Witnessing the Aurora Borealis is top of many a bucket list. The sight of those often elusive green curtains shimmying across a dark sky is an enchanting one. If you are keen to see them for yourself, here’s where to see the Northern Lights this winter.
The northerly town of Tromsø makes a convenient base for those hoping to see the Aurora Borealis make an appearance in Norway. You don’t have to drive far out of the city before the light pollution fades, but make a night of it by booking one of the many activities on offer in Tromsø’s surroundings. Dog sledding or a ride in a reindeer-pulled sleigh are fun for all the family. If the notoriously fickle lights don’t show up, you’ll still have had a good night.
Few of us think of Russia when it comes to seeing the Northern Lights, but the Kola Peninsula is a solid choice if you’re keen to maximise your chances. Direct flights connect Murmansk with Moscow and St Petersburg, making a multi-city break a breeze. The local Sami people have been reindeer herding for generations, just as they have in neighbouring Norway. Train buffs will be pleased to learn that a cross-border train exists, for the rail trip of a lifetime.
Fairbanks is the place where you’re most likely to see the northern lights in Alaska, as it’s reliably within the aurora oval. Tours also run to cosy log cabins near the town of Joy and flightseeing or snow cat options are also available. For something a little different, ice fishing excursions are offered – you might catch something before the northern lights show up.
In autumn and spring, it’s possible to combine a polar bear safari with a chance to spot the Aurora Borealis. Churchill’s a popular location in October, with tundra buggies to get you up close while staying safe. If you’re interested in seeing polar bear cubs as they venture out of their dens for the first time, you’re best to journey to Baffin Island in March. Combine wildlife viewing with iceberg spotting by day and if the lights show up by night, that’s the icing on the cake.
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Why not combine a holiday to witness the northern lights with a stay in Sweden’s famous ice hotel? Abisko National Park has magnificent mountain scenery, snow-covered lakes and dark skies. A chairlift whisks visitors up to the Aurora Sky Station; inside there’s a cosy log fire and comfy chairs on the balcony to watch the glorious northern lights. It’s an easy transfer to the ice hotel, featuring exquisite ice sculptures and of course the all-important ice bar.
Finland offers some quirky and unusual accommodation options. At Rovaniemi, just inside the Arctic Circle, there are 37 treehouses awaiting aurora hunters, as well as a cluster of cool glass igloos at Santa Claus Village nearby. Head over to the Bay of Bothnia and you’ll find glass villas conveniently located just outside Kemi. Perhaps most tempting of all are the glass bubble pods at the Wilderness Hotel Nellim, situated by Lake Inari in northern Lapland.
Iceland’s brimming with outstanding locations to watch the Northern Lights but one of the most magical is the Jökulsárlón lagoon. As the sky turns green, the shapes of icebergs calved from the nearby glacier will stand out against the black sand beach. It’s a fairly long drive from Reykjavik. Break your journey and hole up at the luxurious Hotel Ranga a couple of hours along the coast. Rooms come with river views and hot tubs. Who knows, you might even catch the Aurora as you take an al fresco dip.
If Mundana can help you arrange a memorable holiday chasing the northern lights, we’d be delighted to hear from you.