borealis and Australis.
One of them is the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s informative Auroras Now! website, where you can sign up to receive e-mail alerts sent whenever conditions make Northern Lights likely to be seen in Finland.