Let’s be clear from the start: seeing the Northern Lights in Scandinavia during summer can be challenging. To be completely honest, the chances are minimal. Unless you happen to visit in the latter half of August, and even then, luck plays a significant role. Even in optimal conditions, there’s no guarantee that you’ll achieve anything beyond a brief sighting.
However, if you’re feeling optimistic and believe that fortune is on your side, then stick around! We made a list of the ten most promising places in Scandinavia where the Aurora Borealis might decide to show up this summer.
Why is it hard to see the Northern Lights during the summer?
First, let’s see why your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Scandinavia during the summer are slim. The truth is that the Northern Lights are always present, but there’s a catch. The main reason you can’t see them during the summer is due to something called the “Midnight Sun.”
During the summer months in Scandinavia, the sun stays up for a long time, keeping the sky bright throughout the night. When the sky remains so bright, it becomes very challenging to see the glow of the Northern Lights.
So, although the Northern Lights are there, your best bet is to wait until late August. That’s when the sun takes a break, and the nights become darker, increasing your chances of spotting the Northern Lights during summer.
The 10 best places to see the Northern Lights in Scandinavia during summer
Here is a list of the ten places you might get lucky, and experience the Northern Lights, even in the summer months.
Tromsø, known as the “Gateway to the Arctic,” offers a chance to see the Northern Lights during the summer. Despite the midnight sun, there are still good opportunities to catch views of the auroras. The chances are moderate, as the long daylight hours can make it harder to spot the lights. However, on clear nights, you might catch a glimpse.
Abisko National Park, Sweden
Situated in the Swedish Lapland, Abisko National Park is renowned for its clear skies and favorable conditions for observing the Northern Lights. While the summer months bring continuous daylight, it doesn’t diminish the possibility of spotting the auroras. In fact, the park’s unique microclimate enhances the chances of spotting the Northern Lights during the summer.
Rovaniemi, the capital of the Finnish Lapland, offers a fantastic chance to spot the Northern Lights during the summer. Although the midnight sun hampers the visibility, there are still nights when the auroras make their appearance. The best time to see them is around the autumn equinox when the darkness returns, increasing the probability of experiencing the colorful lights.
Lofoten Islands, Norway
The Lofoten Islands in Norway provide a remarkable setting to see the Northern Lights during the summer. Despite the continuous daylight, the islands’ unique geographical location and minimal light pollution make them ideal for spotting the auroras during August. While the chances are relatively low, clear nights away from urban areas offer better opportunities.
Located in Swedish Lapland, Kiruna is another excellent destination to experience the Northern Lights during the summer. Although the phenomenon is less frequent during this time, the occasional clear nights and the city’s proximity to prime aurora-viewing locations increase the chances of encountering the lights. Patience and luck are key, but the reward is worth it.
This small town in Greenland showcases the striking beauty of the Northern Lights during the summer. Despite the extended daylight hours, the occasional nights of darkness and the city’s remote location provide opportunities to witness the auroras. While the chances are relatively low, this breathtaking Arctic environment offers a unique Northern Lights experience every time of the year.
Svalbard, with its location in the high Arctic, provides clear and exceptional views of the Northern Lights. Even during the summer months of continuous daylight, it’s possible to spot the auroras on clear nights. While the chances are lower compared to winter, the pristine landscapes and untouched wilderness of Svalbard make it an exceptional destination for aurora hunters.
Levi, a popular winter resort in Finnish Lapland, offers opportunities to see the Northern Lights even during the summer. The chances are low due to the midnight sun, but occasional nights with clearer skies increase the possibility of seeing the lights. Exploring the wilderness surrounding Levi can enhance your chances of experiencing this natural phenomenon.
Tromvik, a small village located near Tromsø in Norway, is an ideal place to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights during the summer. Although the extended daylight reduces the likelihood, Tromvik’s scenic landscapes and dark nights at the end of August provide favorable conditions for observing the Aurora Borealis in Norway.
Alta, located in northern Norway, is known for its prime Northern Lights viewing opportunities throughout the year. Although the chances are lower during the summer, Alta’s high latitude and minimal light pollution still offer possibilities to see the lights. Patience, favorable weather conditions, and a touch of luck can reward you with a display of the Northern Lights, especially at the end of August.
Some interesting facts about the Northern Lights in Scandinavia during the summer
- Midnight Sun vs. Northern Lights: In summer, the sun stays up all day and night in Scandinavia. It’s hard to see the Northern Lights because of the constant daylight, but sometimes you can still spot them.
- Aurora Occurrence: The Northern Lights usually happen in winter, but they can still occur during the summer. However, the frequency and intensity of auroras tend to decrease due to the extended daylight and atmospheric conditions.
- Atmospheric Science: The Northern Lights are created from charged particles from the sun colliding with the Earth’s magnetic field. During the summer, the polar regions receive more solar energy, which can sometimes increase the occurrence and visibility of the auroras.
- Limited Darkness: The presence of the midnight sun means that true darkness is unusual during the summer months in Scandinavia. However, the skies can be darker early in the morning, giving you a better chance to see the Northern Lights.
- Unpredictability: It’s hard to predict when the Northern Lights will appear, even in summer. They can show up unexpectedly on clear and dark nights. Being flexible and checking the weather can increase your chances of seeing them.
- Unique Colors: The Northern Lights in summer can have different colors compared to winter. You might see bright green, yellow, or even pink lights in the night sky during the summer displays.
The old saying holds true: good things come to those who dare. This same rule applies to those seeking the Northern Lights in Scandinavia during summer. The odds may not be in your favor, but if you visit the places on our list and keep your head up, you never know what might unfold before your eyes. The beauty of the Northern Lights lies in their unpredictability, and with patience, persistence, and a bit of luck, you might witness nature’s impressive light show in all its summer glory.