The Best Hotels to See the Northern Lights in the World

Sunday, 1st September 2019

Doug Kington

northern norway malangen resort aurora over fjord

Imagine waking up in a suspended glass cube – high in the treetops, or falling asleep under an aurora display inside a cosy glass igloo – there really is nothing more relaxing than spending the night amongst truly spectacular surrounds.

From the icy fjords of northern Iceland to the frozen lakes of Swedish Lapland and the wilds of Canada, with over 38 years’ experience in travelling to the northern climes, we’ve found some truly superb accommodations for catching sight of the northern lights.

Hotel Ranga, South West Iceland

iceland south west hotel ranga northern lights

Great for: Location is ideal, just a 90-minute drive from Reykjavik, yet deep in the countryside and away from the light pollution of the city. Ranga also has its own star-gazing observatory, outdoor hot tubs, and gourmet restaurant with one of the most delicious and exciting menus in the country.

Why is it good for seeing the Northern Lights?

Hotel Ranga is one of Iceland’s most sought-after hotels to experience the lights. Located far away from light pollution, this charming hotel has very favourable conditions for viewing a display of the northern lights. With an Aurora door knocking service that will wake you up should the lights appear, it’s no wonder Ranga has earned an enviable reputation for being a remarkable place for any Aurora hunter.

We recommend: The Suites. As well as standard and deluxe rooms, Ranga has 7 stylish suites, each with a unique design based on the seven continents. Styled using beautiful and authentic décor and furnishings.

Take me to Hotel Ranga »

ICEHOTEL, Swedish Lapland

sweden lapland icehotel northern lights rth
Aurora over the Icehotel

Great for: Those wanting to tick off a bucket-list experience! This unique hotel offers guests the chance to sleep in a room made of pure snow and ice or ‘snice’. With different designs every year, each stay is a one-of-a-kind experience. Combine with Abisko National Park, where northern lights viewing is second to none, for the ultimate aurora experience.

Why is it good for seeing the Northern Lights?

The ICEHOTEL is located in Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost town, located 200km of the Arctic Circle. Kiruna is often citied by space scientists and travel experts as the best place in the world for the northern lights. The hotel offers various excursions to catch the phenomenon in natural settings away from light pollution, including a trip to the nearby Aurora Sky Station in Abisko, which experiences active northern lights also every evening from October through to March.

We recommend: Venturing out on the Northern Lights Snowmobiling tour – a 4 hour adventure in search of the elusive aurora with food and hot lingonberry juice provided inside a cosy log cabin with a fireplace to warm up!

Take me to the Icehotel » 

Treehotel, Swedish Lapland

sweden treehotel cube graeme richardson
The nearby Treehotel

Great for: Feeling a real connection with nature among the peace and quiet of the surrounding forest. There are a variety of unique ‘rooms’ to choose from, which vary in size and design. If you’re feeling particularly active – you can also take part in a host of thrilling activities available.

Why is it good for seeing the Northern Lights?

Located in Lulea, in northern Sweden, the Treehotel is far away from the hustle and bustle of tourists and city lights. Not only is it far away from light pollution but this stunning property offers a rare wilderness adventure. Surround by striking landscapes and views overlooking the Lule River valley, guests can admire the northern lights in seven differently themed suites. Including a Bird’s Nest, a Blue Cone, a futuristic UFO, and the 7th room—the largest and the highest room that boasts panoramic windows.

We recommend: The Mirrorcube (pictured). A fun and spacious room, with floor-to-ceiling reflective windows that appear to camouflage the structure from the outside – clever! Keep watch for the aurora through the glass ceiling, as you relax in style.

Take me to the Treehotel »

Malangen Resort, Northern Norway

malangen resort camp nikka at night aurora

Great for: Stunning natural surrounds and chic properties, within a relatively short drive from the popular fishing town of Tromso. Located near the small village of Meistervik, Malangen Resort is an aurora hunter’s idyll. From stylish and spacious rooms to apartments to modern cabins overlooking the mountains and fjord beyond, be sure to keep an eye out for porpoises swimming nearby!

Why is it good for seeing the Northern Lights?
Located an hour-and-a-half’s drive south of the Arctic capital Tromso, is Malangen Resort, northern Norway’s most luxurious wilderness retreat. If you’re looking for a magical escape to a real-life winter wonderland, this is it. One of the best activities available at Malangen is aurora-chasing with the wilderness guides, you will venture up to Camp Nikka, the resort’s remote hilltop base, keep your eyes out for a light show.

We recommend: Seaview Cabins. Featuring three bedrooms, these rooms are perfect for groups or families. Each cabin has a private balcony, making the perfect place to watch an aurora display over the mountains and fjord directly in front of you. For a truly amazing aurora experience, book a Northern Light Watch excursion. Watch out for an enchanting display in a specially designed aurora cabin (pictured), or opt for an aurora wake-up service throughout the night.

Take me to Malangen » 

Nellim Wilderness Hotel, Finnish Lapland

finland lapland northern lights over nellim 1

Great for: An authentic Lapland experience. Cosseted by Finnish wilderness, this family-run hotel, set on the shores of the beautiful Lake Inari, offer the ultimate in relaxation for families, couples and groups alike. Choose to do as much or as little as you wish at this charming and welcoming retreat.

Why is it good for seeing the Northern Lights?
Close to the shores of Lake Inari, and just nine kilometres from the Russian border, Nellim is a small family-run hotel very much off the beaten track.  It’s remote location and lack of light pollution, means it’s in an ideal sport for potential northern lights viewing. Nellim offers innovative ways to view the northern lights, including Aurora Camps, which provide unobstructed views of the night sky.

We recommend: Rustic Log Cabins. Equipped with a sitting area, kitchen, fireplace and sauna; enjoy the comfort and convenience of your surrounds before heading outside for the chance to catch an immense aurora display.

Take me to Nellim »

Hotel Husafell, West Iceland

west iceland hotel husafell northern lights

Great for: Exploring West Iceland’s natural gems including Langjokull icecap and Hraunfossar waterfall. Hotel Husafell uses 100% pure energy from spring-fed hydroelectricity and geothermal heating, while natural hot water from nearby mountains is piped into fabulous geothermal pools next door.

Why is it good for seeing the Northern Lights?

We recommend: The restaurant, which serves outstanding food and imaginative dishes, rich in local produce and flavours, accompanied by wraparound mountain views.

Take me to Hotel Husafell »

Blachford Lake Lodge, Canada

blachford lake lodge exterior against northern lights

Great for: Discovering Canada’s wilderness in the Northwest Territories, one of the country’s best spots for northern lights viewing. Perched on the shores of Blachford Lake, right beneath the auroral oval, this remote eco-lodge is accessed by floatplane.

Why is it good for seeing the Northern Lights?

One of the world’s best locations to behold the aurora borealis, Canada is home to 80-90% of all accessible land located under the Aurora Oval, —producing the world’s brightest and most frequent displays of the northern lights. Head to Yellowknife, which is known as the “Aurora Capital of North America,” thanks to its prime location and excellent viewing conditions. Blachford Lake Lodge only accessible by bush plane on skis in the winter and floats in the summer and enables you to watch out for the lights all night long.

We recommend: Aurora watching from the comfort of your bed – the guest rooms have huge windows with expansive views. There are also two aurora viewing decks upstairs so you don’t miss a thing!

Take me to Blachford Lake Lodge »

Chena Hot Springs Resort, Alaska

alaska chena winter3

Great for: Combining aurora hunting with relaxing in the resort’s healing mineral waters. Originally founded over 100 years ago, the resort continues to attract people from all over the world to bathe in its warm mineral waters.

Why is it good for seeing the Northern Lights?

Located in Fairbanks, Alaska, the Chena Hot Springs Resort sits under the Aurora Oval offering some of the best opportunities to see the northern lights in the world. Alaska’s northern lights season is between mid-September and late April, peaking in March meaning you do just have to visit in winter to try and get a glimpse of the lights.

We recommend: Soaking in the natural hot springs of Rock Lake or the outdoor hot tub, making use of the indoor family pool or booking a massage treatment.

Take me to Chena Hot Springs Resort »

Feeling inspired?

For more information on any of the featured hotels, or for help with finding your perfect room with a view, speak to one of our dedicated Travel Specialists on 01737 214 250, or send an enquiry.

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