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15 Places To Go For The Best Northern Lights Experience

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon that can be seen with the naked eye from late-August to mid-April when the sky turns dark around 6 PM to 6 AM. The colorful light display is highly visible in the Auroral Zone, which is between latitude 65 degrees and latitude 72 degrees.

Parts of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles, the Scandinavian Peninsula, and Russia are the best places to experience the Aurora Borealis.

Best Northern Lights Experience in Iceland. Aurora Borealis.
Experiencing the dance of Northen Lights

Best Northern Lights View

In this post, we will provide you with the list of 15 best places from where you can experience one of the most sought-after bucket list worthy destinations to view the Northern Lights. Auroral displays can appear in many colors although as you’ll notice, pale green and light pink are the most common. Shades of red, yellow, blue, and violet can also be in the mix.

Fairbanks, Alaska

As the largest city in the interior region of Alaska, the city lights may distract you so you may want to go farther into the northeast to Chena Resort from where you can view the Aurora while relaxing in a hot spring. You do not need to be observant at all times because they provide an Aurora alarm service which alerts guests when the light show starts.

As seen from Beaver Creek Scenic River in Alaska

Murmansk, Russia

Located above the Arctic Circle in northwest Russia, be prepared because temperatures can drop to as low as -40 degrees Celsius in the Russian winter. This season also brings polar nights where the sun is constantly below the horizon. During this period, the sky will be completely dark, increasing your chances of viewing the Northern Lights.

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Yellowknife, Canada

Located in the northwest of Canada, Yellowknife is just 250 miles from the Arctic Circle. A half-hour drive will bring you to Aurora Village, a teepee campground where you can view the Northern Lights from the comfort of warm and cozy viewing chairs.

As seen in Yellowknife, Canada

Labrador, Canada

Found in the eastern part of Canada, the forbidding terrain and extreme climate keep the region pristine. The top of the ski trail at the Birch Brook Nordic Ski Club, located near central Labrador, will provide you with a view of the Northern Lights reflecting on vast snow-covered trails.

Yukon, Canada

You do not need to be on land to be able to view the Northern Lights. The partnership between Tourism Yukon, Air North, and the Yukon Astronomical Society now offers flights from Whitehorse, Yukon that specifically flies over the Auroral zone to allow viewers to see the Aurora from the air. You can now enjoy the beautiful northern lights from 36,000 feet above the Yukon.

As seen from Yukon Territory, Canada

Abisko National Park, Sweden

Surrounding mountains and prevailing winds create an atmospheric effect that clears the sky over this region found on the center of the Swedish Lapland. The cloudless winter night creates an excellent viewing condition of the sky along with the view of the mountains and alpine meadows.

Tromso, Norway

Located above the Arctic Circle, this city in northern Norway is a famous site for viewing the Northern Lights. You can make the viewing more special by boarding the Hurtigruten, the Norwegian coastal steamer, so you can view the Aurora in a fjord. Don’t worry if you fall asleep, the ship provides wake up calls when the Aurora is visible.

As seen from Norway

Svalbard, Norway

A remote archipelago located north of Norway known for glaciers and frozen tundra, the islands here have long, dark, cloudless nights with dry weather – ideal conditions for viewing the Northern Lights. Although you will find more polar bears than people, there will be no shortage of attractions, from dog-sledding to backcountry skiing.

 

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Luosto, Finland

Santa’s Hotel Aurora glass igloos provide visitors with a different experience as they view not just the Northern Lights, but the whole arctic scenery from inside a Lapland hut-styled room with glass roof and walls. Here you can view the Aurora from the comfort of a fully equipped hotel room just a few steps from the reception and other services.

As seen in Finland

Oulanka National Park, Finland

Located in the Lapland regions of Finland, Oulanka National Park is one of the best places to go to see beautiful scenery backdropped by the Northern Lights. Comprised of pine forests and river valleys, you can find various camping areas from where you can view the Aurora.

Another shot of the dancing Aurora from Finland

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

A region close to the Arctic Circle, this town in western Greenland is the main air transport hub so getting here will be easier than the other locations. Having clear skies 300 days a year also makes this a prime location for viewing the Northern Lights.

Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

The Northern Lights are visible from the whole of Iceland but you can improve the experience by viewing it from Thingvellir National Park, located in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is a popular tourist destination because of its history and geology.

As seen from Iceland

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

The largest national park in Britain, located in the Scottish Highlands, where you can perform daytime activities like skiing and hiking. Once night falls, one of the best places to view the Northern Lights is in Glenlivet Estate. Awarded a Dark Sky status, this location ensures that there are no artificial lights that prevent you from seeing the Aurora.

As seen in Scotland (Picture credit)

Isle of Skye, Scotland

The British Isles frequently have cloudy skies, but when the cloud cover breaks during the winter, the low light pollution paired with the breathtaking view of jagged mountain ranges, sea cliffs, pools, and moors makes for a beautiful scene backdropped by the Northern Lights.

On an Alaskan Crusie Ship

When you book a cruise ship going to Alaska during September, you would probably think that the highlight of the trip would be on one of the cruise shore excursions in the rugged outdoors, but you may be pleasantly surprised when the Northern Lights suddenly presents itself at sea.

Aurora Borealis

That’s it! These top 15 places offer unique perspective and view of the Northern Lights.

One tip in general: for those planning a visit to these areas, don’t make it a trip just for the Aurora Borealis because this phenomenon is elusive and you might be disappointed when you don’t see it. Clouds, weather, light pollution, time in hand, things that are not in your control can affect your viewing experience.

Having other activities planned will ensure that you will enjoy your trip whether you see the dancing Aurora Borealis or not.

Also, these aren’t the only places where you can view the Northern Lights. Sometimes, the Aurora presents itself in unexpected locations. So if you find yourself in the auroral zone in the evening, just face north, look up, and you just might get lucky.

Let us know in the comments below if you have experienced the mystical dance of the northern lights. What do you think? Please do share if you have any special moment or thought that came to you while viewing and experiencing the Aurora Borealis.

 

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6 Travel Destinations for Curious Millennials

Millennials put more value on a meaningful life than on material possessions and career goals, and one of the ways they do so is by traveling.

As with everything else, millennials have unique expectations when it comes to traveling. They want to get to know new cultures, new people and relax.

With that in mind, here are six unconventional travel destinations that will satisfy every curious millennial’s expectations.

Helsinki, Finland

This beautiful seaside city is the capital of Finland. It’s known for its laid-back atmosphere and natural treasures. Helsinki has a lot to offer: large parks, beautiful islands, lakes, and forests spread across and around the city.

The city is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of modern life. 

Helsinki is not a big city, and it’s easily explored on foot. Walking down the streets of Helsinki will help you get the feel of it, as well as offer a chance to enjoy its beautiful architecture.

When in Helsinki, you shouldn’t miss out on getting to know the greener side of it, since there are many natural sights that are definitely worth seeing.

Tahiti, French Polynesia

One of the most beautiful islands of the Polynesian Triangle is a great travel destination for art lovers and curious people alike who want to relax and try something new.

The name of the island will be familiar to many, as it was popularized by the French painter Paul Gauguin. He painted the way of life on the island that continues to capture the eye and imagination of many. 

Picturesque beaches, clear seas, and exotic vegetation will welcome you to this beautiful place. Enjoying nature is just one part of the Tahiti experience; you will also get to know a different way of life, and learn how to relax and be in the moment.

Yellowknife, Canada

Yellowknife is a little town in Northwest Territories, Canada. This remote part of the world doesn’t sound like much until you discover that it’s considered the best place to see the Northern Lights.

The interaction of radiation from the sun with the Earth’s magnetic field causes the natural phenomenon known as the Aurora Borealis. The result of which is a spectacular and colorful light show in the sky.

Seeing Aurora Borealis should be on everyone’s bucket list, and if you can, you should definitely see it from Yellowknife.

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Russia has long been a mystery to the western part of the world, but the time to discover it has finally come. If you’re interested in discovering Russia, Saint Petersburg is the perfect place to start your journey.

This city is the cultural center of its country, and its architectural backbone is like no other in the world.

The Winter Palace and the Kazan Cathedral are a must-see for every visitor. They display the power of the old empire and the unique building style of this part of the world.

Saint Petersburg is also home to the Hermitage, the biggest museum of art and culture in Russia, and one of the biggest in the world.

Sydney, Australia

Moving down under, Sydney is the most versatile city you can visit! This is the place for you if you want to both relax and have an adventure. If you love nature, start your visit by going to the Royal National Park and soaking in the scenery.

The Sydney Opera House is one of its best-known landmarks. It definitely deserves a visit and a good look at! After all, you haven’t really traveled the world if you haven’t visited Australia.

 

Sydney has many other beautiful places and sights and walking around the city, you are sure to find them. But Sydney is also famous for its party side!

After a great day of exploring, the best way to relax is during happy hour at a Manly restaurant by the beach. Grab a drink and get to know the locals.

Cartagena, Colombia

This colorful city in Colombia is becoming a tourist favorite. The cobblestone streets and colonial-era buildings located within the stone walls of the city center are a sight worth exploring.

Strolling around the old city brings its history to life. However, modern life is just around the corner.

In the modern part of Cartagena, you will find many amazing restaurants and cafes. The modern part of the city is every bit as worth exploring as its historical part.

Author’s Bio

Peter is a travel writer at Voice Boks magazine. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications around UK & AU. Follow Peter on Twitter for more travel tips.

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10 Destination Ideas for a Christmas Vacation in Europe

Europe is a popular travel destination and has a lot to offer.

However, if you are already fed up with the crowds in big European tourist centers, such as Paris, Berlin, Rome, Venice or Amsterdam, try going there in winter for a change, during the low season. Or just choose less popular, but still magnificent cities of

Or just choose less popular, but still magnificent cities of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe. In fact, Christmas is a great time to try something new, don’t you think? Here are ten less famous European destinations, which become just magical during the Christmas time.

Prague, Czech Republic

If you are not afraid of Prague’s chilly winters, you have a great chance to enjoy its famous Christmas markets, concerts, castles and underground restaurants. Even the most jaded travelers won’t be able to resist the charms of the city.

Prague is famous for its magnificent gothic architecture and unique folkloric traditions. You’ll also be glad to know that the prices in the capital of Czech Republic are very reasonable. So if you are a traveler on a budget, you shouldn’t be afraid to spend too much in this medieval city.

Innsbruck, Austria

While Innsbruck is undeservedly avoided by travelers during the summer season, in winter, this town on the Inn River becomes crowded with skiers and other winter sports lovers. Innsbruck is crowned with the Austrian Alps, offers numerous ski resorts, winter attractions and all-inclusive packages for the best Christmas vacation in the Old World.

Vienna, Austria

In Vienna, you’ll have a delightful old-fashioned Christmas, with the smell of mulled wine and hot chocolate. There will be magnificent holiday decorations on imperial architecture, ice skating rinks, and outdoor Christmas markets.

Don’t miss the Vienna Boy’s Choir performance. Or visit one the world’s most famous Viennese Christmas Balls. The capital of Austria really gives you an opportunity to make yourself feel like a 19th-century aristocrat, waltzing to the famous works of Johan Straus in a real imperial ballroom.

Budapest, Hungary

Couples skating hand-in-hand, families having fun, clouds of breath in the frosty air, you won’t find a more picture-perfect Christmas holiday anywhere other thanBudapest. The capital of Hungary boasts an enormous outdoor skating rink in the picturesque park Városligeti Műjégpálya.

And if you get cold, the numerous thermal baths of Budapest are at your service!

The city is also number one in the best affordable destinations in Europe list. This is another compelling reason to visit this beautiful city.

 

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Valkenburg, Netherlands

Christmas Shop in Amsterdam near the Flower Market By Tobias Niepel CC BY 2.0

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.

However, if you are looking for new impressions and one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts, Valkenburg is a place for you.

The city is home to the oldest and the largest subterranean Christmas market in Europe. It is located in a labyrinth of underground caves. Underneath the town, you will find sculptures, an 18th-century chapel, mural drawings of Roman times and even Santa himself. The market works from mid-November until just before Christmas. During these weeks, the whole town transforms into a glittering winter wonderland.

Riga, Latvia

Image Credit

The popular Riga Christmas market in the Town Hall Square offers not just souvenirs, Christmas gifts, and locally crafted items, but also numerous interesting events for both children and adults.

In the heart of Latvia’s capital, you will find a carousel of wooden figures, riding ponies, and horse-drawn carriages. Children will also enjoy the animal corner, with live sheep and rabbits, and the cat house with habitats of local animal shelter. Of course, you shouldn’t miss an organ concert in the famous Riga Cathedral (Rīgas Doms), as it is a truly fabulous performance!

Tallinn, Estonia

The capital of Estonia is known for its Christmas spirit and the medieval Old Town, whuch is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The world’s first Christmas tree was set up in Tallinn in 1441. Nowadays, on Town Hall Square, you will find not only the famous tree but also numerous little huts selling their goods, handcrafters at work, snow sculptures, national foods and drinks and a mini-zoo.

Copenhagen, Denmark

For a fairytale European Christmas, you can’t choose a destination more magical than the hometown of Hans Christian Andersen.

Of course, you can visit the famous and always crowded monument of the Little Mermaid.

But forget about it for the rest of Christmas vacation and just enjoy your time in the capital of Denmark. Enjoy the fairy streets and houses of old Copenhagen. Enjoy the warm, cozy cafes with big windows and flurrying snow outside. 

And in the heart of the city, there is a Tivoli amusement park, which transforms into a really magical place around Christmas, with illuminations warming the heart and hot mulled wine warming the body.

Lapland, Finland

What is a Christmas without Santa? And where to look for Santa, if not at his house? You will probably be surprised to find that there is a place in the world where Santa Claus lives.

It is a small town of Rovaniemi in Finland, the official hometown of Santa. It is a wonderful place, and not only for children. For the new experience, you can choose to sleep in an igloo hotel or try fly fishing. If your budget is not limited, you can even go on a husky safari. A 2-hour ride will cost you around 150 euro, but it is definitely worth it. At the same time, your children can make cookies with Mrs. Claus or enroll in Elf School. Rovaniemi is a perfect destination for family Christmas vacation!

Reykjavik, Iceland

Although Reykjavik may be too cold and dark in winter, it is still worth visiting during Christmas time. The capital of Iceland offers its winter visitors not just the Yule Town Christmas market, filled with holiday decorations, treats, and gifts, but also unique holiday traditions, such as the 13 Yuletide Lads. And, of course, it’s your chance to see the northern lights, a marvelous natural phenomenon which you will not soon forget.

 

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10 Most Unique Christmas Traditions Around the World

Our planet is a multicultural place. That means that people around the world celebrate many different holidays at the end of the year, from Hanukkah to Kwanzaa, among many others.

However, with Christianity being followed by one-third of the global population, Christmas is celebrated by many nations and in many countries. Still, these Christmas traditions vary greatly, both from country to country and from continent to continent.

Here are our top 10 most exciting traditions from different countries:

The Philippines

The Philippines is the third largest Catholic nation in the world. No other country’s celebrations come even close to Philippine style celebrations. Filipinos have the longest celebration in the world, starting in September.

There are nine days of Christmas masses in a row, which have the name of Simbang Gabi. On the last day of Simbang Gabi, which is Christmas Eve, the mass service is actually called “Misa de Gallo.” That’s Spanish for “The rooster’s mass”.

And there are also festive of parols, star-shaped ornaments traditional to the country, which brighten the windows of the houses during the entire holiday season. These are the lights which reflect the Star of Bethlehem in design. Their name comes from the Spanish word “farol”, which means lantern.

In the Philippines, Merry Christmas is “Maligayang Pasko”. Try to remember this if you plan to spend the holiday season in this magnificent country!

Sweden

The Yule Log is the traditional Christmas in Sweden. It greatly differs from both European and American traditional celebrations. For example, instead of wood, the Swedish go with a goat. The Yule Goat, or the Julbok, isn’t a live animal. It is made almost entirely of straw and originates from mythology. The Swedes have adopted it as part of the modern Christmas tradition warmly. However, not everybody in Sweden is happy with this holiday symbol.

For example, the town of Gävle has set up a giant Julbok annually since 1966. Since that very same year, people in the town have tried to torch, kidnap or vandalize the symbol in one way or another. Over the half of the goats have fallen victim to what the town authorities call vandalism.

By the way, Merry Christmas in Swedish is “God Jul”. Memorize this congratulation, if you are going to celebrate Christmas in Sweden.

Australia

In Australia, the holiday season falls in the summer. In fact, these might be the hottest weeks in the whole year. So Christmas in Australia is more often characterized with electrical storms and brush fires than with snowstorms.

However, that doesn’t prevent Australians from getting into the Christmas spirit. One family from Canberra even broke a world record by decorating their property with 31 miles of lights.

Some Australians try to follow British traditions. In these families, you will surely see a roast turkey, a steamed pudding, and gingerbread on the Christmas dinner table. However, most people in Australia head towards beaches during Christmas for barbecues. Plum pudding with ice cream is also served traditionally, in an attempt to tolerate the Australian Christmas temperatures.

Finland

Finland is the perfect place for Christmas. Joulupukki, the Finnish Santa Claus, waits for visitors in Rovaniemi, the hometown of Santa in Lapland. However, Christmas in Finland is not all about snow, Santa, and reindeer.

There are several traditions, which you won’t find in any other place in the world.

For example, in South Finland, a formal ceremony takes place at noon, with reading the Declaration of Christmas Peace. With some changes, the document has been read annually since the 13th century. It states that the holiday “shall under aggravating circumstances be guilty and punished according to what the law and statutes prescribe for each and every offense separately”.

It means to never mess with Finnish Christmas! The declaration also wishes the inhabitants of the country a joyous Christmas holidays.

In Finland, people wish each other “Hyvää Joulua” on Christmas!

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, single girls and women perform an unusual ritual on Christmas to find out if they will get married next year or not. With her back to the house door, a woman throws a shoe over her shoulder. If the shoe lands with its heel towards the door, the woman will stay single. However, if the front of the shoe faces the door, she can start wedding preparations.

If you want to wish somebody Merry Christmas in the Czech Republic, you should say “Veselé Vánoce”!

 

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Slovakia

In Slovakia, during Christmas dinner, the head of the family takes a full spoon of Loksa (a traditional Christmas dish, made of bread, poppy seed filling and water), and throws it up onto the ceiling. There is a belief that the more that sticks to the ceiling, the richer that the family will be next year.

In Slovakia, Merry Christmas is “Veselé Vianoce”!

Ukraine

In Ukraine, Christmas is celebrated on January 7.

The traditional Christmas Eve dinner must contain 12 dishes, relating to the number of the Disciples of Christ.

Christmas dinner doesn’t start until the first star appears in the sky – it is a symbol of a Christmas Star, which showed the way to the Kings when Christ was born.

Also, on Christmas, people gather in groups and perform a unique Christmas performance, called vertep. It usually tells the story of Christmas, reminds the popular of national traditions or pays attention to the modern social problems. Traditionally, vertep includes Maria and Joseph with baby Jesus, Shepherds, which were first to greet the birth of Christ, Kings with presents for the Savior, an Angel, a demon, a Jew and a goat. People go from house to house, performing vertep, singing carols and wishing the hosts all the best in the new year.

In Ukraine, people congratulate each other, saying “Shchastlyvogo Rizdva” (Merry Christmas) or “Khrystos narodyvsya” (Christ was born).

Venezuela

In Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, people go to Mass on roller skates on Christmas morning! The local authorities even close the main city roads for this matter.

To wish Merry Christmas to somebody in Venezuela, say “Feliz Navidad”.

Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, people also celebrate Christmas on January 7th. People traditionally dress in white clothes on this day. Men also play ganna, a fast-paced game with sticks and wooden balls.

“Melkam Genna” is how they say Merry Christmas in Ethiopia.

Cuba

Every December, the Cuban city Remedios hosts the Parrandas festival. The city is divided into two halves, each building a sculpture from light bulbs. These sculptures then compete against each other. 

“Feliz Navidad” works for Cuba too, if you want to say “Merry Christmas”, as Spanish is country’s language as well.

 

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