Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

6 of the best Northern Lights holidays in Finland

The best ways to enjoy the natural phenomenon in this Nordic setting

Chris Wilson
Wednesday 04 October 2023 16:12 BST
Winter is the perfect time to see the aurora borealis in Finland
Winter is the perfect time to see the aurora borealis in Finland (Getty Images)

One of the world’s most spectacular natural phenomena, the Northern Lights are a bucket-list sight for many travellers.

And part of the draw of this rare experience is the fact that in order to see it, you usually have to travel to some of the most remote, wild and wintry places in the Northern Hemisphere.

One such place is Finland; specifically Finnish Lapland. Situated far above the Arctic Circle, much of this region sits in the so-called ‘Aurora Belt’ – an area between 60 and 70 degrees latitude where the Lights are most commonly seen.

It offers an amazing range of landmarks and landscapes to explore, from towering fells and placid lakes to charming Finnish villages and even the home of Santa Claus himself.

There’s plenty to do as well, whether you prefer the idea of husky sledding, cross-country skiing or heading to museums.

If you want to experience the aurora borealis in a real-life winter wonderland, then read on; we’ve rounded up some of the best places to go for a Finnish Northern Lights holiday.


Saariselka sits around 120 miles above the Arctic Circle (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Located high above the Arctic Circle, Saariselka is a resort village that acts as a gateway to the mountains of the Urho Kekkonen National Park. The village itself provides opportunities for skiing, hiking and spa visits, but from autumn until March it is also a superb place to see the Northern Lights – and as such is one of Finland’s most popular Lights destinations.

The Aurora Zone’s Autumn Lights trip is the ideal option for a last-minute pre-Christmas getaway. To maximise your chance of seeing the Lights, you’ll stay in a glass-roofed Aurora Cabin, and in your free time you can pick from a range of added activities (at an additional cost). These include a variety of Lights excursions, hikes, husky rides and day trips to the town of Nellim and the national park.

From £595pp, excluding flights. Price includes three nights’ accommodation, half board, and airport transfers. Departing any time up to 10 November.

Read more on travel inspiration:


Rovaniemi is a great choice for a winter getaway with kids (Getty Images)

Self-styled as the “Home of Santa Claus”, Rovaniemi is the ideal place to take young kids if you’re looking to combine a festive getaway with a spot of Northern Lights hunting. December is right in the middle of Lights season, with the added bonus of offering the chance to visit Father Christmas and his home at the Santa Claus Village, decked in multicoloured lights and brimming with festive cheer.

The five-day Lapland break from Nordic Visitor focuses on Rovaniemi and the surrounding area, with the highlights being various aurora tours and evening husky sledding or snowmobile safaris. Day three includes a visit to the Santa Claus Village, while there’s plenty of free-time for other leisure activities (or to continue hunting the Lights if you haven’t managed to see them on the first days).

From £1,596pp including four nights’ accommodation, B&B, dog sledding and reindeer farm excursions, one dinner and all transfers. Departing throughout the year.


Muonio has very little light pollution (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Muonio is a municipality in the far north of Finland which sits around 100 miles above the Arctic Circle. One of the most remote regions in this list – there are said to be around three times as many reindeer as people here – it’s a superb location for seeing the aurora, with very little light pollution and an abundance of natural beauty, including towering mountains, over 200 lakes and one of Europe’s longest free-flowing rivers.

Regent Holidays offers a week-long trip to Muonio with its Ultimate Lapland Experience tour, promising a trip “full of Lappish culture, local food and a selection of the best winter activities available”. You’ll stay at the Jeris Lakeside Resort and will be able to go on a ride on a reindeer sled, husky sled and snowmobile, as well as partaking in snow hikes, aurora tours and a visit to Torassieppi’s Winter Village with its Ice Restaurant.

Prices from £2,430pp including seven nights’ accommodation, return flights to Helsinki and Kittila, all meals, all transfers and excursions. Departing until early April.


Yllas is a fell that stands over 700m tall (Getty Images)

Yllas is a 719m tall mountain located between two small villages, Yllasjarvi and Akaslompolo. But it is also the name of the highest – and second-largest – ski resort in Finland, with 500km of trails over 61 slopes. The chances of seeing the Lights here are high, especially as the area turns off lights especially to make the nights that little bit darker.

Inghams provides a range of packages to Yllas that combine skiing with comfortable stays in log cabins and opportunities to see the Northern Lights. Most of the usual activities are on offer for an additional cost, including husky sledding, visits to reindeer farms and several Lights excursions. Lift passes are priced at £205 in low season, which runs from 8 January to 9 February. Though cabins are usually self-catered, half or full board can be added at the time of booking.

From £798pp including seven nights’ accommodation and return flights from London Gatwick. Departing 7 January.


Inari sits within the wider indigenous Sami region (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Around 40 miles from Saariselka sits Inari, known as the centre of Lapland’s indigenous Sami culture. This area of striking natural beauty includes the beautiful Lake Inari, Ukko island and part of the Lemmenjoki National Park, though one of the highlights is undoubtedly the village itself, where visitors can learn all about Sami culture.

The four-day Winter Wonderland Escape package from Where The Wild Is provides travellers with Northern Lights hunts, guided wilderness safaris and a chance to visit the village on visitors’ “free” day.

From £1,755pp including four nights’ accommodation, all meals, guided husky safari and snowmobile safari, a sauna experience and all transfers. Departing until early March.


Levi is a popular cross-country skiing resort (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Levi is another large Finnish ski resort, which is particularly popular with tourists. It opens in early October – usually closing in mid-May – and is suitable for every level of skier, from complete beginners to experienced off-piste adventurers, with 44 different slopes. Other potential activities include husky rides, ice karting and reindeer safaris.

But while much of the focus in this area is on skiing, the region has its own Northern Lights Village around 10 miles from Levi. This is where guests stay during the Aurora Zone’s tailor-made trip, in a glass-roofed cabin to maximise the chance of seeing the Lights. This trip can be tailored exactly to your needs, with available activities including a range of aurora hunts – whether in the wilderness, with snowshoes or on snowmobiles – and a short cross-country skiing tour that is also suitable for beginners.

From £1,265 including three nights’ accommodation, half board, return flights from the UK and all transfers. Departing until 31 March.

Read our reviews of the best hotels in Europe

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in