Seeing the northern lights in person is a major goal for many travelers. The show put on by Mother Nature (or, more accurately, by the sun experiencing a coronal mass ejection and sending charged particles hurtling toward Earth that appear as gorgeous green, pink, and purple lights) is truly a sight to behold. If you’re ready to chase the northern lights, it’s time to plan a trip to Finland.
Finland has become a major destination for northern lights seekers because the aurora borealis is visible there some 200 nights a year, and there are plentiful hotels and resorts ready to host you with accommodations designed so you can see the lights from your bed. Here’s everything you need to plan an epic northern lights trip to Finland, including the best glass igloos, snow huts, and luxe villas to book.
Where to See the Northern Lights in Finland
The key to a good northern lights viewing experience is to get as far away from city lights as possible. The darker the area, the brighter the lights will appear. That’s why it’s a good idea to head to northern Finnish destinations at or above the Arctic Circle, like Lapland. As Visit Finland notes, you can see the lights in the southern portion of the country, but they only shine here about 10-20 nights per year.
When to See the Northern Lights in Finland
Give yourself the best chance at seeing the lights by booking a visit between late August and early April. Visit Finland says this is when the skies are darkest and the nights are likely to be clear enough to view the lights. During this time, the northern lights are usually present at least every other night. That means, even if you plan for just a long winter weekend, there’s a solid chance you may get to see the northern lights for yourself. You can even keep an eye on northern lights activities via the Finnish Meteorological Association’s space weather website.
What to Pack
Prepare for chilly weather when you go northern lights hunting in Finland. For example, in Kiruna, Finland’s northernmost city, the average winter temperature barely cracks 25°F, according to WeatherSpark. January is the coldest month, with an average low of 2°F and a high of 17°F.
That said, you’ll want to pack more than a few extra layers, especially if you expect to head out into the wilderness to view the lights. Visit Finland notes that the lights can be fickle, appearing or disappearing at any time throughout the night (usually between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.), meaning would-be viewers should expect to stay out for several hours. So yes, pack the extra socks. And gloves. And do not — we repeat, do not — forget to pack your camera and tripod, as you’ll undoubtedly want to document this unforgettable experience.
The Best Glass Igloos and Hotels for Northern Lights Viewing in Finland
Arctic Treehouse Hotel
Perhaps the most famous igloo accommodation in Finland is the Arctic Treehouse Hotel, located in Rovaniemi. With just 37 rooms, it’s a place where guests can expect ultra-personalized service. Each room comes with all-glass walls and calming neutral-toned interiors which place all the focus on the view outside. All you need to do is cozy up in bed and wait for the show to begin.
Seeking some luxury on your northern lights getaway? Book a stay at Octola. The high-end accommodation has just 12 rooms and two chalets spread across nearly 1,000 acres of private land that is home to wild reindeer and plenty of dark places to see the lights at night. Want to bring some friends along? Whole resort buyouts are available.
Kemi Seaside Glass Villas
For a minimalist stay, book a few nights at Kemi Seaside Glass Villas. Located near SnowCastle, the all-glass villas (which include a glass roof) make it feel as though there’s nothing between you and the natural landscape all around.
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort East Village
The Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort East Village is another rather popular location for northern lights seekers and Instagrammers. The resort boasts more than 200,000 Instagram followers who flock to the page to see the gorgeous images of both the northern lights and the resort itself. Made up of glass igloos, the resort allows every guest to view the lights from the comfort of their own little hub. The resort also has log cabins available for those looking for added privacy.
For a unique Finnish experience, book a stay at Lucky Ranch. The low-key accommodation has traditional rooms available, but you’re not here for traditional. Instead, book one of its snow huts. Yes, they are made entirely out of snow, so you can’t get the same viewing experience from bed, but you may be willing to trade that for bragging rights. And, Lucky Ranch happens to be in a prime northern lights location above the Arctic Circle, so you can always just step outside the hut, look up, and see the lights.