When to See The Northern Lights in Rovaniemi + Other FAQ’s
Northern Lights, the phenomenal Aurora Borealis, aren’t a Norwegian thing only. In Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland, you can witness Auroras dancing in the sky through a glass igloo’s roof or go hunting them with a local guide. Be ready – the season is already on. From below you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions of the Northern Lights.
Q: When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?
A lot of people believe that the Northern Lights are a thing specific to winter, but not so! Amazing aurora borealis appear as early as mid-August, as the nights in northern Finland start to be sufficiently long for them to fill the sky. Thus, the season lasts from August until April.
However, during the Northern Lights season some dates might be better than others. As September equinox rolls by, the chances to see aurora borealis display increases at high Northern Hemisphere latitudes, like in Rovaniemi. According to NASA, the equinoxes are prime time for northern lights, because geomagnetic activities are twice more likely to take place in the spring and fall time, than in the summer or winter.
Q: Where do I see the Northern Lights?
A: Catching the magical phenomenon of the Northern Lights in Rovaniemi requires clear and dark sky and a viewing spot not affected by light pollution, like street lights and neon signs. In Rovaniemi, you don’t have to walk far from the city center to find a good spot, and really strong Auroras can be seen even with interference from artificial light.
A good place within walking distance from Rovaniemi city center is at science center & museum Arktikum‘s Arctic Garden by the Ounasjoki river. You can also book a guided Northern Lights tour from one of our local tour operators. They know the best places to watch the aurora borealis.
Q: Can you guarantee that I’ll see the Northern Lights?
We’re sorry, but we can never guarantee the appearence of the Aurora Borealis. Firstly, you’ll need luck. Secondly, you might need patience. Sometimes the Northern Lights start playing immediately when it gets dark, but sometimes you need to wait them appear for hours. Sometimes Auroras show up just for a little while, sometimes they stay longer. Sometimes they come back after a few hours. You never know surely.
Note also that the northern lights are visible only when the sky is dark and when the sky is clear from clouds.
Q: Can I see the northern lights by my own?
There are a few good spots nearby Rovaniemi city. You can walk to the Arctic Garden next to Arktikum, or you can hike up to Ounasvaara hill. Basically, any place free from light pollution is good for watching the Northern Lights.
Q: What should I wear when I go hunting the Northern Lights?
No matter if you go Aurora hunting in autumn, winter or spring (in summer it’s not possible!), wear enough warm clothes. Put on warm layers and bring an extra jacket. Waiting the Northern Lights to show up can be time consuming sometimes, but it’s totally worth all the effort. Some safari companies and tour operators provide thermal clothing during the tour.