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Posted by on Feb 18, 2015 in Finland, Nature | 12 comments

Where to see northern lights?

Where to see northern lights?

Where to see northern lights and experience one of the most incredible shows of nature ? 

Let me tell you how fortunate I am, for the fact that I did witness one of the most extraordinary and fascinating shows mother nature has to offer; seeing the northern lights.

The only time I had the opportunity to see the green lights dancing in the sky was – and this was definitely a one of a lifetime event  – in the southern state of Virginia, USA. Yes, now you see why I say one of a lifetime experiences!

Just as the name says, the northern lights can only been seen in northern areas of the globe. So after a couple hours staring at the skies in absolute awe, I was left craving for more.

 

WHERE TO SEE NORTHERN LIGHTS?

 

If you’re in Europe, like me, then head to Lapland!

 

where to see northern lights

 

WHERE IS LAPLAND?

Lapland, is the largest and northernmost part of Finland, Sweden and Norway.

Lapland is a magical region all year round.  You’ll find fairy tale villages, winter Christmas attractions, the northern lights and the midnight sun. Lapland is a land that will make you live a dream and encounter activities you can’t experience anywhere else.

 

 

So why haven’t I visit Lapland yet? Well, I’ve been spoiled with our warm and sunny winters in southern Europe and I admit escaping the cold for a couple of years, while heading to Asia. I’m scared of cold, and maybe that’s why I’ve been missing all the breathtaking wilderness Lapland has to offer.

I’ve radically changed my mind, after a couple of friends sent me a handful of photos with their adventures in the snow, and the majestic sunrise from their windows.

I love off the beaten path and unique adventures away from the crowds.  I specially love to explore nature in its purest state and I’m pretty sure, very few places in Europe can offer such combination. So yes, Lapland is now officially on my bucket list.

 

 

I’m particularly fascinated by the northern lights and the native tales and traditions that explain this phenomenon. Although science has described the technicalities of the northern lights, I still believe, to a certain degree, in the ancient myths and legends of the natives who have experienced nature’s most spectacular show on earth.

 

NATIVE TALES ABOUT THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

 

Many Inuits, the Arctic’s indigenous peoples, believed the northern lights were spirits of the dead playing a game with a walrus skull as the “ball.” The Inuit of Nunivak Island in the Bering Sea, on the other hand, believed in the opposite: that it was walrus spirits playing with a human skull.

Indigenous people from Greenland thought the northern lights were dancing spirits of children who had died at birth.

In Alaska, some Inuit groups considered the lights to be the spirits of the animals they had hunted, specially beluga whales, seals, salmon and deer.

 

 

In Norse mythology, the lights were the spears, armor and helmets of the warrior women known as the Valkyries. They rode on horseback, leading fallen soldiers to their final resting place at Valhalla.

In Finland, a mystical fox was thought to have created the aurora, its bushy tail spraying snow and throwing sparks into the sky.

In Finnish, the name for the aurora borealis is “Revontulet”, which literally translated means “Fox Fires.” The name comes from an ancient Finnish myth, a beast fable, in which the lights were caused by a magical fox sweeping his tail across the snow spraying it up into the sky.

Indians of the Great Plains of North America thought the lights came from northern tribes who were cooking their dead enemies in huge pots over blazing fires.

Fishermen in northern Sweden took the lights as a good prophecy, believing they were reflecting large schools of herring in nearby seas.

 

 

 

Have you ever seen the Northern lights? Have you ever traveled to Lapland? I would love to hear about your experiences on the comment section bellow!

12 Comments

  1. I was lucky to see the Northern lights a few days/nights ago and it was amazing! Especially because I didn´t expect it (the forecast was low) and went for a walk just to enjoy the starry sky. It wasn´t particularly strong, but it was enough to take my breath away – it´s really magnificient. I am currently in Jämtland, which is a Swedish region south of Lapland. Auroras are slightly less common here, but it´s still a good place to them, too. I hope to visit Lapland as well. Happy Aurora hunting! :)

  2. Wow Monika, seems like some of the best moments of life are actually the ones we’re not expecting at all. I was amazed when I saw the northern lights for the first time. I remember that after a while everyone went back home and I kept on staring at them, alone. I think there’s something very magical to the light dance.

    I’m really excited to get to Lapland.

  3. I never knew about Northern Lights until I read your post. Its time for me to explore it.. nice photographs and great information.

  4. Truly amazing images, I never have the chance to visit Lapland yet, but my kids are bothering me every year to take them in the country where Santa lives so with this occasion I can do both.

  5. Great post! Witnessing the Northern Lights is high up on our Life List and something we can’t wait to hopefully experience someday soon. After reading your post we feel we need to change that from witnessing to experiencing the Northern Lights. The fascinating native tales make it even more desirable.
    Look forward to reading more posts.

    • There is a HUGE difference between witnessing and experiencing something. I was blown away by the northern lights and I actually want to experience that emotion again. They’re incredible, definitely nature at its best!

  6. I’d love to see the Northern lights but I despise being cold! What time of year do they happen?

    Also, what is the midnight sun? I’ve never heard of that.

    • Hey!

      Northern lights usually appear during the winter months. Also the darker the sky is the better they are, you really can’t see the northern lights properly if it isn’t dark outside.

      Best time usually in Finland is December-February time. It also depends on your luck if they happen, the conditions need to be right and you also need clear sky with no cloud coverage.

      You just need to dress correctly in winter and it’s really not that cold!

      Midnight sun means that the sun doesn’t set at all. This happens within the artic circle during summer.

  7. Great article! I didn’t know that the lights are spears, armors and helmets – I really like that image. I was lucky enough to travel to the north twice to see the lights, once in Tromso (where the weather seems to be more stable) and once one hour south of Kiruna.

    You will love it! Fingers crossed that you will have the chance next season :)

  8. I was looking forward to seeing them in Montana but they didn’t show. I got to see a meteor shower at least though!

  9. Sometimes, you can see the northern lights in Scotland and even Northern England.

  10. We were in Iceland this year but in June. Maybe we’ll visit in winter someday. Finland is on our list too …

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