Top places to see the northern lights

The northern lights are an incredible natural phenomenon that usually occur on clear winter evenings in the polar regions. However part of their appeal is that they are so elusive. So if you've only got a short holiday to take, where are the places that will give you the best chance of seeing the lights?

Best places to see the northern lights

Tromso, Norway - Local guide Kjetil Skogli goes out of his way to find clear skies. Most other tour operators restrict their search area and if the sky's not clear, you're out of luck. For a four-day northern lights tour including return flights from London Heathrow to Tromso (via Oslo), expect to pay around £650 per person.

Kiruna, Sweden - Kiruna is a pretty little mining town 200km north of the Arctic circle. However it is best known by foreigners for its proximity to the Ice Hotel in the village of Jukkasjärvi. You'll have to get out of town a little to see the lights, but this isn't a problem as there are dozens of operators offering evening tours to see the lights, including husky sled tours and snowmobile tours. A cold room in the Ice Hotel starts at £140 per person per night.

Iceland - Due to its northerly location, the northern lights can regularly be seen right across Iceland, including in the country's capital, Reykjavik. Light pollution means that they won't be as vivid here as elsewhere, but it is a lively city and a great base for a long weekend. Icelandair has return flights from London, Glasgow or Manchester to Reykjavik from £228.

Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada - Travel by snowmobile one hour north of Lake Superior for a great chance of seeing the northern lights. Archers Direct has a nine-day polar bear northern lights tour from £3,240 including all flights and transfers, and Discover the World has a four-night polar bear/northern lights tour for £1,944 per person with flights.

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