Would you like to see the Northern Lights ? Many travelers have dreamed of seeing this spooky phenomenon with surnaturel colors and even to hear their heavenly noise in the night sky above the Arctic snowy land. Seeing the northern lights, or the aurora borealis, as they are also known, is a mystical moment.
Named in honnor of the Roman goddess of the Dawn, Aurora, the aurora borealis are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter in the earth’s atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. They are known as ‘Aurora borealis’ in the north and ‘Aurora australis’ in the south. Most of the time the aurora borealis appear in pale green and pink.
The lights are at their most frequent between the autumn equinox and spring equinox, from the 21st of September and the 21st of March.
Here are some places where you could see aurora borealis around the world.
Canada is for sure the best place on earth to watch aurora borealis as it covers most of the country, including the states of Yukon, northern Saskatchewan, northern territories, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia or British Columbia. When the sky is light you can have 100% chance to see the Northern Lights. Canada also offers many activities in winter as cross-country skiing or maple syrup tasting.
Svalbard in Norway
You can see the Northern Lights all over Norway. However, the best places are above the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway or the Svalbard Islands. This Norwegian archipelago is located between the 74th and the 81st parallel north, making it a prime spot to view the Northern Lights. Remember, the more you go north, the better is your chance to see beautiful aurora borealis.
If the best time to observe the Northern Lights on Svalbard extends from November to February, visitors also come to Svalbard to observe another unique natural phenomenon of it’s kind: the polar night. Each year, the largest city in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, finds itself plunged into total darkness from October 26 to February 15, or 113 days without any daylight!
Kakslautten in Finland
Located in Lapland, the “Arctic Kakslauttanen Resort” hotel is unique. Indeed, you can see the Northern Lights without having to face the cold of the far north, from the comfort of your igloo glass. You can also enjoy a sauna in a traditional log cabin.
Even if you are unlucky and don’t see the aurora borealis as no guarentee can be given, the hotel organises many activities as reindeer excursions or dog sled. You can also rent cross-country skis to explore the national park Urho, located nearby.
Jukkasjarvi in Sweden
Located 19 km from the town of Kiruna, the village of Jukkasjarvi is known for two things. Firstly, the village has the first ice hotel in Sweden, which is also the largest ice hotel in the world. The ICEHOTEL offers an unique experience of sleeping in a luxury igloo for an unforgettable night. The hotel aslo proposes warm rooms. Moreover, Jukkasjärvi is the perfect place to go to watch the Northern Lights.
Reykjavik in Iceland
Reykjavik is the most accessible place to admire the aurora borealis. For this reason, this destination is becoming more and more popular year by year. Besides the Northern Lights, there are plenty of things to do in Iceland in winter. You can swim in the Blue Lagoon. An outdoor artificial lake where the water is always at a temperature between 30 ° C and 39 ° C in summer and winter !
You can also go snowmobiling, skiing, or go in search of the places where were filmed Game of Thrones episodes.
Scotland in the United Kingdom
It is not necessarily useful to travel halfway around the world to admire the aurora borealis. Scotland also has a number of places free from light pollution. The Caithness coast http://gty.im/184056124 , the Orkney Isles, the Outer Hebrides and Shetland are prime spots to see the Northern Lights. You also can perform many winter activities in Scotland, particularly in Aviemore or in the Cairngorms National Park. Each year in January, the huskies are racing during the Rally Aviemore Sleddog.