WOULD you like to see the ‘Northern Lights’, or Aurora Borealis? The experience of seeing the unearthly colours, and even hearing the heavenly sound, of the Aurora in the night sky above a snowy Arctic wilderness is on many a bucket list. But how, and where, can you see this phantasmargorical phenomenon? We’ve got some suggestions…
1. Svalbard, Norway
This Norwegian island is well up into the Arctic – and generally the higher the latitude, the better your chances of seeing the Lights. You can witness the Northern Lights here between November and February, but the majority of visitors come to experience a different natural phenomenon: the Polar Night. Between mid-November and the end of January, Svalbard is without daylight. With a blue twilight the lightest it gets, your chances of seeing the Aurora are increased.
2. Kakslauttanen, Finland
At the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finnish Lapland, you can Lights-gaze from the comfort of your own glass igloo, and stay in a traditional log cabin complete with sauna and open fire. If the lights don’t play ball, you can instead do snowy activities such as a reindeer safari, or rent some walking skis to explore the nearby Urho National Park.
3. Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
The village of Jukkasjärvi in the Kiruna region of Sweden is home to the country’s first ice hotel. Night flights to see the Northern Lights operate from Jukkasjärvi, but down at ground level, take a tour of the Esrange Space Center, where you can admire Sweden’s starry skies if the Aurora isn’t visible. There are plenty more (cheaper) options for places to stay in Kiruna than an ice hotel, and you can still see the Lights, as well as do fun winter activities like snowmobiling.