The lights can bee seen both from the North and South, however, there is no b&b or cabin to rent in Antarctica, which makes the Southern Lights or Aurora Australis very difficult to hunt. That’s why this page only cover the Northern locations where the Aurora Borealis can be seen.
When? When it’s dark! In order to see the lights the sky must be dark (and not cloudy), that’s why we have to go between October and March. Sometimes the tricky lady can show her face even when it’s not completely dark, but for that the intensity of the display should be very strong.
I hope the when question is answered.
Kp index is the measure for Global Geomagnetic Activity, the value can be between 0 and 9, in which 0 is no activity and 9 is storm levels. If you are on the northern part of Scandinavia, Iceland, North of Alaska or Canada you won’t need a Index more than 1 to be able to see the lights.
I live in Ireland and I saw the lights twice here, its NOT the same as in Northern Scandinavia but that’s what I got.
A fact that you have to bear in mind is the cloud coverage on the area you want to go, for example, Iceland is a fantastic location but, according to weather forecast, there’s a 70% chance of getting a cloudy sky, all year long.
If you want to go to Iceland to see the lights, be prepared to stay there for 10 days at least, then there will be less chances to go home frustrated than if you get a “3 night – Northern Lights Tour in Iceland”.
The regions I recommend:
Northern Norway, the Tromso region: If you go Inland in the Tromso region, you’ll find that the climate is dryer than on the coast, which makes a perfect place to see the lights. There are plenty of options of self catering accommodations or cabins around Lyngen Alps and Skibotn. I recommend the Strandbu camping site (the background picture of this website was taken inside the camping site!)
Northern Sweden, Abisko region: This region provides a great place to see the Aurora, because of it’s mountains and lakes the climate there is much more dryer than it’s surroundings. There is a HI hostel there and you can pay ~35 Euro/night to stay there.
Northern Finland, all areas: Finish Lapland is well known for its Auroras. Just because it’s on the Aurora Zone and the climate there is very dry compared to Norway and Sweden. But for being dryer it means it’s a lot colder too, so be prepared with proper clothes and shoes!