Everybody has a personal travel bucket list. A list of sights that they feel their life will not be complete until they’ve been witnessed first-hand. For many people, these visions include the Northern Lights (aurora borealis so the scientifically inclined.)
The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon. Electrons are released by the sun and hurtling toward the Earth at a rate of knots. When they reach our planet’s magnetic field, a reaction occurs with particles in the atmosphere. This creates a bright light, almost akin to a fluorescent glow stick in the sky.
The color of the Northern Lights depends on the speed at which the electrons are traveling. Blue, purple and red are common at slow speeds, while the lights will become a bright, luminous green at higher speeds. Eventually, when peak velocity is achieved, the sky will turn a deep ruby red.
In theory, the Northern Lights can be seen from anywhere. To fully take in their natural beauty, however, you’ll need two things: high altitude and proximity to the North Pole. In the US, parts of Alaska offer the best view of the lights. For a real experience, make the trip to Nordic Europe. A popular destination in Finland provides a particularly spectacular experience.
We’re speaking of the Kakslauttanen arctic resort, located in Finnish Lapland. Lovers of the holiday season owe it to themselves to visit this winter wonderland anyway. Some cultures describe Lapland as the home of Santa Claus himself, not least because it’s located just 150 miles from the arctic circle. Visitors during the winter season can ride in a sleigh, hang out with reindeer and enjoy a little ice fishing. Check out the video below.
The accommodation of Kakslauttanen is geared up especially for viewing the Northern Lights, which makes it increasingly unique. Visitors to Kakslauttanen can set themselves up in a glass igloo, located within the snowy terrain. The roof is built from thermal glass to retain heat without restricting the view of the night sky. More traditional accommodation, including log cabins, is also available if that all sounds too chilly for you. From here, you can relax and stare at the sky, basking in the beauty.
Nothing is guaranteed. As we mentioned, the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon. This means that you’ll be at the mercy of nature. The clue is in the name. Kakslauttanen experiences virtually no light pollution, though, so there the chances of seeing the Northern Lights are considerably superior to almost any other location.
The best time to visit Kakslauttanen to see the Northern Lights is between September and April. Skip the summer – the resort is still striking and packed with activities, but the sun will be up pretty much 24/7. If you make your trip during the holiday season, you’ll have as little as three hours of sunlight to contend with. That’s a lot of time to spend drinking in the beauty of the night sky.
Kakslauttanen is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it has a price tag to match. Expect to pay at least $500 per night to stay in an igloo, and more if you need larger accommodation and amenities. Ask yourself a question, though. Can you assign a dollar value to witness one of nature’s most magnificent visions first-hand?
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