Planning a Northern Lights Vacation
This guest blog post was curated for Bucky by Saumya from The Villa Escape.
The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is one of the most breathtaking artistic displays of nature. Photos do not do them justice. To fully appreciate this celestial display’s glory and splendor, you have to settle beneath them and watch the ever-changing lights as they flicker and slither, curve and curl. If you are planning a vacation, it is worth it to visit a place where you can see these dancing colors in the sky. It is just one of those things you need to see up close and personal once in your lifetime.
How and When to See the Aurora Borealis
There are many places in the world where you can see the Northern Lights. However, the ephemeral nature of this natural wonder means that planning a trip to a place where you can see them can be a risky proposition. The first thing you need to do is head north, particularly in winter when the skies of the long nights are dark. But because solar winds are the cause of the auroras, you need to rely on nature to play along with your travel plans.
While you cannot affect the solar activity that causes the auroras, there are a few things you can keep in mind to increase your chances of seeing them. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute published a guide for travelers looking to see the Northern Lights and it includes advice on how to plan trips to see the lights. Firstly, because clear skies are a must to see the Northern Lights, some of the best places to travel to are Alaska, western Canada, and Russia as they tend to have the clearest skies. Scandinavia and Iceland are generally clear too in the spring. The best time to travel to the auroral zone is generally around the Spring Equinox.
Where to See the Northern Lights
If you live in the U.S. and do not want to travel too far to see the Northern Lights, a good option is Fairbanks, Alaska. According to reports, residents of the city see the mesmerizing lights about 8 out of every 10 nights. Who needs a better reason to plan a trip to go there?
If you are planning on traveling to Europe, Scandinavia and Iceland are great options, as mentioned earlier. In fact, Iceland has become a major destination for people who want to see the Northern Lights. There are even hotels that provide wake-up calls so that guests do not miss an opportunity to see them. You can even stay in one of the glass igloo hotels that are popping up in northern regions like Finland. You can sleep under the stars with protection from the cold and hopefully, feast your eyes on the dancing lights.
The far northern parts of Finland, Sweden and Norway are good places to head to in Europe. Northern Norway – the area around Tromsso in particular – is especially popular among people traveling to see the Northern Lights. The Abisko National Park in Sweden is another location you can consider. In fact, it has developed a reputation for being the world’s top aurora-watching destination because it is located in an extremely special microclimate that has less precipitation compared to any other place on the planet that is located within the auroral zone.
North America has a number of superb options for aurora viewing as well. But keep in mind that it is probably a good idea to stay away from eastern Canada as it has a tendency to be quite cloudy. Canada has some great spots for seeing the lights, such as Yellowknife or Whitehorse, located in the Canadian Yukon. A good place to be to see the Northern Lights is anywhere along the auroral zone between the west coast of Alaska and James Bay, which is the far southern part of Hudson Bay in Canada.
Other Activities You Can Enjoy While Waiting to See the Aurora Borealis
No matter where you go to see the Northern Lights, you are obviously not going to spend every minute waiting to see them. Aurora-watching destinations have plenty of other fun and exciting activities that you can enjoy during your days there, including going on a reindeer safari, husky safari or snowmobile safari, ice fishing, husky sledding, glacier or ice cave walks, jeep tours and cruises, whale watching, and more. You could even spend the day at a spa and relax before you spend the night looking out for the otherworldly fireworks you are dying to see. If you plan your trip properly, you can make sure that you have an amazing time – even if you do not see the Northern Lights.
The next time you decide to go on a trip, plan a Northern Lights holiday. Seeing the spectacular phenomenon is sure to be an experience you never forget!
Saumya works at The Villa Escape - Iceland Trip From India as editor. She is a 20-something fun-loving and ambitious female who loves traveling and loves to share her traveling experiences. She loves solo travel trips. If not traveling you can find her behind her laptop playing games.