Home Blog Where to See the Northern Lights: Spring Equinox

Where to See the Northern Lights: Spring Equinox

Monday, 6th November 2023

finland northern lights3 vf

The northern lights may be synonymous with the darkest winter months, but the spring equinox in March is actually one of the best times of year to see nature’s light show. Find out why and where to experience your own equinox aurora. 

There are two equinoxes each year – the autumn equinox in September and the spring, or vernal, equinox. Equinox literally means ‘equal night’ in Latin: it’s when we experience equal hours of day and night, roughly 12 hours of each, across the world.

Not only is an equinox a significant astronomical event, it’s great news for aurora hunters, too. Around the time of the autumn or spring equinox, the chances of northern lights sightings are good, often with brighter and stronger displays on the cards to boot. It’s all thanks to the magnetic field of the solar wind change – which causes the northern lights – reaching optimum configuration during an equinox.

The science behind the aurora borealis has fascinated physicists and star gazers for centuries, but witnessing these ethereal lights for yourself is a visceral experience. It is the elusive nature of these lights that makes the hunt and anticipation of seeing them so tantalising. There’s no guarantee they’ll make an appearance, no matter how meticulous your trip planning, but travelling around one of the two equinoxes is a good place to start.

Whether you want to keep an eye on the long-term aurora forecast and book a last-minute trip, or plan ahead and ensure you’re in a prime location next March, here’s our pick of the places to see the northern lights during the spring equinox.

iceland northern lights over snaefellsjokull rth


When it comes to booking an aurora-hunting holiday, Iceland has it all. It offers a perfect blend of opportunities for adventure, relaxation and picturesque road trips – as well as excellent conditions for northern lights spotting, with milder temperatures than Scandinavia at the same time of year. Just a three-hour flight from the UK, a long weekend visit is very much doable – making it ideal for a last-minute aurora getaway this spring equinox.

If you’ve only got a few days…

Northern Lights, Glaciers and Waterfalls is one of our most popular self-drives from October to April. It’s a four-day trip that’s been designed with viewing the northern lights in mind. Stay at Hotel Husafell, an irresistible bolthole in the west of Iceland surrounded by nature including Hraunfossar waterfall and near to Langjokull glacier. You can even ask the hotel to give you a wake-up call if the aurora make an appearance when you’re asleep.

Alternatively, let an expert guide show you Iceland’s natural wonders on a 7-day exploration of the south and west. Explore the best of west and south as you discover the Golden Circle, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the Blue Lagoon, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and black lava beaches.

iceland west hraunfossar in april istk


Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if there was somewhere way up north – say in Swedish Lapland – bang in the middle of the auroral oval (the sweet spot for the northern lights) where the night skies were usually clear and you could perhaps stand on top of a mountain, miles from any artificial light, to get a really good view of the night sky? Well, it just so happens that such a place does exist. It’s called Abisko National Park. Not only does Abisko have more nights of clear skies than anywhere in Europe, but its Aurora Sky Station provides the perfect grandstand for aurora seekers. A chairlift ride takes you to the top of the mountain, where you can spend the evening gazing skyward, with the option to dine at the station.

For a truly unique place to stay

Not far from Abisko, the Icehotel is not only a bucket list place to stay, with it’s exquisitely sculpted ice suites, but it is also a hub for winter activities ranging from ice sculpting to a snowmobile safari tracking down the northern lights. For the best of both worlds, choose our Northern Lights, Abisko and Icehotel short break.

sweden lapland abisko aurora sky station pr


Wide open spaces, hardly any light pollution and dramatic scenery is the north of Norway in a nutshell. It’s as good for northern lights viewing as it sounds. You’ll find excellent aurora excursions from the vibrant city of Tromso, or combine with a stay on at a fjordside resort. For something out of the ordinary, head to Longyearbyen on the Svalbard archipelago. At stay in this remote, yet diverse and well facilitated town, provides a taste of life in the High Arctic. Though in March, the days are extending, the aurora can still be seen.

For something really special…

Bookmark Norwegian Coastal Voyage for next year’s spring equinox. It’s been described as the world’s most beautiful sea voyage – not least because you’ll get the chance to see the northern lights dancing in the skies above the wide-open seas from deck.

norway lofoten hut with aurora istk


The northern lights are no stranger to Finnish Lapland, putting in an appearance roughly 200 times throughout the year, so statistics tell us. So head here during an equinox and it’s likely you’ll be in for a real treat. There’s some fantastic accommodation ranging from log cabins to specially designed aurora cabins that allow you to gaze at the aurora from the comfort – and warmth – of your bed. A host of winter activities from snowmobiling to husky sledding provide the daytime entertainment.

For a cosy place to stay…

The Iso-Syote Winter Hideaway is one of our best-selling trips, and it’s easy to see why. Stay in a cosy log cabin with panoramic views of the lakes and forests of the beautiful Syote National Park, complete with big skies and hardly any light pollution for the all-important aurora gazing.

finland northern lights3 vf


Further to travel and best combined with a longer exploration, the vast wilderness of Canada’s Yukon Territory provides a compelling location for an aurora adventure holiday. The country’s northern provinces extend deep into the Arctic Circle, with idyllic snow-covered scenery for the perfect backdrop to the northern lights.

To get away from it all…

The Northwest Territories are remote, but right under the aurora oval, so you’re chances of being treated to the northern lights are good – all in the middle of the epic wilderness.

blachford lake lodge aurora


Looking for the ultimate winter adventure with a difference? Step forward, Alaska. The sparsely populated state is like nowhere else in the world, with part of it located right under the aurora oval. Base yourself in Fairbanks for an aurora hunt, though the lights do put in an appearance all over the state.

For something completely different…

Combine a northern lights quest with the unique spectacle of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. It includes two evenings of aurora hunting and the chance to get an insider’s look at a race across the world’s toughest terrain.

alaska northern lights istk

Start planning

Take a look at all our northern lights holidays or let our Travel Specialists help you plan your perfect aurora hunt – what they don’t know about the northern lights isn’t worth knowing. Give them a call on 01737 214 250 or send us an enquiry.