As a kid, I grew up with the idea that travelling to northern Europe was pretty much impossible, due to the long distance and the pricey lifestyle that characterizes Scandinavia. This idea of impossibility got stuck in my head for many years, reason why the only thing I had left was to dream about going there. You got to admit: the farther north you go in Europe, the more mysterious it becomes, right?
When I first started to think about visiting some places out of Portugal – I was probably 15/16 years old -, the north was one of the first locations I thought about. I am passionate about winter wonderlands, filled with breathtaking landscapes. Snow makes everything extremely beautiful, doesn’t it?
After my first solo travel to Amsterdam, in 2014, all my savings were down to zero, reason why I had to focus on saving money… Again. In October of 2014, I started to search on the internet about things to do in Europe during Winter and the Northern Lights came up. I had forgotten about it, because of all the reasons I mentioned before. Surprisingly, and I have no idea how or why, plane tickets were not that expensive, and neither was the accommodation. After a lot of research, I finally booked the tickets for one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had!
I flew to Stockholm, the city where my adventure initiated, and I stayed there for approximately 4 days. I will write about this amazing city in another post; there is a lot to say about it. From Stockholm, I took a flight to Tromso, via Oslo, and the view from the airplane, when landing, was unbelievable. I literally felt I was on top of the world.
I stayed in Tromso for 3 days, in the SmartHotel. I did dog sledding (so much fun!) and snowshoeing (the views…!) – I will write about both as well, but in different posts. My last activity was watching the Northern Lights.
Hunting the Northern Lights is something you can do on your own. All you have to do is to rent a car and go search for them; just try not to get lost. I would have done it alone, but as this was my first time, I wanted to be guided by someone who knows the best places to have a good Aurora show and how the lady works (that’s how they call it). I booked everything with Enjoy The Artic (the cheapest I could find).
My guide’s name was Andrei and we were a group of four: two dutch sisters, a german guy and me. Andrei drove us to a bay half an hour away from Tromso and there we stayed for almost 5 hours. The weather was against us: even though there were no clouds, it was full moon and the sky was too bright, making it difficult to spot any green lights. I knew that if we were not successful in that location, Andrei would drive us to another place (sometimes he goes all the way to the Finish border), so I was not worried at all.
It was a cold night. The temperature was bouncing between -12ºC and -14ºC. Even though I was not cold, my boots were definitely not made for those temperatures and they kind of froze. My feet were so, SO cold!! Luckily, we had a bonfire and I managed to keep them warm.
The view was an eye-candy and I couldn’t stop admiring everything that was surrounding me. We were given reindeer sausages and hot dogs, as many as we wanted, as well as coffee and tea. Long, cold nights ask for some warm drinks.
We were chatting and eating when, all of a sudden, I see a flash of green somewhere in the horizon. Everyone stood up and started looking up, trying to spot some more dancing lights. It didn’t take long. Right above us, a green wave started to show up – very shy at the beginning, but it then became thick and bright and started to move so gracefully above our heads.
Everything was quiet. Everyone was paying attention to the Aurora. For one hour, the Lady owned the sky and the Earth. No one dared to interrupt the show with a single word. Nature delivered an outstanding show. There is something in the way the Lights dance; something words can’t describe. They move so gracefully, so organized. An abstract dance. A never ending painting. We stood there, absorbing every single move. And then, without warning, they just left.
It was not the strongest or the brightest show, but that is not even a problem when you get the chance to witness one of the most amazing spectacles nature has to offer! Being there for so long and with freezing temperatures was completely worth it.
I strongly advise you to try to go all the way to Northern Europe and watch this amazing show! I promise you won’t regret it.
Have a nice day.