13 Hotels To See the Northern Lights

See the northern lights without getting out of bed at one of these hotels.

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Star Arctic Hotel
Photo: Courtesy of Star Arctic Hotel

Seeing the northern lights is an experience most travelers have on their wish lists. The sky turning into a Technicolor show of swirling green, fuchsia, and indigo isn’t just a great photo opportunity, but a phenomenon with the ability to make anyone stop and stare in awe of Mother Nature’s power.

The northern lights are famously tricky to spot. To have the best chance, you need to travel close to the Arctic Circle during the winter months, and even then the weather conditions have to be absolutely ideal. Luckily, many hotels in Scandinavia, Iceland, Canada, and Alaska are specifically designed to let guests view (and wait for) the phenomenon from a warm bed or hot tub. These northern lights hotels offer comfortable amenities and typically come with guided tours and excursions to let guests fully embrace their natural surroundings. 

Whether you want an elevated glamping experience in Swedish Lapland or an Alaskan adventure that costs about a year’s rent, here are the best northern lights hotels around the world.

Best Northern Lights Hotels of 2022

Editor’s Pick: Arctic Bath, Sweden

The Arctic Bath Sweden
Courtesy of The Arctic Bath Sweden

Why We Chose It

Located in a pristine stretch of Swedish Lapland, the floating Arctic Bath hotel is sure to delight both design and wellness lovers.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$$$

Notable Amenities

Complimentary breakfast, full-service spa, bookable tours and outdoor activities

Hotel Description

Arctic Bath truly must be seen to be believed. The floating hotel in Swedish Lapland looks like a combination of a giant bird’s nest and a Game of Thrones set, made of jumbled pine logs arranged in a circle atop the Lule River. As its name suggests, the hotel’s feature activity for guests is the opportunity to take a polar plunge into the icy river, a Scandinavian tradition that’s said to promote circulation and soothe aching muscles. If that’s a little too extreme, you can pay a visit to one of the three saunas or the full-service spa instead.

There are only 12 rooms and suites at Arctic Bath, all featuring sustainable materials, panoramic windows, and spacious bathrooms. Breakfast and spa access are included in the room rate. At check-in, guests receive a spa kit that includes a bathrobe, a bathing suit/swim trunks, and c/o Gerd bath products. During the day, they can participate in outdoor activities ranging from husky sled tours to northern lights safaris, then enjoy an Arctic Culinary Dinner Experience at the restaurant before retreating to their opulent room.

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, Finland

Off The Map Travel Aurora Floating Northern Lights Experience Finland
Courtesy of Safartica

Why We Chose It

With a prime location in Rovaniemi, Finland, the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel offers luxe accommodations, local cuisine, and views of the northern lights from bed.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$$

Notable Amenities

Underfloor heating, “aurora alarms” that notify guests when the northern lights are showing

Hotel Description

Located in Rovaniemi, in Finnish Lapland, the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is one of the world’s most luxurious spots to chase the northern lights. Each of the TreeHouse suites features a panoramic window that lets guests view the Arctic landscapes from bed. The faux-fur-lined chairs, plush blankets, and piles of pillows keep things ultra cozy. If you need a little extra space, book an executive suite with a separate living room and terrace with a fireplace or an Arctic GlassHouse with two bedrooms and an en suite sauna. 

Aside from incredible views of Finnish forests and dazzling night skies, guests at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel can enjoy delicious regional cuisine at the in-house restaurant, Rakas Restaurant & Bar. The venue features a breakfast buffet and à la carte dinners every day except Sunday, with menus highlighting traditional Lappish ingredients like reindeer meat, wild mushrooms, and lingonberries.

Hotel Rangá, Iceland

Northern Lights over Hotel Rangá in Iceland

Courtesy of Hotel Rangá

Why We Chose It

In a country filled with unique accommodations, Hotel Rangá stands out with its themed suites and on-site stargazing observatory.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$$

Notable Amenities

On-site observatory with a visiting astronomer, geothermal hot tubs, complimentary breakfast

Hotel Description

Though Iceland has many excellent northern lights hotels, few are quite as famous, or unique, as Hotel Rangá. The property prides itself on its northern lights-specific amenities, including an on-site stargazing observatory, outdoor benches with warm blankets, snowsuits on hand at reception, and an aurora wake-up service to ensure guests never miss a second of the elusive lights. The hotel’s location, about 65 miles southeast of Reykjavík, also ensures a lack of light pollution, so you can get even better views of the lights from the geothermally heated hot tubs (preferably with a glass of bubbly in hand).

For accommodations, you can choose from standard guest rooms or suites with quirky themes, including an “Africa” suite with tribal masks and zebra rugs and an “Asia” suite with tatami mats and folding screens. The Rangá Restaurant serves up Nordic dishes like cured salmon and reindeer carpaccio, while the Rangá Bar has an impressive whiskey collection to help you warm up on cold nights. Guests can also arrange excursions through the hotel, ranging from ice cave tours to snowboarding on glaciers.

Blachford Lake Lodge, Canada

Northern lights hotel
Courtesy of Blachford Lake Lodge

Why We Chose It

Guests at this all-inclusive lodge have a 90% chance of seeing the northern lights, which can be viewed from cozy log cabins or an all-season hot tub.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$$$

Notable Amenities

Aurora wake-up service, complimentary meals, free outdoor activities

Hotel Description

Up in Canada’s Northwest Territories, Yellowknife is one of the world’s best places to spot the northern lights. Get up close to that celestial action at Blachford Lake Lodge, which is only accessible via a 25-minute bush plane flight from town. The remote location only makes for better aurora viewing opportunities. In fact, the hotel claims that if you stay for at least three nights, you have a 90% chance of experiencing a light show.

The lodge has three-, four-, and seven-night packages available for all seasons, and rates include accommodations, all meals and snacks, use of the hot tub and sauna, outdoor equipment rentals, and more. Sign up for an aurora wake-up call to view the show from the comfort of your bed (either in a lodge room or log cabin), or relocate to a viewing platform, the hot tub, or the sauna deck. During the daylight hours, go ice-skating on the lake, try your luck ice fishing, or take a guided snowmobile tour into the wilderness.

Sorrisniva Arctic Wilderness Lodge, Norway

Why We Chose It

Overlooking the Alta River in northern Norway, Sorrisniva’s Arctic Wilderness Lodge offers incredible views from spacious rooms and suites.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Complimentary breakfast, rooms with river-facing balconies, two dining options

Hotel Description

While Sorrisniva is most famous for its seasonal igloo hotel, the outfitter’s Arctic Wilderness Lodge is the place to book for high-end accommodations and epic views. The lodge sits on the banks of the scenic Alta River in the Norwegian arctic, and its 24 rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows that afford views of the water during the day and the northern lights at night. Every room and suite has a balcony for even better views, plus amenities like walk-in showers and Vakinme bath products. 

The lodge has two on-site restaurants, Maku and Lavvu, which use ingredients from the surrounding environment, including fish from the river and vegetables from local farms. Both venues afford even more riverside views, as does the panoramic lounge and bar. Guests can also book various nature-focused activities, like snowmobile adventures, reindeer sleigh rides, and expert-led northern lights tours.

Aurora Safari Camp, Sweden

Why We Chose It

Aurora Safari Camp provides a glamping experience deep in Swedish Lapland, complete with tented rooms and communal campfires.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: No (Wi-Fi not available)
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$

Notable Amenities

On-site sauna, snacks and warm drinks, transportation to and from the airport

Hotel Description

If you took an African bush camp and plopped it down in the middle of Swedish Lapland, it would probably look a lot like Aurora Safari Camp. Getting to the retreat is something of an adventure. Guests must fly into Luleå Airport, hop on a shuttle to the reception area, then take a snowmobile ride over a frozen river to their tent, where a warm drink will be waiting. There are only a few Sami lavvu-style tents on the property, but they’ve all been positioned for optimal northern lights viewing.

The tents are authentic to Sami traditions, so guests must keep warm by a wood-burning stove in the center. There’s also a communal tent with a lounge and bar, plus a campfire where you can sip warm drinks and mingle with other guests. Along with accommodations, nightly rates include a lineup of outdoor activities, including snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and sauna steams paired with polar plunges in the river.

Borealis Basecamp, Alaska

Borealis basecamp in Alaska
Courtesy of Borealis Basecamp

Why We Chose It

Borealis Basecamp is easily accessible from Fairbanks, but it feels gloriously remote with its 100 acres of trees, dark skies, and secluded bubble igloos.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$$

Notable Amenities

Transportation to and from Fairbanks, free dogsledding tour, clear-roofed igloos

Hotel Description

Though it’s just 25 miles from Fairbanks, Borealis Basecamp feels worlds away thanks to its location on 100 acres of pristine boreal forest. This remoteness puts guests under some seriously dark skies, which greatly increases the odds of catching an aurora show. Even better? That show can be enjoyed from either a cube cabin with floor-to-ceiling windows or an igloo with a clear ceiling.

Both accommodation options include a comfortable bed, en suite bathroom, and beverage bar to brew cups of hot coffee or tea. The rooms don’t have cooking facilities to save electricity, but that just gives guests an excuse to dine at the delicious in-house restaurant, Latitude 65. The venue has both lunch and dinner menus (plus a continental breakfast), with an award-winning chef serving up sustainable Alaskan seafood and produce from local farmers. For an additional fee, guests can add on full-day excursions like snowmobile rides and helicopter tours.

Sheldon Chalet, Alaska

Northern Lights over Sheldon Chalet, in Alaska
Chris Burkard/Courtesy of Sheldon Chalet

Why We Chose It

It may cost a full year’s rent, but Sheldon Chalet is truly unparalleled in terms of service, location, and five-star amenities.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: No (Wi-Fi not available)
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$$$

Notable Amenities

Round-trip helicopter rides, private chef, oysters and champagne upon arrival

Hotel Description

A stay at Sheldon Chalet does not come cheap — rates start around $35,000 per couple for three nights — but the upscale amenities, ultra-luxurious interiors, and unparalleled views of Denali and the northern lights just about warrant the hefty price tag. Guests have to take a helicopter ride to reach the property, where they’re greeted with oysters and champagne. The all-inclusive experience includes plenty of five-star trimmings, including food prepared by a world-class chef, use of adventure gear, a private sauna, several viewing decks, and guided adventures in the Don Sheldon Amphitheater.

The hexagonal-shaped chalet features five bedrooms and can fit up to 10 guests. The minimum stay is three nights, though the chalet recommends four to fully soak up all this experience has to offer.

Hotel Arctic, Greenland

northern lights hotel
Courtesy of Hotel Arctic

Why We Chose It

Hotel Arctic is an affordable four-star hotel with Disko Bay views and plenty of bookable excursions.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Complimentary breakfast, round-trip airport shuttle, rooms with water views

Hotel Description

Situated right on the shores of the Ilulissat Icefjord, Hotel Arctic is the world’s northernmost four-star hotel. The property has 90 rooms ranging from single rooms to suites, all of which come with comfy beds, stylish bathrooms, and glacier views. The Umiaq Outdoor rooms have private terraces and direct access to the mountains. 

Hotel Arctic has two restaurants: Brasserie Ulo and Arctic Fine Dining & Wine Bar, both of which feature local ingredients and views of Disko Bay. The owners also partnered with Mikkeller, a Copenhagen-based microbrewery, to launch six beers on tap. Be sure to book at least a few guided excursions through the hotel, with options including kayaking alongside icebergs, riding a helicopter over the fjord, and, of course, chasing the northern lights.

Aurora Village, Finland

Glass cabins under northern lights
Aurora Village Ivalo in Finland.

Courtesy of Aurora Village Ivalo

Why We Chose It

Located three hours north of Rovaniemi, Aurora Village’s glass-roofed igloos provide excellent viewing opportunities and glorious seclusion.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Complimentary breakfast and dinner, use of outdoor equipment, saunas

Hotel Description

While Rovaniemi gets most of the hype when it comes to tourism in Finnish Lapland, the village of Ivalo is equally beautiful and far less crowded. Plus, with a location more than three hours north of Rovaniemi, it provides even greater chances of spotting the aurora. Aurora Village’s glass-roofed igloos are a great place to curl up under a pile of blankets and stare up at the sky, waiting for the lights to appear. 

If the northern lights don’t appear at bedtime, you can try your luck again through one of the resort’s bookable tours. With options including snowshoe tours, snowmobile tours, and sleigh tours, you really can choose your own adventure. When the sun makes its brief appearance, book other activities like husky safaris and ice swimming. You can also reserve a session in the glass-roofed sauna and outdoor hot tub, then head to the restaurant for some hearty mushroom soup and reindeer steaks.

The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland, Iceland

View of the Restreat at Blue Lagoon hotel on Iceland's Blue Lagoon
Courtesy of Blue Lagoon Iceland

Why We Chose It

Aside from offering exclusive access to Iceland’s most famous hot spring, the Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland features a world-class spa and rooftop deck for viewing the northern lights.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$$$

Notable Amenities

Complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea, Blue Lagoon skin care products, morning yoga

Hotel Description

The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland opened its doors in 2018 and quickly cemented itself as one of the finest hotels in Iceland. Though the venue is most notable for its proximity to the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon, it features plenty of other amenities for when you need a break from soaking, including a rooftop deck for viewing the northern lights. Perhaps the biggest perk is a separate section of the lagoon reserved only for hotel guests, meaning you can enjoy the milky blue waters without bumping into hordes of other tourists.

The 62 suites are at once minimalist and warm, with contemporary furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking lava flows and mossy hills. The Lagoon Suite even comes with its own private pool, with healing water sourced from the Blue Lagoon. The spa features a full menu of services, as well as peaceful spaces to enjoy some alone time, like a hot rock sauna and a subterranean water therapy room. There are also several dining options, including the Icelandic cuisine served at Moss Restaurant, which was recommended by the 2022 Michelin Guide.

Northern Lights Resort & Spa, Canada

Northern Lights Resort and Spa in Canada

Courtesy of Northern Lights Resort and Spa

Why We Chose It

Located in Canada’s Yukon Territory, the Northern Lights Resort & Spa’s setting and all-inclusive amenities are second to none.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Complimentary meals, airport transfers, nightly guided aurora viewing

Hotel Description

Canada’s Yukon Territory experiences a longer than average northern lights season, usually stretching from August to mid-April. No matter when you decide to visit, be sure to stay at the family-run Northern Lights Resort & Spa, about 20 minutes from Whitehorse. The resort has three beautiful glass-front chalets that let guests stargaze from their warm beds, as well as several aurora viewing packages that include accommodation, nightly guided northern lights viewing, photography lessons, and additional excursions and equipment rentals.

In addition to the chalets, guests also have access to a spa, outdoor hot tub, lounge, bar, and dining room.

Lyngen Experience Lodge, Norway

Lyngen Experience Lodge
Courtesy of Lyngen Experience

Why We Chose It

Lyngen Experience Lodge is the most affordable northern lights hotel on this list, though its modern rooms and expert-led tours feel anything but second-rate.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Room rate: $

Notable Amenities

Airport transportation, guided northern lights tours, whale watching safaris

Hotel Description

Lyngen Experience Lodge is situated on the edge of a fjord on Norway’s Lyngen Peninsula, about 50 miles northeast of Tromsø. The lodge’s location above the Arctic Circle puts it in prime position for aurora showings, and guests have plenty of options for taking in the lights. Besides lodge guest rooms and modern apartments — both with massive windows showcasing the fjord — accommodations include an aurora hut, a glass-walled igloo by the water that affords panoramic views of the northern lights from bed.

Guests can book a three-hour northern lights tour, which starts with a drive into the woods to a fire-heated tent. The experience comes with a tour guide, warm clothes, hot drinks, and snacks. Other bookable excursions include whale watching, deep-sea fishing, dogsledding, and skiing the Lyngen Alps. Back at the lodge, enjoy some seafood and whiskey at the restaurant, then unwind with a soak in the outdoor hot tub.

Final Verdict

If you want to chase the northern lights in the lap of luxury, you can’t do much better than Arctic Bath in Sweden, a perfectly designed hotel with plenty of luxe amenities. The Arctic TreeHouse Hotel in Finnish Lapland, where glass-walled villas let you take in the views from a cushy bed, is another impeccable option. For more of an immersive experience, try the Aurora Safari Camp in Sweden or Borealis Basecamp in Alaska, both of which boast ultra-remote locations, unique accommodations, and a variety of bookable excursions.

Know Before You Go

  • While the prime aurora season varies by location, the best time to view the northern lights is generally between September and March.
  • Lack of moonlight is another important factor when it comes to visibility, so try to plan your trip for the week before the new moon and the three days afterward.
  • While you may be able to film the aurora with your smartphone, it’s best to invest in a DSLR camera on a tripod for truly epic photos. You should also study up on northern lights photography tips before you go.

How We Chose These Hotels

We evaluated more than two dozen of the best northern lights hotels before choosing the options on this list. We considered various elements like the property’s reputation and quality of service, its design and architecture, location near the Arctic Circle, dining options, and the types of experiences available to guests, such as skiing and wilderness tours. In determining this list, we evaluated numerous customer reviews and considered whether the property has collected any accolades in recent years.

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