Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
A common bucket list item for people around the world is to see the remarkable Northern Lights. Although many immediately think of Iceland, Norway or Alaska as the place to go to see them, it is actually Greenland that has some of the best viewing opportunities.
How to see the Northern Lights
From the end of August through to the beginning of April, it is possible to experience nature’s swirling, dancing light show throughout Destination Arctic Circle. Kangerlussuaq’s dry climate means it has around 300 clear nights per year making it one of the best places in all of Greenland for a successful viewing. That said, Maniitsoq and Sisimiut are also known for their spectacular Aurora Borealis displays during clear nights.
The appearance of the Northern Lights is completely dependent on having clear, dark skies and the level of activity of the Sun. There is no guarantee that they will appear at any particular time or in any particular place, nor how strong they will be if they do appear. However, if you want an indication of what you might expect, download one of the many apps that offer Northern Lights forecasts. Our favourite is the Northern Light Aurora Forecast (iOS/Android). Generally, a Kp number between 2 and 5 offers the best chance of seeing them.
With this in mind and once it is dark enough, simply go outside, monitor the skies from wherever you are, have patience, and you may be able to see their characteristic green glow. If they are strong, you can actually see them from the centre of Sisimiut, but they will be brighter and more obvious if you are not surrounded by artificial light.
Northern Lights Tours
For the best possible experience, it is a good idea to join a Northern Lights tour. The guides take you out of town to the darkest sites, provide hot drinks to keep the cold at bay while you wait, explain a little about what causes the Northern Lights, and often relate stories about the Northern Lights from Greenlandic folklore.
Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) Operators
The following companies offer Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) tours in the region: