5 Unique Ways to See the Northern Lights
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The chance to witness the northern lights first hand has fueled wanderlust for generations and remains a bucket-list item for millions. From the U.S., you don’t have to go to a far-flung destination to see them – on rare occasions, they can even appear as far south as New Jersey. But, if money is no object and cold isn’t an issue, here are a few of the most unusual and unique places you can go and experiences you can have while viewing the northern lights.
Stay in an Igloo
There are several places that offer northern lights packages inclusive of an igloo stay – these are especially popular in Finland. Couples can get romantic or cozy up with friends in an igloo at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland. There are three types from which to choose. The glass igloo is one of the most ideal for aurora-gazing as you can watch the magic unfold from the comfort of your bed. The glass igloos are perfect for two, but can also be good for a group of friends. They are equipped with en-suite toilets, but showers and saunas are available in separate buildings.
The resort also offers the hybrid Kelo-Glass igloos, a combination of a cozy cabin and a glass igloo. Inside, they have a fireplace, a kitchenette, a bedroom with a glass roof as well as a private sauna. They can sleep up to six people.
Adventure-lovers can hole up in a traditional ice igloo for a truly unforgettable night – the temperature holds at a steady minus three throughout the night! Everything you need to stay warm is provided, including a down sleeping bag.
Cruise the Arctic
A Polar expedition cruise can really get aurora enthusiasts into the adventurous spirit. Exotic wildlife and some of the hardiest people in the world are the only ones to call this region home and cruising the region means that, in addition to the chance of seeing the northern lights, visitors can see polar bears, walrus, musk ox, arctic fox and narwhal.
Quark Expeditions is one of the most experienced operators of cruises to the region, having successfully completed many first-ever voyages to the Polar region. They have a variety of cruises that touch base in several different countries that border the Arctic ocean. There is Franz Josef Land in the far north of Russia, Spitsbergen, Greenland’s fjord system, the North Pole and more – all available on cruises as short as three days or as long as 20.
Aurora Sky Station
Abisko, Sweden, is known as one of the most ideal spots for northern lights viewing because of its low precipitation micro-climate, and the Aurora Sky Station provides the ideal base for those who would like to see the spectacular light show. The mountaintop observation center is reachable by cable car, taking visitors to the top of Mount Nuolja at about 2,700 feet above sea level.
Here there are few distracting sources of light or sound. The station was chosen by Lonely Planet as the best place to see the aurora borealis and up top, there is a cozy café, a souvenir shop, the lookout tower and a northern lights exhibition. There are also guided tours of the area. Be sure to book and pay for your tickets in advance, as the space is limited.
READ MORE: Where to See the Northern Lights in 2016
There are a few companies that offer aurora hunting, but Aurora Zone has a unique six-step process to track down the northern lights and offer holidays that are dedicated to finding these elusive lights. They build their trips with six things in mind: light pollution, local expertise, the auroral forecast, aurora alerts, mobility and appeal to travelers. The company provides hands-on service, expert guides and an abundance of flexibility so that travelers can get the best view of the northern lights possible.
Go to Greenland
This is one of travel’s final frontiers and it’s also one of the top places to see the northern lights. Viewing the aurora borealis is ideal in places with low light pollution and clear night skies, and you'll find both here. Plus, exploring Greenland’s interior can take you on an arctic adventure while delivering on the world’s most sought-after lights.
Greenland’s night sky is just about as unpolluted as you can get and several tours through the country are dedicated to combining Greenland’s terrestrial scenery with the polar lights.
More by Janeen Christoff
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