The Northern Lights Route is a stretch of the E8 road which runs from Tromso, in the north of Norway, to Kemi (location of the famous Ice Breaker) which is nestled on the Bay of Bothnia. Cutting through Norway, Sweden and Finland, the governments of each of those countries recognised that this is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights (not just because of the frequency at which they appear, but also because the wilderness, uncommercialised landscape increases the intensity of the Aurora, thanks to the lack of any light pollution from the city). Along the Route are some of Lapland’s best sights and attractions: the Ice Hotel, a moose park, an ice breaker ship, the city of Tromso and the quaint historic village of Karesuando. Read on below for further information.
The Lyngen Alps are one of Europe’s best kept secrets: mighty, snow-capped peaks blunder through the glistening fjords which wind around them. A journey through the Lyngen Alps leads you to Tromso – an Arctic city perched on its own island just off the coast of northern Norway. This exciting city oozes Scandinavian chic and hosts an array of sights and attractions.
The Lofoten islands are a collection of islands off the northwest coast of Norway, known for their jaw-dropping scenery and famed for their rugged natural beauty. The imposing mountainous landscape is coloured by the bright robru of the fishermen (simple wooden dwellings on the waterfront).
Located about one third of the way down the Northern Lights Route, Karesuando is a small, quaint village. Steeped in history, it was once an important trading post for hunters and trappers keen to sell their furs. Now, it is the ideal place in which to enjoy an Arctic holiday in Lapland.
Hetta is a small town in Finland’s Enontekio province, just a 15-minute drive from the airport. Set on the edge of the Pallas National Park (Finland’s third largest) and home to its own ski slope, Hetta is a great place for outdoor adventurers. The town’s skyline is dominated by the church’s slender bell tower.
The world-famous Ice Hotel is only just over an hour drive off the Northern Lights Route. Built from scratch each year, the hotel is made of ice hewn from the River Torne, by which it stands. There is also a moose park nearby, giving you the chance to get up and close to these huge friendly beasts.
The ice breaker ship of Kemi is an adventure not to be missed. Departing from the very bottom of the Northern Lights Route, the ship sets sail out on to the frozen sea in the Bay of Bothnia, crunching the ice in its path. You have the opportunity to disembark and walk on the sea – or maybe swim amongst the ice!