Northern LightsThe sight of the lights shimmering and dancing across the night sky will be etched in the memory of all those who are lucky enough to witness it.
The phenomenon of the Northern Lights has fascinated the Sámi people for centuries and there are more than 20 folk tales that attempt to explain their existence. In many parts of Lapland the Northern lights are known as the Firefox. Legend has it that the tail of a running fox brushing against the powder snow causes the sparks in the sky. It is also said that the Arctic Sea contains so many fish that the sun's light is reflected off their scales and creates the patterns in the sky.
Today's science means that we now know that the Aurora Borealis displays we see are caused by electrically charged particles in space hitting the earth's atmosphere. When they collide with oxygen and nitrogen particles they emit excess energy as light.
Although the Aurora Borealis can be seen from northerly parts of the United Kingdom the occurrences are rare and the intensity of the displays tend to be low. The further north you travel the better your chances of viewing the lights so all the destinations in this brochure provide great opportunities to see the Northern lights.
The optimum time to see the Northern lights is between 9pm and 1am in the morning. Be careful not to go to bed too soon or you may miss out. The intensity of the displays can vary and may start with a small stationary glow or arch in the night sky before building into a spectacular show.
The Aurora Borealis is a purely natural phenomenon and therefore cannot be guaranteed whichever destination you choose. However, the further north you travel and the further away from man-made light you are, the better your chance to see the Northern lights. Many of our destinations offer night time and overnight safaris that will give you the perfect opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis as we take you deep into the darkness (and our guides know all the best view points!).
Lying on a reindeer skin in deep snow, watching the sky shimmer and drinking hot berry juice is an excellent way to spend part of your holiday! Whatever you believe about the Aurora Borealis there is no more spectacular experience on Earth than sitting in a winter wonderland watching the lights dancing across the sky. It is truly magical! Choose from our Lapland trips below and see the Northern lights with Activities Abroad.