With the ever increasing popularity of Northern Lights holidays we are delighted to have expanded our programme to offer you some of the best opportunities for viewing the Northern Lights or aurora borealis across northern Europe. The majority of our Northern Lights holidays can be tailor-made to your requirements so do contact us.

We have written a brief guide to the range of winter holidays we offer and you should also read our Top 10 Tips for Northern Lights Holidays.

Had a really great time - everyone was so friendly and went out of their way to ensure we had a good time. Even the Northern Lights performed superbly!Miss. J. A. - Surrey

The guide told us about the Northern Lights while we were having hot drinks. As he started talking about them the lights came out behind him - it was amazing!Ms. K. N. - London

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Once in a lifetime experience in unbelievably low temperatures and the most beautiful scenery. Didn't see the dancing lights, but saw the green glow. Unforgettable. It was like holidaying in Narnia. Absolutely fabulous time. Mrs. J. K. - London

Introduction to Northern Lights Holidays

The northern lights, or aurora borealis, is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the Earth's atmosphere at altitudes of 100km or more and is caused by activity on the surface of the Sun. CMEs or ‘Coronal Mass Ejections’ from the Sun, 93 million miles away in space are explosions of plasma released when magnetic fields within the sun break. If these are aimed at Earth, particles may reach us within 8 minutes but can take up to 5 days to travel around Earth. When these charged particles reach our atmosphere, they interact with molecules and gases in the air to create the colourful displays of aurora. The green is from oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere, although very high-altitude oxygen can also result in vibrant reds, whilst the purples, blues and pinks are caused by nitrogen.  The charged particles follow Earth's magnetic fields to the polar regions.

The northern lights are so called as they are seen in the Northern Hemisphere, but in fact this phenomenon also occurs in the south and the southern lights, or aurora australis, can be seen in places like New Zealand and Tasmania as well as Antarctica, if you happen to be there in winter! Hence around both Poles there is a constant year-round auroral oval.

In the Northern regions, the northern lights are not visible during the summer months as there is 24-hour daylight, but by August and through until April, it is possible to see the Northern Lights. We have seen them in September, throughout the winter months and into April.

The northern lights appear in various forms and are constantly moving, often arcing in the night sky in their active form that can result in fantastic displays over many hours. The type of northern lights you will see, depends on the level of solar activity. Faint auroras, that often resemble moving clouds, are called the quiet Northern Lights and these may come and go in a matter of minutes.  Arcs are the most common, forming graceful curves across the horizon, these can turn into bands that create ribbon like movements dancing in the night sky. Coronas occur in periods of more intense solar activity and can contain a variety of colours to form magnificent crowns above you, often swirling and pulsating brilliantly.


So, what are the chances of you seeing the aurora borealis on your northern lights holiday?

We have been selling northern lights holidays now for over 22 years and some of the guidelines below will help you understand your chances of seeing the aurora.

We are now in Solar Cycle 25, which began in December 2019.  A solar cycle is the natural cycle the Sun’s magnetic field goes through approximately every 11 years.  During this cycle, sunspot activity rises to a ‘Solar Maximum’, at which point the Sun's magnetic polarity flips and activity begins to fall back down to a minimum.  Whilst around ‘Solar Maximum’, Northern Lights sightings are expected to be at their most frequent and intense, it is important to remember that Northern Light are active throughout the entire cycle.  The next ‘solar maximum’ is predicted between November 2024 and March 2026, although the Sun’s activity is already exceeding predictions so, fingers crossed, some tremendous auroral displays can be expected over the next few years.

To optimise Aurora viewing opportunities conditions should be dark, with clear skies and as little light pollution as possible.

The further north you are, the better your chances and it's a good idea to find somewhere with clear skies, which is why we prefer northern Finland and Sweden, both of which are under the band of the auroral oval and well away from the mountains and Gulf Stream that can affect the weather of coastal Norway.  This area of Lapland often sees prolonged periods of stabilised weather, with clearer skies for night-time viewing and pleasant sunny days for day-time activities. This weather occurs less frequently early in the winter season when there are shorter daylight hours, and the snows are generally being laid down. As a point of note, Christmas and New Year are not necessarily the best time to be trying to find the Northern Lights.  Mid-January through to March are often the best months in these regions.

The best time to be outside to view the Northern Lights is between 2100h and 0100h although they can occur later in the night when storms bounce along our magnetic pathways and repeat themselves. However, this period around magnetic-midnight is usually the best time to view them.

The places we offer have all been chosen carefully for their location, the ability to get away from artificial street lighting and often with telephone or other alarm calls so that you have a chance to wake and see the northern lights if they appear late at night. Of course another consideration at this time of the year is having some winter activities to enjoy during the daytime, hoping that the adventures and fresh air do not put you to sleep before the Northern Lights appear!




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