Travel to the Northern Lights in Norway, Iceland & Finland

Who does not dream to travel to see the Northern Lights once in a lifetime? The polar lights, also called northern lights, are different each time. And that also is their appeal. And of course, there is a scientific name of the Aurora Borealis. The resulting light spectacle is visible from Alaska, Greenland to Finland and Austria. The places to see it best is in Scandinavia, in Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Lapland.

In Sweden, you have the opportunity to travel to Stockholm. Then continue the journey by train or rented car. You can also visit the north of the country to Kiruna, which is somewhat more expensive.

In Alaska, the chances are not bad. There are some special tours that take you from Anchorage to the Northern Polarkreis. You can go with dog sled or snowmobile. You can go on an excursion with the Winter Snow Train through Alaska's winter landscape!

Also from the Orkney Islands, you have a good chance to see the Northern Lights. The island of Bute is about the same latitude as Edinburgh. On clear days and with a little luck you can see the Aurora from Scotland.

Yellowknife in Canada is often referred to as the capital of the polar lights. And that's true! All you need is a warm winter jacket and a starry sky. But you do not have to go so far to the north. Even from the southern provinces, you can discover the northern lights.

I was lucky enough to meet my dream. It was already October. I changed my location. I do not know more. I know that it attracts many visitors, especially in winter, to Iceland and Finland.

Fjords, Whales, Huskies & polar lights in Norway

Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you will find a perfect time out for the soul. Tromsø is one of the best places to experience the fascinating nature of the polar lights in Norway. A cruise in the fjords can take you to one of the best regions in the world to observe the fascinating polar lights. From November to February the image is even crowned by a fin of an orca protruding from the water. A ride with the dog sled makes this varied trip a perfect winter dream.

Also, during this time the herring and the whales pass through the Arctic fjords in huge swarms.

Reindeer, snowshoe & motor sled on polar light hunting in Lapland in Finland

Welcome to heaven on earth! You can take a direct flight from Hannover or Stuttgart to Finnish Lapland. You can spend two nights in a chic glass igloo on the top of the mountain.

Northern lights in Inari

Inari is an ideal starting point for the observation of mystical polar lights. Every evening, you can be on your quest. You can learn interesting traditions and experience the dreamy winter landscape.

Photographing the Aurora Borealis is an art in itself. Whether the show will take 5 minutes or an hour, you cannot predict. Apart from the solar activity and a clear sky, the place from which you try to see the sky lights is crucial.

Our ancestors and the Northern Lights

Many myths and legends have described the natural phenomenon in the last centuries. The first reports of auroras are already 2000 years old.

Since the dawn of time, the Aurora Borealis enchanted everyone. Nature was and still is the rule of life in the Arctic. For the inhabitants of the polar regions, it was necessary to recognize the signs sent by nature. The true hour of the weather forecast lies somewhere in the Arctic.

The polar light was a beautiful drama of Mother Earth. It was often interpreted as a divination in the past. Hunting was something that the chasing peoples were particularly fond of predicting. But the message of the northern lights was never clear. Above all, it was always different, since they always appeared in a different form. Sometimes they are a vague veil of the green veil, waving over the sky, or they come in the form of a radiant crown.

In the Finnish language, the Aurora Borealis has many names. One of them is Revontulet which means fox fires. This is due to the old Lapland conviction that the northern lights come from a red fox coming from the east. When it ran, it produced sparks with every stroke on the mountains that danced over the winter sky. Who would succeed in catching this magical fox, and produce the aurora light, would have a lot of luck.

In the Finnish epic Kalevala, most stories are set in Eastern Finland. Pohjola was an ever-cold place where Louhi, the Mistress of the North, ruled. In the Kalevala, Louhi is an evil witch of great power. The only reason for traveling to Pohjola was to promote young men to daughters of the North.

Those who dared to enter Pohjola could see the glowing gates of the north from a great distance. The shining gates rose from the frozen ground into the sky like a huge fiery snake. That is why in Finnish another name for the northern light is Pohjanpalo, the fire of the north.

In some parts of Finland, the women covered their heads. They believed that the northern lights could pull them into the upper world by the hair. But the worst mistake that one could commit was to see them and laugh.

This was the worst mockery against the divine nature of the polar lights. The fear of the phenomena was more frequent in the areas where they were a rather rare sight. The Greeks, for example, thought that the Aurora Borealis was an evil omen. The opinion that this was the revenge of the enemies killed in battle was widespread.

The Sami languages have many names for the Northern Lights. One of them is Guovsahas. And, in fact, one can, with good luck, perceive the northern lights as crackling.

Northern lights in Iceland

Immediately after our arrival at the airport of Keflavík, we put ourselves in our small rental car. We leave Reykjavík to the left and turn off on Iceland Route 1. The road that will lead us around the island. After a short stop in Borgarnes and a coffee at the restaurant, we follow the ring road to Blönduós. Here we spend our first night in Iceland.

Blönduós is, like so many places in Iceland, a small nest in the nowhere. The next day we continue northwards. The temperature drops and provides snow instead of rain, which has been a loyal companion on our trip.

In the afternoon of the second day, we pass through Eyjafjörður to Akureyri. For us, this little town is the basis for some tours in the surrounding area over the next five days. Our apartment is on the other side of the fjord. Our extraordinary cottage offers a wonderful view of Akureyri. And on the first evening, we are lucky. We see green shimmering lights over the Akureyri mountains for the first time on this trip.

The next day we spend with tea and biscuits and a great view of Akureyri in our apartment. A snowstorm stops us from exploring the surrounding area. The next morning, the sun dips the landscape into a wonderful golden light. We get into the car at -8 ° C and sunshine. We drive through the finest Icelandic winter landscape to the Goðafoss waterfall and to Lake Mývatn. The plateau has cold volcanoes and huge lava fields. In the gleaming sunlight, we circled the lake and felt two dozen times to try to capture this beauty in images.

We continue along the coast of the Tröllaskagi peninsula along the other side of the fjord. We pass through smokey and bubbling geothermal fields. We pass through pretty little villages like Dalvík and Ólafsfjörður. We squeeze through a single-lane tunnel and rest at our destination in Siglufjörður. It is a small fishing village, where the Arctic is no longer going Ocean separates us from the North Pole.

After five nights we leave farewell to Akureyri and follow the ring road to the east of the island. The journey takes us past waterfalls and huge lava fields, which are still pale white from the last snow. The weather has already changed. The torrential rain hits the fjord landscapes of the East, so we can only guess a bit about nature. When the fog clears up for a short moment, we see a unique landscape full of mountains, fjords, and waterfalls.

I could hardly wait for the time to take off and read the weather reports every day in the hope of having clear nights. I landed at Keflavik in the evening and picked up my rental car. There was not a single cloud in the sky!

I was already enjoying the weather and was looking forward to the evening hours. I steered a happy cheer to Borgarnes, where I had planned my first night. I asked a woman of the expectations for tonight about the northern lights. She said that I should stay in the warm room.

Without great hope, I sat down in my small rental car and drove off. The roads were smooth and covered with snow. The clear sky was partly overlaid by clouds and so I headed to Stykkishólmur. On the way I stopped several times, impressed by the deep blue evening sky and the last light. At some point, it was midnight. The sky was still dark and I was about to give up. After I had already driven to the Kirkjufell and the sky was almost completely covered.

I felt I was the only one who was on this road, but the sky cleared up the farther I drove back. And it was there, the northern light! I thought it was strange clouds, and I could not believe my eyes. I was in the middle of nowhere and so my first recording of the northern lights came about. Again and again, the light disappeared and reappeared. Always bigger and more intense.

In the meantime, it was cold. But the northern light was too fascinating to go home. In the deep darkness, I drove again in the direction of Borgarnes. The sky exploded in green colors. The colors changed from green and purple and it was spectacular. It stretched over the entire sky and I stood under it. Again the sky fascinated me a bit more.

We are in the west of Iceland on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, and tonight it will happen. So we stand under the starry Icelandic sky. The first bright light streaks are already above the horizon. So we sit back at the table and feed on the fish dishes of the chef, who with his black hat act like a wizard in the kitchen.

The northern lights dance in the sky. As if the stars were not enough, lights change the choreography every few seconds. Bright light showers rained from above. Ellipses floated like a sort of heavenly arena. It was a divine spectacle and a great art.

I draw the camera, doubting whether I can capture this. Of course, the camera cannot reflect the three-dimensionality of the incident. It only remains in my memory. The image changes every second. It is the bright insanity. I am assured by the Icelanders that this discrepancy is normal between the human eye and the camera.

I like the energy, the dancing particles in the sky and do not want to dribble it all. And at the end of our journey, we are once again blessed by a solar storm.

Now we are heading to the gray Berlin. Hello Germany, Hello Berlin!


Kay Ellen said…
Amazing sky and captures!!

Kay Ellen
SweetMarie said…
I have never seen anything like this! It's so beautiful!
My brother was planning on joining aurora tour and I seriously considered joining until he cancelled! I will definitely have to check out in my life!!
Reeni said…
These are breathtaking!