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Your Travel Bucket List: The Northern Lights


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If a getaway to see the Northern Lights is on your bucket list or it just sounds like an amazing opportunity to see one of the world’s most spectacular natural phenomenons, this may be your year.

This natural wonder is caused by oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere colliding with electrically charged particles released from the sun. This happens at each magnetic pole and is usually mirrored occurring at the same time. Researchers have found that the Northern lights (known as the Aurora Borealis) is on a cycle; peaking around every eleven years. NASA’s senior scientists expect it to peak this December.

When should I go?

Opportunities and travels breaks have already begun and are expected to be available until early spring next year as the wonder is expected to still be visible. With over fifteen years of experience, Wilderness & Wildlife recommend visiting Iceland as well as Northern Finland and Swedish Lapland, which endures more stable weather conditions.

Value breaks are available in October this year, as well as February and March where you can enjoy warmer conditions. Hotels and lodges are available in small villages or isolated locations, a recommended stop to avoid light pollution - many offering ‘aurora alarm’ services, allowing you to get a good night’s sleep without missing the event. The lights rarely appear before 10pm, so be prepared to wait. Hang in there, as it is uncommon for the lights to last all night.

What can I do in the day?

There are lots of activities to do during the day, including husky sledding, snowshoeing, canoeing and hiking as well as exploring the local village and the natural habitat surrounding it. Packages are fairly flexible and breaks are available that focus on dog sledding, cross country skiing and snowmobiling, if you’re looking for an adventurous getaway.

However, these pastimes can be quite tiring, especially with anticipated late nights to view the lights. Take care of yourself, don’t let fatigue ruin your break and most importantly, wrap up warm.

A local guide can help you make the most of it, presenting the best places to stay, the local attractions and giving you the information and history behind the lights.

How long should I go for?

To make the most of your time and give yourself the best chance of seeing the northern lights, it is recommended you book your break for a long as possible. Wilderness & Wildlife offer packages ranging from a weekend stay to eight days; however these are flexible to suit you.

This natural wonder is completely unpredictable, therefore a longer stay will increase your chances of a sighting. 

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