The explosion of colours across the sky delights visitors from autumn until late winter. This typical phenomenon of the polar region occurs when the particles accelerated by the magnetic field of the Earth collide with airborne particles. The occurrence of the Northern Lights is largely dependent on the activity of the sun, which varies in cycles of about 11 years.

In northernmost Lapland it is possible to see the Northern Lights almost every evening, provided that it is dark and the sky is clear. In the Inari-Saariselkä region a profusion of Northern Lights are witnessed, though clouds can impair visibility in the same way as the light summer nights. On average, Northern Lights can be seen in northernmost Lapland up to 200 nights a year.

The Aurora Borealis appears under a huge doughnut shaped ring that is centred on earth’s magnetic north pole. Without getting too much into the science, this means that if you travel to a location right under the “doughnut”, or Aurora oval, you maximise your chances to see the northern lights, even when the activity is very low. Inari is located at 68°50’N – 265 km (165 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. This positions Inari right under the ring, almost guaranteeing to see some northern lights on a clear night.

There are many places in the world that are located under the Aurora ring but only few of them are inhabited and accessible. Despite being located so far north of the Arctic Circle, Inari-Saariselkä offers a full range of state-of-the-art tourism facilities: comfortable hotels, excellent restaurants, safari companies with a broad range of services.

Join the Northern Lights Chasing tour by car, reindeer sledge, snowshoes or snowmobile. From Saariselkä to Nuorgam there are many service providers who organize these tours combined with information and tips on photographing the dancers of the sky. Please see here.

Photo: Jouni Männistö