Setting up camp in arctic conditions under the Northern Lights is generally quite high on most traveller’s bucket lists. It’s been on mine for years and years. It’s also a goal that is going to be much more difficult to achieve over the coming decade. Don’t panic! It’s not disappearing forever due to global warming or a new Tory Government initiative (they can refuse to scrap the tampon tax but they can’t take our night skies, ammirite?), but it is expected to appear less frequently after next year, for the next 10!
The Northern Lights take place on an 11 year cycle, and although erratic solar flares and eruptions can cause intense aurora, we’re now entering the downward leg of this cycle.
Luckily for us, there’s still a pretty good chance of seeing the aurora over the next year. To increase those chances, head to these top 6 places across the northern hemisphere to catch a glimpse of dancing skies.
1. Abisko, Sweden
Abisko, Sweden’s driest spot, is 100 miles deep into the Arctic Circle and offers a pretty high count of Northern Lights spottings. Due to it’s lack of rain, there are often clear skies above Abisko, making it one of the best places in the world to lie back in the snow with a mug of mulled wine and your eyes on the sky. There is a viewing platform at the top of Abisko Mountain Station especially for NL spying, which also happens to be extremely close to the infamous Ice Hotel. Go now.
2. Southern Iceland
Get out of Reykjavik, away from the lights, and you’ll soon be in Icelandic back-country. If you can brave the cold in a tent, camping in deepest, rural Iceland (just like Benn Berkeley in See The Light) is the best way to not only discover this amazing country, but also an unrivalled way to see the skies at their best. Tent. Sleeping bag. Mountains. LUSH.
3. Churchill, Canada
Not only famous for polar bears, Churchill in Manitoba is considered one of the top spots on the planet for watching this natural phenomenon. Head out onto the tundra in a buggy or watch from the warmth of one of the aurora domes.
4. Tromso, Norway
Tromso, sitting at the same latitude as both Alaska and Siberia, is known as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’ – it also sits right in the middle of the Northern Lights Zone, meaning you’ll have a pretty good shot at seeing the skies lit up if you head here in the next year. Be prepared for darkness; from November through to January, Tromso sees 24 hours of it. However, if you happen to find yourself there on the first Sunday in February, be sure to line the streets with the locals to witness the Reindeer Racing Championship. Add it to the calendar.
So what are you waiting for? Book those flights outta here!