A visit to the Arctic is one destination that is full of cool magic and surprises.
We’re thinking of course, about the completely natural Arctic phenomena – the Northern Lights. You’ll never forget watching the fabled and elusive Aurora Borealis shimmering in the star-studded Arctic sky.
You can do it via the Arctic city of Tromso, in Norwegian Lapland, or take an Arctic expedition through frozen forests to a spectacular night time vantage point, where away from artificial light, the setting for an encounter with nature’s most spectacular light show is second to none.
Venturing into the dark, your team of loyal huskies guiding the way, you hope to catch a glimpse of nature’s greatest light show. And then, gazing skyward, you look up and your eyes widen as brilliant currents of green and pink dance across the night sky.
The Northern Lights appear when solar particles enter the Earth’s atmosphere, emitting burning gases on impact that produce different coloured lights (oxygen produces green and yellow; nitrogen blue). The term aurora borealis is named after the Roman goddess of the dawn. The aurora borealis occurs in an oval doughnut-shaped area located above the magnetic north pole, and the best sightings are within the “doughnut” (rather than at the pole itself), and away from artificial light and moonlight.
The most spectacular displays occur in the northern parts of Scandinavia as well as outside Europe in Alaska, Canada and Russia. Fainter displays can also regularly be seen from Scotland. Displays of the lights are notoriously unpredictable but the northern lights season runs from late September or early October to late March.
It’s something everyone ought to see at least once in their lifetime – and if you can combine that with some of the other magical treats on offer in the Arctic wilderness then all the better. Nothing sounds more amazing than searching for the lights while standing amid Norway’s fjords and mountains, traversing Sweden’s frozen lakes on snowmobiles or even navigating Finland’s wilderness by husky sled.
Transun offers Northern Lights holidays that include an Arctic Expedition, snowmobile rides along frozen rivers, and reindeer and dog-sleigh rides with optional stays in an igloo, and day-visits to the Icehotel. See www.transun.co.uk.