What is the best season to see northern lights?

by | Sep 23, 2019

Many think that winter is the best season to see northern lights. We do have good northern lights in winter, but their best season is actually in autumn and spring. Read our blog post to know why!

When the nights slowly get darker in autumn, the auroras come back to the Arctic skies. Usually, the first auroras of the season can be seen in Ivalo around end-August. The months to follow, September and October are some of the best months for aurora borealis, and for several reasons!

First of all, the aurora activity is usually much higher around the equinoxes in Autumn and Spring as well. This is when we usually experience the brightest and most spectacular northern lights of the season. The Earth’s magnetic field passes through more of the solar wind during the few weeks surrounding equinoxes. This results in the higher frequency of auroras, even with possibility of sudden and unexpected storms! Higher aurora activity during equinoxes has been proven statistically over the course of many decades.

Secondly, the weather is just amazing in autumn! It surely starts to get colder, around 0°C…–10°C at night, but the temperature usually stays above zero during daytime. We are yet far away from the winter frosts, and if you find it difficult to cope with cold, this might just be the best time for you to travel to Lapland. Autumn foliage is also very beautiful to see at daytime with amazing yellow, orange and red colours.

Thirdly, autumn is still relatively low tourism season in Lapland. Ivalo, for example, is very scarcely populated area anyway, and you don’t get to a lot of people even in winter. However, in autumn you can barely see anyone here! If you are looking for total relaxation and tranquility, autumn is definitely your season!

Known these facts, I decided to pay Aurora Village a visit in September 2017. The aurora forecast was promising, but the weather was very bad in Rovaniemi, my hometown, and everywhere else in Finland. I called the village so that they were expecting me.

I arrived just in time for dinner, and had a few hours to relax after my trip.

11PM, the sky is crystal clear, but no auroras in sight. I’ve started to worry a little!

But then, a faint green band appeared in the sky!

Inside the amazing aurora cabin glass igloo at Aurora Village Ivalo Lapland Finland.

Northern lights were intensifying quickly, and in about 15 minutes, the whole sky turned green!

Amazing northern lights at aurora igloos in Aurora Village Ivalo Lapland Finland. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov All About Lapland.

I’ve teamed up with Aurora Village’s boss, Mr. Juha Tuunanen to take pictures that night. We started running around the village, not knowing where to put our cameras! The auroras were changing direction all the time, and moved very fast. This is just a classic. You wait for many hours, and then for several minutes you are just running around like a madman.

Crazy northern lights over aurora cottages at Aurora Village hotel Ivalo Lapland Finland. 

At one point, a huge corona opened above our heads, and we’ve seen beautiful colours of yellow and pink, in addition to the usual green!

Northern lights shining bright over glass igloos at Aurora Village Ivalo Lapland Finland. Photo by All About Lapland.Aurora Village is my favourite northern lights village in Northern Lapland, because each cabin has a clear view of the sky. During the regular night, you usually see the auroras in the northern direction, but during an aurora storm, you can observe the auroras everywhere, and above your head.

Seeing the northern lights from the aurora glass igloo at Aurora Village Ivalo Lapland Finland. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland.Even the main restaurant & reception at Aurora Village got its share of auroras that night!

Restaurant at the aurora resort Aurora Village in Ivalo Lapland

I’ve also made a little video about the northern lights that we’ve seen on that night of 8th of September 2019. See below!


Having made some stunning northern lights photos from the glass igloos, we’ve headed with Juha into the wilderness. We drove a long way by a narrow gravel road, and started to walk into the forest. Juha took me to a huge stone in the middle of nowhere. I was really surprised how huge it was!

The auroras were taking a break, and we made a little campfire while waiting. We also explored the stone, and found a way to climb there. We started experimenting with the photos.

Stargazer Juha watching the starry skies in Ivalo Lapland Finland photo by Alexander / Kuznetsov Aurora Hunting.Even with just the starry skies the experience was incredible!

Soon, the auroras returned, and we made more aurora photos.

Beautiful northern lights in Ivalo Lapland Finland.The auroras were not as powerful that of few hours ago at the Aurora Village, yet we made some nice shots, and most importantly, we were enjoying ourselves! I’ve must have climbed the stone a dozen times.

Aurora Borealis Juha Tuunanen Aurora Village Ivalo Lapland Finland. Photo by Alexander Kuznetsov / All About Lapland. 

By the time the auroras subsided, and we were finished, it was already 3.30 am. Time to go home! Luckily, a hot shower and a warm and cosy bed was waiting for me at aurora cabin. I’ve slept like a baby!


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About the Author

Alexander Kuznetsov

Alexander Kuznetsov

Aurora hunter & CEO of All About Lapland

Alexander Kuznetsov is a passionate aurora hunter and photographer based in Rovaniemi Lapland Finland. He is Editor-in-Chief of All About Lapland Magazine and founder of the Aurora Hunting blog.


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