Finland – Safaris to see northern lights in Rovaniemi and Lapland

If you are going to make a winter trip to Lapland in Finland , it is sure that seeing northern lights is one of your goals.

But from the outset you should know that it is not always possible.

Northern lights in Finnish Lapland
Northern lights in Finnish Lapland


This is something that you must have clear from the beginning, and we had it when we started our recent trip to Rovaniemi , in this region of northern Finland .

Photo tour to hunt northern lights in Rovaniemi
Photo tour to hunt northern lights in Rovaniemi

The city of Rovaniemi , of about 50,000 inhabitants, is located next to the line that marks the Arctic Circle ,

Precisely the visit of this imaginary line is one of the attractions of the trip, especially when today said geographical location is located within the peculiar theme park that is Santa Claus Village .

How to see northern lights in Rovaniemi

Therefore one of the first maxims you need to see aurora borealis is met, which is to find you as far north as possible from the globe.

What’s more, the city of Rovaniemi announces that you have up to 200 days a year with the possibility of enjoying this great spectacle of nature.

The ideal time to see the Northern Lights extends from the end of August to the beginning of April.

You should know that the aurora borealis is the result of the collision of the solar wind with the Earth , after which the wind moves through the sphere created by the magnetic force that emerges from the planet’s core and exits through the two poles.

Photo tour to hunt northern lights in Rovaniemi
Photo tour to hunt northern lights in Rovaniemi

In the very interesting Arktikum museum of Rovaniemi you have a graphic scientific explanation of how the northern lights are formed, besides being able to see in your audience a spectacular multimedia presentation of this natural phenomenon.

Therefore, the farther north you are, the easier it will be to see auroras, which has also been facilitated by great solar activity in recent years.

Now, there is another maxim that is that the sky is crashed; if it is covered by clouds, it will be impossible for you to see the northern lights .

For this reason, when you travel to an ideal place to see them as is the Finnish Lapland , you will be at the expense of the weather.

For this reason, this winter trip has to do it to places with enough attractions of visits or activities, as is the case of the aforementioned Rovaniemi , so that if you finally see northern lights, it will be the sweet that will complete a good experience.

Northern lights in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland
Northern lights in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland

Well, indeed, when you get to Rovaniemi , or other corners of Finnish Lapland , like the city of Kemi where we were also, is very wide and diverse the offer you have of excursions, called safaris , to “hunt” the northern lights .

In our case, we participated in a couple of safaris that also had that purpose.

Yes, you must bear in mind that all these excursions are carried out with guides in English, but I assure you by their characteristics, the language is not going to be any inconvenience to enjoy this phenomenon of nature.

Northern Lights photo tour

The first of the excursions we participated in was a photo tour of northern lights that became a true “Northern Lights hunt” aboard a van.

This photographic tour that lasts between 4 and 5 hours departs every night about 20 hours from the Coti Cot Hostel , where we were staying.

Photo tour to hunt northern lights in Rovaniemi
Photo tour to hunt northern lights in Rovaniemi

During the same we toured various sites around Rovaniemi .

The tour is for a maximum of 7 people, and in the same you are guided by an expert photographer.

Previously, they provide you with the adequate clothing to withstand the nighttime cold (it is usual to have a temperature of -7 / -15 degrees).


In other words, you will have a thick winter jumpsuit, snow boots, gloves and a hat, as well as a head lamp that will give you the necessary light to move in the dark through the forest.

As I said at the beginning, the weather is a major factor when it comes to seeing or not aurora borealis.

If the forecasts are negative, with a completely cloudy or snowing sky, the excursion is done anyway, since the photographer guide will advise you on how to take nocturnal photographs of winter landscapes.

Fire camp to hunt northern lights
Fire camp to hunt northern lights

With the necessary equipment, including camera and the essential tripod, which can also provide you, on board the van we left the city to look for our first landscape enclave to see northern lights, next to a frozen lake.

I will tell you that the weather was quite negative because the whole day was completely cloudy and the forecast is that it was going to snow.

But the certain thing is that when arriving at this scene, already far from the lights of the city, and after installing the tripod, we saw how little by little the sky was opening and the stars were appearing.

Also, when we took the first pictures we found that the hazy image we saw in the sky was actually an aurora.

And in fact, little by little the sky was covered with a very soft green color, hardly appreciated by the view, but clearly reflected in the photos.

Undoubtedly it was a great surprise and the realization that, regardless of bad forecasts, it is worth trying the ” aurora borealis hunting “, of course if you are in a feasible area for it, as is Rovaniemi or Lapland of Finland .

Snowmobile tour to see northern lights in Rovaniemi
Snowmobile tour to see northern lights in Rovaniemi

When the sky began to cloud again, we raised the photographic camp and in the van we went to another couple of different scenarios, to see if we were lucky, the last of them located almost 60 kilometers away from the city.

In these cases the sky was already completely cloudy and it began to snow, which did not prevent us from doing various night photography tests .

Finally, before returning to Rovanimi we arrive at a lavvu , the typical circular shop of the Sami, where with the heat of a fire we sausage and a typical hot infusion of blueberries.

But in Rovaniemi and in Lapland you have many other alternatives to this excursion that combine different types of activities .

Safari aurora borealis by snowmobile

Fire camp to hunt northern lights
Fire camp to hunt northern lights

Starting from the center of Rovaniemi, and after getting dressed in the right clothes, a long line of hikers went aboard the snowmobiles driving on a frozen river.

On this occasion we had no luck because the sky was completely covered and a light snow fell.

That did not prevent us from enjoying the driving of the snowmobile , more when we left the river and went through narrow paths of the forest until we reached a place where there was a Sami tent camp .

We went back to enjoying the rite of lighting the fire and eating sausages and hot drinks, as well as other snacks , which undoubtedly helped to withstand the cold, before returning to Rovaniemi on the snowmobiles to complete an excursion of about three hours.

In summary, the northern lights tour should be an essential activity in your winter trip to Rovaniemi .