Northern lights

7 Unexpected Places To See The Northern Lights

Otherwise known as as ‘Aurora borealis’ in the north and ‘Aurora australis’ in the south, the Northern Lights are on almost every traveler’s bucket list.

Auroral displays appear in many colours although pale green and pink are the most common, while you’ll also spot shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

You can usually see the Northern Lights late August to mid April, but did you know that they’re visible at so many more points than the popular destinations of Norway and Finland? Here’s seven places you can experience the Northern Lights that you might not be aware of…

1. Donegal, Ireland

This remote and unspoiled landscape is Ireland’s most northerly point, and visitors to Malin Head on Inishowen Peninsula won’t be disappointed with the light display.

Clear skies to the north and no light pollution make it ideal, although you may have to go out more than once in order to see the Aurora.

More info here.

2. Murmansk, Russia

If you want to experience the Northern Lights on a budget then Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula in Russia is perfect.

There’s over 40 days of uninterrupted night and the population is small, so you can enjoy pure darkness. The city offers budget accommodation and tours that are priced well under those found in other countries.

More info here.

3. Moray Coast, Scotland

Did you know northern Scotland actually lies at the same latitude as Stavanger in Norway and Nunivak Island in Alaska?

The 50 mile-long coast stretches from Aberdeen to Inverness and is a beautifully rugged place to see the lights during winter.

More info here.


4. Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania, an isolated island state off Australia’s south coast, has breathtaking views of the Southern Lights.

Mount Wellington’s 4,100-foot peak is the perfect front-row seat to wait for the magical lights to appear.

More info here.


5. Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia is located at the southernmost tip of South America, nicknamed the “End of the World.”

It’s closer to the Antarctic Circle than Tasmania, South Georgia and Stewart Island, and in the winter season, you can expect up to 17 hours of darkness.

More info here.

6. Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing.

Drive to the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, which is one of only eight places in the world where light pollution is controlled, guaranteeing dark skies.

More info here.

7. Naryan-Mar, Russia

In the Nenets Autonomous Region in northern Siberia, this is a remote and isolated place where you’ll find deep traditional culture and folklore.

Just remember: as they say in Naryan-Mar,  “Never whistle, if you see the northern lights! It will immediately disappear!” The Aurora here consists of numerous shadows and flickering.

More info here.

Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

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