The Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) are a breath-taking spectacle which produces beautiful auroras across the night sky in the Northern Hemisphere. These dancing celestial lights are produced from electrically charged particle collisions from the Sun and the Earth’s atmosphere. The Aurora Borealis are known to produce a variety of colours from red, yellow, green, blue and violet.
Seeing the Northern Lights, one of the greatest spectacles of the natural world, is probably on most peoples bucket list (it’s certainly on ours!). Although the appearance of the mystical lights is largely unpredictable, you’re more likely to see them in some places rather than others. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite places to get wrapped up warm and look out for the elusive Aurora Borealis.
Svalbard is widely regarded as the best place to view the northern lights due to how far north it is. This is more for those who want to travel somewhere exotic and new. Svalbard is deep into the Arctic Circle so you’ll need to pack some good thermal clothing. You’ll most likely have to book connecting flights to get to Svalbard too, so that’s another thing to consider. You can also expect to see some wonderful wildlife during your visit too. The further north you go, the more likely you are to see the Northern Lights, and Norway is the most northerly spot on our list. From the Lofoten Islands to the North Cape, the glorious Aurora are simply a part of (almost) every day life and shrouded by endless myths and folklore.
The Aurora Borealis is an otherworldly phenomenon and combined with Iceland’s out of this world landscape, you’ll certainly feel you’ve been transported to a magical microcosm. Amidst volcanoes, glaciers and hot springs, Iceland is one of the most popular spots to see the Northern Lights and many people combine it with a city break in Iceland’s coastline capital Reykjavik, which is a great place to view the northern lights. There are plenty of cheap flights available, as well as affordable accommodation and there’s more than enough holiday activities available to take part in during the day. This is another very cold location that requires you to take plenty of good quality thermal clothing.
To help you on your quest, the Finnish Meteorological Institute issues email alerts to let you know when magnetic conditions are at their best for producing the Aurora. If they fail to show, you could always pop in to see Santa…
Sweden offers some great options for chasing the Northern Lights; Kiruna, the country’s northernmost town being one of the best. Treat yourself to a night in the truly unique ICEHOTEL, which is rebuilt every year, and every year is completely different to the last! With notoriously clear skies, it’s in a prime location for seeing the lights, plus you’ll have a hot drinks and reindeer hides aplenty to keep you warm.
Whilst you’re unlikely to fly all the way to Canada with the sole intention of seeing the Northern Lights, it’s a great addition to your trip that many people don’t know about. Why not visit a provincial park in Northern Saskatchewan where an absence of light pollution increases your chance of seeing the Northern Lights? Alternatively, Churchill, Manitoba has the highest frequency of dancing lights of any place in Canada with them being seen almost 300 nights a year! You could always combine your Northern Lights break with a ski trip as there are many superb ski resorts in Canada.
Why not make your Northern Lights adventure extra special by combining it with a cruise? There are an increasing number of cruises available from the UK, visiting ports throughout Norway and Iceland, with some even taking in the Shetland and Faroe Islands, meaning you can squeeze even more memorable destinations into your once in a lifetime trip!
Call us now and talk to one of our travel experts and find our where you could see the Northern Lights!
Wherever you decide to book your Northern Lights holiday, there are plenty of packages to suit your budget. Many Northern Lights destinations have plenty of top quality hotels - which can be booked on a bed and breakfast, full or half-board basis. However, many cheap northern lights holidays are self-catering.
Key Information: The Northern Lights are colourful sheets of light that appear in the sky of northern hemisphere locations, they are most commonly seen in bright shades of green and pink but other colours have been reported, they truly are abeautiful and fascinating sight to behold.
Ideal Time to Go: In order to see the Northern Lights you should plan your holiday between September & April as this is the period of time in which you can view the lights, during other times of year they’re just not visible.
Weather: The lights are most visible in clear skies with little to no clouds, so when you’re viewing the lights you shouldn’t find that rainfall is an issue.
Flight Time: Direct flights from London to Norway (good northern lights region) take around 2 hours
Fun Fact: Cameras can see the Aurora’s better than the human eye, so you could get some amazing holiday shots during your trip.
Top Tip: Take some thermal clothing with you! – It is likely to be very cold when you visit the northern hemisphere to see the northern lights so warm clothing is essential.
Depending which location you choose to visit for your northern lights holiday, your travel options will vary. As mentioned above, Reykjavik has plenty of cheap flights available, especially from airports located in the North of the UK. You can also find cheap flights to Norway and Sweden. Flights to Canada will tend to be a little more expensive, purely due to the amount of distance you have to travel to get there, but you can still find some great deals. Cruises can depart from Southampton or other UK ports or you may need to take a flight to join up with your ship at it's departure port - this will be specific on the individual cruise itinerary. Our expert team will be happy to advise you on the best way to get to any of these locations.
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