Chasing the Aurora: Your Guide to Adventure Holidays to See the Northern Lights

words Al Woods

Adventure Holidays Northern Lights

The Northern Lights, also known as the aurora borealis, are a stunning natural phenomenon. One of the best ways to see them is by going on holiday to a part of the world where they’re visible, adding an extra touch of magic to your time away.

While you might be eager to book a holiday, there’s a lot to think about first. You will need to decide where and when to go, how long to go for, and how you’ll spend your time when you’re not taking in the breathtaking sights of the Northern Lights.

If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to planning a holiday, check out this guide to some of the best ways to see the Northern Lights.

Where should you go on holiday if you want to see the Northern Lights?

If you’re setting off on holiday with the aim of seeing the Northern Lights, you’ll want to head closer to the Arctic for a clearer view.

But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to go all the way to the North Pole! Some of the best places to see the Northern Lights are found in the north of Europe. Northern Lights holidays in Sweden, as well as other countries in this part of Europe, are a great way to not only see the lights, but also immerse yourself in this picturesque part of the world.

The Swedish region of Lapland is in the middle of an area known as the “Northern Lights belt”. Located in the Arctic Circle, this area is known for being an amazing place to see the Northern Lights, as it’s where the lights are most visible and the colours are at their brightest and most vivid.

How can you see the lights?

One of the best ways to see the Northern Lights is by joining a guided tour. These tours are very popular, as the tour guides know where and when to go to increase your chances of getting a good view of the lights. This means that you don’t have to stay in a rural area to see the lights, so there’s no need to worry about missing out if, for example, you’re staying at a hotel in a city.

On the other hand, if you’re staying somewhere relatively remote, there’s a possibility that you’ll be able to see the Northern Lights from your accommodation. While the lights are difficult to see in urban areas due to light pollution, the clear skies in regions such as Lapland mean you can appreciate the magic of the Northern Lights without having to travel far.

What’s the best time of year to go?

While it is possible to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights throughout the year, you can time your holiday to get more out of your experience. If you’re going to Sweden, the best time to visit is in winter, specifically from December to March. The sky is darker at this time of year, so the colours will seem more vivid, and you’ll be able to see them for longer.

You might also be able to see the lights between September and November, although they probably won’t be as clear as they are during the winter.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re hoping to see the Northern Lights in winter, is the weather. Certain kinds of weather, such as heavy snowfall, can affect visibility. On a similar note, cloudy skies can make the lights hard to see. This could lead to tours to see the Northern Lights being rearranged for a different date.

What time of day are the lights visible?

If you want to see the lights, you should be prepared to stay up late. The best time to see them is at night, usually between around 5pm and the early hours of the morning – typically up to 2am.

How long should you go for?

Because bad weather can result in tours to see the Northern Lights being rescheduled, it’s a good idea to book a holiday that lasts for at least a few nights – that way, you’re less likely to miss out.

Some people find that a three-day break is long enough to see the Northern Lights, but if you’re hoping to enjoy some other activities while you’re on holiday, you might want to book a week or more. Whether you’re staying in a city such as Stockholm or in a quieter rural area, a longer holiday will give you more time to explore Sweden.

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