Top 5 Holidays to see the Northern Lights

Witnessing the Northern Lights is on many people’s ‘wish list’, and rightly so – the aurora borealis is one of Nature’s most awe-inspiring spectacles.
It’s an elusive phenomenon – making its appearance all the more magical – but here are our top five holidays for the best chance to see the Northern Lights...
  • Way above the Arctic Circle, the island city of Tromsø – ‘gateway to the Arctic’ – affords some of the best opportunities to see the Northern Lights anywhere in mainland Europe. You stay on the historic waterfront, which offers easy access to the city’s Arctic Cathedral, Polar Museum and the Northern Lights Exhibition Centre. To hopefully see the real thing, you venture beyond the city with an experienced guide on a night-time excursion to a point where the prevailing conditions for the aurora are most promising.
  • Above the Arctic Circle, the magical winter landscapes of Lapland, across which herds of reindeer freely roam, are bathed in a surreal and beautiful twilight. Consisting of two villages surrounded by seven fells, snow-sure Ylläs is not only a paradise for cross-country skiers for all levels (we offer special beginners' cross-country ski weeks), but also a perfect base from which to seek out the Northern Lights. After a day exploring the trails, you can take a dip in the relaxing open-air hot tub at the Ylläshumina Hotel – a wonderfully romantic and atmospheric way to unwind, and a great way to search the night sky for this spectacular natural phenomenon.
  • A holiday in Ylläs (see above) needn't just be about cross-country skiing. Here in northern Lapland, winter is a truly unique experience, perhaps all the more so because there is such a wide range of snow-based activities on offer. To try your hand at some of them, opt for our Lapland activity week, which includes dog-sledding through the snow-clad forest; snowmobiling; snowshoeing; and an introduction to cross-country skiing. In your free time, you can try your hand at ice-fishing or borrow one of the at the Ylläshumina Hotel’s kick-sleds. Be sure to reserve some energy for the evenings, though, so that you can keep an eye out for the Northern Lights.
  • If you're looking to explore Lapland's spellbinding, otherworldly wilderness at a more sedate pace, then our 'polar days' holiday in Ylläs is for you. Offered on selected dates in December and featuring a snowshoe hike under the stars and a guided walk in the nearby National Park, it's all about appreciating the special atmosphere of early winter. This mystical period is known as kaamos (‘polar nights’), and is a time when the sun slumbers beneath the horizon, day merges with night, creating a unique light, and the skies are tinged all shades of pink, purple and blue. On clear nights, there is often no need for a torch, as the virgin snow is illuminated by the moon, and you may be lucky enough to witness the Northern Lights. 
  • Northern Norway is famous as the ‘land of the midnight sun’, where daylight prevails 24 hours a day and the ‘night’ sky is bathed in a glorious golden glow that attracts visitors from far and wide. Yet as August progresses and summer draws to a close, darkness finally returns to Arctic islands such as Senja, where it is once again possible to spy the Northern Lights. There is, of course, a greater chance of seeing the Lights in winter, but if you are lucky enough to catch them in late summer, viewing temperatures are much friendlier!

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