Northern Lights in Ivalo
Did you know that Ivalo is one of the best places in the world to see and photograph the Northern Lights?
Good to know:
- Ivalo’s position in the far north of Finland increases the chances of seeing the Lights even when the solar activity is low.
- Light pollution is very low in the area of Ivalo, you can find very dark spots not far from the center of the village.
- The airport makes it easy to access Ivalo from all over the world.
- Reliable local providers offer Aurora hunting tours. Their experience and excellent knowledge of the area is crucial.
More information about the Northern Lights.
The visibility of the Northern Lights depends on three factors, solar activity, weather, and darkness.
Aurora Borealis aka the Northern Lights or “Revontulet” in Finnish, is a natural phenomenon, there is no magic switch to turn them on, and nobody can 100% guarantee that you will see them during your visit to Ivalo or any other part of the world, this is one of the reasons that witnessing them is such a unique experience. You could say that the further north you go the better it gets, chances are more in Ivalo than they are in Helsinki for example, but still there is a little bit of luck involved.
The Northern Lights are visible during the winter because it’s dark, in Ivalo the so-called Aurora watching season lasts from end of September until middle of April, visiting Ivalo in July to see the Northern Lights is not really a good idea 😉 Many people ask which winter month is the best for Aurora, and the answer is “all of them”, it’s a combination of solar activity, weather, darkness and luck, the more days you spend in the area the better, very short trips are not a good decision if you want to see the Northern Lights, a minimum of one week is recommended.
If you prefer a bit warmer weather, beginning of October until mid November and end of February until middle of April are better, December is ideal if you want to enjoy the Christmas spirit combined with school holidays.
“And what about the weather?”
A very important factor when trying to see the Northern Lights is weather, if the sky is completely covered with clouds your chances to see the lights are slim(even with high solar activity). But keep in mind that weather in Lapland can change within hours, for example a cloud covered sky at 21:00 o’clock can turn to a clear starry night sky at 24:00, or a day of heavy snowfall can end up being a night of clear sky with beautiful Aurora show.
Keep in mind that the temperature is low and appropriate clothing and warm drinks are necessary when you are outdoors during the night, the majority of safari companies provide clothing equipment during activities.
“Which is the best place in Ivalo to see the Northern Lights?”
If you decide to try your luck looking for the Northern Lights on your own on foot, probably the best place is Ivalo river, given it’s easy access and walking distance from the village.
Depending on the month you visit Ivalo, the river should be completely frozen and safe to walk on it, it provides a nice view to the north and it’s far enough from the town lights.
Remember that the snow can be quite deep so proper winter boots or even snowshoes are necessary.
Keep in mind that going alone to any forest without experience is not a good idea, the cold weather and the darkness can make orientating very difficult.