The Aurora Borealis is one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights, setting the skies of the far reaches of our planet ablaze with shapes and colours. Displays vary in intensity and duration but they still inspire poets, artists and photographers alike.
Have you ever seen the Northern Lights and where? Is it on your wish list? Join this discussion here or on our Facebook page.
When is the best time to see them?
To witness the lights in their full glory there is first a checklist of location, time of year and setting (not forgetting clear skies!), which all contribute to the chance of a truly once in a lifetime experience. The season is from September to April, but December, January and February offer the longest hours of darkness, maximising your chances. For the clearest views, avoid dates where there is a full moon.
Where should I go?
Arctic Scandinavia is the place to be to track down the elusive, other-worldly glow. Whilst it is impossible to guarantee, the best ways of ensuring a good sighting of the lights is to be under a cloudless sky and as far from natural sources of lights as possible – which is why our remote departures hold the advantage over a quick city break. Step into a frozen wilderness far from crowded cities to ensure the best chances of seeing the greatest light show on Earth. We have trips in Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Greenland.
What’s the best way to photograph the Northern lights?
If all you have is a small point and shoot camera, the best photos you'll get will be the dark of the night sky with an extremely faint green glow on the horizon. Your friends may not even believe you have seen them. However, if you are looking for that “National Geographic-esque” shot then you will need a good-quality digital SLR, preferably a wide angle lens. A sturdy tripod and a remote shutter release are essential due to the long exposure time required. If you have all of these and are comfortable with the manual settings, then all that's missing is a healthy dose of good luck on your side (which sadly you cannot buy).
What happens during the day?
Daytime activities depend entirely on your choice of trip. There are a plethora of options above the Arctic Circle, from a mixed activity week in the Finnish wilderness of Oulanka National Park, to trips that focus exclusively on dogsledding or snowshoeing. Finally there is our dedicated Iceland Northern Lights adventure, specially designed to take advantage of this burst of solar action.