Northern Lights Tour and Aurora Borealis Travel Guide

Guide for Northern Lights Tour – Aurora Borealis

  • northern lights tour

    As the name suggests, most part of Iceland is covered by snow. It is recorded that almost eleven percent of Iceland’s total area is covered by snow and ice glaciers larger than life. It may sound very unfriendly and inhospitable but the fact is that the weather here in Iceland is very cozy and easy going. It suits tourists from any part of the world.

    Iceland is located in northern most part of Europe. It is basically an island in north of Atlantic Ocean but a place one would wish to go again and again, if visited once. Entire Iceland is full of surprises for the tourists that pour down there whole year. There is a typical start to Iceland’s tour, but surprises come in wholesale once you enter Iceland. Some of the surprises are mentioned below.

    Volcanoes – around the central plateau, there are more than one hundred volcanoes. Out of these almost forty are active. According to stats, there is a major volcanic eruption in every five years in Iceland. But, still Icelandic volcanoes remain one of the most visited tourist destinations in Europe.

    Mount Hekla is the most famous active volcano of Iceland. The last eruption in this volcano was recorded in the year 2000. Other famous active volcanoes are grimsvtn, kala, askja and krafla.

    Vatnajokull – this is Europe’s biggest glacier and Iceland’s major tourist attraction. Its size is about 8300 square kilometers and it covers about 8 percent of Iceland’s total land. It is the highest point in Iceland. Its highest point is named hvannadalshnukur and is about 2119 meters above sea level.

    Thingvellir national park – this park is one of the most visited places in Iceland. The fact that this park is situated in volcanic landscape makes it even more popular. During eruptions lava flows with the border of Iceland’s largest lake. One can see “the very rare” signs of tectonic plate’s movements.

    Blue lagoon – it is also one of the most visited places in Iceland. The special fact about it is that it is a natural pool of hot water with temperature between 37 and 40 degree Celsius. Its location between moss covered lava fields makes it the most photographed place of Iceland. Blue lagoon is also famous for its beneficial effects on health. This is another reason why it attracts people from all around the world.

    Northern lights of Iceland – perhaps, this is Iceland’s top tourist destination in summers. The reason why is because Iceland is the perfect destination to watch these northern lights or “aurora borealis”, popularly called in Iceland. It is nature’s most spectacular and surprising event. Iceland has the privilege to be in the most active part of this magic of nature. But these northern lights are visible only on the nights when the skies are all clear.

    Gullfoss waterfalls of Iceland – people of Iceland believe that this waterfall is the most beautiful place on earth. They are one hundred percent right. Gullfoss is a double folding waterfall and one of the very few in the world. It thunders around thirty two meters over the fault towards its gorge. Its gorge is 2.5 kilometers long and as deep as seventy meters at some places.

    Reykjavik: the capital – how can one forget Reykjavik, when on a tour to Iceland? It is one of the world’s most clean and peaceful cities. It has got a blend of contemporary and modern architecture. All colored in low and some bright paint, this city appears very friendly for tourists. It has got some old-fashioned buildings of eighteenth and nineteenth century. This presents the ancient side of this city.

    Iceland is full of natural surprises and everyone should go their at least once in their lifetime to experience what you have never experienced and will never experience again in any other destination of the world.

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    Scott Russell asked:

    There are certainly quite a few myths out there about Alaskan cruises, and during my time working in the travel industry, I heard all of them. So in order to set the record straight, I have put together this list of the top 10 myths about Alaskan cruises.

    When you take an Alaskan cruise, the experience is unforgettable – the shore trips range from fascinating to thrilling, the towns along the route are wonderfully quaint, and the scenery is simply spectacular. As far as I am concerned, it is the most amazing scenery anywhere in the world.

    An Alaska vacation is one you will remember for the rest of your life. Alaska will, no doubt, defy many of your preconceived notions. It is a place that exceeds all expectations.

    So without further ado, let’s move right to the myth busting.

    1. You’ll see the Aurora Borealis

    There is a chance that you could catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) at some point along your cruise, but the odds are definitely against it. You can increase your chances of witnessing the Northern Lights by including an inland tour that stops in Fairbanks or by scheduling your cruise at the very beginning or end of the season.

    2. The weather in September and May is too cold

    The Inside Passage actually has a relatively mild and moderate marine climate, more like that of Seattle than of northern Alaska. The temperature along the Inside Passage only varies about ten degrees from the coolest part of the cruise season in May and late September to the warmest time of the summer, when it can get up to the high 60′s.

    3. Passports are not needed for an Alaska cruise

    As of 2009, passports will be required for all passengers on Alaskan cruises. In fact, anyone who flies in or out of Vancouver from the U.S. has been required to have a passport for a number of years. So do yourself a favor and get your passport early.

    4. It rains constantly

    It definitely does rain quite a bit in southern coastal Alaska. In fact, without the rain, there would be no lush rainforest vegetation or breathtaking waterfalls and glaciers. But still, it is very likely you will experience a mix of rain and sunshine during your cruise.

    5. It is always less expensive if you cruise from Seattle

    It is definitely often less expensive to fly to Seattle than it is to fly to Anchorage or Vancouver. However, the money you save on flights can be eaten up by higher cruise fares, since sailings from Seattle often cost a bit more.

    6. The front section of the boat is better for those with motion sickness

    Neither the bow (front section) nor the top floors of the ship are your best bet if you suffer from sea sickness. Instead, people who are concerned about sea sickness might want to consider booking cabins on the lower floors of the ship, where there is less motion.

    7. It is possible to make cell phone calls on an Alaska cruise

    It’s true that you should be able to use your cell phone in some of the port towns (especially in Juneau). However, there is little chance your phone will get a signal in some of the more remote segments of the cruise.

    8. The left (or right) side of the ship is better

    Many people planning Alaska cruises seem to be under the impression that the right side of the boat is far better on a northbound Gulf of Alaska cruise (and that the left side is superior on a southbound cruise). There is indeed a period of about 1-2 days when your ship is out at sea in the Gulf of Alaska (assuming you have booked a one-way cruise). On those days, if the coastline is not shrouded in clouds (as it frequently is), you would have a better view from the rooms facing the coast. But for the remainder of the cruise, the views from both sides of the ship are often equally wonderful.

    9. You can save big bucks by booking last minute

    Through those buying last-minute might get great deals on cruises of the Caribbean, the same does not really hold true for Alaska cruises. Alaskan ships often sell out far in advance for cruises in the months of July and August. If you are really looking for a last-second deal, you might be able to find one in May or September, though you could have to settle for an inside cabin.

    10. You can see polar bears on the cruise

    While there are many incredible sights that you will see on an Inside Passage or Gulf of Alaska cruise, you won’t see any Polar bears. These massive bears live almost exclusively on arctic ice flows in the far northern region of Alaska. The cruise route focuses on southern and central Alaska. However, you might well see grizzly bears on your cruise, for they are very common in lower Alaska and are an incredible sight.

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    Amber Mike asked:

    Traditionally Christmas is seen as a time to spend with the family. However, more and more people prefer not to spend Christmas at home. There is no shortage of options for the Christmas break. It is important to plan your Christmas holiday in advance so that you are not disappointed.

    A number of travel companies offer tours that depart during the Christmas period. You can spend a leisurely week in Andalucia, enjoying the local cuisine and Moorish architecture or tour through Northern India, visiting the magnificent Taj Mahal, the Pink city of Jaipur and the Ranthambore National Park. Perhaps one of the most beautiful places to spend Christmas is in Lapland. Many holidays feature Lappish traditions and luxury cabins with Christmas trees. They also include champagne breakfasts, traditional Finnish Christmas Eve dinner and a reindeer, husky or snowmobile safari. Of course no trip to Lapland would be complete without a visit to Santa Claus. If you are looking for something truly unusual then why not try an igloo in Finland? You can stay in a snow or glass igloo and enjoy a spectacular view of the northern lights, go on a reindeer or husky safari and learn how to ice fish. Guests can also visit the snow restaurant, the ice bar and the Ice gallery that features some amazing ice sculptures. If you are travelling to a city and want to combine your Christmas trip with sight-seeing you should check in advance which attractions will be open during the Christmas period.

    For those who want a more active holiday, skiing is a good choice. Again if you are considering a Christmas break in the Alps then you need to book sometime in September or October. Once the first snow starts to fall in November availability will fall rapidly. This is especially true if you have children. For the more adventurous, there is ski-sailing in Norway, a snowmobile safari in Canada and much more.

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    David Reichman asked:

    When a road trip planner first sets his sights on Alaska, he invariably wonders if Alaska can truly be explored in one road trip. Alaska offers vast mountains, colossal blue-white glaciers and an abundance of wildlife with activities unique to the state; this combination earns an Alaskan Road Trip top honors in travelers’ memory books.

    For most road trip planners, their itinerary will start with flight plans. Most people flying in will land in Anchorage. At this point, they’ll either rent a car and stay in hotels along the way (reserved in advance of course!) or they’ll rent an RV to explore Alaska at their own pace (with their itinerary allowing impromptu exploration options).

    After exploring Anchorage’s offerings, many place the city of Tok as a destination in their road trip planner because it helps create a good triangle for your road trip. Tok is known as the “Sled Dog Capital of Alaska”. Plan on 5 ½ hours driving time from Anchorage but I know you’ll stop – even spend a day or two – around the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Get ready for the largest and most magnificent of the National Parks of Alaska, with 9 of the 16 highest peaks in the United States. This mountain region contains numerous glaciers, lakes and mountain streams and is home to a rich variety of wild life. It is superb country for climbers, walkers and water sports enthusiasts.

    Fairbanks would be the third point of your trip triangle to add to your road trip planner (Anchorage to Tok to Fairbanks). Some travelers start their Alaskan Road Trip by flying in to Fairbanks, so for them, their trip triangle would be Fairbanks, Anchorage, Tok. Fairbanks is second biggest city of Alaska and has the all the amenities of an urban community. The Gold Rush Street at Pioneer Park was a replica but a real operating gold mine exists in this proud city. Visit the Museum of the North, take a river trip for half-day cruise through the Chena and Tanana Rivers. In the summer, the Riverboat Discovery Tour runs twice a day. Trip reservations are a must so make the necessary arrangements ahead of time.

    Leaving Fairbanks, include the impressive Denali National Park in your road trip planner before hitting Anchorage. Denali contains Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America and is definitely worthy of some heavy-duty exploration.

    A four- to six-hour drive down south from Denali National Park, passing through Talkeetna, you’ll reach the town of Wasilla. Have your camera at the ready because moose or bear sightings along the way are often part of the journey. For canoeing experience, go to the Nancy Lake Recreation Area. There are plenty of cabins to rent for overnight stays. Further south, visit the Big Lake for swimming, camping, jet-ski and fishing. Proceed to Mat-Su Valley and drop by Iditarod Trail Headquarters on Knik Road. Learn some history at Knik Museum and the Sled Dog Musher’s Hall of Fame.

    Another town to add to your road trip planner is Palmer, only 15 minutes away from Wasilla. There is a great RV campground here as well as some cool farms like the Musk Ox Farm. Best time to be here is in late August when the Alaska State Fair is celebrated.

    Leave another day in your road trip planner to explore more of Anchorage. It has plenty of hiking opportunities, cultural events and art exhibits. The Flattop Mountain and Chugach State Park are the city’s pride together with Alaska Zoo and Potter Marsh, a bird and wildlife sanctuary.

    If you have more time, add another leg of your road trip by driving along the Seward Highway, designated as the All-American Road, and enjoy the scenic view. Picnic opportunities are everywhere, and the picture perfect backdrop is hard to resist. Fishing, camping and canoeing activities in the Kenai/Soldotna area are nice options too.

    I’ve shared one road trip example, but customize yours to reflect your own Dream Alaskan Trip. Below are some tips to help you get the most out of your trip.

    WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO…?

    * See the Northern Lights; plan on coming either late fall and early spring.

    * Enjoy the Midnight Sun; put June 21st in the middle of your road trip planning.

    * Go whale watching; head to Alaska anytime from mid-May through mid-September.

    * View the most wildlife; summer-time will get you sightings of moose, bear, mountain sheep, caribou, coyote, wolves, sheep, beaver, otter, mink, or hare. In addition, birdwatchers can photo-capture eagles, hawks, jays, owls, spruce hens, grouse, and ptarmigan and migratory waterfowl coming north to nest each summer.

    Make this the year you go wild with your road trip planning and head North to Alaska for a trip of a lifetime.

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  • Located in the heart of interior Alaska, Fairbanks is found 370 road miles north of Anchorage, about eight hours by car. As Alaska’s second largest city with over 80,000 residents in the greater Fairbanks area, the city is your gateway to your authentic Alaskan adventure. The unsurpassed beauty of winter is offered you here – from the enthralling northern lights to mushing with a dog team on wooded trails and larger than life ice sculptures.

    And at the center of it all is the Aspen Hotel Alaska Fairbanks. Indeed, Fairbanks is not all nature and snow. Besides the obvious pleasures that the adventure-seeking tourist finds, Fairbanks also has great accommodations that offer luxurious comfort and convenience. One such accommodation is at the Aspen Hotel Alaska Fairbanks.

    With 97 spacious rooms and suites, Alaska Fairbanks Aspen Hotel lets you enjoy all that Alaska has to offer. Known as the “Golden Heart” of the city because of its origins as a trading post in the early 1900s that served stern-wheeler riverboats and early gold prospectors, Fairbanks offers a nice selection of tours and activities which you can best enjoy by staying at the best place in town – the Aspen Hotel Alaska Fairbanks. The hotel offers you varied and quality amenities that you have come to expect when visiting one of the Aspen Hotels properties.

    Every morning, the Alaska Fairbanks Aspen Hotel delivers a delectable continental breakfast to your room. Each room is elegantly designed with plush sofas and dramatic views of the city below and the mountains in the distance. Never has a place been more suited for both tourist and business traveler than Alaska Fairbanks Aspen Hotel.

    The amenities include:

    Complimentary deluxe continental breakfast

    Swimming pool, spa, and exercise room

    Conference room

    500 Alaska Airlines Miles per stay

    Belgian waffles

    Wireless Internet throughout hotel

    Complimentary airport shuttle service

    And when you want to go sight seeing, the Alaska Fairbanks Aspen Hotel also organizes its own tours and activities. Popular among tourists is a cruise aboard the Riverboat Discovery on the Chena River. Lasting for about half an hour, this cruise lets you travel through the history of Interior Alaska, aboard an authentic sternwheeler riverboat Discovery III no less.

    Alaska Fairbanks Aspen Hotel is also located near an excellent museum at the University where you can choose from a number of tours exploring Fairbanks’ gold mining history. A city tour or visit to “Alaska Land” is always a great choice.

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    Lapland is the name of a region in north Europe that belongs to Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia and it is traditionally inhabited by the Sami people. Today the northernmost province of Finland officially carries the name Lapland. Similarly, the northernmost province in Sweden, although administratively subdivided between two counties, carries the name Lapland. Lapland is located in Northern Europe and includes the northern parts of Scandinavia and the Kola Peninsula in Russia.

    The Swedish Lapland is known as Europe’s “Last Great Wilderness” and it is situated close to the Arctic Circle having stunning views and beautiful un-spoilt countryside. It’s one of the most un-spoilt areas on earth with high mountains, open plateaus, forests, rivers and waterfalls. Most rivers till run free from the mountains to the sea, following channels cut ten thousand years ago by the melting inland ice. The enormous forest areas are sparsely populated, but there are plenty of wild animals such as moose, bear, Reindeer, wolf and land birds. Sea and river fisheries abound in the region. Steamers are operated on some of the lakes, and a few ports are ice-free throughout the year.

    The coastline of Lapland is very attractive with its bays, long sandy beaches and picturesque villages. It is impossible not to be fascinated by the 300 km seacoast and the archipelago of hundreds of islands. When the surface of the sea is covered in ice an exciting new landscape is created.

    If you are looking for a natural peaceful and beautiful place to spend your holiday you can explore this land of legends and nature in whichever way you choose.

    The tourists can enjoy a sub artic climate with extreme temperature variations. It is mild in the summer with temperatures reaching 20C and a snowland in winter with -30C in the coldest months. The natural phenomena and culture are an attraction during all the seasons.

    In the summer the sun does not set and doesn’t rise in mid-winter and that’s why

    Lapland is called the Land of the Midnight Sun. The winter starts in November when the sun barely rises over the horizon and the first blanket of snow covers the land. One of the most interesting phenomena during winter is the Aurora Borealis the Northern Lights which is nature’s most beautiful light show, with quickly changing colours, power and changing form. It is said that the strongest and brightest of the Northern Lights will give as much light as the moon.

    The spring comes with melting ice. In spring the sun hangs low over the horizon, casting light day and night and the elongated days make it the perfect place for al-fresco activities. Between June and the first half of July the sun does not actually set.

    As a tourist you can enjoy in Lapland different activities such as mountain climbing, hiking, and alpine skiing, some by fishing by a quiet woodland pool. You can snuggle under reindeer skins in a dogsled and watch the magical dance of the Northern Lights across the heavens. For the ones with a passion for fishing, ice fishing or Nordic touring are good options. The coast offers you great options like a secret cove with a shallow water beach. You can paddle a kayak silently from one island to another or enjoy a swim under the Midnight Sun.

    If you are looking for a special Christmas Holiday you can try the famous Santa Claus village, near the town of Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle. It is an enchanting winter wonderland where you and your family can go in search of Santa Claus. Enjoy husky and reindeer sleigh rides and enjoy all the sparkle of an old-fashioned Christmas.

    Another special attraction is the village made of ice: Jukkasjarvi with its Ice Hotel has been re-built every year since 1989. As the hotel melts in the summer and is rebuilt in the winter, it is never more than six months old. Inside the hotel you will find an art gallery, ice bar, cinema and chapel. The Ice Church is a consecrated room of snow and ice in which church services, weddings and christenings take place. Naturally Lapland is famous for dog-sleigh and snowmobile safaris, amazing adventures in the arctic wilderness.

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  • If you’re looking to do something different with the kids when you next go on holiday, have you thought about horse riding in America? How about cycling beside the Danube? Or dog sledding in Lapland? If you want an experience that your children will really remember on holiday, then a family activity holiday may be just the thing for you.

    Many parents may be put off by health and safety concerns for these kinds of adventure holiday, but they shouldn’t be. Almost all standard activity holidays will have some kind of child friendly option, and there are plenty of niche operators that specifically offer family activity holidays. If you are worried about safety, it is always a good idea to check out any adventure holiday company that you decide to go with, to make sure it is reputable and provides a good service. Read any online reviews that you can find, and call them up and see how they respond to your concerns.

    Dog Sledding in Lapland

    If cutting through the snow with your kids on a husky driven sledge sounds like your idea of heaven, this might be the activity holiday for you! For children, the combination of snow, animals and adventure can be irresistible. The scenery in Lapland is remarkable, and there’s even a chance that you’ll catch a glimpse of the famous Northern Lights when you visit.

    Dog sledding can be done as a one day excursion or, if you and your children are feeling adventurous, can be part of a multi-day expedition, stopping off at various lodges and cabins along the way. This is a family activity holiday for slightly older children – check with travel companies to find out the exact minimum age for their trips.

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    magickaito asked:

    Is it easy to observe Aurora Bernoulis/Northern light in Lapland (Rovaniemi)?

    I m planning for my trip in Finland in Dec. I wonder should I just walkaround myself to catch the Northern light or should I pay Euro100 per person to join those Northern light searching tour package?

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    Susan Davis asked:

    I land with jet lag after a simple 4 hour flight. Too short for sleep and too long to stay awake. There quarters of Iceland is covered in ice yet when we arrive to sparkling Reykjavik, there is no snow. Surely global warming is a reality if there is not even a flake in mid-February!

    We embark on a city tour to see the famous sites followed by hotel check in and grateful that we are in the heart of town. Everyone enjoys the Viking style welcome dinner at a folklore restaurant.

    Our itinerary has been affected by the lack of snow but we make the best of it. I am actually glad for the warmer weather with clear visibility. We head out through moss covered lava fields for our Golden Circle full day tour.

    Iceland is a toddler, only 25 million years old making it the youngest country in the world. You can feel the seismic energy it emits in its continued growth. In this land of fire & ice, there are over 200 types of volcanos here that erupt every few years. We see a geyser park with hundreds of hot springs, the beautiful Golden Falls that cascade 100 feet in two stages and in the distance we witness blow holes in the mountains releasing geothermal steam.

    The landscape looks dead as the moon but it is alive as human skin ready to erupt with a boil or pimple any second. We stop to view the border of the tectonic plates that separate the earth’s boundary of Europe with the Americas. It is the only place in the world that this can be seen above water.

    We enjoy an Icelandic Super Jeep safari out into the country’s rugged interior. The vehicles are like giant ATV’s that can handle any terrain. When a blizzard engulfs us, I find it thrilling. We ride over hills of lava rock, along the black sand beaches of the southern coast and edges of bubbling hot springs.

    Our drivers let us out at a huge thermal drill hole into the earth that is blowing a massive pressure of steam and we are nearly blown away.

    In our free time we explore the capital city, so clean so safe. I watched 3 women leave their babies bundled in strollers outside as they dined. I’ve come to believe this is the most expensive place on earth after paying $8 for a coffee and $13 for a small hairspray. I stroll and peruse the restaurant dinner menus posted faced with the nightly challenge of trying to find a good meal under $100. My small pizza the night prior was $36. This is a perfect place to begin my diet.

    Nightlife is awesome here if you’ve won the lottery. With small beers at $11, I can not imagine that alcoholism could exist here. We joke about publishing a book called “Iceland on $400 a Day.” The group takes it all in stride. They are wonderful, normal and bond well in friendship. One thing that is cheap here is energy produced from geothermal water. Houses are so warm, people leave the windows open to cool off.

    We visit the deluxe Laugar Spas with its massive gym of 180 treadmills, its thermal pools, eucalyptus steam rooms, hot pots and heated outdoor Olympic pools. Together we all get wet in this virtual playground of adults.

    Another day we rode horses through a lava field. Icelandic horses are a docile and pure breed that began here with the Vikings 900 years ago. This was followed by an evening Icelandic Lobster feast out in the country on the ocean where we searched for the northern lights to no avail.

    Our touring ended at the famous Blue Lagoon, the most unique bathing spot on earth. This outdoor swimming oasis set in the middle of black lava field looks surreal. We enjoy the therapeutic 110 degree milky-blue waters as a perfect pre-departure swim before our long flight home. With lack of snow our dog sled tour was canceled and I will present Lapland as the next winter adventure, were there always is snow.

    I love to visit the top of the world. Iceland provided great fun and melted all our hearts.

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    MCJEduardo asked:

    Please help me find any hotel , city or towns were to go on tours that are reasonably priced to see the Northern Lights? Thanks in advance.

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