Northern Lights hotels: the best places to see the Aurora Borealis

By Emma Power,

Seeing the Aurora Borealis is on everyone’s bucket list, and is an experience that can only be enhanced by staying in one of these incredible Northern Lights hotels, thanks to their unique settings around the world.

Whether you want to watch the lights from the luxury of an outdoor hot tub, on the seat of a speeding snowmobile or from the comfort of your very own glass igloo, we know the best places to see the Northern Lights in style.

(And forget what you may have heard about the ‘solar minimum’, fellow Aurora-hunters – North Adventure’s Jon Matte reminds us that the lights are in no way disappearing, but continue to shine clearly over our selection of Northern lights hotels!).


Stay in a Northern Lights hotel in Iceland

Ion Luxury Adventure

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Situated less than an hour’s drive from Reykjavík against the glacial backdrop of the dormant Mount Hengill volcano, this hotel offers an unforgettable experience beneath the awe-inspiring Northern Lights.

Built on recycled and renewable materials (such as locally-salvaged driftwood and lava), the sustainable hotel draws its heat and power from surrounding hot springs.

ION’s urban yet earthy accommodation embraces minimalist Icelandic style and the 45 guestrooms come fully equipped with hypoallergenic beds, wood floors, panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows and espresso machines.

The hotel also boasts a full-service, partially exposed Lava Spa, 10-metre heated outdoor pool and sauna, and offers a range of tours exploring the inimitable Icelandic lava fields and Aurora Borealis.


See the Aurora Borealis in Norway

Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel

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The world’s northernmost ice hotel and the largest in Norway, Sorrisniva is a one-of-a-kind 2,500 sqm structure made of pure snow and ice, where each year, the hotel boasts a new unique Arctic theme.

During your stay, snuggle up in reindeer leather sleeping pads in one of the hotel’s 30 bedrooms, bask in the sauna or admire the fantastic sculptures while you enjoy an ice drink in the bar.

Prime Northern Lights viewing opportunities include dog-sledding on the frozen Alta River, a selection of easy winter walking routes, or a snowmobile safari into the mountainous landscape during the early evening.

For the best chance to see the lights, join the guided tour of the area with an indigenous Sami family as you meet reindeer and listen to their legends, as well as the special singing that is uniquely distinctive to the ancient culture.


See the Northern Lights in Sweden

Treehotel

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Located in Harads, near the Lule river in the middle of unspoiled Swedish nature, Treehotel offers a unique hotel experience with unparalleled views of the Northern Lights.

The eco-friendly Treehotel provides an abundance of Aurora-watching opportunities to suit all tastes and budgets, whatever unique and distinctive room you wish to stay in, be it The Cabin, The Mirrorcube, The Dragonfly, The UFO, The Blue Cone or The Bird’s Nest.

Each treeroom in the village is a unique creation by Scandinavia’s leading architects, offering fantastic views of the valley. The ultra-modern, individually-designed cabins sleep one to five people and are suspended four to six metres off the ground.

To really maximise your stay, why not take advantage of the Northern Lights photography class? At Bodträskån – which lies in the middle of the forest – you and a photographer are set up with a tripod and a DSLR camera, and step by step, shown how to capture the awe-inspiring night sky.


Stay in a Northern Lights hotel in Finland

Igloo Village Kakslauttanen

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Off the highway to the Arctic Sea, this unique nature resort surrounded by forest is 6 km from Urho Kekkonen National Park and Saariselka Ski Resort.

With world-renowned glass igloos offering stunning panoramic views, sightings of the Northern Lights are plentiful in the natural setting of Kakslauttanen Igloo Village.

Accommodation varies in size and amenity from two or four-person igloos, log cabins made of Kelo wood with private saunas and fireplaces, Sivakka chalets fitting up to ten and premium queen suites with Jacuzzis.

While you’re there, why not visit Santa in his red chalet across a narrow river, over a traditional wooden walking bridge. If you’re visiting the village for one reason and one reason only, why not chase the Northern Lights on horseback, in a reindeer-drawn sleigh or on a quad bike?


See the Northern Lights in Norway

Lyngen North

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These glass igloos and cabins are perfect if you’d like to see the Northern Lights in Norway, far away from traffic noise and pollution, and surrounded by fjords and majestic mountains.

The two igloos are located a few metres away from the sea, with heated floors, a small kitchen, seating area and bathroom , and of course free Wi-Fi so you can show off your pictures on Instagram.

Featuring tow bedrooms and a generous outdoor decking area, the Fjord Houses sleep up to eight people and is close to the Jacuzzi, grill house and the boat marina.

The Fisher House boasts the best view of the Lyngen Alps, with four bedrooms that can fit groups of up to six people. Guests will especially love the electric outdoor barrel sauna!


Sleep under the Northern Lights in Iceland

Hotel Ranga

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Located just two hours from Iceland’s main airport, between the East Ranga RIver and Mount Hekla volcane, this hotel is still far enough from the city to offer excellent Northern Lights viewings.

The traditional log-cabin style hotel boasts an outdoor hot tub and a balcony that wraps around the bar, where you can sample Iceland’s signature liquor Brennivin.

Guests are provided with a wake-up call when the lights come out, as well as overalls to help you stay warm and soft blankets so you can lie down and watch the show in comfort.

If you don’t fancy venturing outside, you can view the lights from the hotel’s observatory,  complete with a resident astronomer and multiple telescopes for a spot of stargazing.


Stay in a Northern Lights hotel in Finland

Snowman World Igloo Hotel

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Located in Santa Claus Village in Finnish Lapland, this Northern Lights hotel is perfect if you want to give the whole family a trip of a lifetime.

For luxury accommodation, each Scandinavian-style Superior Glass Apartment includes a living area, mini-kitchen, bedroom with glass ceiling and its very own private sauna.

Alternatively, stay in the igloo hotel that’s built entirely of snow and ice, and after a cosy night in your sleeping bag, you’ll enjoy a lovely breakfast and receive your Arctic Night Survival -Certificate.

When you’re not admiring the Northern Lights, check out the hotel’s ice bar and restaurant, or you can also try ice skating, Arctic sledging and a trip on the Lappish sleigh-go-round.


See the Aurora Borealis in the USA

Hotel Alyeska

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Nestled in a lush valley surrounded by the Chugach mountain peaks, incredible forests and hanging glaciers just 40 miles outside of Anchorage, this chateau-style ski resort is a great base for seeing the Aurora Borealis.

Ask for a Northern Lights Wake-Up Call and the front desk staff will let you know when the Northern Lights are out, so there’s no chance of you missing the incredible show.

It’s not all about the lights, however – this is the perfect place in Alaska to enjoy winter adventures, whether it’s a scenic helicopter ride, snow-mobiling through meadows or a cross-country skiing.

There’s a dining option to suit everyone at the hotel, including a bar and grill plating up comfort food in a family-friendly atmosphere, a breakfast buffet, pop-up steakhouse, Asian bistro and cafe for casual bites.


Check out the Northern Lights in Canada

Northern Lights Resort & Spa

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Set on 160 acres of open countryside close to the Yukon River, this Northern Lights hotel offers incredible views of the surrounding mountains and forests.

Choose between four cosy log cabins that were built by hand from massive Douglas Fit trees. The alpine chalets are lovingly furnished with great touches like gas fireplaces and leather loveseats.

After a day of outdoor adventures like snowmobiling, dog sled runs and ice-fishing, relax in the resort’s luxury outdoor Jacuzzi or the spa area featuring a Finnish sauna, infrared sauna, gym, relax room and a massage room.

The hotel even boasts an outdoor hot tub if you want to take your Aurora-watching to the next level. Otherwise, the terrace offers panoramic views or if you’re lucky, you might be able to spot the lights from your cabin!


Where to see the Aurora Borealis in Iceland

Northern Light Inn

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Less than an hour from Reykjavik, this intimate family-run hotel is an ideal place to see the Northern Lights in Iceland.

Experience the best of Arctic fare in Max’s Restaurant and Lounge. Get ready to sample ocean-fresh fish and geo-thermal vegetables while you enjoy panoramic views of the moss-covered lava fields and mountains.

After dinner – weather permitting, of course  – go to the patio or the hotel’s Galaxy Tower, where you can simply look up at the stars, or if you’re lucky, the lights display.

You can also relax in the hotel’s wellness centre with its three saunas, geothermal hot showers and outdoor chill patio. Plus with the Aurora float, you have a unique opportunity to try to float in weightlessness.


See the Northern Lights in Canada

Blachford Lake Lodge

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Perched on a rocky knoll deep in the rugged wilderness, this hotel is a scenic half-hour bush-plane ride from the city of Yellowknife, and one of the most popular places in Canada to see the Northern Lights.

Secluded and completely wild, Blachford Lake Lodge is the perfect spot for uninterrupted Aurora-watching. There are two Aurora-viewing decks upstairs, while the main floor serves as the cosy lounge with bar, dining room and library.

Then there are five hand-built log guest cabins to choose from, separated from the main lodge for privacy with their own personal lake view. There are plenty of seasonal activities to take part in at the lodge, from ice-skating, dog-sledding and cross-country skiing.

Plus, at the solar-powered, eco-friendly lodge, there are five large guest rooms on the second floor, dressed with soft down duvets and huge windows with expansive views.