The Most Magical Places to Sleep Under the Northern Lights

Northern Lights over a cabin
Northern Lights over a cabin | © Patrick J. Endres / Getty Images
Jessica Wood

Many people include seeing the Northern Lights on their bucket list, as nothing can compare to the beauty, mystique, and rarity of the aurora borealis.

Thankfully, there are many hotels, cabins, and lodges where you can sleep and stay cosy while aurora-spotting. These are some of the best, and most unusual, places to stay while watching the polaris throughout Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and even Greenland.

For a chance to see the Northern Lights, join Culture Trip’s expertly curated five-day trip to Finnish Lapland. And even if the solar activity doesn’t play fair, you’ll still enjoy an incredible trip with highlights including husky sledding, hiking through the Korouoma canyon and visiting the Santa Claus Village.

1. Nellim Aurora Bubble, Finland

Hotel

Wilderness Hotel Nellim
Courtesy of Wilderness Hotel Nellim / Expedia
Wilderness Hotel Nellim in Inari offers guests the unique chance to stay in its Aurora Bubbles, which are like miniature hotel rooms in glass bubbles. Here you can fall asleep with a clear view of the night sky. It is a remote location in the far north of Finnish Lapland, but well worth the journey for the unspoiled view.

2. Northern Lights Village Aurora Cabin, Finland

Hotel, Cabin

Courtesy of Northern Lights Village / Expedia
This remote village is entirely built around viewing the polar lights while being completely immersed in Lapland nature. The aurora cabins are designed after traditional Lapland cabins, except for their glass roofs, allowing guests to watch the lights while lying comfortably in bed. Other Arctic activities on offer include reindeer sleighs, snowshoe hiking, husky safaris, ice fishing, excursions to local sites, and Northern Lights photography.

3. Treehotel, Sweden

Hotel, Cabin, Treehouse

Courtesy of Tree Hotel / Expedia
Treehotel offers several different treetop cabins, each in unique shapes and designs, from a UFO-shaped cabin, to the Bird’s Nest, designed to blend into the surroundings. There is even a tree sauna. Each room has comfortable, modern interiors and overlooks the surrounding valley and river and is perfect for watching the polar lights while feeling at one with nature.

4. Northern Light Inn, Iceland

Hotel

Northern Light Inn
Courtesy of Northern Light Inn
This inn, restaurant, and spa is only one minute away from the Blue Lagoon spa, which is heated by geothermal waters. The inn’s Wellness Spa also includes an aurora float isolation tank for pure relaxation. The inn is superbly located for watching the polaris, yet is only 45 minutes away from Reykjavik and 20 minutes from the airport.

5. Kirkenes Snowhotel, Norway

Boutique Hotel, Hotel, Cabin

Courtesy of Snowhotel Kirkenes / Expedia
This beautiful Arctic hotel contains wooden ‘gamme’ cabins, designed after traditional hunting lodges, with wide windows for Northern Lights viewing in a romantic setting. They blend into the surroundings so well that reindeer frequently wander straight past them. As well as the regular Arctic activities, there is a rare chance to go on a king crab fishing excursion. Aurora viewing trips are organised by the hotel.

6. Sorrisniva, Norway

Hotel

Courtesy of Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel / Expedia
Sorrisniva is an igloo hotel, with accommodation rebuilt entirely out of snow every winter. There’s a new theme each year and plenty of blankets provided. All the furniture is made from compacted snow and ice – even the drinking glasses in the bar. The hotel also hosts a snowmobile safari for watching the aurora, as well as a regular Northern Lights safari.

7. Hotel Rangá, Iceland

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

Nighttime view of wooden outbuildings at the Hotel Rangá, with the a long green stripe of the Northern Lights overhead.
© Hotel Rangá / Expedia

The beautiful wooden structure and interior decoration make this an ideal spot for a honeymoon or wedding while aurora gazing, with amazing wedding photo opportunities. Spotting Polaris is the main attraction at Hotel Rangá, which is so remote the view of the night sky is completely unobstructed.

8. Hotel Arctic, Greenland

Hotel

Courtesy of Hotel Arctic / Expedia
Greenland isn’t quite as popular with tourists, which is a shame as it offers fantastic views of the aurora. Hotel Arctic is the world’s northernmost four-star hotel and conference centre, next to the Unesco World Heritage Ilulissat Ice Fjord. As well as hotel rooms, there are igloo cabins right at the edge of the fjord, both of which have unforgettable views of the polaris and the passing icebergs.

9. Hamn I Senja, Norway

Hotel

Hamn I Senja
Courtesy of Hamn i Senja
One of the best recommended hotels in Norway, Hamn I Senja is located on a remote northern island, which boasts dazzling ocean scenery and magical views of the polar lights in apartment-style hotel rooms. The hotel has Northern Lights photography tours, which include hot drinks and snowshoes, and a short course on how to take aurora photos.

10. Golden Crown Igloos, Finland

Hotel

Levin Iglut
Courtesy of Levin Iglut
These igloos, made entirely of clear glass, offer unspoiled views of the Northern Lights and the surrounding fells. The resort is incredibly remote but only 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) away from the town of Levi with plenty of services available. At the same resort is the Northern Lights House, a modern holiday villa partially built into the ground with wide windows for aurora-gazing.

11. Hattvika Lodge, Norway

Apartment, Lodge

This lodge is located in a fishing village in the Lofoten Archipelago and still contains traditional fishing buildings. The apartment-style lodges combine the traditional Norwegian look with modern Scandinavian design and home comforts. Exploring this village and surrounding mountains provides plenty of places to view the Northern Lights.

12. Engholm Husky Lodge, Norway

Hotel

Courtesy of Engholm Husky Lodge / Expedia
Combining two Arctic activities into one holiday package, Engholm is made up of traditional log cabins and specialises in husky dog sled tours and expeditions. The remote location and romantic atmosphere also make it an ideal place to spot the aurora polaris, with snow-shoe tours available to book, while spending time with the huskies and locals.

13. Kemi Seaside Glass Villa, Finland

Villa

Courtesy of Kemi Seaside Glass Villa / Expedia
Kemi’s snowcastle is world-famous for being rebuilt from snow every year, but the nearby glass villas are an exceptional place to stay while spotting the Northern Lights. The snow-white huts with huge glass windows blend perfectly into the winter landscape and look over the Bay of Bothnia. Additionally, in the city of Kemi you can also visit the Gemstone Gallery and the Icebreaker Sampo.

14. Svinøya Rorbuer, Norway

Resort, Cabin

This resort is situated between the mountains and sea, with cabins built out of old, red, wooden fishing buildings overlooking the sea and harbour. Expert guides offer excursions to see the Northern Lights and tips on getting the best photos. There are also nature safaris through the fjords where you might also spot eagles.

15. Harriniva Aurora Dome, Finland

Camping, Eco-Lodge

Harriniva Hotels & Safari
Courtesy of Harriniva Hotels & Safari
Harriniva’s Aurora Domes specialise in ‘aurora glamping’. The domes are simple yet warm and comfortable igloo-shaped tents offer a chance to spot the lights over Lake Torassieppi. During the day, the hotel offers snowmobiles, husky sledging, and trips to reindeer farms.

Want more Northern Lights inspo? You can now ‘starbathe’ under them in your swimsuit!

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