Finland and the Northern Lights
So you want to see the Aurora Borealis? Which destinations immediately spring to mind?
Iceland? Norway? Sweden possibly, but there’s one country that is often overlooked as one of the best places to see the Northern Lights and that country is Finland.
One of the reasons that the majority of our Northern Lights holidays take place in Finnish Lapland is because it has such a great Aurora record. Just like Norway, Sweden and Iceland, Finland is right there in the heart of the auroral zone and that means you have just as much chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis in Inari as you do Tromso or Reykjavik.
However, there’s one huge difference, you’ve heard of Tromso and Reykjavik purely by virtue of them being large and instantly recognisable cities. Inari is tiny, its population is tiny but its Northern Lights are just as prevalent as anywhere else. And, the added bonus is that there is very little artificial light pollution to sully the night sky and spoil your aurora viewing pleasure.
This is pretty much the case all over Finnish Lapland. It is so sparsely populated that light pollution only really occurs in the larger towns like Rovaniemi and the ski resorts. Avoid their sodium lights and you’ll experience virtually no light pollution whatsoever because here, reindeer outnumber humans and, as a rule, reindeer don’t have much use for artificial light.
To stand on the frozen expanse of Lake Inari and watch the Northern Lights shimmering and sparkling in the Arctic night sky is a remarkable experience. It evokes so many emotions: awe, wonder and joy being just three but for us here at the Aurora Zone it conjures up something even deeper.
When we stand under the Finnish sky surrounded by mile upon mile of winter wilderness, we can’t help but think of what the ancients, our ancestors might have thought as they too stood spell bound by the Aurora Borealis. It’s little wonder that they believed the Northern Lights to be the spirits of the departed or the Gods themselves.
The beauty of hunting the Northern Lights in Finland is that you can also do so in some comfort. Yes, you have to go out in the cold but in places like Luosto and Muonio, the hotels will provide you with a mobile alert which will aid you in your search for the Aurora Borealis.
Take Luosto for example.
While you are enjoying a drink or meal at your hotel, just 30km away, the Sodanklya Geophysical Observatory is constantly watching the night sky. If the lights appear then they immediately let the hotels know and somebody will check to see if they are also visible in Luosto. If they are, then they will send you a text to alert you to the fact that the Aurora Borealis is visible. It’s your job to then get outside as quickly as possible and join others at the best vantage points.
For a more adventurous holiday, why not travel to Kilpisjarvi? This is the most far-flung corner of Finland and an Aurora Borealis hotspot. Not for nothing is the road from Muonio to “Kilpis” known as the “Northern Lights Route” and this is where you’ll regularly find the likes of renowned Lapland photographer Antti Pietikainen chasing down the “Tricky Lady”.
Antti and his fellow Finnish Aurora hunters have built up a network of contacts and when solar activity suggests that the lights will appear, they are constantly updating each other regarding where best to view nature’s light show.
Yes folks, the Aurora Borealis is alive and kicking all over Finnish Lapland just as it is in Iceland and Norway and speaking from years of experience, we can’t recommend Finland highly enough as a Northern Lights holiday destination.