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

By Emma Power,

Seeing the Northern Lights is on almost everyone’s bucket list. (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!).

So make the most of this one-of-a-kind experience with top-quality accommodation in a gorgeous setting, whether you want to watch the lights from the luxury of a heated outdoor pool or on the seat of a speeding snowmobile…


Stay in a Northern Lights hotel in Iceland

Ion Luxury Adventure

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Situated in the southwestern town of Selfoss, less than an hour’s drive from Reykjavík, ION Luxury Adventure Hotel offers an unforgettable experience beneath the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. The property juts out against the glacial backdrop of Iceland’s famous (and dormant) Mount Hengill volcano and striking lava fields, enjoying a unique and dramatic landscape. If you fancy exploring more of the area during your stay, the hotel is also close to the Golden Circle route, just 20 km to Thingvellir National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and 1 km to Nesjavellir Geothormal Power Station.rsz_northernlights-iceland-ionluxuryadventure-pool

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Sleek, minimalist and modern, ION has recently been granted the acclaimed Boutique Hotel Award for sustainability. The oblong luxury landmark is built on recycled and renewable materials (such as locally-salvaged driftwood and lava), drawing 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, espresso machines and free Wi-Fi. 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 scenery and Aurora Borealis.


See the Aurora Borealis in Norway

Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel

 Alta

rsz_northernlights-norway-sorrisniva-guestroomLooking for the best views of the Northern Lights? In secluded downtown Alta, the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel is one of the most beautiful places to experience the Aurora Borealis. 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. 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.

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The Northern Lights city of Alta has a dry, stable winter climate and a high viewing frequency for the light show, thanks to little light pollution in the remote area. Prime 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 around Sorrisniva 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 Sami culture.


See the Northern Lights in Canada

Blachford Lake Lodge

Yellowknife

rsz_northernlights-canada-blachfordlakelodge-onthelakeBlachford Lake Lodge is situated deep in the rugged wilderness of Northern Canada. Perched on a rocky knoll overlooking Blachford Lake, the hotel is a scenic half-hour bush-plane ride from the city of Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories, 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. To make the most of your stay, ensure you visit during the two prime viewing seasons – summer/autumn (August 15-October 10) and winter/spring (December 20-April 10).

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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. 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. You’ll even be following in the footsteps of royalty after Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, visited the lodge as part of their Royal Tour of Canada.


See the Northern Lights in Sweden

Treehotel

Harads

rsz_northernlights-sweden-treehotel-treehouseTreehotel offers a unique hotel experience with unparalleled views of the Northern Lights. Located in Harads, near the Lule river in the middle of unspoiled Swedish nature, the village has a population of about 600 people. Each treeroom in the village is a unique creation by Scandinavia’s leading architects, offering fantastic views of the Lule River valley. The ultra-modern, individually-designed cabins sleep 1 to 5 people and are suspended 4 to 6 meters off the ground.

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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. 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. If the hot drinks and organic home baked pastries provided aren’t enough to keep you warm, then make sure you layer – and layer RIGHT – as shown by the HappyWorld team.


Stay in a Northern Lights hotel in Finland

Igloo Village Kakslauttanen

Saariselka

rsz_northernlights-finland-kakslauttanen-exteriorsuites-1Off 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.

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The hotel offers spectacular winter or summer packages, with exciting excursions that feature everything from snowmobiling, ice-fishing and husky-sled rides to gold-panning, mountain biking, and smoke saunas. While you’re there, why not double-check with Santa if you’ve been naughty or nice this year? His charming red chalet can be found 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?

Already seen the Northern Lights, but can’t resist a cosy winter hotel stay? Check out our top picks here.