Norway and Finland: Chasing the Northern Lights

Norway, Finland




The Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis are atmospheric phenomena that have dazzled the world forever. These beautiful, dancing waves of light have fascinated scientists and skywatchers alike, with many studies dedicated to them. There is a lot of information on the web about how they are created and where to watch them, but there is definitely some bit of luck required to spot them. You have to be at the right place at the right time!


The Northern Lights’ counterpart in the Southern hemisphere are the Southern Lights. But it is easier to chase them in the Northern hemisphere on account of easy accessibility to the various arctic belt countries. The chances to get a glimpse are best between September and Marchespecially around the new moon days.


This celestial event is on the bucket list of many travelers and they throng the countries where the lights are visible. In Europe; Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland are the popular destinations with the perfect infrastructure. The travel industry is totally geared up in these destinations to provide the tourists with excellent hotels and tailor made tours.

Here, I am exploring the various glass dome and ice hotels in Norway and Finland which provide fantastic views of the night sky from the accommodation itself. 



Norway, the land of the fjords
, is also one of the best places on earth to experience the Aurora Borealis. They are best observed between 65 degrees N and 75 degrees N latitude, which means the area around the cities of Tromsø and Svalbard is best suited for the trip. Apart from its geographical advantage, this part of Norway, with its numerous islands, deep fjords and sheer mountains, is amongst the world’s most beautiful places to see the northern lights.



The cities offer a lively night scene, great museums and gateway to a vast expanse of wilderness. One can enjoy an array of winter adventure activities like dog sledding, winter fishing, snowmobile safari, whale watching and reindeer sledding in addition to hunting the northern lights. An incredible culinary experience awaits at the local restaurants and hotels.

Glass Dome and Ice Hotels:


Lyngen North is situated by the Lyngenfjord, around 3 hours from Tromsø by car or bus. It hasdegree igloos, 360 degree igloos and houses. The on site restaurant Solvind offers a unique culinary experience using local produce. The menu has a great variety. Breakfast, lunch and a three course dinner are served in the beautiful secluded wilderness setting.

A host of outdoor activities like snowshoeing, dog sledding and snowmobiling are available for the adventure enthusiasts in the daytime.


Snowhotel Kirkenes
can be reached by a direct flight of around 2 hours from Oslo to Kirkenes. There are 2 options for staying on the property. The Snowhotel 365 is one of the most famous snow and ice hotels in Norway and the only such hotel in the world which is open throughout the year. The Gamme Northern light cabins are wonderful for a  Northern lights experience. 


The various restaurants at the Snowhotel provide delicious Arctic cuisine in the picturesque surroundings. They offer a choice of 4 unique three course menus using local ingredients.

can be reached from Alta, which is around a 2 hours flight from Oslo. It is a year-round resort offering accommodation in the Arctic Wilderness Lodge and its unique Igloo Hotel. The lodge has a panoramic lounge and a riverside restaurant and bar area. The Igloo hotel is built brand new every year for stays from December to April. A crew of local artists produce the detailed works of art.

Finnish cuisine


Sorrisniva is famous for its fine dining experiences. Locally sourced produce is used to give the guests an amazing culinary treat. 

The wilderness experiences include snow shoeing, husky and reindeer sledding and Sami cultural shows.



Hattvika Lodge is situated on the famous Lofoten Islands. It can be reached in around 5 hours from Oslo with a flight and a car. The location is amidst an authentic fishermen’s village. The traditional charm of the ancient cottages (Rorbu) is recreated with all modern facilities. The other option is Hattvika Hillside individual hotel rooms which are newly built and have spectacular views

The food at the Restaurant Fangst is made with great care to provide unique culinary experiences


Outdoor adventure activities include skiing, sea kayaking and hiking.

Norway cuisine specialities: (Vegetarian)


Lefse (Potato Flatbread)


Rye Bread 


Lapskaus (Root vegetable and lentil stew)


Flatbrød (Flatbread)


Surkal (Pickled Cabbage)



Finnish Lapland, the northernmost part of the country, is the best place to catch the Northern Lights in Finland. Part of this region is located inside the Arctic Circle and the famous ‘Northern Lights Belt’. The region boasts of great natural beauty and hospitality at the hotels is a class apart. 

Amongst the towns in Lapland, some of the most popular ones are Rovaniemi, Kemi, Saariselkä and Levi. Here too, there are many winter sports activities to enjoy aside from chasing the lights. An added attraction is the world famous Santa Claus Village at Rovaniemi, which is the ‘official residence’ of Santa Claus.


Glass Igloos and Snow Hotels:

Glass igloos


Arctic SnowHotel and Glass Igloos is located in Rovaniemi, which is on the Arctic circle in the Finnish Lapland. It can be reached in 40 minutes from the Rovaniemi airport which is a one and a half hour flight from Helsinki. 

Glass igloos


The 360 degrees Glass Igloos are open each year from the 3rd week of September to the end of March. The SnowHotel, the Ice Restaurant and the Ice Bar open from the 15 th of December. It is a wondrous experience to see the Aurora Borealis, sleeping under a 360 degrees heated  glass roof.  

There are 3 restaurants at the hotel, each serving delicious food prepared using traditional methods. The ambience is magical in each of the restaurants and the menu has a great variety.

Winter activities available are snowshoe hiking, snow sculpting, ice fishing and snowmobile safaris. 


Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
is located in Saariselka, a 30 minutes ride from Ivalo airport which is around 2 hours by flight from Helsinki. 

The region surrounding the hotel has one of the cleanest environments in the world, with the freshest air and water. 

The accommodation options include chalets for summer, kelo glass igloos and glass igloos for winter as well as snow igloos.

Aside from chasing the Northern lights, one can enjoy Husky, Reindeer, Snowmobile and Snow Tank safaris. 

The property has two restaurants serving delicious, local Lappish cuisine. A glass igloo bar is an added attraction.

Levin Iglut
is situated in Levi, about 14 km from Kittilä airport, which can be reached from Helsinki by a 1 hour 30 minutes flight. This is a luxurious property, with magnificent views of the surrounding rugged wilderness. 

Restaurant Utsu serves delicious meals considered amongst the best in Lapland. Fresh ingredients are used to create pure and simple flavours. The menus vary according to the seasonal changes, offering a delightful culinary experience.

Also situated in Levi,
Northern Lights Village offers expert guided expeditions through the wilderness chasing the Northern Lights. The laser heated glass roof opens directly above the bed, revealing the Aurora lit northern sky. 

The restaurant serves
Lappish and International cuisine in buffet or a-la-carte style.

Packages with winter activities like Husky Safari and Reindeer sledding are available.

Finnish Specialty Cuisine: (Vegetarian)


Ruisleipa (Finnish Rye Bread)


Chanterelle Gravy (Mushrooms in gravy)


Karelian Pasty (Pies with rice and milk)

Kesäkeitto (Vegetable soup)



Rosolli (Salad)


Thus, both these countries are well tailored for chasing and experiencing one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. The adventure sports and the culinary delights are a bonus!

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