Always wanted to see the magnificent spectacle of the Northern Lights? Then why not do it in combination with a choice of top experiences? The very best Northern Lights activity holidays let you marvel at the visuals, while having an adventure on snow, ice or water.
Best Northern Lights activity holidays
Your ‘adventure borealis’ could revolve around travelling to see the lights. Or it might mean filling your days with fun activities while waiting for the sun to set and the main attraction to start.
As we know our readers love an adventure we have put together the 10 experiences we feel would create the best Northern Lights activity holidays.
The traditional way to travel when this far north is, of course, by dog sled. A team of huskies will pull you through ancient forests and across frozen lakes. Stay overnight in wilderness cabins on a multi-day adventure, and prepare yourself for the main attraction after dark.
The Arctic nights of Lapland are the perfect place to see the lights. And bonding with your dog team and reaching otherwise inaccessible places is all part of this unique experience.
The modern descendant of the dog sled, snowmobiling lets you experience the thrill of fast travel on snow. Stop at wilderness cabins, enjoy a traditional meal and get ready for the stunning light show overhead.
It’s the perfect combination of tranquil natural surroundings and adrenaline fuelled fun. You’ll cover plenty of ground through the forest, with an experienced guide leading you along the trail.
Get behind the wheel of a rugged 4×4 and follow a track into the wilderness. It’s more comfortable than a dog sled or snow mobile, but you’ll still reach places other tours can’t. And you can carry everything you need for your expedition in the back.
Iceland is a great destination for Northern Lights 4×4 tours, with the opportunity to drive on mountain tracks and lava fields. Set up camp at night and enjoy the lights in a truly remote spot.
Cover the ground on your own two feet – with the added assistance of snowshoes. Master the snowshoe technique, enjoy a full body workout and when the sun sets see the incredible Northern Lights, knowing you got there under your own steam.
You’ll be able to spot animal tracks and get up close and personal with the landscape around you. But you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness in order to cover the ground, as snowshoeing can be tough.
Log cabins sound a bit too luxurious? Then build your own accommodation on an igloo adventure. Learn how to cut ice blocks and construct your own shelter – a valuable survival skill for the Arctic forests.
To top it all, you’ll get to see the Northern Lights above you from your snug self-built accommodation in the middle of the forest. This is one of the purest Northern Lights activities you can imagine.
If you’d rather carry your accommodation with you, then head out on a wild camping trip. Forget light pollution and noisy engines, just enjoy complete freedom in the wilderness.
The Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway and Finland all give you the right to access, meaning you can wander anywhere on public and private land. You’re also free to camp wherever you like, so you can find the perfect spot to watch the lights.
Enjoy the lights from the deck on a sailing or boating trip through the northern waterways. The lights only really appear in winter, so set sail up the coast of Norway towards the Arctic Circle.
Travel with experienced skippers, learning the ropes and improving your technique in incredible surroundings. Catch and cook your own food, sampling local delicacies along the way.
If you’re looking for a more leisurely experience, then jump on board a winter cruise where you’re likely to spot whales, making this one of the best Northern Lights activity holidays.
Head on a skiing or snowboarding holiday to one of the northern resorts in Alyeska in Alaska, or one of the northern resorts in Finland, Sweden or Norway, and your evenings could be lit up by the beautiful coronas of the Aurora Borealis. I personally saw the northern lights when in Ruka which is on the edge of the Arctic Circle in Finland.
If you want to get away from civilisation – and it’s light that could ruin the view – you could go ski touring into the wilderness. You can then set up camp to watch the show.
Snowkiting can be a fun activity during the day or a great way to travel into the wilderness. One of the most popular snowkiting destinations is Iceland where the vast open terrain and reliable wind offers ideal conditions.
In Canada, Russia and the Nordic countries it’s also popular on frozen lakes and for exploring vast, but relatively flat areas of frozen wilderness. Cover hundreds of kilometres and stop overnight in isolated cabins for a unique adventure borealis.
Cover the ground on snowshoes, dog sleds, touring skis, or even reindeer power, with an expert guide leading the expedition. Learn more about the wildlife that lives in the far north and put your survival skills to the test.
Track animals through the snow, set up camp for the night and huddle round the fire waiting for the greatest show on earth to start. In our opinion a snow safari is one of best Northern Lights activity holidays.
Where and when to see the lights
The Northern Lights are a unique visual phenomenon that can be seen in the furthest reaches of the northern hemisphere. You can occasionally spot them as far south as Scotland but for the full spectacle you have to head further north.
According to Best Served Scandinavia the northern extremes of the Nordic countries, including Swedish and Finnish Lapland and the Norwegian island of Svalbard, are among the best places to see the Northern Lights. But you can also witness this incredible sight in Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Russia and Alaska.
Clear winter skies are when the lights are at their best, with active periods occurring every couple of hours. The light energy is usually visible for around 30 minutes but it’s half an hour that will stay with you forever.
Unfortunately there is no guarantee you’ll see Aurora Borealis. So take your pick of the best Northern Lights activity holidays, and if you don’t get to glimpse of the greatest show on earth, at least you’ll have had an adventure.