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How to plan your northern lights tour? – A complete guide to follow

Posted on By Blog Admin

A Picturesque natural phenomenon

Chasing the northern lights or experiencing the aurora borealis in the polar latitudes on a dark freezing night is a once-in-a-lifetime magical experience. It’s as if the heavens open up and celestial lights flash across the skies leaving you mesmerized.

The colours most often associated with the aurora borealis are pink, green, yellow, blue, violet, and occasionally orange and white.

Long winter nights are good to experience the auroras, but not necessarily the best time for a northern lights tour. In March and September near the equinoxes, the Earth’s magnetic field lets solar particles interact with the atmosphere, creating the aurora seasons!

Which month is best to see the Northern Lights?

The winter season is the best time to witness the Northern Lights and November to February are the best months in most countries.

Best Places to see Northern Lights

The best places where you can witness the Northern Lights are:

  • Alaska- Coldfoot, Fairbanks and Barrow.
  • Sweden- Kiruna, Sky Station in Abisko and Jukkasjarvi.
  • Finland- Rovaniemi, Luosto and Nellim.
  • Iceland- Reykjavik, Thingvellir, Threngsli, Seljavallalaug Pool and Hvammsfjordur.
  • Norway- Lofoten Islands, Alta and Andoya.
  • Greenland- Kangerlussuaq, Nuuk, East Greenland, Disko Bay.
  • Russia- Kola Peninsula, Arkhangelsk, Naryan-Mar, Novaya Zemlya, Taimyr Peninsula and Yamal.

What is the best location to see the northern lights?

Fairbanks, Alaska is the best location for witnessing Northern Lights as it has the perfect location and weather. Other amazing countries where you can see Northern Lights are Finland, Russia, Norway, Greenland, and Iceland.

How much is a tour of the Northern Lights?

The price of the tour packages of the Northern Lights starts from INR 1, 90,000 per person.

Where can I watch the northern lights?

Here are some of the top destinations for a Northern Lights tour

1. Fairbanks, Alaska

Experience arctic wilderness in the wonderful Denali National Park in Fairbanks where you can watch the beauty of the northern lights.

When to Go? Late August to mid-April

2. Tromso, Norway

The best place to chase the northern lights is the village of Ersfjordbotn, 12 miles from Tromso, the Lofoten Islands and the far northern towns of Alta, Nordkapp, and Kirkenes.

When to Go? Mid-September to late March

3. Lapland, Finland

How about living in a glass igloo and making the most of the travel experience of the Northern lights in Santa’s Hotel Aurora in Luosto. This quaint resort town is about 70 miles north of the popular town of Rovaniemi. It is nestled within the pleasing landscape of Pyhä-Luosto National Park.

When to go? Between September to March

4. Orkney, Scotland

A few places to see the spectacular light show include the Wideford Hilltop, along the coast in Birsay or on the beach at Dingieshow.

When to go? Anytime between the end of autumn to the Easter is a good time to visit Orkney.

5. Yellowknife, Canada

Head up to the Wood Buffalo and Jasper National Park to watch this natural phenomenon.

When to Go? Mid-August to late April.

6. Reykjavik, Iceland

For optimum viewing, away from light pollution, head to Öskjuhlið. The best spot is by the Grótta lighthouse, on the Seltjarnarnes Peninsula

When to go? September to April is the best time to chase the aurora borealis in Iceland.

Top northern lights cruises

Quite a few cruise lines offer Northern Lights sailings with stopovers at Arctic Circle hotspots to chase the Aurora.

Here are some of the most recognized Northern Lights cruises handpicked by travel experts:

1. Viking Cruises in search of the Northern Lights

The cruise takes you to several Aurora hotspots in Norway including Stavanger, Bodo, Tromso and Alta offering some of the chances of seeing the northern lights.

2. Olsen’s Northern Norway

This 14-night sailing includes nights at Arctic Norway, Tromso and Alta. There will be plenty of opportunities to spot the Norwegian Fjords as well, as a bonus.

3. P&O Cruises’ Norway and the Northern Lights

This 12-night cruise takes you to some of Norway’s gorgeous spots including Andalsnes, Tromso, Alta and Stavanger for best views of the northern lights.

4. Hurtigruten’s 100% Aurora Guarantee cruises

Hurtigruten offers a 100% Aurora Guarantee – if you don’t see the Northern Lights during your trip, you get another voyage for free. The guarantee runs across 12-night sailings.

5. Cunard’s Norway and Northern Lights

Sailing from Southampton this cruise will take you to Alesund, Tromso and Narvik offering breathtaking views of the Northern lights and Norwegian Fjords.

Northern lights – Itinerary

Here are two special handcrafted itineraries for your northern lights holidays, one from Finland and the other from Norway:

1. Finland Northern Lights Holidays

You begin your holiday from Helsinki with a panoramic sightseeing tour of the city. Explore the historical centre with Senate Square, the Presidential Palace, City Hall, the Parliament building, Finlandia Hall and the Opera House. The 1-hour 45-minute tour is an audio-visual experience, where you get to listen and look around.

There are also sound effects to bring the sights to life and tie them in with the history of the city. Some of the highlights include the beautiful Senate Square, the historical Presidential Palace, Uspenski Cathedral, City Hall, the Opera House and Finlandia House.

Next highlight of the trip is a train ride to Rovaniemi, where you visit the ski resort at Ounasvaara.

  • Go for the Snowmobile Safari
  • Experience a thrilling husky ride and learn about the life of the husky farm.
  • In an evening, go for an Aurora sighting tour.

While you are here, you can opt for the Santa Claus tour.

  • Discover the wonder of meeting the ever-delightful Santa and his delightful elves!
  • Spend a couple of hours in Santa’s Post Office
  • Shop around a bit and enjoy a lovely lunch.
  • Enjoy a local travel to the reindeer farm and enjoy interacting with the small group of lovely reindeers.
  • Go on a reindeer sleigh ride, take part in a special “Crossing of the Arctic Circle” ceremony.
  • After an amazing fulfilled day, drive back to where you started from on a special snowmobile before getting back to the city by bus.
  • Your special prize will be a “Crossing the Arctic Circle Certificate” given to you at the end of the safari. Spend the night at a hotel in Rovaniemi.

In Finland, you can choose to stay at an Igloo hotel where you get to enjoy spectacular views of the Northern Lights from the comfort of your Glass Igloo.

2. Norway Northern Lights Holidays

  • Begin your holiday from Oslo.
  • Visit The Vigeland Park and the sculpture museum that houses the works of Gustav Vigeland.
  • If you are keen on learning more about the history and culture of this country and the Vikings, visit the Fram Polar Ship Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum, Norsk Folkemuseum, and the Viking Ship Museum.
  • Norway in a Nutshell tour is also a good way to discover the country and one of its attractions is a ride on the famous Flåm Railway and a fjord cruise on Aurlandsfjord and Næroyfjord.
  • You can go for a snowshoeing tour up in the mountains near Flåm and later cruise on Aurlandsfjord and Næroyfjord.
  • As part of this holiday explore the Bryggen, an iconic row of colourful wooden houses along Bergen’s old Hanseatic Wharf.
  • Go on a funicular up to the top of Mount Fløyen, to enjoy a view of Bergen and the Seven Mountains.
  • For lunch or dinner, head down to the Fish Market for some super fresh seafood.
  • Fly to Tromso. Go for cross-country skiing or dog sledging. At night, if the weather cooperates, sign up for your first Northern Lights tour!
  • While you are here, visit the Arctic Cathedral, an iconic building in Northern Norway.
  • The Fjellheisen aerial tramway up above Tromsø should not be missed to get the best view in the city.
  • Check out the Polar Museum, which offers a fascinating look into Arctic trapping and hunting and the early polar explorers.
  • For an afternoon adventure, go on a Tromsø Beer Safari, which includes tasting some local beers.
  • Go for a snowmobile safari up in the Lyngen Alps, an Arctic fishing adventure, a Sami culture and a lovely reindeer experience, that will teach you a lot about Norway’s native reindeer herders.
  • After a week and a half of seeing Norway’s winter highlights, it’s time to head home.

Customised tours for other Northern Lights

Northern Lights tours can also be conducted from other destinations as well. We offer customized tours for the following destinations:

1. Russian Northern Lights

You can spend 2 nights in Moscow, 2 nights in Murmansk and 2 nights in St. Petersburg chasing the northern lights.

2. Icelandic Northern Lights

A holiday in Reykjavik for 4 nights would be great to chase the Northern Lights.

3. Canada

Head to places such as Yukon for 2 Nights, Alberta for 2 Nights and Yellowknife for 2 Nights for your Northern Lights trip to Canada.

We recommend:

  1. Make sure you carry a decent camera when you go on a Northern Lights tour. Watching the lights through a long-exposure camera setting will give you a greater chance of a better sighting.
  2. The weather conditions can be too cold during your holidays so ensure you are well protected.
  3. If you miss to witness the Northern Lights on your first day, do not be disheartened as you will get plenty of opportunities during your trip to chase the lights.

Cool facts about Northern Lights:

  • Did you know that Aurora is the Roman goddess of dawn and Boreas is the Greek term for the north wind? We, therefore, have the name Aurora Borealis.
  • No two light displays are the same, the colour and patterns of the Aurora are always differing.
  • Northern Light can also be viewed in Canada, Scotland, Russia and Alaska.
  • There are also the Southern Lights which offer a similar visual display and can be chased from South Georgia island, New Zealand and the Falkland Islands.
  • Studies have shown that other planets also have their own Auroras. Astronomers have seen lights on Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Jupiter.

What’s the best time to plan the holidays?

The best time to see the Northern Lights is between October to March.

How much would it cost?

Exclusively customized all-inclusive northern lights holidays start from INR 1.9 lakhs per person on twin sharing basis.

This winter, gift your family the once-in-a-lifetime experience of the Northern Lights tour.

What can be more magnificent than watching the Earth’s most magnificent and colourful lights illuminate the dark Arctic night?

No one ever forgets their first experience of watching the Aurora Borealis, which might just be the greatest show on earth. They are elusive and mysterious, one moment they blaze across the night sky while the next, dissolve into nothing.

Get in touch

So, if you are all set to make plans for your next trip, get in touch with one of the best travel companies specializing in customized holidays at connect@flyingsquirrelholidays.com and share your travel plans.