The Northern Lights are a spectacle that everyone should see once in their lifetime. It regularly features on bucket lists, and with good reason. The science behind it is complicated and full or jargon, but basically the Northern Lights are shafts of colored lights often visible in the night sky. They’re one of nature’s most beautiful, yet bizarre spectacles, that’s best experienced in the flesh whilst you’re standing in the freezing cold air of the Arctic region under a blackened sky.
The Northern Lights are only visible at night, so you have to be prepared to stay up late if you want to catch them, as they can be seen anywhere between 5pm and 2am. A cloudless sky makes a better viewing experience too, and the Lights are most active in March and September.
Finland, Sweden, Norway and Canada all have Northern Lights viewing hotspots that are well-known to aurora hunting enthusiasts. Traveling along the Norwegian coast in a luxury ship is quite possibly one of the most decadent ways to view the Lights, and is great for those who don’t like to compromise on their home comforts. Visit hurtigruten.co.uk for details of Northern Lights cruises or check out the video below for a taste of what it’s like:
There are plenty of tours to Northern Lights hotspots, but if you’d prefer to have a less commercial, more private viewing experience then it’s fun to go it alone. There are places the tours don’t visit, so if you have a hire car why not drive to a more remote area and enjoy the Northern Lights with your nearest and dearest? Obviously it’s important that you’re confident driving in snow, but make sure you still exercise plenty of caution. To find out the aurora forecast, check out this website.
The best tip of all when taking a trip to see the Northern Lights is to enjoy it. It’s tempting to spend the whole time taking photographs, and whilst it’s nice to have a few photographic memories, the best memories are the moments you focus on experiencing in the flesh. Remember to wrap up warm in specialist ski-wear and you’ll have the trip of a lifetime!