Northern Lights Holidays

Here at Off the Map Travel we know that the Northern Lights are one of nature's greatest spectacles. We can help you to witness this magical phenomenon for yourself with a tailor made Northern Lights trip!

© Alex Conu/Visitnorway.com

Introduction to Northern Lights Holidays

Whether you are looking for luxury Northern Lights holidays or soft adventure Northern Lights trips and tours, our tailor made Northern Lights trips are sure to please. We specialise in booking luxury Arctic holidays to all the best locations in the world to see the Aurora Borealis. If you have always wanted to see this beautiful natural phenomena, then contact us today to arrange your holidays to see the Northern Lights.

You will not see thousands of different packages for trips to see the Aurora Borealis on our website – this is because our Northern Lights holidays are all about quality, not quantity. Each destination for our Aurora holidays has been hand-picked by one of our passionate travel experts, allowing us to create tailor-made luxury Northern Lights holidays that will be built to suit your exact requirements.

We organise trips to see the Northern Lights based around you and your expectations – whether you want a personal guide, would like to join one of our small group holidays to see the Northern Lights, or would like to travel independently, we will prepare luxury Northern Lights holidays to suit. We also specialise in family Northern Lights holidays.

There is so much to see and do in the Arctic in addition to Northern Lights trips – popular activities to complement your Aurora spotting are whale watching holidays, dog sledding, wild camping and more.

Northern Lights Holidays

Looking to book your Northern Lights trip? Discover the tailor-made Northern Lights holidays and experiences that we offer.

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Chad Blakley

Science and Forecast

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis (Northern Hemisphere) or Aurora Australis (Southern Hemisphere) are the result of a collision of high energy particles from the sun and atoms high in the atmosphere causing them to become what is known as excited or ionised. When these elements in the atmosphere return back to a normal state a proton is released in the form of light, the Aurora.

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Myths & Legends

The northern lights have, and in some ways always will be, surrounded by myth and legend. Even the modern day solar scientists openly admit that there is so much that is still not understood – continuing to fuel appetite for stories passed from generation to generation.

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When is the Best Time to Book My Northern Lights Trip?

The Aurora Borealis can be seen between September and March is visible from nightfall to sunrise, although the best hours are typically between 9pm and midnight. While you will need to be under open, dark skies for a clear view of the lights, the Aurora is so powerful that it can still be seen under clouds. Other factors to consider are which other activities you would like to plan into your Northern Lights trip – there is a lot to choose from and this will affect where and when you travel.

Contact us for more information about our Northern Lights Trips

We’re always happy to discuss your dream luxury Arctic holidays, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our Northern Lights trip destinations are hand selected by our travel designers who have plenty of experience travelling in this part of the world. This wealth of experience means they can apply their expert knowledge to your holiday plans, helping create a personally tailored trip to see the Aurora Borealis that you will never forget.

 

Northern Lights Holidays

Northern Lights trips feature at the very top of most people’s ‘Bucket List’ and, as experts in the Aurora, we can totally understand why! Standing beneath this awesome natural wonder is breathtaking to say the least. Whether you want to experience them in complete silence at the top of a mountain or enjoy them with the roar of a snowmobile engine as your theme tune as you fly through the snowy forests we can help!

We are proud to say that all of our experienced Travel Designers have been lucky enough to witness this natural phenomenon in many different ways and in many different countries, so we can help you to make your Northern Lights holiday a reality by designing your perfect trip sharing personal experiences and recommendations to guide you.

Northern Lights Destinations

Aurora Holidays in Norway

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Aurora Holidays in Sweden

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Aurora Holidays in Finland

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Aurora Holidays in Iceland

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Aurora Itineraries to Inspire

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Tailor-made from £999pp*

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Tailor-made from £1099pp*

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Tailor-made from £1249pp*

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Tailor-made from £1399pp*

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Tailor-made from £1499pp*

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Tailor-made from £1899pp*

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Tailor-made from £1975pp*

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Tailor-made from £2499pp*

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Tailor-made from £2549pp*

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Tailor-made from £3099pp*

Northern Lights Experiences

Seeing the Northern Lights above you is magical no matter where you are or what you are doing but we can offer activities that will truly enhance your experience! Float in freezing waters in a thermal flotation suit or fly out on a thrilling snowmobile safari into the wilderness - the choice is yours! These examples are just a selection of what is on offer so if there is something special you are looking for just ask!

Science and Forecast

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis (Northern Hemisphere) or Aurora Australis (Southern Hemisphere) are the result of a collision of high energy particles from the sun and atoms high in the atmosphere causing them to become what is known as excited or ionised. When these elements in the atmosphere return back to a normal state a proton is released in the form of light, the Aurora.

Origin of the Aurora

The energy that drives the Aurora is generated by the sun and the constant release of high energy particles causing what is called the solar wind. Just like a normal wind the strength and speed of the solar wind can change, depending on what is occurring on the surface of the sun. Events such as Solar flares can cause a high density of these particles to be directed towards Earth so creating a solar storm with high solar wind speeds. In turn this then increases the energy in the upper atmosphere so causing large Auroral displays.

Aurora Forecast

Colours of the Aurora

Aurora can come in many different colours depending on which chemical elements in the atmosphere are excited when hit buy the solar wind. The different colours seen depend on which element is interacted with, what height they are and what state they are in. If oxygen is involved then the Aurora can be green or red, nitrogen blue or red.

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis (Northern Hemisphere) or Aurora Australis (Southern Hemisphere) are the result of a collision of high energy particles from the sun and atoms high in the atmosphere causing them to become what is known as excited or ionised. When these elements in the atmosphere return back to a normal state a proton is released in the form of light, the Aurora.

Northern Lights Myths & Legends

The northern lights have, and in some ways always will be, surrounded by myth and legend. Even the modern day solar scientists openly admit that there is so much that is still not understood – continuing to fuel appetite for stories passed from generation to generation.

Although the first written account of the aurora is thought to date back to 2,600BC in China, it is a cave painting from southern France from 30,000BC which is believed to be the earliest surviving record of the phenomenon.

The Bible is also believed to describe the aurora in the Old Testament *1 as well as references in ancient Greek and Roman literature*2. It looks as though we have been fascinated with the northern lights for as long as records exist.

northern lights trip Visit Inari

According to one popular Finnish myth, magical arctic foxes sweeping their tails across the snow and spraying it into the sky is the real reason for the spectacular light show. In fact, the Finnish name for the northern lights even translates as ‘fox fires’.

Norse mythology connected the aurora borealis with war. It was believed that the lights appeared when sunlight reflected on the shiny shields of the Valkyries who were racing across the sky on the way to their resting place, Valhalla.

Old Icelandic folklore believed that the northern lights would ease the pain of childbirth. It was not all good news for mothers though – it was also thought that pregnant women looking at the lights would give birth to cross-eyed children.

Sámi Northern Lights Myths

holidays to see the northern lights

The Sámi people traditionally lived in a vast Arctic area of northern Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia. With an unparalleled proximity to the northern lights a number of legends to explain the phenomenon were passed through generations.

Believing that the lights were souls of the departed, Sámi believed in behaving solemnly and respectfully whenever the lights were in the sky. Bad fortune awaited anyone who showed them disrespect so many people chose to keep their families indoors when the lights were on display.

It was also believed that if you whistle a tune under the lights, it would summon the spirits closer and closer, until you were whisked away.

On a positive note, they also believed that the lights were also considered to have the power to aid conflict resolution.

Scandinavian Northern Lights Myths

The Scandinavian name for the aurora translates as ‘herring flash’ as it was believed that the dancing whirls of green light were a reflection of huge schools of herring in the sea. Whenever the lights were visible, fishermen were expected to be blessed with good catches of fish.

According to Swedish legend, a winter with frequent displays of the northern lights served to predict a good yield of crops the following year.

In Norwegian folklore, the northern lights were thought to be the spirits of old maids dancing in the sky and waving at those below them.

According to one popular Finnish myth, magical arctic foxes sweeping their tails across the snow and spraying it into the sky is the real reason for the spectacular light show. In fact, the Finnish name for the northern lights even translates as ‘fox fires’.

Norse mythology connected the aurora borealis with war. It was believed that the lights appeared when sunlight reflected on the shiny shields of the Valkyries who were racing across the sky on the way to their resting place, Valhalla.

Old Icelandic folklore believed that the northern lights would ease the pain of childbirth. It was not all good news for mothers though – it was also thought that pregnant women looking at the lights would give birth to cross-eyed children.

Let’s plan your holiday

Our experienced and enthusiastic Travel Designers are waiting to create your very own itinerary. Whatever you are looking for, we can help.

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