It’s the ultimate bucket list item that we dream of experiencing for ourselves one day. Which is exactly why it’s the perfect gift! Watch in awe as the sky lights up before your eyes. See green, pink, purple and orange lights appear above you and dance in the night sky. In this blog we’ve included our top five Northern Lights experiences on Gifting Owl and some fun facts about this magical natural wonder.
The top five destinations to see the Northern Lights
1. Northern Lights in Alaska
Alaska is America’s largest and most northern state. Its stunning landscapes of mountains and forests make it a picturesque and serene place to visit.
View the Northern lights from a lodge sitting on the mountain ridges surrounding Fairbanks, Alaska. Enjoy snacks and warm beverages while you watch the lights from a cozy Alaskan home setting. Or, if you want the perfect shot, brave the cold and head outdoors to capture that magical image that will take pride of place on a wall at home.
2. Northern Lights in Canada
The home of maple syrup and poutine, what’s not to love? If you find yourself in the most northern parts of Canada, you have a great chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
When night falls in the northwest territories of Canada, head into the wilderness with your guide and join the hunt for the Aurora Borealis. Starting in Yellowknife, you’ll end up being only 400km south of the Arctic Circle. Here you’ll get the optimum experience of catching the this most mesmerising light show. Even better, your guide will be there to assist with your camera setup, ensuring that even an amateur photographer can get the perfect shot.
3. Northern Lights in Sweden
In Sweden, begin your memorable night with a bit of fun - on a sleigh ride behind a snowmobile! A Northern Light’s experience in Abisko, Sweden will change depending on the season: in the early season, you’ll gaze from Abisko National Park, but when the ice on the lakes is thick enough, you’ll get to see the lights from one of the top viewing locations. And don’t worry about the cold, you can always find shelter inside where a fire will be burning all evening long.
4. Northern Lights in Iceland
Iceland is one of our favourite travel destinations, with so many amazing adventures to enjoy in an absolutely beautiful part of the world.
Hop in a private 4x4 vehicle in Reykjavik, where you will soon leave the city lights behind and head to areas that have been carefully selected on your search for the Aurora Borealis. Or, if wanting to see the lights from a different perspective, why not experience a Northern Lights Deluxe Cruise? Cruise along Iceland’s coastline and see the city sites from another point of view. While you wait for the magical lights to appear, simply enjoy the crisp ocean breeze and gaze at the starry night sky - you are in Iceland after all.
5. Northern Lights in Norway
Norway is a mix of beautiful mountains and islands and has a coastline that stretches a massive 25,000 kilometres. Being situated in the North and neighbouring Sweden, it’s no surprise you can see the Northern Lights here also. If you are looking for a winter wonderland for your next holiday, look no further than Norway. Pack your skis or snowboard and cross your fingers that you’ll be in the right place, at the right time, to witness the Northern Lights for yourself!
Time for Aurora Borealis trivia!
Now that we’re done listing our top five destinations to see the Northern Lights, let’s get to the fun part!
1. What’s the difference between the Aurora Borealis and the Northern Lights?
Tricked you… there is none! They are so amazing they have two names.
The lights were named Aurora Borealis by Galileo when the lights were visible in Italy. When he saw the lights he named it Aurora (dawn) Borealis (of the north).
2. When and where can you see the Northern Lights?
The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights occur in the Northern Hemisphere. The best places to see the Northern Lights are the northwestern parts of Canada, Sweden, Alaska, Iceland, Greenland and Norway. For the best chance of viewing them for yourself, head to a high spot - somewhere rural or off-the-beaten track that has little to no pollution. Be sure to visit between August and April for the very best chance of seeing the lights.
3. Is the Aurora Australis fact or fiction?
It’s a FACT! The Northern Lights often get all the spotlight (pun intended), but we do get the Aurora here in the southern hemisphere too. The Aurora Australis can be seen in Hobart, Tasmania and New Zealand.
4. True or false: Some people can hear the Aurora Borealis
For centuries people have claimed to have heard the lights, but scientists are yet to prove it. Those who claim to hear the crackling and whooshing of the lights no longer do when their eyes are covered. This leaves many to believe the noises are merely a sensory mismatch in the brain.
5. True or false: For one day a year the Northern Lights strobe
Make sure you’ve got your playlist and speakers ready. From red to green to blue, the sky flickers so fast you are sure you are in a nightclub. KIDDING! False, definitely false.
6. Did NASA launch a rocket into the Northern Lights?
They sure did! In January 2015 NASA funded a rocket to learn more about this natural phenomenon.
7. It is believed that the lights are spirits playing football with the head of a walrus?
8. True or false: The Aurora Borealis is always there, daytime or nighttime.
True. It has been proven by the Alaska Institute that there is always an Aurora. However, it is only visible to the naked eye at night.
We hope you’ve learnt some fun facts to quiz your fellow travellers with while on your way to see the Northern Lights. See our Northern Lights experiences here to gift a loved one or book for yourself.