A Northern Lights Holiday is a unique chance to witness one of the most amazing natural wonders in this world. But don’t travel the whole way just for the light spotting. Add some other activities such as snowmobiling and wildlife spotting to your stay, for the adventure of a lifetime.
Photo credit: visit finland via flickr cc
Where to Go?
You will find many Northern Lights holiday packages, each focused on a specific location. While most of them are safe, we recommend visiting the following places:
Saariselka is a small village in northern Finland on the borders of the Urho Kekkonen national park. This popular tourism destination is perfect for mountain activities such as skiing and hiking. But, with plenty of wildlife opportunities (including the local reindeer farms), you should go out on a guided safari on a snowmobile or huskies. Also, being so high up in the Arctic Circle, the Northern Lights are bright up here.
The third-largest lake in Finland is also a historical place filled with Sami culture. You might head there to enrich your culture just as much as for sightseeing. Plus, the scenic landscape gives you an good excuse to explore nearby lands on your snowmobile.
High up in Northern Norway, Alta offers better chances to see the Northern Lights. Alta is renowned for its prehistoric sites where travelers can see rock carvings, dating back all the way to 4200 BC. Popular activities in the area include snowmobile trips and camping.
Located in the heart of the Northern Lights zone, Tromsø is one of the bigger cities in this list. So if outdoor adventures are not your thing, this might suit you best. You could spot the Northern Lights without having to go out camping. For the rest, Tromsø is great for kayaking and fishing trips.
Photo credit: Timo Newton Sims via flickr cc
When to Go?
Darkness is what you seek. So, avoid the bright days of the Arctic summer, and aim for the winter months, around the equinox – March and September. Time-wise, they can appear any time between 5pm and 2am, and they could show for anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours!
What Wildlife Could I See?
This depends on where you go! Scandinavia has a diverse wildlife, so pick your destination based on what you’re most interesting in. The most common animal you will encounter is the reindeer, which plays an important role in Sami culture. Have a look through some of the common animals found in our suggested locations.
Near Saariselka and Lake Inari you might be lucky enough to see wolverines (not the X-man though), bears and eagles. The willow grouse and the Merlin falcon live in the forests, the osprey, and the rough-legged buzzard near rivers. If you get lucky, you might also see some of the cliff-dwelling birds driven inshore – like puffins.
As I mentioned earlier, Alta and Tromsø are home to reindeer. Other than that, they home brown bears, muskrats, lynx and moose. Bird lovers could admire cliff-dwelling birds like kittiwakes, and wading birds like loons. The quaint Alta or the louder Tromsø are amazing places to come across stunning fauna and flora.
A Northern Lights holiday like this can be mind-blowing, especially if you book with a local guide. Imagine heading out into the unexplored on a snowmobile only stopping to delight in the startling views of the big north. The apex of your trip, of course, will be the spotting of an Auroras Borealis. It’s a trip of a lifetime, and one well worth making.
About the Author
Edward Francis is an avid blogger who writes on behalf of BalticTravelCompany.com.