Northern light Finland

Finland is the country of Santa Claus. It is also a country where 200 days a year you can observe the northern lights, a privileged country in view of its northern location. A country finally little known and little visited which promises on the other hand an exceptional boreal spectacle. Helsinki, the capital, is a well-known spot to observe the aurora.

Hotel Finland Artic Tree house hotel*

The northern region of Finnish Lapland is full of seaside resorts, villages and small towns to keep you busy during your visit to Finland. But in between these populated centers are many wilderness areas. Open spaces and national parks, where you can find total darkness to watch the Northern Lights, then head back to town when you’re done!

Because of the excellent Northern Lights opportunities in Finland, many travelers want to hunt for the Northern Lights.

Finland Northern light forecast

Find Northern light forecast city by city in Finland.

Northern Lights Helsinki

The capital of Finland is the scene of the Northern Lights, but Finland’s southern location limits the chances of seeing them all winter. If the aurora can be seen for 200 days in Lapland, it is visible for about 20 days a year in Helsinki. To admire the illuminated sky in Helsinki, it is necessary to move away from the light sources and go outside of the city or to isolated places. The hill of the Helsinki observatory is a good place to observe the luminous sky.

Emoji aurora borealis Finland – Helsinki

Honeymoon in Lapland in peace

And best of all, you won’t have to fight the crowds. Finland is still relatively “unknown” compared to other Northern Lights viewing destinations like Iceland, Sweden or Norway, which means you’ll have a much more personal experience when you witness this magical event. Finnish Lapland is a magical spot to see the Northern Lights but is ultimately little visited compared to other northern regions.

In fact, northern Finland is one of the best regions for hunting the aurora. According to statistics from the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), the chance of visible auroras is about 75% on dark, cloudless nights in the Utsjoki region, and 40-50% in Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle.

The chances decrease quite rapidly when you travel south of the Arctic Circle. For example, in Helsinki, the chance of auroras on dark and clear nights is only 5%.

Where to see the Northern Lights in Finland?

The Northern Lights season in Finland is between September and March. From September to March, the nights are longer, and the darker the sky, the better your chances of seeing the Aurora. You will not see the dawn in the middle of summer when the sun is above the horizon at midnight. Helsinki the capital is an easy place to observe the winter sky.

The other reason why winter is the best time is the weather. The nights are usually clearer, except when snow falls.

If you decide to see the Aurora in September-October, you will see the Aurora in slightly warmer weather, with no snow underfoot and a variety of fall activities available. Accommodations are generally less expensive, and if you really want to save money and experience the great outdoors, you can camp in the many national parks in northern Finland.

From November to February, you’ll have longer nights, but that’s also when more snow falls. You’ll have to be patient with the clouds, and if a big storm moves in, you may not see the night sky for days and thus no dawn. It is also very cold in these areas, especially in January.

Late February to March can be a great time to see the Aurora Borealis. The snow has already fallen and you will usually have clearer skies. The vast snowscapes will reflect the aurora and the snow will glow bright green, illuminating the entire landscape with a surreal glow. This also coincides with the peak of the ski season, and the northern region can become crowded with tourists.

Another note on timing: try to plan your trip during a new moon. A full moon, no matter how beautiful, will light up the sky and make the Aurora dark. If that’s not an option for you, at least try to get out before the moon rises or after it sets, if the sky is dark at those times.

Finnish Lapland: the land of the Northern Lights

The northern region of Finland, called Lapland, is the best place to see the Northern Lights and go on a honeymoon. The southern boundary of Lapland is right on the southern edge of the Aurora zone, and the northern border of Finland is right above the other edge of the Aurora zone. The whole of Finnish Lapland is in the privileged territory of the Northern Lights.

You may still be lucky enough to get a northern glow show in Helsinki, on the southern coast of Finland, but travel to the other end of the country to Utsjoki and your chances are exponentially higher. When the next period of solar activity peaks in 2026, the Northern Lights will be more reliably visible throughout Finland.

Utsjoki Finland Lapland

Utsjoki is the northernmost place you can go in Lapland to see the Northern Lights. Many facilities are available to guide you in your Aurora hunt.

The indigenous Sami people live in the Utsjoki area, and it is often a highlight for tourists visiting the area. The Sami are an interesting culture that revolves around reindeer. You will probably see them herding reindeer with snowmobiles instead of skis these days, but you can still find traditional demonstrations.

Utsjoki is an ideal base for exploring, but seeing the northern sky from Utsjoki is far from ideal. Indeed the heat generated by Utsjoki and the large rivers nearby tend to generate a lot of fog on cold nights. This, combined with the light pollution, means that you will want to explore outside the city.

There are some beautiful cottages on the outskirts of Utsjoki, near the Teno River. They are far enough away from the village that light pollution should no longer be a problem.

Getting to Utsjoki: Utsjoki is very remote. The easiest way to get to Utsjoki is to fly to Ivalo, then take a bus to Utsjoki. The journey takes about 2.5 hours.

Kilpisjärvi Finland

The westernmost place to see the Northern Lights in Finland is Kilpisjärvi, very close to the borders with Norway and Sweden. Kilpisjärvi has great hiking trails if you are there before the snow falls, otherwise you can hit the ski slopes, go out with a dog sled team or take a snowmobile tour. It has one of the highest rates of northern lights sightings in Finland.

Kilpisjärvi doesn’t have much for indoor aurora viewing, so you’d better be comfortable with the cold and polar snow here. There is a wide range of accommodations, with rooms ranging from rustic huts to modern apartments. The concierges will help you decide where to hike, snowshoe or take a dog or snowmobile to see the aurora.

Getting to Kilpisjärvi: You can take a train or plane to Rovaniemi, then travel to Kilpisjärvi by bus. Alternatively, you can fly to Kittilä, which is closer, and take a bus to the rest.

Nellim Finland

Simple and adventurous people will love Nellim. This remote village lies on the southern shore of Lake Inari and close to the Russian border. History buffs will also enjoy the rich history of the area, from the Stone Age to World War II and on. There are many winter activities in and around Nellim.

You will have many lodging options near Nellim. Depending on availability, you can choose from luxury apartments, rustic log cabins, glass “Aurora bubbles” and basic Finnish-style Kota cabins with glass ceilings. This area is an ideal base for further expeditions into the wilderness.

Getting to Nellim: Did we mention it’s for the adventurous types? There is no public transportation to Nellim. You’ll have to fly to Ivalo, then take an unpaved road to Nellim. Make sure you have the 4×4 car and the appropriate winter driving skills.

Saariselkä Finland

Really just a main road with a gas station and grocery store, Saariselkä is a wonderful place to see the Northern Lights if you don’t mind the solitude. Nearby you will find skiing and the Urho Kekkonen National Park. The larger town of Ivalo is a few minutes north and has more accommodations, but the terrain and light pollution make viewing from Ivalo more difficult.

Saariselkä is home to dozens of cabins with domed glass roofs. This gives you the perfect opportunity to watch the Aurora dance overhead while you lie in bed. There is also a bar and restaurant made entirely of ice.

Getting to Saariselkä: Ivalo Airport has direct flights from Helsinki. You can then take a 20-minute bus ride to Saariselkä.

Glass Igloo to watch the aurora

Do you think that watching the aurora can be a luxurious experience? The most famous glass igloos in Finland (and perhaps the world) are hidden in the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Saariselkä. Here you can watch the breathtaking dance of the Northern Lights while lying on a comfortable bed in a warm glass igloo. If you want to take your Aurora experience up a notch, choose a Kelo glass igloo that combines the benefits of glamping and a cottage vacation.

Levi Lapland Finland

Levi is a ski resort in western Lapland. There are plenty of activities to do here, including a fun nightlife, so if you’re a night owl, this can be a great place to visit and base your Aurora expedition. The large Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park is immediately west of Levi.

Levi is also close to the Sammaltunturi weather station in Pallas. According to the World Health Organization, this measuring station records the cleanest air in the world. Finland is among the top three countries in the world for air quality.

You will find comfortable glass igloos near Levi. They offer a 360-degree view of the night sky from the comfort of a heated glass cabin. An upscale restaurant on site will treat you to delicious Scandinavian cuisine with the Northern Lights.

Getting to Levi: There are many ways to get to Levi due to its status as a popular vacation spot in Finland. The nearest airport is Kittilä, a few minutes south of Levi, and buses run between the airport and Levi. You can also fly or take the train to Rovaniemi, then continue to Levi by bus.

Ylläs – Pallas-Yllästunturi – Finland

Ylläs is another ski resort southwest of Levi and at the southern end of the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. Although it is one of the most popular ski resorts in Finland, Ylläs is conducive to the appearance of polar auroras. All outdoor lights are turned off at 10 pm from November to February to reduce light pollution.

There are beautiful fully furnished cottages in town and within walking distance of the few amenities you will find in the village. You will also be within walking distance of great Aurora viewing sites.

Getting to Ylläs: Fly to Kittilä nearby, then take a bus or rental car to drive the remaining 40 kilometers to Ylläs. There is also a bus service between Ylläs and Rovaniemi.

Luosto: Skiing and Northern Lights in the heart of Lapland

Luosto is right in the center of Lapland and is another popular winter destination with its ski resort, reindeer sleigh rides, snowshoeing and snowmobile tours. The resort is very aware of the Aurora and will literally ring the bells when the Northern Lights take place.

Hardcore Aurora hunters will enjoy another of Finland’s glass igloo hotels in Luosto. There’s a restaurant on site and the hotel concierge will be happy to help you find the right winter activity, some of which are managed by the hotel.

Getting to Luosto: Rovaniemi is the closest transportation hub to Luosto. You can take a plane or train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. From there you can take a bus or cab to Luosto.

Rovaniemi Capital of Finnish Lapland

The capital of Lapland, Rovaniemi, has a lot of things to do, but there is also a lot of light pollution at night. It is the transportation hub of Lapland and would make an ideal base for your excursions. Don’t miss the Santa Claus village.

Even though it’s on the southern edge of the Auroral Zone, there are still some fun options for seeing the Aurora in Rovaniemi. One hotel is conveniently located north of Rovaniemi, across the Kemijoki River, allowing you to get away from the city lights. You’ll enjoy views of the Aurora from elevated cabins with giant glass walls facing north.

Getting to Rovaniemi: You can find direct flights from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. Rovaniemi is also a major rail hub, so you may also want to see the scenery by train.

Tips for good aurora viewing in Finland

There are a few very important things to consider for the best views of the Northern Lights. We’ve already looked at timing and general location, but now let’s look at more specific locations.

First, you want to get away from light pollution. This is another reason why Lapland is one of the best places in the world to view the Northern Lights. There are vast stretches of wilderness without a single village casting light into the sky.

In some areas, it doesn’t take long to get away from the city lights – even a 30-minute drive can get you far enough away from the lights to find a dark sky. If you are limited to a village or town, try walking to a park or the outskirts of town where it will be darker.

Second, you’ll want to find a great view of the night sky. There are plenty of open spaces where you can see the Northern Lights without being obstructed by trees or terrain. The locals will be able to point you in the right direction.

You can also try going to the top of a hill where you can look out over the landscape, with the Aurora more or less right in front of you. Again, talk to the locals. They may just tell you about their favorite secret place.

Large bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers and even the ocean, can be a popular place to view the Northern Lights. The reflection in the water makes the experience even more magical.

There is, however, a downside to viewing the Northern Lights near water. This is especially true on very cold nights. When the warmer water hits the cold air, a fog of steam will form, obstructing your view. Sometimes this can create thick, long-lasting clouds near coastal areas. You can try to go inland if this happens.

People have different tastes and different levels of adventure. Some would like to see the Aurora from the comfort of a luxury hotel while others would prefer to snowshoe at a campsite and watch the Aurora from the outside. Fortunately, there is something for everyone in Finland.

For those who visit Helsinki the aurora is only visible 20 days a year.
Camping glamping, igloo, luxury hotel

Finland is famous for its glamping destinations. You can experience glamorous camping in glass igloos built in various destinations, especially for viewing the Northern Lights. You don’t even have to travel to the far north of Lapland for this exclusive experience; you can already find glass igloos in Ranua, 60 km south of Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland.

However, if your dream is to cross the Arctic Circle, read on, as we’re going to introduce you to some of the best aurora viewing destinations in Finland.

Aurora Borealis Video in Finnish Lapland

Revontulet – Northern Lights Finland

The Finnish word for northern lights is revontulet. This word literally means “fox fire”. The story goes that when the revered fox ran through the snow, it swept its tail back and forth and the sparks created by this rose into the sky.

The Sami culture in Lapland also had a few other explanations for the northern lights. One simple belief is that the aurora were plumes from the blowhole of a whale.

Another belief, which aligns with aurora borealis myths from around the world, was that the aurora were physical manifestations of the souls of the dead. This was the time to respect the aurora, for anyone who disrespected the aurora was also disrespecting the dead, and that person would be struck with bad luck. People would stay inside and children would keep quiet just in case.

Whistling at dawn is also a bad idea. Whistling at dawn will call the energies to you, and if they get close enough, they will grab you and take you up into the sky, never to be seen again.

On a more positive note, it is also believed that the power of the aurora can help resolve conflicts. The strong displays of the aurora borealis are good times for mediation.