Knowing how unpredictable Mother Nature can be, I tried hard not to get too excited about the possibility of seeing the Aurora Borealis in Finnish Lapland. ‘Focus on the destination’ I kept telling myself, but my inner nerd kept screaming ‘but how cool would it be to see charged particles from the sun knocking into the earth’s atmosphere?’.
I had chosen Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, located at the edge of the wilderness near the Urho Kekkonen National Park, one of Finland’s largest. The indigenous Sami people, known for their rich cultural heritage and connection to the land, have lived here for over a century, but this majestic expanse of unspoiled wilderness is also home to some exotic wildlife I hoped to spot – bears, wolverines, golden eagles and reindeer. With the added attraction of snowmobiling, reindeer safaris, huskies, ice-fishing and a multitude of other activities, the chances of a brilliant time regardless of Northern Light spotting was pretty much guaranteed.
Of course, I was secretly hopeful the long winter season with virtually no light pollution, few obstructions and the Aurora app on my phone would also come to the party and make my visit complete. The Arctic resort itself is a delight, with a range of accommodation choices including some rather incredible glass igloos. Comfortable and charming with a private toilet, I figured the glass ceiling would also maximise my chances of spotting the result of a solar wind whooshing charged electrons and protons from the sun straight towards earth.
Chatting with reindeer herders, horse trekking through the snow, sledding with huskies and snowmobile adventures along with the enigmatic blue light of the winter twilight, delightful locals, good food and cosy atmosphere made for an unforgettable stay. Was the inner nerd silenced? Of course, she was, and it was utter magic!
OTHER AURORA HOT SPOTS
Undeniably, Finnish Lapland is one of the perfect places to spot the Northern Lights and embark on an Arctic adventure, however it isn’t the only destination where you can see the world’s greatest light-show.
A visit to Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, or Alaska will also give you the opportunity to hunt the Aurora Borealis. Accommodation options include traditional chalets, igloos and of course the famous ice hotels which are carefully reconstructed every year. A few of our favourites are:
Sweden, especially in Abisko National Park which is located 195km inside the Arctic Circle.
Alta in Norway, home to one of the world’s northern most ice hotels!
Take a cruise through Greenland! Quark Expeditions offers a 10-day round trip, flying into Greenland from Reykjavik and cruising around the world’s largest fjord system with the possibility of viewing some of the world’s most vivid displays of the Northern Lights.
OUR TIP: We always suggest YOU spend 2 to 3 nights at your chosen destination to increase your chances of experiencing this phenomenon first-hand.