“It’s been absolutely relentless and, it’s not just the frequency but also the intensity. I grew up and lived here all my life and have never experienced such an amazing Aurora season.” - Jouko Lappalainen
It’s safe to say that this Aurora hunting season has been the best in living memory. The Aurora has appeared in the Arctic night sky far, far more often than anybody (even NASA sponsored scientists!) believed possible. What’s more, many of these displays have been spectacular with myriad coloured lights blazing trails across the heavens and leaving even seasoned Aurora Guides spellbound and awestruck.
(Image: Muotka, Credit: @ Bolephotography)
Autumnal Colour during Daylight Hours
It is jokingly said that autumn in Finnish Lapland starts at 9 am on the 9th day of the 9th month and lasts for exactly three weeks. Clearly, this isn’t an exact science and with the climate seemingly changing on an almost daily basis, those dates should not be taken as fact.
What is certain is that if you time your trip to Lapland well then you can expect all the wonderful colours we associate with autumn during the day and dancing celestial lights once darkness falls.
Much of Finnish Lapland is covered by forests and fells and in autumn the landscapes are bathed in burnished shades of orange, gold, brown, ochre and myriad others. Indeed, the colours closely match those of the traditional dress worn by the indigenous Sami people.
Although December didn’t provide the white Christmas that many of us in the UK were perhaps hoping for, we are pleased to say that Lapland didn’t not disappoint on that front. In fact, the snow-covered landscapes of Finnish and Swedish Lapland helped make December another brilliant month for our #AuroraZoneMoments competition!
October might have brought darker nights and plenty of rain to the UK but it also brought us some brilliant entries for the second month of our #AuroraZoneMoments competition!
If you are seeking a peaceful holiday to unwind, don't just go off-the-beaten-track, travel out of season to uncover one of the best-kept secrets of Northern Lights hunting; autumn in Finnish Lapland.
Experience an autumn break in the heart of Lapland where the landscape is ablaze with a kaleidoscope of earthy hues, inky Arctic skies are bursting with celestial ripples of dancing light and daytime hours provide exquisite opportunities. See below for the experiences you could enjoy this autumn in Finnish Lapland.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite extensively over the last three years working with the Aurora Zone and have enjoyed some truly memorable experiences. What I have had less luck with, however, is the Northern Lights. Whilst my colleagues kept coming back from trips with tales of majestic Auroras, I seem to have hit periods of cloud and stories of ‘you should have been here last night it was incredible’.
A question we are asked almost every day here at The Aurora Zone is “when is the best time to see the Northern Lights?”. Now, when dealing with a natural phenomenon such as the Aurora Borealis, it is pretty hard to answer this question with any degree of certainty as its appearance can rarely be predicted accurately much more than a few hours in advance.
It may still only be October but the first snow has already started to fall in Lapland and winter is well on its way! Here at The Aurora Zone, this news fills us with excitement as in our opinion there is something quite special about chasing after the Northern Lights in spectacular snow-covered landscapes.
However, something that has to be even more special than hunting the Aurora in the snowy Arctic wilderness is the opportunity to celebrate Christmas in your very own winter wonderland on your very own festive Northern Lights adventure!
Aurora hunting has become a fine art and there are now many, many different ways of chasing down Mother Nature’s mesmerising light show. From snowmobile safaris to dog sledding and snowshoeing, the secret is to find a vantage point as far removed from any light pollution as possible.
All of these activities are fabulously fun and entertaining but, in the heart of an Arctic winter, they can get pretty chilly even when you are wearing the thermal clothing we provide on our trips.
We are blue in the face from telling anybody who will listen that autumn is an excellent time to search for the Aurora Borealis. Scientific research and findings from various esteemed Solar Physicists repeatedly point to increased geomagnetic activity (and hence, Auroral displays) in the weeks around the autumn and spring equinoxes.
The big question therefore, is; has this new aurora hunting season started well?
Timo Halonen and his wife Anne run Hotel Korpikartano an idyllic hotel in the breath-taking location of Menesjärvi in Finnish Lapland. Timo has a passion for photography and loves being out with his camera. We caught up with him after another fantastic Northern Lights season to talk about his love for photography and the magical Northern Lights.
Another Aurora hunting season is drawing to a close in Northern Scandinavia. The Northern Lights will still be visible well into April but, during the 24-hour daylight of summer’s Midnight Sun, all an Aurora hunter can do is catch up on lost sleep and long for the darker nights of autumn.
Travelling to the Arctic can be daunting, especially when you check the forecast and see that the temperature is around -19°C or lower *shudder*. It is perhaps unsurprising then that our Client Liaison team are repeatedly asked the same questions from concerned clients that are due to travel to the Arctic Circle - “What should we pack?” “What are the best brands for winter clothing?” “What will be provided for us?” “Will we be warm enough?!”
The search for the Northern Lights is quite often described as a ‘hunt’, suggesting the magical lights are akin an elusive, endangered wild animal you’re hoping to catch a quick glimpse off in its natural habitat before it spots you and runs for safety. In my opinion, this isn’t far from the truth.
Here at The Aurora Zone, we’re extremely fond of the Finnish people and especially the Sámi community, who are the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia. So, imagine our excitement when we heard that BBC Two are doing a one-off boxing day show all about the lifestyle of the Sámi people and their reindeer herding heritage.
Our expert Aurora guide and CEO of the new Northern Lights Village in Saariselkä, Markku Inkilä is a self-proclaimed Aurora nut. He lives and breathes the Northern Lights and is rarely happier than when he is capturing them on camera. His photos have been published in the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, and on hundreds of websites around the world.
We have big news here at The Aurora Zone and we couldn’t wait a moment longer to share it with you. Our good friends Mari and Jouko, two of our longest-standing suppliers, have announced the launch of their brand new wilderness boutique Hotel Nangu, located on the tranquil shores of Lake Inari.
We love it when our suppliers come to visit us regardless of the occasion. So when, while we were dining and enjoying an evening with Mari and Sinnika from Nellim and they described in detail this stunning new hotel in one of our favourite destinations, I am sure you can imagine our elation. Not only this, but it will be opening its doors ready for the coming season!
Ah, how we love travel on Instagram! We look, get wanderlust and then next thing you know it’s added to your travel bucket list. With the Northern Lights and Arctic landscapes, however, it’s another ball game completely.
Here's my five most Instagram-able Arctic destinations:
The light pollution created by more than 8 million people would render even the most vibrant of Auroral displays above the UK’s capital pretty much redundant but, for six weeks only, the Northern Lights will be visible in SW3.
Have you noticed how popular Finland has become recently?
Every time I open a magazine or the travel section of a national newspaper it seems that everybody is tipping Finland as THE hot destination for 2017.
Given the nature of my work I regularly travel to the destinations featured here at The Aurora Zone and, as a result, I get to know the countries very well and also its inhabitants. I most frequently visit Northern Scandinavia and whenever I meet a Finn, a Swede or a Norwegian for the first time I always ask the same question:
“Where is your cabin?”
Almost without exception, Scandinavians own a cabin, a cabin with no running water, no electricity but a cabin which almost invariably enjoys an enviable lakeside position. These cabins are where the good people of Finland, Sweden and Norway escape to immerse themselves in nature, to relax and to just generally have a pretty laid back time.
A few years ago, one of our Finnish suppliers invited me to come over and spend a few days at his remote lakeside cabin. He could get some time away from work in late-October and simply wanted to enjoy some downtime before the busy winter months.