The Best Northern Lights Tours From Rovaniemi For 2024 (+ FAQ)

Are you looking for the best northern lights tours from Rovaniemi? This guide details the best Rovaniemi northern lights excursions, including multi-day adventures and combined activities!

Rovaniemi is one of the best places to start a northern lights tour, as there are roads departing the city in every direction. This is perfect for those seeking clear skies, as you can always drive to the best spots, be it in Finland, Norway or Sweden!

Along with a vast road network, Rovaniemi is a tourist hub, meaning plenty of activity providers offer dedicated aurora tours or night tours under the northern lights. Not sure what I mean? Don’t worry, I will explain below!

Best Northern Lights Tours From Rovaniemi
Best northern lights tours from Rovaniemi

In this guide, I have listed the best northern lights tours from Rovaniemi. If you have any questions or comments about these Rovaniemi northern lights experiences, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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Which Rovaniemi northern lights tour is best suited for you?

Below you will find my favorite northern lights tours departing from Rovaniemi, including dedicated aurora hunts and excursions taking place at night with a chance of aurora!

What type of northern lights tour should you book?

If you are traveling to Rovaniemi to see the northern lights (as your sole purpose), I recommend staying for at least three nights and booking a tour whose sole purpose is hunting for the aurora.

Those looking to maximize their time in Rovaniemi can also book the most popular activities like snowmobiling and dog sledding at night, giving you an added chance of seeing the northern lights if the sky is clear!

If you would like photos of you under the northern lights (if you see them), I would ensure that you are signing up for a tour that will provide you with those photos. I have mentioned whether photos are included or not with each of these tours.

Best northern lights tours from Rovaniemi

1. My favorite northern lights tour from Rovaniemi

Provider: Wild About Lapland
Length: 4 hours
Pick-up: Yes
Photos included: Yes
Tour: Northern Lights Wilderness Tour with Camera

My favorite northern lights tour from Rovaniemi is the Wild About Lapland northern lights wilderness tour with camera. This tour departs from Rovaniemi and visits up to three different spots, depending on where there are clear skies.

One of the stops will include visiting one of the Wild About Lapland’s secluded lavvu’s, where you can sit by a fire and enjoy a Lappish BBQ and trade travel stories with the other guests.

People under the northern lights
People enjoying a Wild About Lapland northern lights tour

Throughout the tour, the guide will take plenty of photographs of you and everyone else in the group, which will be sent to you after the tour.

For those wanting to take their own pictures, I have found the Wild About Lapland guides to be the most knowledgeable when it comes to helping you take your own photos! They also will take a photo of you and the group you’re traveling with if the lights come out to play.

The tour includes free pick-up and drop-off within a 10 km (6 mi) radius; however, if you are staying directly in the city center, you will need to meet at the office.

Check out my best Rovaniemi northern lights tour post to read more about my experience taking this excursion!

Pros and cons:

  • Pro: Fantastic knowledgeable guides with camera
  • Pro: Small groups focused on sustainable travel
  • Pro: Help you photograph the northern lights
  • Con: Does not venture too far away from Rovaniemi
  • Con: Does not cancel if you do not see the aurora (you can take another tour with 30% off if you do not see them)

Click here to book your northern lights wilderness!

2. Budget friendly northern lights experience

Provider: Nordic Unique Travels
Length: 3 hours
Pick-up: Yes
Photos included: No
Tour: Lapland Northern Lights Tour with BBQ

Rovaniemi is unfortunately not known for being budget-friendly, although in comparison to other areas in the Arctic, it is far more affordable. Thankfully, for those travelling on a budget, there are still plenty of options when it comes to tours.

The Nordic Unique Travels Lapland northern lights tour with BBQ is a great budget-friendly aurora trip. I took this tour on my first visit to Rovaniemi, and while it was definitely a no-frills option, it was a great experience!

Myself and tour guide posing for a photo under the northern lights
Posing under the northern lights

After departing from Rovaniemi, you will visit two different locations with the hope of seeing the aurora. At one of the stops, you will get to enjoy a BBQ with sausages and marshmallows to cook over the fire (vegan and vegetarian options are available on request).

I recommend bringing your own camera equipment with you or a phone with night mode photography so you can take some epic shots of the aurora if they are visible! In some cases, your guide will be able to help you with the camera settings needed to shoot the northern lights.

Pros and cons:

  • Pro: Budget-friendly
  • Pro: Food provided
  • Con: Large group numbers; during peak season, large buses will be used
  • Con: Visits sets locations
  • Con: No photographs

Click here to book a budget friendly northern lights tour!

3. Best northern lights tour from Rovaniemi on a snowmobile

Provider: Wild About Lapland
Length: 4 hours
Pick-up: Yes
Photos included: No
Tour: Northern Lights Snowmobile Tour

The Wild About Lapland northern lights snowmobile tour is one of the most adrenaline-pumping ways to see the aurora. On this four-hour snowmobiling tour, you will be taken out to the forests surrounding Rovaniemi to drive through the night with the hope of seeing the northern lights.

After you arrive at the location, you will be kitted out with the necessary safety equipment and clothing to keep you warm throughout the night.

Aurora on the horizon
Aurora visible from the snowmobile tracks just outside of Rovaniemi

After a quick lesson and safety briefing, you will head out into the night, where your guide will take you through the wilderness to various clearings where hopefully the northern lights will dance above.

Halfway through the excursion, you will stop for a fire, a snack, a hot drink, and stories about the Arctic and the aurora.

Each snowmobile will have two people on it, and if you want to have your own, there is an additional charge. I do not mind sharing a snowmobile, even if I am joining a tour on my own, as it gives you the chance to enjoy the scenery without having the responsibility of driving!

Pros and cons:

  • Pro: Great way to mix two activities
  • Pro: One of the most exciting tours
  • Con: Difficult to photograph the aurora
  • Con: If you are stuck under clouds you will not see the aurora
  • Con: If traveling on your own you will have to share a snowmobile with a stranger

Click here to book a snowmobiling tour under the aurora!

4. Best snowshoeing tour under the aurora

Provider: Wild About Lapland
Length: 3 hours
Pick-up: Yes
Photos included: No
Tour: Night Snowshoeing Adventure under the Northern Lights

I love snowshoeing tours, as they offer a chance to explore somewhere you haven’t been before or cannot normally access.

The Wild About Lapland night snowshoeing adventure under the northern lights is a great tour to experience both snowshoeing and the aurora.

This small group activity will head to the wilderness with hopes of a peaceful walk under the aurora.

Unlike other combined activity excursions, this experience offers a degree of flexibility, and your guide will be able to check weather patterns and take you to spots with a higher chance of clear skies.

Lavvu in front of the northern lights
Wild About Lapland lavvu with northern lights

You will be provided with everything you need for snowshoeing, including thermal suits and all equipment, at the start of the activity.

After a brief introduction to snowshoeing, you will head out into the night, with a small stop at the halfway point for snacks and drinks by a fire. The tour is not strenuous and is suitable for beginners and those who are not particularly active.

Pros and cons:

  • Pro: Budget-friendly
  • Pro: Flexible locations
  • Pro: Great guides
  • Con: No photographs
  • Con: Will remain close to Rovaniemi even if cloudy

Click here to book a night time snowshoeing tour!

5. Most adventurous Rovaniemi aurora hunt (could end up in Sweden or Norway!)

Provider: Arctic Road Trips
Length: No time limit or multiple days
Pick-up: Yes
Photos included: Yes

For those who are looking for a true northern lights adventure, you need to book an aurora tour with my friends at Arctic Road Trips. They offer two types of tours: Aurora Road Trips and Aurora Expeditions.

The Aurora Road Trips are multi-day adventures where you will travel throughout the Arctic in search of clear skies and amazing auroras. During the day, you will visit epic national parks or do beautiful hikes before hunting for auroras once darkness falls.

The flexibility of a multi-day trip means there is a very high chance you will see the northern lights on nearly every night of the trip.

The aurora somewhere in Lapland
On my aurora expedition, we ended up in Sweden!

For those who are not looking for a multi-day trip, they also offer Aurora Expeditions.

The Aurora Expeditions depart from and return to Rovaniemi on the same night. The departing time depends entirely on how far Lorenzo and his team believe they will have to drive to find clear skies!

When I took this tour, we departed early in the evening and drove to Sweden, where we would escape the clouds, returning to Rovaniemi around 3 am!

However, if they believe there is no chance of finding clear skies, they will cancel this tour at the last minute to save everyone money. If you do depart and the aurora is not visible, you will only split the cost of gas!

Pros and cons:

  • Pro: Nearly guaranteed to see the northern lights
  • Pro: Adventure and photography-based
  • Pro: You get plenty of photographs and videos
  • Cons: Can be cancelled at the last minute (if skies look bad over the entire region)
  • Cons: Not suitable for budget travelers
  • Cons: Not suitable for those travelling with children

6. Best northern lights tour from Rovaniemi for children

Provider: Slow Travel Green and Blue
Length: 5-6 hours
Pick-up: Yes
Photos included: Yes

Northern lights tours are often not suitable for children, as they involve freezing temperatures and a lot of standing around.

Thankfully, Slow Travel Green and Blue has a dedicated northern lights experience that is aimed at families traveling with younger guests.

The guides have years of experience working with children and know how to keep what can potentially be a long and cold night engaging and fun for all family members!

After being picked up from your accommodation, you will be taken to a secret location outside of Rovaniemi, where you and your family can wait for the northern lights while enjoying tranquil Arctic nights.

Children enjoying the wonders of the aurora
Children enjoying the wonders of the aurora

At the location, there are activities and stories from Finnish folklore to keep children and adults entertained. The tour includes everything you could need, from car seats to snowsuits, and the next day you will be sent photographs from the night!

I suggest booking this tour through their website early, as slots tend to fill up quickly!

Pros and cons:

  • Pro: Specifically designed for children
  • Pro: No other tour groups will be in the same location
  • Pro: Plenty of photographs to remember the night
  • Pro: Promotes sustainable travel with minimal impact on the environment
  • Con: Limited space; need to book early to avoid disappointment
  • Con: Might not suit everyone’s budget

7. Best Ice Floating under the northern lights tour

Provider: Safartica
Length: 3 hours
Pick-up: Only for some hotels
Photos included: No
Tour: Ice Floating under Aurora Borealis

One of the most unique northern lights experiences is ice floating under the aurora borealis.

On this tour, you will be taken away from the city to a frozen lake where a section has been removed to allow free access to the frigid water.

After you arrive at the lake, you will be given survival suits that will keep you dry and warm in the water and be provided with a short introduction about ice floating and how it works.

The aurora above the trees
Looking up at the aurora

Once you are ready, you will be taken outside, where you will get into the freezing water, lie back, and admire the beauty of the night sky. If you are lucky, the northern lights will dance above; however, this is far from guaranteed.

I find this trip to probably be the most relaxing way to enjoy the northern lights, as there is nothing quite as peaceful as the water gently lapping against you in the stillness of a winter night.

Pros and cons:

  • Pro: Unique experience
  • Pro: Very relaxing
  • Con: In a set location
  • Con: No photographs

Click here to book your place on an ice floating under aurora borealis experience!

8. Best Rovaniemi dog sledding with aurora experience

Provider: Nordic Unique Travels (and their dog sledding partner)
Length: 3 and a half hours
Pick-up: Yes
Photos included: No
Tour: Northern Lights and Husky Sleigh Ride

There is something beautiful about sliding through the snow at night with a team of dogs as the northern lights dance above. On the northern lights and husky sleigh ride tour, you will travel away from Rovaniemi to a small husky farm, where your adventure will start.

The experience will start with a short husky ride, where you will be guided through the forest by an experienced musher. If you are lucky, the sky will be clear and the aurora will be out to play.

Viewing the aurora through a forest
Viewing the aurora through a forest

After completing the ride, the guides will set up a fire where you can warm up, toast marshmallows, eat snacks, enjoy a warm beverage and keep an eye out for the northern lights.

If you are looking for a more involved husky ride, I would recommend taking a daytime dog sledding tour when you can take charge of your own sleigh.

Pros and cons:

  • Pro: A nice BBQ
  • Con: The dog sled ride is very short (20-30 mins)
  • Con: If the weather is bad, you will not see northern lights
  • Con: Difficult to take photographs of the aurora while sledding

Click to here to spend an evening under the northern lights with huskies!

Best Northern Lights Tours from Rovaniemi FAQ

Below, I have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about seeing the northern lights from Rovaniemi.

When is the northern lights season in Rovaniemi?

The northern lights season runs from late August to the middle of April. However, aurora tours tend to only run from early September until the start of April.

When is the best time to see the northern lights from Rovaniemi?

While the northern lights season runs between September and April, not all months are equal when it comes to activity.

The best months to see the aurora are September and March, around the fall and spring equinoxes. During this period, the solar activity is at its strongest, and the weather is typically better with more clear nights.

Aurora reflecting on a frozen lake
Aurora reflecting on a frozen lake

I highly recommend visiting in March as you have amazing auroras and the days are long enough that you can enjoy all the tours and snow-based activities during the day!

Can you predict the northern lights?

No! You will hear a lot of talk about the KP index and how high the KP should be for you to be able to see the aurora, but I would ignore this! Some of the best northern lights I have seen have been with a KP 1, and some of the worst have a rating of KP 5.

feint aurora through a forest
Not all auroras are huge, some are barely visible

Additionally, the KP predictions are nearly never correct and can be dismissed. Instead, track the weather conditions and hope for clear skies!

Can I see the northern lights without a camera?

Yes and no. Unfortunately, the northern lights never look quite as good with the naked eye as they do with a camera. Often, your eyes will not be able to see the colors of the aurora, and they will just look like grey streaks or clouds in the sky.

Northern lights without color
This is how the northern lights often look to the naked eye

Powerful auroras will sometimes mean the green and even the pink are visible to the naked eye. Using a camera or night mode on your smartphone will unlock the colors of the aurora!

What to wear for a northern lights tour?

Wearing the correct clothing is essential, and that will largely depend on when you take a northern lights tour. As all tours happen at night, it is worth wearing plenty of layers that can be removed depending on the temperature.

There is nothing worse than getting too cold on a northern lights tour! To keep you warm, I suggest wearing a long parka jacket, wool base layers and a thick wool jumper.

For keen photographers or those looking for gloves designed for the Arctic, I recommend a pair of Vallerret photography gloves!

Northern lights over Rovaniemi
Northern lights over Rovaniemi

Most tour providers will also supply you with thermal suits and boots that go over your normal clothes and do an exceptional job of keeping you warm!

Alternatively, you can rent winter clothing to avoid having to purchase and pack bulky clothes.

Where to stay in Rovaniemi

There are plenty of places to stay in Rovaniemi; here are a few of my favorites for all budgets!

Invisible Forest Lodge (luxury) – A unique property that camouflages itself into the forest, the Invisible Forest Lodge is one of the best spots to relax and view the aurora. While modern and sleek on the exterior, the interior is cozy and includes everything you could want, including a small sauna!

Snowflake Suites (mid-range) – The Snowflake Suites are a great option for those looking for self-catering accommodation directly in the city center. Each unit comes with a comfortable bed, a living room with a smart TV, and a fully functional kitchen. There are multiple Snowflakes Suites, so even if the one is linked has no availability, the others may!

Living room of Snowflake Suites, with a couch and kitchen
Snowflake Suites in Rovaniemi

Hostel Cafe Koti (Budget) – If you are looking to visit Rovaniemi on a budget, Hostel Cafe Koti offers a great option for a cheaper place to stay. The hostel has a mixture of private rooms and dorm rooms. There are also lovely communal areas where you can relax and cook in the evenings.

I hope you enjoyed reading my guide to the best aurora tours from Rovaniemi! If you have a question or comments about Rovaniemi northern lights tours please leave a comment below!

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