Best time for Northern Lights in Finland
Finland is well known as a 'Northern Lights' travel destination. Above the Arctic Circle, small villages and resorts in the wilderness over unique chances to see the lights between mid-September to early April.
Experiencing the Northern Lights dancing above you in Finland needs planning and luck – as locals, we can help you see the aurora lights as well as have a fabulous holiday in our region at the same time.
Ideal conditions to see the Northern Lights in Finland is when the sky is clear and dark and the temperature cold and dry. Between mid-September until early April, these conditions can occur in Finland, in the valleys away from the coast. You need to be within the Northern Lights band above the Arctic Circle and a sun storm must occur at the same time. It is a bit of magic and luck to get the combination right, but this makes it even more special to see!
For anyone interested in seeing the Northern Lights in Finland, the rapid increase in glass igloos being built indicates how popular it has become to see the lights here. The critical ingredient for optimal Northern Lights viewing is that you need a clear night with no light pollution. Larger Northern Finland cities such as Rovaniemi can offer good viewing but on most nights, you will need to head out of town each evening to avoid the light pollution. Remember, you can’t take the lights for granted – it is, after all, a natural phenomenon, just like the weather and it requires a collision between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the atmosphere of the earth for the lights to occur.
Many of the glass igloo resorts in Finland are on the outskirts of the villages and therefore offer a good level of darkness. You just need to make sure you check the distances between igloos - they can throw out a lot of light too. Read here for more about staying in glass igloos in Finland.
During September, October, and November, you have the chance to see the Northern Lights in Finland when visiting above the Arctic Circle. You will be able to enjoy dining around the campfires by the lake with dusk unfolding. You can also cruise out into the middle of lakes to watch the Northern Lights. As you are mostly inland, you will miss the autumn storms that often hit the coastal regions. As you approach November, the days are getting a lot shorter with only a few hours of daylight. To make the most of the autumn experience, we suggest a tour such as Arctic Europe Aurora Highlights. Without snow on the ground, you can enjoy this quieter, milder season for hiking, berry picking & exploring by day and in the evening, wait patiently for the streaks of Northern Lights against the pale blue, not quite dark, Arctic sky around campfires or if the conditions are right, be dazzled by them as you sleep in an Aurora Glass Igloo.
During March and April, you can still witness the Northern Lights in Finland. Unfortunately, May is getting too late in the season as the daylight hours quickly become longer and therefore it is harder to see the Northern Lights. We recommend adding some skiing and an extra daily adventure as you have a lot more daylight compared to the winter season. Availability will be better for the glass igloos, and it will be easier to book.
Our most popular tours to see the Northern Lights during spring include wildlife visits such as the Arctic Winter Wildlife tour. Things are coming back to life in the Finnish spring. You might also like to stay near a ski field for some late spring skiing such as this tour based in Levi, Finland Glass Igloos and Lakeside Retreat.
During December, January, and February, you are visiting Finland right in the middle of the main ‘Northern Lights’ season and another important season, SANTA SEASON. It will be considerable harder to find accommodation and activities during this peak season and you need to book well ahead of time. Some regions of Finland will be teeming with people and very congested. Flights will be more expensive and harder to find. If you are only interested in seeing the Northern Lights and don't wish to meet Santa, we suggest smaller resorts off the beaten track such as the Sunday Morning Resort or this tour staying in a wilderness hideaway.
Very rarely! It might happen once or twice a year but generally they will be hard to see and faint. With the amount of light pollution in Helsinki and its southerly location, it is very unusual to see them.
Before you travel, you can start watching the aurora apps, which will show the Northern Lights forecast a few days or a week or so in advance. Seeing the Northern Lights is never guaranteed so you need to book your Finland tour with beautiful accommodation and experiences so if you miss seeing the lights, you have had a satisfying and relaxing break.
Image credits: Aurora Village Inari and Harrinivia Hotel.