Beyond Aurora: 5 ways to experience the Arctic Lights
While it’s true the Aurora Borealis can be seen “only” between September and March (that’s still seven months out of twelve), the Arctic has plenty more to offer, all year round.
The absence of light pollution and smog, coupled with the location of Kiruna on the 66th latitude north makes it ideal for celestial experiences – so much so that it’s the scientific space research center of Europe and picked by NASA as the top location in the world for catching the Aurora Borealis. The northern lights are of course a favourite, but star-gazing and catching meteor showers are equally awe-inspiring. One of the best ways to experience it is to stretch out on a warm reindeer fur atop the fluffy snow, enveloped in the distinct silence of the surrounding forrest. Combine it with snowmobiling, a photography class or join a wilderness dinner at our rustic camp.
The Blue Magic
The counter part of the midnight sun is the polar night, or Kaamos, which occurs in winter when the sun doesn’t climb above the horizon during day time. What’s so special about the Kaamos is the beautiful light conditions – pastel violet, orange and pink hues around mid-day transforms into a soft, deep-blue glow, sometimes called the polar twilight. The polar night occurs in December and early January, as the Arctic winter tightens its grip and ICEHOTEL is reincarnated in a new rendition. For the aspiring outdoor lovers and Bear Grylls enthusiasts, this is the perfect time to join our beginners’ winter wilderness survival course.
Mid-day sunset adventures
Experience dusk and dawn within just a couple of hours of each other. Short, clear days mark the end of the Polar Night, when the sun doesn’t climb above the horizon during daytime. Go dog sledding and ride Icelandics into the sunset at 2 pm.
Most people don’t know that you can actually experience the beautiful Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights, from as early as September, when the forests are dressed in cascades of yellow, orange and red and days are crisp and clear. During this period, ICEHOTEL welcomes conferences and private parties of 10 or more.
100 days and nights of sunshine
Between May and July, the axial tilt of the Earth means that the entire area north of the Arctic Circle is exposed to sun 24 hours. Right through the night – which is why we call it the midnight sun. Taking ice sculpting classes, go river rafting or fishing under its warm golden glow is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.