NORTHERN LIGHTS HOLIDAYS

With the ever increasing popularity of Northern Lights holidays we are delighted to have expanded our programme to offer you some of the best opportunities for viewing the Northern Lights or aurora borealis across northern Europe. The majority of our Northern Lights holidays can be tailor-made to your requirements so do contact us.

We have written a brief guide to the range of winter holidays we offer and you should also read our Top 10 Tips for Northern Lights Holidays.

Had a really great time - everyone was so friendly and went out of their way to ensure we had a good time. Even the Northern Lights performed superbly!Miss. J. A. - Surrey

The guide told us about the Nothern Lights while we were having hot drinks. As he started talking about them the lights came out behind him - it was amazing!Ms. K. N. - London

Our Holiday Ideas

FINLAND ICELAND SWEDEN

FINLAND

ICELAND

SWEDEN

Once in a lifetime experience in unbelievably low temperatures and the most beautiful scenery. Didn't see the dancing lights, but saw the green glow. Unforgettable. It was like holidaying in Narnia. Absolutely fabulous time.Mrs. J. K. - London

Introduction to Northern Lights Holidays

The Northern Lights or aurora borealis is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the Earth's atmosphere at altitudes of 100km or more above us. CMEs or Coronal Mass Ejections from the Sun, 93 million miles away in space are explosions of plasma released when magnetic fields within the Sun break. If these are aimed at Earth then within 8 minute particles will reach us but can take up to 5 days to travel around Earth. When these charged particles reach our atmosphere they interact with molecules in the air and create the colourful displays of aurora. The charged particles follow Earth's magnetic fields to the polar regions. Hence around the North Pole there is a constant auroral oval.

During the summer the Northern Lights are not visible as there is 24 hour daylight but by August and through until April it is possible to see the Northern Lights. We have seen them in September, through the winter and into April.

These Northern Lights are so called as they are most often seen at northern latitudes, but in fact also occur in the south and the Southern Lights can be seen in places like New Zealand and Tasmania as well as Antarctica, if you happen to be there in winter!

The Northern Lights appear in various forms and are constantly moving, often arcing in the night sky in the active form that can result in fantastic displays over many hours. More dense, sometimes faint aurora are called the quiet Northern Lights and may come and go over a matter of minutes. They can form magnificent crowns above your head or pulsate brilliantly. The colours vary, mostly greens but blues and reds do also occur.

So what are the chances of you seeing the aurora borealis on your Northern Lights holidays?

We have been selling Northern Lights holidays now for over 15 years and some of the guidelines below will help you understand your chances of seeing the aurora.

It was predicted that winter 2012/2013 was set to have the most auroral activity for the next 11 years or so due to a solar maximum. However, NASA revised their forecast in February 2013 and this occurred later in 2013. A solar maximum occurs when sunspot activity reaches the peak of its 11 year cycle and during this period Northern Lights sightings are expected to be more intense and more frequent. However, already this winter there have been some tremendous auroral displays and it is still a great time to travel north in search of the Northern Lights.

The further north you are the better and it's a good idea to find somewhere with clear skies which is why we prefer northern Finland and Sweden, under the band of the auroral oval and well away from the mountains and Gulf Stream that can affect the weather of coastal Norway. Furthermore, this area of Lapland often sees prolonged periods of stabilised weather with clear skies for night time viewing and pleasant sunny days for activities. This weather occurs less frequently early in the winter when there are few daylight hours and the snows are generally being laid down. As a point of note, Christmas and New Year are not necessarily the best time to be trying to find the Northern Lights.

The best time to be outside to view the Northern Lights is between 2100h and 0100h although they can occur later in the night when storms bounce along our magnetic pathways and repeat themselves. However, this period around magnetic-midnight is usually the best time to view them.

The places we offer have all been chosen carefully for their location, the ability to get away from artificial street lighting and often with telephone or other alarm calls so that you have a chance to wake and see the northern lights if they appear late at night. Of course another consideration at this time of the year is having some winter activities to enjoy during the daytime, hoping that the adventures and fresh air do not put you to sleep before the Northern Lights appear!

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