How to see Aurora Borealis in Levi, Lapland

Hello guys! How is your hunt for Northern Lights going? :)

Recently I made a trip to one of my favorite destinations in Finnish Lapland – Levi Ski Resort.

Gondola slope of Levi Ski Resort

Levi is an amazing place to be in winter. Image by Alexander Kuznetsov / Hello Lapland.

It offers a great choice of activities for everyone: husky and reindeer rides, snowmobile safaris, spa, delicious Lappish food, a lot of cross-country skiing paths and, of course, the amazing alpine ski slopes! It is also just a beautiful place where I always feel at home.

Doing alpine skiing in Levi

Levi offers lots to do in Winter. Image by Alexander Kuznetsov / Hello Lapland.

Levi is situated 150 km above the line of the Arctic Circle, meaning that it is also a great place for Aurora hunting! My last trip to Levi took place just 3 months ago and it generated a lot of wonderful images!

Magnificent Aurora Borealis in Levi, Lapland.

One of the most amazing Aurora displays of 2015 in Levi, Lapland. Image by Alexander Kuznetsov.

I like to go out to see Northern Lights by myself and I can give you a couple of advices about Levi, if you want to do the same.

However, if you are not sure how to see Northern Lights in Levi, you can always go Aurora Hunting with a professional company who’s guides will take you out in the wilderness either on car, snowmobiles, snowshoes, huskies or any other means that you agree on :)

It is the beginning of December 2015, meaning that the sun is peeking above the hills for just one short hour!

Noon at Levi Ski Resort in December.

Sun barely rising at noon in December at Levi Ski Resort, Lapland. Image by Alexander Kuznetsov / Hello Lapland.

That is, if you head up to the top of Levi hill, for example, using the Gondola lift. You don’t have to be skiing or wear skis to go up (but we did ski a lot!). You can buy a return ticket that will take you up to see the scenery in the building on the first photo of the story.

Gondola lift heading up to the summit of Levi Ski Resort.

Head up the Levi Ski Resort with Gondola lift. Image by Alexander Kuznetsov / Hello Lapland.

The day is short and it gets pretty dark after 3PM, meaning potentially there’s more time to witness the Aurora!

Blue moment with a reindeer at Levi, Lapland.

Darkness falls quickly in December at Levi, Lapland. Image by Alexander Kuznetsov / Hello Lapland.

During the first two nights there is no success. The sky is filled with clouds and the Aurora activity is low.

On the third night, which by coincidence is Finland’s Independence day, I head up to the mountain. The lifts are already closed, but you can reach the top of the mountain by car and go to the Tuikku restaurant. During the day time you can have lunch or coffee there. See the white roof in the middle of the snow? 😀 There is a big parking place to put cars to. Here is the exact location. The road to the top goes by the Panorama hotel, you cannot miss it!

Tuikku, one of the slope restaurant in Levi, Lapland.

Blue and pink moment at Levi, Lapland. Image by Alexander Kuznetsov / Hello Lapland.

Knowing that Auroras usually appear in the Northern direction, I walk North from the parking place (basically crossing the above image from left to right). There is lots of snow already, but still manageable to walk. There is a connecting route there which goes all the way from the top of the mountain to Levi center. It is almost flat so you can easily walk around there, no skis needed. This is how it looks at daytime, but at night time you will surely need a headlamp to browse around. Btw, if you live in the Levi center and don’t own a car, you might choose to go here by taxi and then follow this route back to the Levi Center, because it is easier to go down than to go up :)

Connecting Route at Levi Ski Resort

Ski Route, coming from the top of Levi mountain to the center. Image by Alexander Kuznetsov / Hello Lapland.

Mother nature took care of the fireworks for Finland’s Independence Day, December the 6th. The Snow Giants are sleeping under the glow of Auroras. Still, the lights are not very strong and I want more!

Nature's own fireworks for Finland's Independence Day

Aurora Borealis appeared on Finland’s Independence Day at Levi Ski Resort. Image by Alexander Kuznetsov / Hello Lapland.

Next night there is an Aurora Storm in the offing. This time I head north from Levi in the direction of Muonio, a little village in the North.  It doesn’t take much time to leave the city lights and see the night sky in full glory. I notice the lights playing above the horizon, however my camera reveals that the whole sky stars filling with green. Sweet!

Seeing Aurora Borealis just outside Levi Ski Resort

When you escape the city lights you might see wonders! Image by Alexander Kuznetsov / Hello Lapland.

By the way, there are plenty of little parking pockets on Finnish roads. You can park your car safely there and enjoy the Auroras in the middle of nowhere.

I head to the forest and start looking for some nice landscapes. It does not take me long to find one.

Northern Lights and Starry Skies in Levi, Lapland.

Northern Lights in the forest around Levi Ski Resort, Lapland. Image by Alexander Kuznetsov / Hello Lapland.

Looks nice, however, I feel that I am in the wrong place. First of all, there is so much snow what that is hard to move without snowshoes or skies. Also, my heart misses the Snow Giants i saw the night before, so I return to Levi and climb the mountain again.

As soon as I set up my gear, the sky literally explodes! That’s what I call being at the right place at the right time!

The beginning of great Aurora Borealis storm.

Aurora Borealis starts unfolding at Levi Ski Resort, Lapland. Image by Alexander Kuznetsov / Hello Lapland.

I have rarely seen such strong Auroras, but they also have something special. Most of the times the Auroras a green, but this time a bright pink line is hovering below the green curtain – a very rare color to see!

Magnificent Aurora Borealis in Levi, Lapland.

Breathtaking Northern Lights at Levi, Lapland. Image by Alexander Kuznetsov / Hello Lapland.

I have recorded this amazing moment on real time video. Take a look!

The best part of the show lasts about 15 minutes – my skin is covered with goose bumps all that time! Later it becomes a bit quieter, but still remaining beautiful.  Snow Giants, however, continue to stand in silence and continue their sleep.

Auroras and Snow Giants

Snow Giants standing below Aurora Borealis at Levi Ski Resort, Lapland. Image by Alexander Kuznetsov / Hello Lapland.

Best of luck with hunting Auroras and visit this wonderful place, Levi in Lapland, if you have a chance!

Author: Alexander Kuznetsov

I am an Editor-in-Chief of "All About Lapland" travel magazine, passionate Aurora Chaser, and an adventurous photographer. Based in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland but travel all around the region.

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27 Comments

  1. Do you know about the NOAA web site that has the 3 Day Aurora Forecast. I go to Lapland every January, it does help. But of course if there are clouds it won’t matter. I flew over No Canada f
    Last night and saw the aurora, green from 35,000 feet preset cool.

    Post a Reply
    • Hello Katie! Thank you for your comment. We are surealy aware of the NOAA forecast, as well as other resources. We will be looking into them in our following posts to explain how they work. Personally, I use different kind of techniques to predict the Auroras, the forums, webcams, weather forecast and as well as my own hunch :)
      P.S. Must have been sweet seeing Auroras from above, I wish I could experience that too one day.

      Post a Reply
  2. levi or ivola
    which is better (more chance ) of seeing Auroa in early feb

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Tim,

      That’s really difficult to say. I could tell you Ivalo area, which is more to the north and than Levi and you could have more chances, but there are many factors. It might be that you go there and it is cloudy, and then on the same day Levi has a clear sky. If on that day there is a northern light and it is cloudy, the clouds are always under the aurora borealis.

      In reality I’d say that you have the same chances. If you decide to go to Ivalo, I’d recommend you to travel to Saariselkä (30km from Ivalo airport), by the Urho Kekkonen National park, with a good selection of hotels and activities.

      I hope this helps :)

      Post a Reply
  3. Hello, I just found your post while trying to get informations on Levi, where I’m thinking of going next winter, but as I don’t have my driver’s license I wanted to ask you if you think it would be doable to wander around to get the best possible northern lights sighting with the least amount possible of city lights? Thank you for your input :) Vanessa.

    Post a Reply
    • Hello Vanessa! There are couple of things you can do. First, you might take a journey with a tour operator who will take you out in wilderness on snowmobile, car other way of transportation. I’m certain that Lapland Safaris is operating in Levi and you can contact them about such an excursion. Second thing, you might also walk out in the evening into a forest. You don’t need to go far, as long as there is less artifical light from the city and stret lights. It all depends where you will be living in Levi. If you are in Levi center or Hotel panorama, you may wander around the hilltop – this is one of my favourite spots actually. It is a bit of a challenge to climb the hill at night, cause the lifts are not working, but it is certainly doable if you are in good physical form, If you live in a cottage outside the center, you will most probably be surrounded by forest! There are many cross-country tracks in Levi. Some of them are not illuminated at night, which is good for you, because you can walk into the forest using the ski tracks and still have darkness to see Auroras. Hope that helps!

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  4. Hello. I am planning a trip to Levi in order to enjoy the northern lights and in the same time enjoy some ski holidays. We dont have certain dates, so we would like to know which month has the best chances to see the northern lights in Levi. Thank you!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Angelika,

      Actually we are having northern lights since the end of August, but of course no snow yet. Northern lights will be visible until the end of March beginning of April, although I’d recommend you probably to travel better in the second half of January to the end of February to have still long nights. You will need anyway a bit of luck the dates that you finally choose :)

      Welcome to Levi!

      Post a Reply
  5. Hello,

    This is a brilliant article and the photographs are amazing. We are travelling to Levi at the beginning of Feb 17 and I can’t wait. It is a surprise holiday for my husbands 30th birthday so I’m hoping we will get some luck and see the northern lights.
    Now going to read some more articles :)

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jemma! Welcome to Lapland :)
      I’m sure you’ll have a great time with your husband, and hopefully you’ll catch some northern lights.

      Post a Reply
  6. We are travelling to Levi in the next few days – from what time in the day can you see the Northern lights?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Tina! They are more frequently seen between 21PM and midnight, however, it is not a rule. Technically, they can appear at any time of the day, if it is dark enough. Currently, it gets dark already after 4PM and stays that way until 9AM, so they can be seen in that time frame, providing there are some solar flares or magnetic storms coming.

      Post a Reply
    • This article acivehed exactly what I wanted it to achieve.

      Post a Reply
  7. I want to go to Levi igloos at the end of march due to no other dates available. The chances of seeing northern lights are much less I read. Would you recommend waiting until January 2018?

    Post a Reply
    • In March you still have chances to see the northern lights, but the fact is that the hours of darkness are a bit less. In the end is a matter of luck, so it is hard to recommend and exact time, as it might be that you came in January and then see no northern lights… and then we have a march full of them. Whatever is the time you choose, we wish you the good luck! :)

      Post a Reply
  8. Can you tell me a bit more about your pictures ?
    Are these made using longer lens opening times, or is this how you saw the Aurora ‘live’ ?

    Post a Reply
  9. We are going to Levi with very young children. Is there a way of us seeing the northern lights, as they could appear any time of night but we can’t just go and stand outside with them in the middle of the night? I’d really love to see them.

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  10. Hi, I am travelling to Levi in November. What are the chances of seeing the Northern lights and which place in Levi is good to go in search of this amazing phenomenon ?

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  11. Hie! Planning a trip for my parents end-Nov-1st week of December to Levi just for Northern Lights. Would you be able to help with the most ideal dates of spotting them please?

    Post a Reply
  12. Hi, we’re going on family Christmas holiday from 22-29 of December this year, what are the chances of us experiencing the northern lights?

    Post a Reply

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