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Coolest Places to See the Northern Lights

By Gina Hamadey
January 19, 2014; 7:29 AM ET
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I didn't think much about the aurora borealis until I saw those great Coca-Cola ads in the early '90s, the ones with polar bears looking up at a sky streaked with swooping greens and purples. Ever since I've been dying to see the show-with or without polar bears.

A tour guide can take you to the lights-Cox & Kings ( arranges custom aurora borealis tours in Iceland and Sweden-or you could plan your own trip. You should be between latitudes of 65 and 72 degrees for ideal viewing, according to Cox & Kings' European destination manager Bernhard Steiner. Book soon: The season runs from late November until March.

The Northern Lights. Photo courtesy of

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Iceland Design Hotel

Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel, which opened earlier this year, was once an inn for workers at the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant. These power plant workers enjoyed a gorgeous view: The hotel sits atop a foundation of pillars that dramatically jut out of the slopes of Mount Hengill. There are a ton of places to stargaze: through floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the hotel, or from the Northern Lights Bar, which earned its name because of its panoramic views. The bar offers mostly Icelandic beer from local microbreweries.

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