Northern Lights revisited
A couple of years ago I posted a round up on where to see the Northern Lights in Europe. In this round up I have concentrated on different ways to enjoy the Northern Lights and I have included destinations outside of Europe this time.
The Solar Maximum is when there are more particles from the sun hitting the Earth’s atmosphere and causing the auroras around the southern and northern latitudes. This phenomena which began in 2013/14 continues into the 2014/15 winter and as a result interest in the Northern Lights has increased. More tour operators are offering trips to countries where it is most likely to see them. It should be noted, hover, that the Northern Lights cannot be guaranteed so make sure you choose a package that includes other Arctic activities and consider the Northern Lights as a bonus.
One of the best ways of seeing the Northern Lights is from the deck of a ship. The lights are reflected in the water so you get a double dose of the show. As a bonus it also makes for a better photograph or video. Voyages Jules Verne offer a Northern Lights Voyage around the coast of northern Norway. It includes a return mini-cruise within the Arctic Circle from Tromsø to Kirkenes. Optional extra activities include a visit to the North Cape, the chance to drive a team of huskies and a midnight concert in the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø. Four or five nights from £1,095 www.vjv.com
You can read about another blogger’s experience taking a similar trip at www.travelwithkat.com: a travel blog well worth reading.
Voyages Jules Verne also have a longer break available cruising along the stunning Norwegian coastline and among it’s islands. The Lofoten & the Northern Lights seven-night holiday features a five-night ‘Hurtigruten’ voyage within the Arctic Circle and a two-night stay on the Lofoten Islands. There are plenty of optional excursions and activities during the day and opportunities to see the Northern Lights over the water during the night. Prices from £1595 www.vjv.com
Take a tour across the northern regions of Sweden and Norway collectively referred to as Lapland. Aurora Nights have a 6-day tour, Lapland Coast-to-Coast, from the Gulf of Bothnia to the North Atlantic. On the way you travel by snowmobile across pack ice, husky sledge and train to the fjords of the Norwegian coast. All the while there is a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights. In addition there is the opportunity to meet Northern Lights photographers for hands on masterclass in the Abisko Nationl Park. Prices start from £2295 Aurora Nights
Europe is not the only place to see the Northern Lights. They can be seen right across Canada on a regular basis. Alberta and the Yukon are two of the more accessible places with North West Territories and Nunavut being far less accessible.
Discover the World offer a trip that combines Northern Lights hunting at Fort McMurray, the best place in Canada to view the aurora borealis with exploring the Canadian Rockies. There are plenty of activities such as ice walking and sleigh riding for those times when the Northern Lights are not visible. When they are visible there are photography and astronomy experts on hand to help visitors to get the best from their viewing. Prices start from £904 not including flights. www.discover-the-world.co.uk
As an alternative to adding various activities to a Northern Lights break why not add on a short Northern Lights break to a longer winter activity break. Ski Safari, who tailor-make ski breaks, offer a 4-night Northern Lights break in the Yukon to a 5-night ski break in Whistler, British Columbia. In addition you can add dog-mushing, ice fishing or snowmobiling during the day when you cannot see the Northern Lights. A sample price for the above would work out at £1819. Visit www.skisafari.com for more details
The spectacular show the Northern Lights put on is an opportunity that, if it presents itself, is something you should not miss. These are just some of the experiences you can have.
Have you seen the Northern Lights? If so when and where? What was your experience like? Share with us your thoughts, observations and tips in the comments below.
For those wanting to know more: There are a number of books and DVDs about the Northern Lights. You can discover some of them in the Travel Unpacked Shop (£)