The Northern Lights are one of the most stunning displays that Mother Nature chooses to share with us. She is very picky about where and when she decides to paint the sky with those magnificent ribbons, though, which makes getting to see them a little tough. Most people believe they need to get on a sled and head out to the Arctic Circle, which is why you may be surprised to learn that Scotland is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. To give yourself the best opportunity of seeing the aurora borealis in all their glorious splendor, you need to be aware of the best times to see the Northern Lights in Scotland.
Best Time of Year to See the Northern Lights in Scotland
It doesn’t matter where you go to see the Northern Lights, the best time for viewing is when you can guarantee clear skies and a whole lot of darkness. In Scotland, that generally means the Autumn and Winter months, as that when it’s going to be darkest. Keep in mind that there is no set schedule for the lights to appear, so you may spend a lot of time waiting for the event to happen, which may well end up being in the early hours of the morning. When the sky does light up, though, you’ll quickly realize that it was well worth the wait.
Best Places to Go in Scotland to See the Northern Lights
Conditions need to be perfect for the Northern Lights to be on display. That usually means that you want to be clear of light pollution. Getting out of the city is a start, although there is a good shot at seeing the lights from atop Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, although they do have to be at their very strongest for that to happen.
Getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city in Scotland means heading north. A lot of the places you will go to see the Northern Lights will be remote, which is why so many people look at renting a motorhome or campervan when they travel up into the Highlands. While the population may be small up that way, there are plenty of places to camp for the night and wait for the lights to do their thing.
The great thing about heading to the best places to see the Northern Lights in Scotland is that there is always something to see and do. Head into Fife and you will be near St. Andrews, while the Cairngorms National Park is home to all manner of great outdoor adventures. Another great place to go to see the lights is the Islands of Scotland, such as Orkney and Shetland. Perhaps your best shot at seeing the Northern Lights in Scotland is a Galloway Forest Park, which just happens to be the only dark sky park in the country. Even if you don’t see the lights, you will get to see more stars in the sky than you have ever seen before, and all while being surrounded by the stunningly beautiful Scottish landscape.