Experiencing Finland’s Midnight Sun and Northern Lights

Experiencing Finland’s Midnight Sun and Northern Lights

Experiencing Finland's Midnight Sun and Northern Lights

Exoticca's mission is to ensure that every traveler has the opportunity to experience the stunning landscapes of Finland at least once in their lives. From the majestic fjords and expansive wilderness to pristine lakes and spectacular coastlines, this country abounds in masterpieces of nature. But the two phenomena that stand out the most in this incredible land are the midnight sun and northern lights. Both are awe-inspiring, captivating, and unique—truly well worth journeying to Finland to experience.

Midnight Sun

The glorious natural phenomenon known as the midnight sun occurs in Finland during summer when the sun stays visible above the horizon even at midnight. This means the sun never truly sets, creating a surreal and magical experience.

What is midnight sun? How and why does it occur?

The midnight sun occurs when the Earth tilts on its axis and its rotation around the sun creates a phenomenon where the sun remains visible even at midnight or later. This happens during the summer months in places above the Arctic Circle, such as Finland. As the Earth rotates, different parts of it face towards or away from the sun. During summer in the Arctic Circle, the top part of the Earth leans towards the sun, so the sunlight spreads out over a bigger area. This causes the sun to stay above the horizon for extended periods, and in some cases, it doesn't set at all, creating the phenomenon known as the midnight sun.

How to make the most out of Finland's midnight sun?

If you're traveling to Finland, taking a trip to its northernmost reaches is an excellent idea for a unique and unforgettable experience. You'll find the elusive midnight sun in Northern Finland, especially Lapland. The sun will appear hovering just above the horizon, casting an ethereal glow over the landscape.

One of the best activities to enjoy during the midnight sun is hiking. Finland's vast wilderness offers plenty of opportunities for hiking and trekking, and the long summer days mean you can explore for hours on end. You can also try fishing or kayaking, taking advantage of the extended daylight hours to make the most of your trip.

What to pack?

If you're planning a Finland Exoticca trip to experience the midnight sun, be sure to pack accordingly. You'll need warm clothing, especially in the evening, and good hiking shoes. Sunscreen and sunglasses are also essential to protect yourself from the intense sun. Between late May and early August, when the midnight sun is at its most intense, is the best time to visit.

The temperature range in Lapland during the midnight sun season can vary greatly depending on the time of day and weather conditions. During the daytime, temperatures can reach highs of around 10 to 20°C (50 to 68°F) or even higher on hot days. However, temperatures can drop to about 5°C (41°F) at night or even lower in some areas. It's also worth noting that Lapland's weather can be unpredictable, so it's a good idea to pack for all weather conditions, including rain and wind.

Northern Lights

The northern lights are an awe-inspiring display of colored lights in the night sky. This natural phenomenon occurs in the winter months in Finland when the sky is dark enough to see the lights.

What are northern lights?

Aurora Borealis, more popularly known as the northern lights, is a breathtaking natural phenomenon that may be seen in Finland and other high-latitude countries throughout the winter. They are caused by solar particles carrying electric charges colliding with Earth's atmosphere. When these particles enter the Earth's magnetic field, they are pulled toward the poles and collide with the gases in the atmosphere, creating the spectacular light show we know as the Northern Lights.

Depending on the type of gas particles they collide with, the Northern Lights are typically green, pink, or purple. They dance across the sky in waves and patterns, creating a magical and unforgettable experience for those lucky enough to witness them. The Northern Lights are a true marvel of nature, and Finland is one of the best places in the world to see them.

How to make sure I’ll see the northern lights?

To witness the northern lights, head to Finland's northernmost regions, such as Lapland. This is where you'll have the best chance of seeing the lights in all their glory, with clear skies and minimal light pollution. To increase your probability of seeing the northern lights, visit between September and March, when the nights are the longest and the skies are clearest. If you need help planning your trip, Exoticca offers a selection of reasonably priced travel packages carefully curated to suit various interests and budgets. These packages can make your trip planning process easier and more streamlined, allowing you to focus on enjoying your experiences in Finland.

Bear in mind that while Lapland is undoubtedly one of the best regions on the planet to see the spectacular Northern Lights, they are a natural phenomenon and cannot be guaranteed. In fact, they are notoriously unpredictable and may require some patience and persistence to catch a glimpse of. Many factors, such as weather conditions, solar activity, and light pollution, can impact your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. However, if you visit Lapland during the Northern Lights season and plan your trip accordingly, your chances of seeing this awe-inspiring spectacle are significantly increased. 

How to fully enjoy your visit during the northern lights season?

Lapland is a winter wonderland that offers a host of activities to keep visitors entertained during the Northern Lights season. Snowmobiling is a popular activity that allows visitors to explore the snowy wilderness at high speeds. Dog sledding is another thrilling experience, where a team of huskies pulls you through the snow. On the other hand, reindeer sleigh rides offer a unique opportunity to learn about the Sami people, the indigenous population of Lapland. 

For those looking to relax, traditional Finnish saunas are a fantastic way to unwind and enjoy the heat and steam. Finally, Northern Lights hunting is a must-do activity during the season. Join a guided tour and learn about the science behind the phenomenon while increasing your chances of spotting the elusive lights. Otherwise, you can download a northern lights app to help you track the activity and find the best viewing spots.

What’s the temperature and what to pack?

The temperature range in Lapland during the northern lights season can be quite cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. In December and January, the coldest months, temperatures can range from -5°C to -20°C (23°F to -4°F) during the day and can drop to -30°C (-22°F) or even lower during the night, but with proper clothing, visitors can still enjoy the magical displays of the northern lights.

Pack warm clothing, including thermal layers, a hat, gloves, and sturdy boots, to keep warm during outdoor activities such as aurora hunting. Because temperatures can vary greatly depending on the location and weather conditions, it's also a good idea to check the weather forecast before setting out on any activities.

Combining Both Experiences

While the midnight sun and northern lights have different seasons, combining these two unique experiences in Finland is possible. Do this by planning your trip around the shoulder seasons, either in early spring or late autumn, when there is a chance to see both the midnight sun and northern lights.

The days are getting longer in early spring (March to April), and the northern lights season is still in full swing. This means that visitors can enjoy longer daylight hours to explore Finland's stunning landscapes and still have the opportunity to witness the light display at night. During this time, temperatures can still be quite cold, so warm clothing is essential.

In late autumn (October to November), the northern lights season is just beginning, and the last days of the midnight sun can still be enjoyed. During this time, visitors can experience the stunning autumn colors throughout the day and then try their luck at spotting the northern lights at night. As with early spring, warm clothing is necessary to stay comfortable during the colder temperatures.

Bear in mind that the chances of seeing both phenomena or either are not guaranteed, but it is possible if the weather conditions are favorable. That said, the weather can be unpredictable during the spring and fall shoulder seasons, with cloudy or rainy days reducing the chances of seeing either. The trade-off is between fewer crowds and lower prices versus higher risk of missing out on the main attractions.

Other Natural Phenomena to Experience in Finland

While experiencing the midnight sun and northern lights is often at the very top of the list, plenty of other natural wonders and unique phenomena in Finland are worth exploring. Here are some must-see phenomena to look forward to:

The Polar Night: This is a natural phenomenon that occurs in northern Finland during the winter months, often around late November, when the sun remains below the horizon for days or even weeks. It's an extraordinary experience to witness the world bathed in shades of blue and pink during this time.

Ice Floating: Finland is home to over 180,000 lakes, and during the winter, these lakes freeze over. When ice on the surface of a lake or sea begins to melt and break into large pieces that float on the water, it creates a stunning sight, especially when the sun reflects off the ice and water. Ice floating is also sometimes referred to as "ice breakup" or "ice floes."

Reindeer Migration: The reindeer migration is an extraordinary sight to see as thousands of reindeer move across the country in search of food and better pastures. Visitors can see the migration up close on guided tours or from afar in the Finnish wilderness.

Autumn Colors: Finland is home to vast forests, and in the autumn, the trees explode in a sea of colors ranging from golden yellows to fiery reds and oranges. The autumn colors provide a beautiful backdrop for outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling.

These are just a few of Finland's many natural phenomena, and they provide a unique opportunity to experience the country's stunning natural beauty.

Midnight Sun and Northern Lights: A Surreal Finnish Experience

Finland is a land of magic and wonders, with natural phenomena that will leave you breathless and create memories to last a lifetime. The surreal glow of the midnight sun, as it dances across the sky, is a sight to behold, and the shimmering Northern Lights in the winter will leave you spellbound. But Finland isn't just about these stunning natural wonders. It's a land of adventure and excitement, with activities that range from skiing and snowmobiling to hiking and kayaking. And if you're a fan of culture, Finland has plenty to offer, too, with a rich history and traditions waiting to be explored.