Love to travel? Check. Have a bucket list? Check. Northern Lights on the list? Check. This is the case for most travellers, but it can often get quite confusing knowing the best places and best time of year to see the Northern Lights. Being a Northern Lights specialist has its perks, and I’ve travelled far and wide on the hunt for the elusive Aurora Borealis. Stay with me and I’ll go into a little more detail…
Scandinavia is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. Fact. Auroras occur near the magnetic poles of the earth, so the further north you are the better. For us in Europe, this means the northern areas of Norway, Sweden and Finland are the perfect destination.
TOP 3 PLACES TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN SCANDINAVIA…
GOOD FOR? Budget, weekend break, social scene
STAY? Stay at a hotel in Tromso town, or if you’re feeling adventurous why not take a short flight up to Kirkenes for a few nights at the Kirkenes Snow Hotel. Re-built every year, the iconic hotel boasts show stopping rooms made entirely of snow and ice – a night you will never forget!
DO? The reason Tromso is a popular destination for the Northern Lights is that the Northern Lights excursions that run are so efficient. Hop in a jeep with a professional guide, work out the logistics of the lights, and head right over to them. If you’re lucky enough to be spending a night or two at Kirkenes Snow Hotel, try out the Arctic king crab safari, an excursion with a difference.
GETTING THERE? Take the direct flight from Gatwick to Tromso with Norwegian Air on any Monday or Friday during Northern Lights Season.
GOOD FOR? Romantic breaks, magical scenery, unique accommodation.
STAY? Swedish Lapland is the capital of traditional Scandinavian homely lodges. Combine your stay at one of these with a night or two at the Treehotel in Harads. Because who wouldn’t want to spend in a night in a giant birds nest or UFO?
DO? Head out on a Northern Lights snowmobile adventure, or why not try a spot of snowshoeing, Scandinavia’s traditional form of Arctic transport? If you’re headed to the Treehotel make sure you check out the Ice Dining. You + dining + on actual ice = what’s not to love?
GETTING THERE? Flights go from London to Lulea via Stockholm with both Scandinavian Airlines or Norwegian Air. (Tip: Norwegian Air tends to be a little cheaper).
GOOD FOR? Glass Igloos, meeting Santa, families
STAY? Stay at Kakslauttanen Igloo resort in Ivalo or at Levin Igluts in Levi, and you won’t even need to get out of bed to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. If you’re travelling with kids and looking for a festive adventure, then Hotel Harriniva is the place for you.
DO? If you’re a dog lover, then look no further. Harriniva’s husky farm houses over 400 arctic huskies, with a handful of new puppies each season waiting to be cuddled. Head out on a Northern Lights husky safari across the frozen lakes before a private family meeting with Santa Clause himself.
GETTING THERE? Jump on a flight from London to Kittila or Ivalo via Helsinki with Finnair.
Check the Aurora Forecast: http://www.aurora-service.eu/aurora-forecast/
TIP: don’t travel solely for the Northern Lights…I know this is hard! Decide on your destination based on other factors, (i.e where you stay and excursions) so you know you’re going to have a great time anyway. And when the Northern Lights show, bonus!