When arranging a trip to see the Northern Lights, Stockholm may not be the first place that comes to mind. The Northern Lights are often associated with far-off destinations rather than big cities like Stockholm. But while the capital of Sweden usually serves as a starting point for those seeking the Aurora Borealis in Northern Sweden, it can also surprise you with occasional sightings of the Northern Lights in Stockholm itself or around it.
Why is it rare to see the Northern Lights in Stockholm?
Seeing the Northern Lights in Stockholm is unusual, and it’s easy to understand why. On average, the Northern Lights appear in Stockholm only a few nights a year. Unfortunately, this magical spectacle doesn’t grace the city’s skies more often, and there are three simple reasons why this is the case:
- Geographic Location: Stockholm is relatively far south compared to other regions where the Northern Lights more commonly appear. Its geographical position means that the aurora borealis is less likely to show up in the city.
- Light Pollution: Stockholm is a busy city with plenty of artificial lights, which create light pollution. The bright cityscape makes it hard to see the faint Northern Lights clearly, and their beauty is somewhat diminished.
- Atmospheric Conditions: Optimal conditions such as clear skies are necessary to see the Northern Lights. The weather in Stockholm often has cloudy skies and rain. These atmospheric conditions further decrease the opportunities to see this natural phenomenon.
What is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Stockholm?
Despite all that, you should not be disappointed. Even though it is rare to see the Northern Lights in Stockholm, they will still appear a few times a year. To increase your chances it’s best to plan your visit to Stockholm between January and early March. That’s when the nights are longer, giving more time for the Northern Lights to appear. The colder and clearer weather during this period also makes it easier to see the beautiful auroras in the sky.
The 5 Best Places to See the Northern Lights in Stockholm
For the best chance to see the Northern Lights in Stockholm, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Here are the top spots in and around the capital of Sweden that offer a clear view of this mesmerizing natural phenomenon:
Located by the waterfront in Stockholm, Skeppsbron offers an unobstructed view of the night sky, making it a great spot to catch the Northern Lights. The open space and proximity to the water create a reflective surface that adds to the experience. Being very close to the city center, Skeppsbron also offers easy access for those who don’t want to make a long distance to chase the Northern Lights. However, the district is not free from light pollution, so don’t expect to see much more than some glimpses.
How to get there
Walk towards the waterfront area in the city center, and you will reach Skeppsbron, a scenic spot by the harbor.
Monteliusvägen is a scenic walking path situated in the Södermalm district of Stockholm. It provides panoramic views of the city, making it an ideal location to detect the Northern Lights in the sky of Stockholm. On the other hand, it’s not the best location to spot them if the sky is not very dark and clear. The undistracted view of the city from Monteliusvägen goes hand in hand with light pollution, which makes the lights fade fast.
How to get there
Take the subway to Mariatorget station, walk westward for about 5 minutes, and you will reach Monteliusvägen viewpoint.
Skinnarviksberget is a hill that provides a high and elevated platform for seeing the Northern Lights in Stockholm. From this vantage point, you can enjoy sweeping views of the city and potentially catch the display of the auroras. Its height is 53 meters and is the highest natural point in Stockholm. This hill is also a popular picnic spot and a nice place to relax and watch the sunset. It can get pretty chilly during winter, but spotting the Northern Lights there will definitely reward you.
How to get there
Take the subway to “Mariatorget” station and walk southwest along Hornsgatan until you reach the viewpoint. It’s a convenient and straightforward journey from central Stockholm.
The Stockholm Archipelago is a cluster of islands located near Stockholm. By taking a boat tour or visiting one of the islands, you can escape the city lights and find yourself in a tranquil setting. With minimal light pollution, these islands offer clearer views of the Northern Lights. Some of the best islands in the Stockholm Archipelago to see the Northern Lights are Grinda Island, Vaxholm Island, Utö Island, and Möja Island. But keep in mind that if the Northern Lights don’t appear, there is not much to do there during winter.
How to get there
Head to either Strömkajen or Nybrokajen, board a ferry to the Stockholm Archipelago and explore the islands to find a suitable spot for Northern Lights viewing.
TYRESTA NATIONAL PARK
Tyresta National Park is the best place to see the Northern Lights near Stockholm. This beautiful park is situated just outside Stockholm and is a pristine natural area. It has vast forests and dark skies that create optimal conditions for viewing the Northern Lights during winter. Being in this peaceful location allows you to fully absorb the captivating beauty of the auroras. Your best chance is to camp in the park for a few days and hope for a clear sky. Even if the Northern Lights don’t appear, Tyresta National Park is worth a visit.
How to get there
Take bus number 807 or 809 from central Stockholm, get off at Tyresta By (entrance to the park), and follow the trails to find a secluded spot for Northern Lights viewing.
Can you see the Northern Lights from Stockholm city center?
It’s very unlikely to see the Northern Lights from Stockholm’s city center. The city’s location and light pollution make it challenging. The Northern Lights may occasionally appear, but it’s limited to only 2-3 times a year. For a higher likelihood of witnessing this natural phenomenon, it’s better to get outside the city to areas with less light pollution. However, on rare occasions with optimal conditions and intense solar activity, the Northern Lights may surprise even urban observers in Stockholm.
In conclusion, while seeing the Northern Lights in Stockholm is not guaranteed, it is still possible with a little luck and being in the right place at the right time. So, if the auroras decide to grace central Sweden, remember our suggestions and head to one of the recommended spots. Keep an eye on the night sky, and may you be fortunate enough to catch the colorful dance of the Northern Lights. Spotting the Northern Lights in the capital of Sweden is an experience you won’t soon forget.