Video Credit: ‘Night of the Northern Lights’ by Maciej Winiarczyk
For the travellers and those struck with wanderlust amongst you, hoping to catch a glimpse at the world’s most beautiful and well known displays of natural light, here are the top four picks for the most picturesque and culturally inexhaustible locations to visit where you may also catch a glimpse of the most captivating displays of light on Earth; Aurora Borealis.
1. Isle of Skye
The first on our list has to be one close to home, the ancient pastures of Scotland are always just a stone’s throw away from Newcastle, and ideal for the backpackers, the budgeters and those who have their heart set on the land of the brave. The Isle of Skye is worth visiting as you’ll undoubtedly admire the true beauty of both the island, and the lights above. If you want to catch sight of the beautiful light display, make sure to head to Skye in autumn or winter for the best chances; though you have to be very lucky, the stunning light display is a sight worth catching in all it’s glory!
2. Calgary, Canada
Interestingly enough, Calgary takes it’s name from the Isle of Mull in Scotland, ironically below the Isle of Skye. Yet Calgary which is located in the Western Province of Alberta has far more to offer than an etymological connection to Scotland. For the last ten years, the Economist Intelligence Unit had ranked Calgary as being within the top 5 most liveable cities in North America, and won the title in both 2018 and 2019. If you’re lucky, you might just see the Lights from your hotel room as they illuminate the city-scape’s sky! This makes for a wonderfully vibrant, yet suitable destination to both unwind, and admire the majesty presented by Calgary.
3. Kakslauttanen Resort, Finland
It’s far too easy to become completely infatuated with Kakslauttanen’s resort, I would argue that there is no greater tranquility, or indeed comfort than to hunt for the Northern Lights in a thermal insulated glass igloo, yes a glass igloo, in Lapland. If gazing out above the Northern Lights was not enough, then the Husky Farm next door might be, where you can hire one of the most admired breeds of dog in the world to accompany you on a hike. Or of course, for the more culturally absorbed types, then there is a chance to converse with the indigenous Sami people of the Lapland region, available through a Reindeer driven sleigh safari.
4. St. Petersburg, Russia
Whilst it’s regrettably a rare sight within Sanct Petyr’s to glimpse the Aurora Borealis, it felt wrong not to include Peter’s “White Night” which takes place between the 12th of June and the 2nd of July, in which the midnight sun phenomena takes place, whereby the sun is entirely visible until midnight, and the sky never quite breaks past the twilight hue of a setting sun. Tourists and locals alike recommend viewing the Lights from Lakhta Tower; the tallest tower in Russia. The city celebrates with a range of cultural activities, ranging from carnivals whereby actors demonstrate historical chapters of the nation’s history, dressed as figures such as Petyr the Great. To operas, celebrity gigs and the Scarlet Sails firework show.
Whilst not quite as tranquil as the other locations listed, nor particularly connected to the traditional Auroras people tend to think of, it is none the less the first place on this list for any seriously culturally attentive self proclaimed wanderlust-er!
Feature Image Credit: Cameron Picket from Wikicommons (no changes), CC BY 3.0
Last modified: 10th November 2019