At this time of the year, while some travellers are seeking warmth, others are looking to experience some winter magic. And it doesn’t get much more magical than viewing the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis.
But reaching the Northern Lights can be difficult. Few commercial airlines offer direct flights to these remote locations in the Northern Hemisphere and it is often necessary to change flights, and take many hours to get there.
At PrivateFly we offers bespoke trips to reach these most beautiful destinations, saving many hours of travel time, and offering the ultimate in flexibility, comfort and privacy. And you are always guaranteed a window seat – for breathtaking views of the snowy landscapes on landing.
Here are our suggestions for 8 of the most beautiful places to observe the spectacle of The Northern Lights.
When is the best time to view The Northern Lights?
It is difficult to predict when and where an aurora will appear as this is a natural and spontaneous phenomenon.
Although auroras appear throughout the year, the long summer days make these coloured lights invisible. So that’s why winter is often considered the best time to see the Northern Lights.
November and December are popular months, taking advantage of the longest nights and changing landscapes that add a magical atmosphere to the experience. Scandinavia is especially popular during this period, as viewing the Northern Lights can be combined with festive activities and celebrations, such as visit to Santa in Lapland!
But it is usually from January to March that most travellers go specifically to see the Northern Lights.This is when the landscapes are completely covered with snow and ice, making the Northern Lights more visible and more beautiful.
According to experts, the best time of day is between 9.30pm and 1am. But they can appear at any time, during the night.
Where are the best places to see the Northern Lights?
Lofoten and Svalbard in Norway
It is possible to see the Northern Lights all over Norway, but the best viewing spots tend to be in the Arctic Circle.
The Lofoten Islands are an archipelago located north of the Arctic Circle. These 400 islands are covered with mountains and peaks, and their coastlines are ideal for seeing the Northern Lights. Many people consider The Lofoten Islands amongst the most beautiful islands in the world.
For those wishing to travel even further north, Svalbard is one of the most popular tourist destinations for seeing The Northern Lights.
The island is home to 2500 human inhabitants, but also many reindeer and polar bears. Many hotels in Svalbard have viewing lounges where you can observe the Aurora Borealis.
Svalbard also offers great hiking and sleigh rides pulled by huskies.
How to reach Svalbard by private jet
Svalbard Longyearbyen is a small airport, accessible by private jet. Contact our Flight Team (24 hours) on +44 1747 642 777 for advice or a personalised quote.
London – Svalbard Longyearbyen (2-night return)
Aircraft: Citation XLS
Flight time: 4 hours 9 minutes
Charter price: £26,316
Igloos in Finnish Lapland
Finnish Lapland is home to 200,000 reindeer; 183,000 people; and, of course, Santa.
The Northern Lights are visible are 200 nights a year. Many choose the Christmas season to visit Lapland, combining a visit to Santa in the daytime, with evenings spent chasing auroras.
Lapland also offers many outdoor winter activities such as snowshoeing and dog sled rides.
For those who prefer to stay indoors, some accommodation options allow you to view the Northern Lights without getting cold. Such as the Kakslauttanen Igloo West Village, which feature small wooden igloos equipped with a dome for a clear view of the sky.
How to reach Lapland by private jet
Kakslauttanen is located 30 minutes drive from Finland’s Ivalo Airport and you can enjoy a private view of the stunning approach to the airport, from your own aircraft.
Paris – Ivalo (2-night return)
Aircraft: Hawker 800
Flight time: 3 hours 23 minutes
Charter price: £23,330
The Jukkasjarvi Ice Hotel in Sweden
The first ice hotel was established in Sweden in Jukkasjarvi, one of the most popular destinations to see The Northern Lights.
The Ice Hotel offers rooms and furniture sculpted from ice. It’s a unique location for holidays or special events, such as a wedding or honeymoon. Some of the suites have been decorated by artists and feature beautiful and unique ice art and sculptures.
Jukkasjärvi is also just a short journey from The Esrange Space Centre in Kiruna, a space observation center and rocket research laboratory.
Many hotels and tour operators in the region offer special experiences around viewing The Northern Lights, such as alfresco dining in wilderness camps.
How to reach Sweden by private jet
The north of Sweden is difficult to reach by commercial airlines. Contact our Flight Team (24 hours) on +44 1747 642 777 for prices and itinerary advice.
London – Kiruna (2-night return)
Aircraft: Citation XLS
Flight time: 2 hours 59 minutes
Charter price: £19,546
Reykjavik and Iceland
It’s not hard to find a good spot to view The Northern Lights around Reykjavik. Those who enjoy the great outdoors can find plenty of hiking trails and viewing spots in the area.
Less than an hour away by road, Iceland’s lunar landscapes offer a stunning backdrop. Or from Reykjavik’s harbour, boat tours offer a unique vantage point from the sea.
How to reach Reykjavik by private jet
Paris – Reykjavik (2-night return)
Aircraft: Hawker 800
Flight time: 2 hours 57 minutes
Charter price: £22,573
The Canadian Rockies
Jasper National Park is the largest nature reserve in the Rockies. Recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is famous for its clear and bright sky, that attracts many astronomers.
It has also been called “the world’s best preserved sky”, with stars and constellations clearly visible to the naked eye. And this makes it a great spot to also see The magnificent Northern Lights, behind the mountains.
In addition to its famous sky, the peaks and glaciers are home to an extraordinary flora and fauna, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers.
How to reach The Canadian Rockies by private jet
Montreal – Edmonton (2-night return)
Aircraft: Learjet 45
Flight time: 3 hours 41 minutes
Charter price: $35,065 (USD)
The North of Scotland
For many tourists, Scotland’s landscapes and history make it reason enough to visit. But it is also possible to see The Northern Lights from areas of Scotland.
Scotland is the best part of the UK for Northern Light viewings, especially the islands in the far north of Scotland. The area of Aberdeenshire, where the pollution level is low and the sky at its clearest, is one of the best places.
How to reach Aberdeenshire by private jet
We regularly fly clients to Aberdeen on business, as well as leisure flights. Contact our Flight Team (24 hours) on +44 1747 642 777 for advice or a personalised quote.
London – Aberdeen (2-night return)
Aircraft: Citation Mustang
Flight time: 1 hours 19 minutes
Charter price: £5,250
In Greenland, The Northern Lights are visible from September to April. This Arctic landscape of glaciers, lakes and mountains offers a breathtaking view of the green and red lightning, streaked across the night sky.
Located between the mountains and the sea, the western city of Kangerlussuaq and its region offer more than 300 memorable locations where the clear sky allows uninterrupted viewing.
The more adventurous go to the Greenland glacier to see the northern lights reflect off the ice.
How to reach Kangerlussuaq by private jet
Kangerlussuaq is accessible by airline from Copenhagen, but direct private jet flights can be arranged from any departure airport.
London – Kangerlussuaq (2-night return)
Aircraft: Legacy 600
Flight time: 4 hours 7 minutes
Charter price: £39,434
The valleys of Alaska
It is possible to see the Northern Lights across of Alaska. Many tours are arranged from the capital Anchorage and include scenic and snowmobile experiences.
For those visiting Anchorage in the summertime, photographer Dave Parkhurst offers a projection of the Northern Lights called “Aurora, The Great Northern Lights”, accompanied by classical music.
The Matanuska glacier is one of the most famous destinations in Alaska. A highly scenic route connects Anchorage and the glacier, along the Glenn Highway.
How to reach Anchorage by private jet
You can reach Anchorage directly from Europe on a transatlantic flight by private jet, or combine a commercial airline flight to a US airport, with a private jet connection.
New York – Anchorage (2-night return)
Aircraft: Gulfstream G200
Flight time: 6 hours 18 minutes
Charter price: $77 943 (USD)
For a personalised price or advice on any Northern Lights itinerary, contact our Flight Team (24 hours) on +44 1747 642 777.