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Northern lights finland

T

he sky above me turned into shades of green, and before I could notice it started swinging and shimmering. At the edge, there was an occasional display of a circular rose-pink. I had to ask myself, was I dreaming?  Was this all for real?

I had to believe it. We were the lucky few who witnessed the dazzling show of the Aurora Borealis. It was merely INCREDIBLE to see these fantastic natural wonders put up a show for us.

If you are planning a trip to see the Northern Lights, you might find the know “before you go” information helpful. Please scroll down to see our complete Northern Light story from Finland.

Know before you go

WHAT IS THE AURORA BOREALIS?

When the Sun’s rays react with earth gases during the Solar flare, it results in the formation of Aurora Borealis. The reaction with Oxygen forms green color and with Nitrogen results in shades of pink and purple.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO SEE NORTHERN LIGHTS?

The best time to see Northern lights is from September till mid-April when the nights are long. They are visible on the nights when the sky is clear, usually between the dawn and dusk.

WHAT IS THE BEST PLACE TO SEE NORTHERN LIGHTS?

You can spot the auroras from the countries which lie on the Arctic circle. To see them, you have to travel far north, away from the city and light pollution.

Travel far north, beyond the arctic circle, where the reindeer rides replace ordinary automobiles. Away from city lights in open areas is the best place.

Multiple apps/websites help in the prediction of Northern Lights, e.g., aurora alert. They cannot be predicted well in advance. You can check websites that provide real-time analysis.

WHAT TO WEAR FOR NORTHERN LIGHT ADVENTURE?

The further north that you travel, the colder it gets. On an aurora hunting tour, you have to stay outdoor for quite long. The weather can be harsh, and it gets pretty cold. That is why it is wise to dress accordingly.

Dress in layers: Well, this is a no brainer, but how many layers is good enough?

Here is a summary of what worked for us on our Finnish Lapland and Northern Lights tour:

CLOTHING TO PACK FOR NORTHERN LIGHTS:

Top: Two layers of jacket one fleece jacket and a warm down jacket.

Bottom: Two layers of bottom wear – Warm woolen leggings or thermal and jeans.

Accessories:

  1. Two layers of warm woolen socks and snow boots, warm cap. On colder nights, you can wear a face mask or balaclava to keep your face covered.
  2. Two Gloves, one thin woolen, and another preferably the snow proof if you plan to handle the snow or wish to go on Husky rides and other sports.
  3. Heating pads to put inside your gloves. These come in handy when you are feeling cold in your feet and your fingers, open the heating pad and let it sit in the open air for 10 – 15 mins to activate the heating effect. After this, you can put it inside your gloves or shoes for a warm, immediate result. The heating pads were a savior for us.
Clothes Finland Rovaneimi
Clothing for Northern lights hunt

Our experience with Northern lights:

Us and our friends booked a flight to Finland, for one thing – the hope of seeing the phenomenal natural wonder that has raided the Internet.

After spending two beautiful days in Helsinki, we continued further to Rovaniemi, the dream winter town and the capital of Finnish Lapland.

Rovaneimi road trip

“Rovaniemi” is the magical winter wonderland where fairy tale meets real life. This town is famous for its Santa Village, where real Santa lives and so many other incredible things.

Did you know that in Summer the Sun never sets here? This phenomenon is called the ‘Midnight Sun.’ It is another unusual natural happening here other than the Northern Lights, which drew us to this place.

Our stay in Rovaniemi was of five nights and six days, which is a pretty decent time to explore all the activities that this place has to offer. The plan was simple; we had installed the app, which gave a daily forecast of the weather and the probability of viewing the Northern Lights.

 

Unfortunately for us, the first 4 days did not go as expected since it snowed all day along with cloudy skies.

Girl below lamp in snow Rovaneimi
Wishing for weather to clear

On the last day, we had very high hopes, and to our excitement, the weather showed a clearing sky, which meant we were ready to see the Northern Lights. Without further ado, we booked ourselves a trip with a tour guide. The guide came to pick us up at 8 P.M. as agreed, and our hunt for the lights began. When we left for the adventure, we didn’t know what to expect. We had layers of clothes on which gave us minimal chance to move.

The night was starry when we drove outside the city for an hour to reach our destination of light watching. The guide parked the car, and we all stepped out and started walking into the wilderness.

Snow-covered pine trees that were towering to the sky surrounded us. The only thing guiding our way was a small torchlight and the snowmobile wheel marks, which was our path that we followed to go deep in the jungle.

 

The road ahead was eerie and frightening with no soul around, except for our group of five. It brought back all sorts of spooky horror movie scenes to my mind. I was more than happy when the hut was visible in the distance, finally, some human habitat after walking for what felt like an eternity. A sinking feeling crept in my stomach. If we were lucky, we were going to observe Northern Lights a once in a lifetime experience.

Hut at night in snow

The guide brought us inside the hut, the interiors of the place were very intriguing with a reindeer horn as an art installation above the door, and a lovely fireplace in the center. We seated ourselves on the chairs, made out of the tree trunks, and the guide lighted the fire. It was much-needed warmth in the cold night. The temperature was around -15 degrees Celsius, which soon dropped to -20 degrees as the night progressed.

 

Warming up, we went out in the open area beside the hut. If the guide hadn’t told us, we wouldn’t know that we were standing on a frozen lake.

 

The place was a stretch of open ground with just the stars visible in the sky. Soon we positioned our cameras onto our stands and waited for that glorious moment. All the time, we had our eyes gladly glued to the sky above us. An hour passed by in the chilling weather, but nothing unusual happened.

Girl standing on frozen lake and snow
Walking on frozen lake

I realized my hands and legs were getting numb from the cold, what started as a slight discomfort immediately turned into a painfully numbing sensation.

I had to run to the fire to take in the warmth. Nobody else was ready to leave their place afraid of missing out on the Northern Lights. Even though I was scared, I ran to the hut.

Inside it felt very comfortable and cozy when I heard everyone calling me. Delighted, I went out to the ground, and there it was.

The sky was lit with a magnificently glowing light that put up a majestic show in front of us with green colors dancing and shimmering with an occasional display of red and different shade in the sky. It was unlike any other experience and felt as if firecrackers were lighting up the sky.

I don’t remember if I have seen anything more beautiful than the perfect snow-covered landscapes with the Northern Lights swirling in the backdrop.

We were all so thrilled not knowing what to do, the phenomenon that we had only read and seen in the pictures was in front of us for real.

It was a surreal feeling and will always remain etched in our hearts. All the harsh weather conditions seemed nothing in front of that one magical moment.

This experience has unquestionably got us hooked, and we will definitely visit again for more.

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