planning for northern lights trip

Written by Donovan July 6, 2013 Category: Europe, Finland, Iceland Comments
Chasing the northern lights is not a cheap and easy thing to do, because usually you have to travel to remote freezing regions in the northern part of the country and you have to fork out large sums of money. Hence I am planning my trip for this Dec 2013 and hope that some kind soul can give me advice. I want to travel free and easy or join a day tour at most.

 northern-lights-3

1. Finland

Finland is an awesome spot for anyone after some aurora borealis action. Get yourself up to Finnish Lapland – particularly Kilpisjarvi in the north-west – for the best chance of catching them. The further away you are from light pollution, the better.
You’ll need a clear, dark night – even a full moon will dull the effects.
Other options in Finland include the Oulanka National Park in the far north. Basecamp Oulanka offers log cabins with saunas and hot tubs (at a price – around £1500 for a week, with flights), and basic huts at the Davvi Arctic Lodge in Karesuando also let you learn about Sami culture (more on the Sami in this week’s issue of TNT) at about £1000 for a week, including flights. 
We also like the Kakslauttanen Holiday Village, 80km from the Russian border, where you can view the light show from your bed in a glass igloo.

2. Sweden

Abisko Mountain Station touts itself as the best place in the world to view the Northern Lights, and visitors have reported “exceptional” displays so far this year.
The sky station is open from December until March, and you can spend the night or head on to the nearby Ice Hotel (pictured) – just in case you’ve not quite had your fill of ice and snow. Wrap up warm and bring your piggy bank – it’s pricey.
 visitsweden.com

3. Alaska

Alaska’s Fairbanks is found within the ‘aurora oval’ where the red, green, blue and violet lights make the most regular appearances.
The best time to make a trip here is from December until March, when the sky is at its clearest. Luckily for you, the unusually active solar shenanigans are set to continue until early 2013, so this is still an option.
 travelalaska.com

4. Iceland

At Hotel Ranga in southern Iceland, you can relax and watch the lights from naturally heated outdoor hot tubs, with a backdrop of volcanoes, mountains and glaciers all adding to the wow factor.
Another option is a new trip to a remote fishing village on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, where you can spend the days spotting killer whales and the nights watching the lights. Iceland Express does some fairly cheap flights, too.
 visiticeland.com; icelandexpress.com

5. Norway

There are plenty of cruises that sail up the country’s spectacular coastline, giving you great views of Norway’s dramatic fjords as well as the aurora borealis far away from the cities.
If you’re looking to save a bob or two, try Tromsø – the destination itself is hardly cheap, but a five-hour lights-chasing bus tour with Tromso Adventure can cost as little as £90pp. See our feature at tntmagazine.com/travel for more details on chasing the lights cheaply.
 visitnorway.com; tromsoadventure.no
L’art ne transforme pas. Il formule.

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