The Most Magical Places to Sleep Under the Northern Lights

© Stephen Mcsweeny / Shutterstock
© Stephen Mcsweeny / Shutterstock
Photo of Jessica Wood
28 March 2018

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.

Nellim Aurora Bubble, Finland...

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Wilderness Hotel Nellim
Wilderness Hotel Nellim | Courtesy of Wilderness Hotel Nellim
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, where you can fall asleep with a clear view of the night sky. It is a highly remote location in the far north of Finnish Lapland, but well worth the journey for the unspoiled view.

Harriniva Aurora Dome, Finland...

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Harriniva Hotels & Safari
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.

Northern Lights Village Aurora Cabin, Finland...

Cabin, Hotel
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Northern Lights Village
Northern Lights Village | Courtesy of Northern Lights Village
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.

Hotel Arctic, Greenland...

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Arctic Hotel
Opgave: Prins Joachim og Prinsesse Marie, og de to Prinser Nikolai og Felix besøger Grønland Nordlys over Isfjorden, Ilulissat Dato: 19.3.2011 Sted: - Grønland Journalist: Henrik Salling Foto: Copyright : Martin Høien/Billed-Bladet | Courtesy of Arctic Hotel
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 4-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.

Treehotel, Sweden...

Hotel, Cabin, Treehouse
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Sweden, Lapland, Norrbotten County, Harads, Treehotel, Cabine hut
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
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.

Northern Light Inn, Iceland...

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Northern Light Inn
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.

Kirkenes Snowhotel, Norway...

Boutique Hotel, Cabin, Hotel
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Kirkenes Snowhotel
Kirkenes Snowhotel | Courtesy of Kirkenes Snowhotel
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 local 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 and aurora viewing trips are organised by the hotel.

Hamn I Senja, Norway...

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Hamn I Senja
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 offers Northern Lights photography tours, which include hot drinks and snowshoes, and a short course on how to take aurora photos.

Golden Crown Igloos, Finland...

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Levin Iglut
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 local 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.

Hattvika Lodge, Norway...

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Hattvika Lodge
Hattvika Lodge | Courtesy of Hattvika Lodge
This lodge is located in a fishing village in the Lofoten Archipelago and still contains traditional fishing buildings. The various 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.

Engholm Husky Lodge, Norway...

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Engholm Husky Lodge
Engholm Husky Lodge | Courtesy of Engholm Husky Lodge
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.

Hotel Rangá, Iceland...

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
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Hotel Range
Hotel Range | Courtesy of Hotel Ranga

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.

Everything you need to know

Kemi Seaside Glass Villa, Finland...

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Kemi Seaside Glass Villa
Kemi Seaside Glass Villa | Courtesy of Visit Kemi
Kemi’s snowcastle is world-famous for being rebuilt from snow every year, but the nearby glass villas are a truly 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.

Svinøya Rorbuer, Norway...

Resort, Cabin
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Svinoya Rorbuer
Svinoya Rorbuer | Courtesy of Svinoya Rorbuer
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.

Sorrisniva, Norway...

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Sorrisniva AS
Sorrisniva AS | Courtesy of Sorrisniva
Sorrisniva is the only igloo hotel in the world, with accommodation rebuilt entirely out of snow every winter, with 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 the world’s only snowmobile safari for watching the aurora, as well as a regular northern lights safari.
Want more Northern Lights inspo? You can now ‘starbathe’ under them in your swimsuit!