Best Countries to Photograph the Northern Lights

It’s hard to imagine a more spectacular sight than the northern lights.  They are so mysterious to many, and their beauty shines without a doubt.  Watching the waves of colour dance among the stars in the night sky is as rewarding an experience as exists in this world. and should be on everyone’s bucket list.  But where can you go to photograph the northern lights?  

I’ve got you covered on some locations around the world to see the aurora borealis at their best.


Finland is likely the most popular of the countries offering trips to see the northern lights.

The tourism industry geared towards trips out to see the beautiful lights are more developed here than other countries as well.  The starting point for most people heading to Finland to see the sky come alive is Lapland which has come alive in tourism activity over the past decade thanks to the fact that many believe that the lights dance more powerfully here than anywhere else in the world.  

That being said, while Finland might be the best country in the world to see the northern lights, it’s maybe not the best place to photograph them. This all comes down to the fact that the best northern lights photos tend to have an impressive foreground. Aurora photos from Finland tend to just be the lights.


I was lucky enough to grow up in a place that the northern lights tend to dance.  Each winter, if you head to Canada you’ll have a great chance to see them.  However, you should note that going to see the northern lights means going north.  Add to that the fact that these lights come alive only in the winter time means that you need to be prepared for the cold.  Still, northern Canada is a great place to see the lights while also getting to learn about the local Native Canadian history up in the arctic as well.

The best place in Canada to see the northern lights is up in the Yukon. It’s dry, you get clear skies and the auroras dance all winter. However, the best place to photograph the northern lights in Canada is likely in Jasper National Park. There, you’ve got some amazing foregrounds and mountain scenes to work with for your photos.


While you can pretty much go anywhere in Scandinavia to see the northern lights, Norway can also offer people a lot more than just the lights.  This is a great place to go and check out some amazing scenery and landscapes at the same time.  Norway is famous for its massively deep fjords and dizzyingly high cliffs.  Combine the possibility to see both landscape and light in one trip and you’ve got yourself a real holiday.  The people of Norway are very much used to catering to tourism, and the treatment you’ll receive in the country is top notch.  Personally, I think that the best adventure you can have in visiting the northern lights is right here in Norway.

Personally, I recommend the Lofoten Islands or Tromso area if you’re looking for northern lights. It’s pretty easily accessible on a flight from Oslo, and there are some incredible scenes for the photos.


Want to really go off the beaten path to see the northern lights?  Look no further than heading to Greenland.  The country is as quirky as they come and it would be a great experience to dive into what life is like on the massive island while at the same time enjoying one of the natural wonders of the world.

I think Greenland actually might be the best place in the world for the northern lights. Not only do you have really good visibility, but there are also some stunning scenes to photograph them.


I almost didn’t include Iceland into this list. The weather in Iceland is really intense and it’s not really a guarantee you’ll see the northern lights here. In fact, the issue here is rarely the aurora activity. Instead, your issue is cloud cover and bad weather.

That said, when the northern lights do come out, you can find yourself in the most epic landscape in the world with the lights dazzling above you. So, while I might not go to Iceland searching for the northern lights specifically, they are an awesome bonus to an already incredible natural experience.

Tools for Photographing the Northern Lights

There are a bunch of apps that make finding the northern lights a whole lot easier. The first one is called Clear Outside. And while this app isn’t exactly a northern lights finder, it does let you know what the cloud cover situation is going to look like. It also deciphers between low, medium and high level clouds.

The second app is called Aurora Pro. And honestly, you don’t need the paid version. This app will tell you the aurora levels and strength. It will also tell you your chances of seeing them at your current location. It also provides a map of where there is aurora activity.

Of course, it should be noted that there doesn’t need to be crazy aurora activity to see the northern lights when you’re as far north as most of the places on the list. So, just head outside and have a look through your camera. Odds are, they’re up there.