The Northern Lights are one of the most beautiful and memorable natural phenomena. The appearance of the Northern Lights at Arctic Circle latitudes requires a clear sky, suitable space weather, and of course a bit of luck. Santa Claus Village and its surroundings are located on the Arctic Circle in Lapland, so the area is quite suitable for aurora hunting due to its geographical location.
Northern Lights season on the Arctic Circle begins in late August and continues until early April. The best time to see the Northern Lights is autumn (September and early October) and mid-spring (mainly March.) Statistically, Northern Lights are most visible around the autumn and spring equinoxes. Naturally, the Northern Lights appear regularly in the sky throughout winter. In the autumn, before the bodies of water freeze, you might be lucky enough to see a double aurora, as the Northern Lights are reflected from the surface of a lake or river.
The incidence of the Northern Lights also varies with the time of day. On average, their probability of occurrence reaches its peak around 11:30 P.M., or magnetic midnight, and the Earth’s magnetic field disturbances related to auroras are at their highest. However, it’s important to understand that the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and their visibility depends on many factors, such as space weather and cloudiness. Therefore, Santa Claus Village and its companies (like all tourism companies in Lapland) cannot guarantee that you’ll see the Northern Lights during your visit.
In the centre of Santa Claus Village, seeing the Northern Lights can be a bit challenging due to the artificial lighting. However, even in the remote corners of the Village, if you’re lucky, you can see auroras overhead. Right next to Santa Claus Village is Santa’s Forest, which is a great place to spot the Northern Lights. And of course, there are plenty of peaceful forests and waterways in the area around Santa Claus Village.
At the edges of Santa Claus Village, there are several glass igloo-type accommodation providers, such as Glass Resort and Santa’s Igloos Arctic Circle, which cater especially to lovers of the Northern Lights. In addition, about nine kilometres northeast of the Village, on the shores of beautiful Lake Olkkajärvi, you’ll find Apukka Resort and their glass igloos, an excellent destination for aurora tourism. At Lehtojärvi, about 25 km west of Santa Claus Village, is the Arctic Snowhotel & Glass Igloos.
There are several operators in Santa Claus Village that organize Northern Lights safaris through the nearby nature of the Rovaniemi area. With the help of competent guides from these companies, you’ll hunt the Northern Lights in the best possible conditions. Safari companies and other service providers will take you to places where there is little artificial light and the views to the North are picturesque. The guides will also tell you stories about the Northern Lights and assist with photographing the auroras.
The charged particles that cause aurora activity come from the sun. The amount of these particles varies over eleven year periods along with sunspot activity. However, the frequency of the Northern Lights does not closely follow the variations of the evenly undulating sunspots. Most Northern Lights activity typically occurs a few years after the sunspot peak, when the number of spots has already started to decline. The length of the sunspot period averages eleven years, however it can range from eight to fifteen years.
Only a short drive from the Arctic Circle, you’ll find many great destinations for independent travelers to track the Northern Lights. For example, in addition to Santa’s Forest (right next to Santa Claus Village), about 10 km northeast of the Arctic Circle along the highway, you’ll find the Olkkajärvi car park, which is well-suited for watching the Northern Lights. You might also get lucky and see the Northern Lights over the city of Rovaniemi, about 6 km south of the Arctic Circle, from the top of Ounasvaara hill.
Northern Lights photography is especially popular, as the current day and age allows you to display your unforgettable memories at home as well as share them on social media. However, you should carefully prepare for capturing the Northern Lights before coming to Lapland.