3 awe-inspiring places to experience the magic of the Northern Lights

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3 awe-inspiring places to experience the magic of the Northern Lights

A heavenly display of supernatural colours, the aurora borealis make an appearance in autumn and winter. If lucky, you will witness a stunning light show that will fire your imagination.

3 awe-inspiring places to experience the magic of the Northern Lights

Magical moments in Tromsø on the very edge of Norway

Open your eyes wide. Just two hours to the north of Oslo by plane, Tromsø opens the gates to a dazzling world with its fantastical light show. In the traditional, well-preserved harbour down in the town centre, look up and watch as surreal green curtains of light dance across the sky; these are the Northern Lights in all their shimmering glory.

Then head further north to the county of Finnmark at the very tip of Norway. At the North Cape, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Arctic Ocean, the sun does not rise for almost three months. In the long Arctic night, wrap up well, lie down on a thermal mat and wait. A waterfall of coloured clouds will light up the sky. Simply stunning.

After your excursion, make your way to the University museum where you can watch polar aurorae re-created before your eyes. A stone's throw from there, in true Scandinavian tradition, warm yourself up in the sauna at the Clarion Collection Hotel With, a pretty building facing the harbour. Norway has never been so relaxing.

Tromsø University Museum
Lars Thørings veg 10
9291 Tromsø
+47 776 45 000
en.uit.no/tmu

Clarion Collection Hotel With
Sjøgata 35–37
9291 Tromsø
+47 77 66 42 00
clarion-collection-hotel-with-tromso.hotel-ds.com/en

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3 awe-inspiring places to experience the magic of the Northern Lights

Wild surroundings on the Isle of Skye in Scotland

Fly to Edinburgh, hire a car and head off to the Highlands in the north of Scotland to live the dream. The Caithness coast is one of the best places in Europe to watch the Northern Lights. So, why not choose this setting on the edge of Europe to chase the lights, with its vertiginous cliffs adding to the drama. After a four-hour drive and a short ferry crossing from Mallaig, you land on the Isle of Skye. Sparsely populated, it encapsulates all types of typical, wild Scottish scenery from moors to high mountains to ominous lochs. In this unique setting, you are very likely to see the “Mirrie Dancers”, as they are known up here.

Spend a few days at the Toravaig House Hotel, a pretty, secluded house facing out to sea. It is the perfect romantic, home-from-home hideaway. Set off and explore the Trotternish peninsula, then climb up to the Old Man of Storr. The view from the top of this craggy pinnacle surrounded by other rock formations is simply breathtaking. As night falls over the hills, the first glowing rays soon appear in the sky. You will be rooted to the spot, hypnotised by the display of lights with their supernatural colours dancing across the heavens.

Toravaig House Hotel
Manse of Sleat
Isle of Skye
IV44 8RE
+44 1471 820200
www.toravaig.com

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3 awe-inspiring places to experience the magic of the Northern Lights

Natural beauty in Sweden's Abisko National Park

From Stockholm, take to the skies and head for Swedish Lapland, the Arctic region covering the north-west of the country. To stand the best chance of seeing the lights, make your way to Abisko National Park. The warm and cosy Abisko Mountain Lodge is just the place for a break surrounded by nature, far from any light pollution.

Next day in the afternoon, a chairlift will take you through a pristine landscape to the Aurora Sky Station, some 900 metres above sea level. From Sweden's most famous observation site, you will witness the most spectacular night-time show. Above the earth, charged particles from the sun collide, producing bursts of dazzling bright lights. Shades of green and blue are replaced by red as they envelop the polar night. Overwhelmed by the beauty of this natural phenomenon, you will be forgiven for shedding a tear or two in happiness.

Abisko Mountain Lodge
Lapportsvägen 30
981 07 Abisko
+46 980 401 00
www.facebook.com/abiskomountainlodge

Aurora Sky Station
STF Abisko Mountain Station
981 07 Sweden
+46 980-402 00
www.auroraskystation.se/en