The northern lights are visible from multiple different countries within the Arctic Circle. Each country has its own wildlife ecosystem that nature lovers can explore for themselves as part of a northern lights holiday.

While similar climates and neighbouring borders may mean that some nations share the same species, there are also unique animals that can only be found in certain countries and climates – giving eager animal enthusiasts a reason to visit each one and take in the northern lights along the way.

Below are just a few of the different animals that you can find when visiting our northern lights destinations:


Scientific Name: Rangifer tarandus.
Countries of Residence: Canada, North America, Greenland, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway.
Habitat: Arctic tundra and subarctic forests.

The reindeer, or caribou as it is known in North America, is a favourite sight for Northern Lights travellers looking to take in the local wildlife. The species can be found in many of our northern lights destinations that offer plenty of activities to enjoy; whether that be sledding, a feeding trip, or a full reindeer tour through the Lapland forests.


Scientific Name: North American Beaver – Castor canadensis. Eurasian Beaver – Castor fiber.
Countries of Residence: Norther American – Canada, United States, Scandinavia. Eurasian – Russia, much of Northern Europe, China.
Habitat: Forest-side rivers and other water bodies

The North American beaver is native to the United States and Canada and can be found throughout. It can also be found more sparsely throughout Scandinavia, having been introduced to the area to make up for the extinction of the Eurasian Beaver towards the end of the 19th century. The Eurasian beaver can still be found widely throughout the rest of Europe and Asia – populating rivers, lakes and streams as far west as England and as far East as Mongolia and China. To this day, the North American beaver is still the majority species in Scandinavia, though because of its identical effect on the ecosystem as its Eurasian cousin, it is not considered invasive.

A visit to Norway, Sweden or Finland will give you the chance to see beavers in the wild and enjoy the Northern lights at the same time.

Blue Whale:

Scientific Name: Balaenoptera musculus.
Countries of Residence: Oceans and seas around the world.
Habitat: The North Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific and Northern Indian Oceans.

The blue whale is the largest animal ever known to have existed on our entire planet. Its migratory patterns can take it all across the world, with stocks found in each of the world’s largest oceans. While the blue whale’s worldwide population was once over two-hundred thousand, the advent of the whaling industry drastically reduced those numbers to approximate twenty thousand; leaving the species placed at ‘Endangered’ status. Fortunately for eager whale seekers, the oceans of the Arctic Circle provide ample chances to see these magnificent creatures – a fine example of which is our Whales and Icebergstour.

Humpback Whale:

Scientific Name: Megaptera novaeangliae.
Countries of Residence: Oceans and seas around the world.
Habitat: The Atlantic, North Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans.

Although not as large as the blue whale, its reach is just as vast. Unfortunately, humpback whales have suffered the same fate as many other species due to drastic over-hunting by humans. The patterns of migration and feeding of the humpback mean that it can be seen in both arctic and subtropical climates at different times of the year. Our own packages can take you whale watching in a variety of settings, whether that be the warm islands of the Azores, the glaciers of Greenland or even coupled with seeing the Northern Light in Norway.


Scientific Name: Orcina orcus.
Countries of Residence: Oceans and seas around the world.
Habitat: The Atlantic, North Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans.

The Orca, also known as the ‘Killer Whale’, differs from the blue whale and humpback whale (who are both baleen whales) in that it is a toothed whale. Its name and reputation, while menacing, are well earned. The orca feed on fish, seals, dolphins – and will even attack the calves of other whale species. They are regarded as apex predators, because there is no other animal that preys upon them. Fortunately for us, wild orcas are not considered a threat to humans. Fortunately for the orca, they were largely unaffected by the whaling industry of the 19th and 20th centuries due to their small amount of recoverable oil, their smaller populations but also the difficulty of actually capturing them.

Despite this, the species is still at risk due to human-caused environmental factors. This is why we at Off the Map Travel have been doing our part by making sure that all of our whale watching holidays conform to the standards of the WDC and by adopting our very own orca.

Saimaa Ringed Seal:

Scientific Name: Pusa hispida saimensis.
Countries of Residence: Finland.
Habitat: Lake Saimaa, exclusively.

The Saimaa ringed is a unique subspecies of ringed seal with a tiny population of around 320 individual seals. What makes it special is its position as one of the few freshwater seal species in existence. The species came about when a ringed seal population was separated from the rest of the species when the land rose after the last ice age. This separation eventually lead to this population becoming genetically distinct from its saltwater siblings – and thus the Saimaa seal was born.

Lake Saimaa is not far from the Finnish capital of Helsinki and can easily be visited as part of a holiday in Finland.

Your Own Wildlife Adventure

These are only a few of the exciting animal species that be seen at some of our northern lights holiday destinations. One thing that is so great about taking a northern lights holiday is that the range of other activities you can combine it with is so vast. It is perfectly possible to see the northern lights in multiple different countries and enjoy a different holiday experience each time. This is especially true if you combine seeing the northern lights with a wildlife filled nature tour.

Our travel experts are on hand to provide expert advice on all of our travel destinations. We can work with you to create a tailor-made travel itinerary that includes all of the activities and features that you are looking for in your dream holiday. Don’t wait, get in touch today!

Get in touch today

Contact one of our team for more information or to help get you a personalised quotation.