The Northern Lights are one of the most spectacular shows you’ll ever see in your life. Also known as the Aurora Borealis, this natural phenomenon is caused by the sun’s giant flares and solar storms, which send powerful blasts of charged particles to Earth. When they enter our atmosphere, the particles generate the mesmerizing blue and green waves we know as the Northern Lights.
One of the reasons seeing the Northern Lights is so special is that the conditions have to be absolutely perfect to do so. The sky needs to be dark, there must be no clouds, and the solar activity has to be at just the right level.
There’s definitely a fair bit of luck involved, but you can boost your chances by searching for the fantastic display between December and March. This is when you’re most likely to encounter the ideal weather conditions.
The Northern Lights can be seen all over the Northern Hemisphere, and because of that, there are loads of beautiful places to spot them. Many hotels throughout Alaska, Canada, Iceland, and Scandinavia organize tours when they know there’s a decent chance of a sighting. If you don’t want to venture far, you can even choose a Northern Lights hotel with a glass roof so you can witness the wonder from the comfort of your warm bed!
To help you choose the best place to stay, we’ve put together our top 14 favorite hotels to see the Northern Lights. Make a reservation at one of these gorgeous hotels, and you’ve got a great chance of seeing the iconic light show that takes the No. 1 spot on many traveler’s bucket lists!
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The 14 Best Northern Lights Hotels
1. Have the Help of Resident Astronomers at Hotel Rangá in Iceland
The skies around Hotel Rangá in Southern Iceland are so staggeringly clear that the hotel has resident astronomers who can pretty accurately predict when the next Northern Light show will appear. Even if you get unlucky and don’t get to see the Aurora Borealis during your trip, you can still hang out with them for a while, and they’ll point out all the different constellations there are to see.
The resident astronomers aren’t the only thing that makes Hotel Rangá such a spectacular Northern Lights hotel. There are also outdoor geothermal hot tubs where you can cuddle up as you gaze at the night sky, as well as a gourmet restaurant with wraparound windows, so if the Northern Lights decide to make an appearance, you won’t have to get up from your table.
Hotel Rangá looks like something in between a log cabin and a hunting lodge, but if you splash out on one of the Master Suites, you’ll find it’s much more than that. Boasting everything from plush king-size beds, original artwork, and ancient artifacts to in-room hot tubs, antler chandeliers, and balconies with superb views, Hotel Rangá is a place you’ll never want to leave.
2. Seek Out the Northern Lights for 182 Days a Year at the Leissan Rorbuer in Norway
Boasting Northern Lights sightings 182 days out of the year, this hotel gives you a 50% chance of seeing the spectacular phenomenon. The oldest fishing cottage resort in the Lofoten Islands, the Leissan Rorbuer is one of the best Northern Lights hotels if you’re looking for accommodation bursting with character and heart.
The hotel is more than 100 years old and is made up of a gorgeous collection of modern sea house apartments and traditional fishermen’s cottages. These cozy buildings, many of which directly face the ocean, are scattered throughout a small area on one of the islands, making the hotel feel more like a friendly hamlet than a place to spend a vacation.
As well as having a great chance of seeing the Northern Lights, this unique hotel in Norway also gives you the opportunity to appreciate rugged nature, blissful silence, magnificent fjords, and the crashing waves of the ocean. Depending on the time of year you visit, you could even experience Norway’s famous Midnight Sun yourself.
3. Experience Unashamed Luxury in the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel in Finland
Despite what the name may suggest, the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in Finland and one of the coolest hotels to see the Northern Lights from. So much more glamorous than the rickety wooden treehouse you remember from your childhood, this sophisticated hotel will make you feel like a real VIP!
Combining sleek Scandinavian design, Lappish traditions, and unparalleled luxury, this hotel is guaranteed to leave you with memories you’ll be talking about for the rest of your life.
It doesn’t matter whether you book the Treehouse Suite, Glasshouse, or Executive Suite – you’ll have an excellent chance of spotting the Northern Lights because they all come with spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows. Thanks to the hotel’s clever design, you can cozy up under the plush covers on your king-size bed and watch the colorful lights twinkle in the night sky.
You don’t have to be worried about getting cold here. The chic bathrooms have underfloor heating, and there are plenty of deluxe faux-fur blankets to keep you warm.
4. Stay in the One-of-a-Kind Icehotel in Sweden
For a truly incredible experience, make a reservation at Icehotel. One of the most unique hotels in Sweden, this property is made out of the waters from the Torne River, which slow down and transform into ice during the winter season. In 1989, the ice blocks were hand-sculpted into a magnificent hotel for the first time, and this tradition has continued every year since.
More than three decades later, the Icehotel attracts people from all over the world who want to stay in a one-of-a-kind property while seeking out the Northern Lights. Here you’ll find typical indoor accommodation, as well as spectacular ice accommodation. One of the best things is you can mix and match the rooms you stay in, giving you the best of both worlds!
The hotel is situated in Jukkasjärvi, one of the best spots in the world to see the Northern Lights. And thanks to its location in the wilderness, where there is very little light pollution, you won’t have to venture far to watch the show. If you’re looking for the very best hotels for Northern Lights, this might be the perfect pick!
5. Stay in the World’s Northernmost 4-Star Hotel at Hotel Arctic in Greenland
Located on the enchanting shores of the Ilulissat Icefjord (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Hotel Arctic is ideally positioned for watching the Northern Lights. Because the hotel is located so close to the Arctic Circle, you’ve got a much bigger window to spot the lights. Plan your trip for any time between September and April, and you’ve got an excellent chance of crossing the natural light show off your bucket list.
Even if you don’t get to see the Northern Lights, there are still plenty of spectacular natural wonders on the hotel’s doorstep. Nearby, there’s one of the most active glaciers in the world that covers a staggering 1,150 square miles. It travels around 130 feet each day and is responsible for calving approximately 10% of all the glaciers that drift from Greenland.
The hotel organizes cool excursions to see the fjords and glaciers via boat and helicopter. Not only that, but they also arrange snow hikes, town walks, kayaking, whale safaris, and dog sledding excursions, giving you plenty to choose from.
6. Sleep in a Glass Igloo at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland
Fondly nicknamed Igloo Village, Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is made up of individual igloo-shaped domes which are covered in glass panels and nestled into thick, fluffy snow. Don’t worry about getting cold – the one-of-a-kind glass igloos are made with sophisticated thermal glass, so the inside is always toasty warm.
This is a super unique Northern Lights hotel. Because there are no walls in the domes, you can lie in bed and gaze up at the playful light show known as the Northern Lights.
Even if you’re incredibly unlucky and the natural phenomenon doesn’t occur during your visit, it’s still a wonderful feeling gazing up at the stars. As an added bonus, the snow that surrounds the glass igloos acts as insulation, so you won’t hear a peep from your neighbors or anything outside.
The hotel also boasts three smoke saunas, one of which is the largest smoke sauna in the world! They’re located on the water’s edge and, if you’re brave enough, you can dive into the water and hurry back into the sauna to warm up!
7. Try Luxury Glamping at the Reykjavik Domes Hotel in Iceland
Located just 10 minutes away from the center of town, the Reykjavik Domes Hotel invites you to experience some of the most luxurious and sophisticated glamping you’ll ever try in your life. This quirky stay is easily one of the best hotels to see the Northern Lights and is made up of individual igloo-shaped tents made from strong canvas and thick plastic that acts as windows.
Thanks to the top quality of the materials, you can stay perfectly warm inside the igloo while searching the sky for the Northern Lights outside. Just in case you do get a little chilly, each igloo is equipped with a roaring fire that’s guaranteed to warm things up. If you’re brave enough to venture outdoors, you’ll find a private hot tub where you can relax with soothing bubbling waters while searching the skies.
Because the domes are located in the countryside, far away from light pollution, your odds of seeing the Northern Lights are really high. To increase your chances, sign up for one of the hotel’s excursions and an expert astronomer will guide you to the best spots to see the show.
8. Surround Yourself with Nature in the Treetops at the Treehotel in Sweden
Created by one of Scandinavia’s best architects, the Treehotel in Sweden needs to be seen to be believed. This hotel boasts unique rooms in all kinds of shapes and sizes that are suspended 13-20 feet off the ground. Their prestigious location means every single room has magnificent views of the Lule River valley and surrounding forest.
While all the rooms are spectacular, it’s the Mirrorcube that gets most of the attention. You’ve got to walk up a suspended bridge to get to the room, which is covered in mirrored walls that reflects the room’s surroundings. This contemporary design acts as perfect camouflage, making this room an excellent choice for blending into nature and spotting wildlife.
September to March is the best time to witness the Northern Lights here. If you visit during the summer months, you’ll get to experience the incredible Midnight Sun, as the lodge enjoys daylight for 24 hours each day.
9. See the Northern Lights in Summer at the Northern Lights Resort & Spa in Canada
If you’re looking for a Northern Lights resort and spa, this might be just what you’re looking for! You can usually only see the Northern Lights between December and March. But thanks to this hotel’s special location in Canada’s Yukon Territory, you can spot the Aurora Borealis at the Northern Lights Resort & Spa each year between August and April.
This small and welcoming hotel offers three glass-front chalets so you can watch the colorful light show without even getting out of bed. There are plenty of other spots throughout the hotel where you can spot the Northern Lights, too.
Take a walk to the spacious viewing deck or cozy up by the roaring bonfire while you wait for the show to make an appearance. Because the hotel is located in the middle of nowhere, the sky is reliably clear and dark, creating the ideal conditions for seeing the spectacular natural phenomenon.
If you’re in need of a little pampering, check out the hotel’s spa. As well as a well-equipped gym, there’s also an outdoor hot tub, massage service, and various different saunas to treat yourself to.
10. Stay in a Hotel of Contrasts at the Ion Adventure Hotel in Iceland
Located in the southwestern town of Selfoss, the Ion Adventure Hotel is simultaneously in the middle of Iceland’s rugged countryside and just a short drive away from plenty of exciting cities and popular attractions. The building was originally an abandoned inn before new owners took over and transformed it into one of the best hotels to see the Northern Lights.
It’s also one of the most modern and spellbinding hotels you’ll ever see in your life! The embodiment of contemporary design merging with Iceland’s spectacular natural landscape, the hotel offers incredible views of Reykjavik and the surrounding volcanoes while also incorporating many sustainable practices that you can feel good about.
Most of the building’s vertical surfaces are made of glass, creating the ideal environment for spontaneous Northern Light spotting. But for the best views, head to the Northern Lights Bar at the end of the hotel. This part of the building boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and astounding views of the gorgeous countryside that surrounds the hotel.
11. Have a Northern Lights Party with your Friends at the Lyngen Experience Lodge in Norway
If you’re celebrating an extra special occasion or you just want to splash out on an unbelievable experience, book the entire Lyngen Experience Lodge for your friends, family, colleagues, or whoever you choose to invite!
At this unique Northern Lights hotel, you and your guests will have the complete property all to yourselves, and your experience will be enhanced by an on-site chef ready to whip up whatever your heart desires and an expert guide keen to show you the best that Norway’s Lyngen Peninsula has to offer.
You don’t have to book the complete lodge out to use it. If you choose to stay in one of the rooms, you can sign up for the hotel’s Northern Lights Experience. Some trained astronomers will take you to the hotel’s exclusive tent located in the woods. Here you’ll make a fire to keep warm and watch the sky as you sip hot cocoa, waiting for the Aurora Borealis to make an appearance.
12. Swim Under the Northern Lights at The Retreat Hotel at Blue Lagoon in Iceland
If you’ve ever looked into visiting Iceland before, you’ve probably heard of the Blue Lagoon. But did you know that there’s also a Blue Lagoon hotel?
Known as the Retreat Hotel, this phenomenal building is made up of trendy apartment blocks which are surrounded by the blissfully warm waters of the Blue Lagoon. You can literally swim around the hotel and right up to your room – even in the middle of winter!
Take a dip in the healing waters created by centuries-old lava canyons at night, and you just might be lucky enough to spot the Northern Lights. Even if you don’t see a single colorful wave, this experience is one you’ll want to hold onto forever.
As well as the sophisticated accommodation and surrounding geothermal waters, the hotel also boasts a subterranean spa where you can experience float therapy, indulge in one of the many treatments carried out with mineral-rich products, or treat yourself to a relaxing massage. When it comes to the best Northern Lights hotels, Retreat Hotel is something special!
13. Get Away from it All at the Aurora Village in Finland
Rovaniemi is the place that most people will recommend when you tell them you want to visit Finland. But if it’s the Northern Lights you’re seeking, you’re best off staying away from the city. Hidden away from the big lights, the Aurora Village is around 3 hours north of Rovaniemi, a peaceful place that’s shrouded in darkness the moment the sun sets.
This Instagrammable village boasts a small number of yurt-style wooden cabins with glass panels that allow the mesmerizing green hues of the Northern Lights to shine through. While you’ll have a perfect view of the show from your bed, the hotel also features a number of remote walking trails, so you can venture out into the forest and check out the view from somewhere new.
So you can make the absolute most of your trip, the Aurora Village organizes loads of fun excursions. There are snowmobile safaris, snowshoe tours, sleigh excursions, ice swimming, and husky sledding to choose from. If you’d rather stay local, you can unwind in the hotel’s outdoor hot tub or glass-roofed sauna instead.
14. Float in the Heart of Sweden’s Lapland at Arctic Bath
Taking advantage of all the wonderful resources that surround it, Arctic Bath is a unique Northern Lights hotel that invites you to enjoy Sweden’s beautiful nature while making the smallest environmental impact possible. What makes this hotel stand out from the crowd is its one-of-a-kind design – and the fact that most of the place is floating on water!
This is easily one of the coolest hotels to see the Northern Lights. The main building is in the shape of a circle, with an open-air pool in the center.
Follow the jetty that leaves off the main building, and you’ll discover six intimate floating cabins with direct access to the water via a ladder. If you’d rather keep your feet on dry land, there are other non-floating cabins available with floor-to-ceiling windows, ideal for spotting the Aurora Borealis.
As if the hotel wasn’t outstanding enough, it also offers all kinds of exclusive excursions you won’t find anywhere else. Here you can do everything from learning moose calling and how to make your own herbal tea to visiting an alpaca farm and discovering the best local edible flowers.
That completes our list of the 14 best hotels to see the Northern Lights! Have you stayed in a cool Northern Lights hotel? Comment below and tell us about your experience!
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