The aurora borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights, is an astronomical phenomenon occurring in the northern polar region. Shafts of dancing coloured light become visible in the night sky as solar activity ejects clouds of gas which the Earth’s magnetic field redirects particles towards the north pole. The ensuing cinematic event is a fascinating scientific display which tops the bucket lists for many around the world.
While the aurora borealis can be seen in many places within the Arctic circle, they are most commonly associated with northern Europe, particularly Norway and Iceland.
The ‘celestial ballet’ of green, purple and white lights is best seen when it is cold and dry, so December to February tend to be the most popular months to visit when the temperatures and rainfall are at their lowest. There is a brilliant app called NorwayLights which forecasts the best nights for visibility so make sure to check this out when you head on your Northern Lights expedition cruise.
Over in Iceland, the Northern Lights tend to be visible at the same time of year and under the same cold and dry weather conditions. Iceland is a popular choice for a Northern Lights expedition cruise, as the entire island is home to a variety of geological and natural phenomena. The power of nature in Iceland is extraordinary; from geothermal lagoons and glittering glaciers, to mighty waterfalls and the pink hues of the midnight sun, there seems to be no end to the talents of this breath-taking destination.
Among the abundance of amazing wildlife in the Arctic region are many endangered species such as humpback whales, polar bears, beluga whales, ringed seals, and Pacific walruses.
Experts in marine biology, ornithology, and Northern European land mammals offer some of the most insightful and immersive experiences which are unrivalled elsewhere on the planet.
Delve deeper into Norway and Iceland’s Viking roots and marvel at the strong culture of food, literature and arts which still remain a strong influence today.
On a Northern Lights cruise, guests can immerse themselves in Sami heritage by visiting traditional lavvo (tents), getting up close to reindeer, experiencing traditional music and art and enjoying local cuisine.