Best times to see the Northern Lights and the Nightless Night

2 minute read

Credits: Julia Kivelä

In Lapland and within the Arctic Circle, something peculiar happens to light

The Northern Lights are most visible from the end of August to April in Finnish Lapland. And within the arctic circle, the sun doesn’t set at all during peak summer: the further north you go, the longer the sun stays up.

So next time you’re in Finnish Lapland, chances are you’ll spot a light show of your own. Here is what you can expect.

Credits: Asko Kuittinen

The best seasons to spot the Northern Lights

Credits: Thomas Kast

Many people associate the Northern Lights with winter, but the most active seasons are actually autumn and spring. This is when the earth’s orientation towards the sun maximizes the probability of solar flares interacting with the planet’s magnetic field, which creates this mesmerizing phenomenon. Statistically, the lights are visible on every second night.

The best aurorae-watching season starts at the end of August, when the nights get darker, and ends at the start of April, when the nights start to get lighter. Seeing them requires clear skies and just a bit of luck: the Northern Lights are visible on roughly 200 nights a year – or every other clear night – in Finnish Lapland. Your chances of catching them get better the further north you go. Did you know the Finnish Meterological Institute even has
a web page for …space weather? It’ll show the Aurora activity in Finland now.

One of the most magical times to see the Northern Lights is during the darkest days of winter. Find an open location, like a field, for unobstructed views.
Credits : Thomas Kast
The Northern Lights are visible when the sky is clear. There are mobile apps and websites you can use to check the likelihood of seeing the Aurora.
Credits: Markus Kiili
Green is the most commonly seen colour in the Northern Lights. Spotting a red aurora is very rare.

Land of the Midnight Sun

Credits: Harri-Pekka Savolainen

The blazing colours of autumn, winter and spring have an equally amazing counterpart during the Finnish summer – the nightless night. For those who venture north of the Arctic Circle, the sun does not set at all from May to August. In Rovaniemi, the period lasts about a month, while in Nuorgam, the Northern most point in Finland, it is around two and half months.

Summer in Finland is a spectacular time of the year that keeps the Finns busy and enjoying the outdoors at all times. When nights are this bright, it’s possible to do all the same things that you would do during the day. The greatest difference comes from the incredible change in the nature of the light. The sun takes on a reddish-yellow colour – like a constant state of sunrise or sunset – and everything is bathed in an unimaginably warm, bright light. 

Credits : Emilia Hoisko Photography
It might be hard to believe, but this is midnight during Finland’s midsummer!
Credits: Emilia Hoisko Photography

See also

Your Official Finland Travel Guide

Use this guide to plan a trip to Finland and immerse yourself in the country's nature, forests, lakes and culture.