If you like it bright in the middle of the night, these are the best places for midnight sunseekers in Scandinavia
Within the Arctic Circle, the sun stays up 24 hours a day for a few months each summer, creating magical summer nights and unforgettable experiences. The midnight sun is caused by the tilt of the Earth's axis, with the Arctic Circle sitting at 66° north ensuring that places that sit within it get sunlight at midnight for at least a few days. The further north you go, the longer it stays: in the very north of Norway for example, the sun rises on 13 May and then doesn’t set again until 31 July, meaning over two months of constant sunlight.
Intrigued? Here’s our list of favourite spots to see the midnight sun this summer. Just remember to pack a sleeping mask – if you like it dark when you sleep then you'll need it.
Abisko National Park is as far north as you can get in Sweden. The area witnesses the midnight sun from late May until around mid-July each year. For the best view, hike or take the chairlift 900 metres up to the Aurora Sky Station where you can enjoy a Swedish fika (a coffee and cake break) and stunning views over the Swedish Lappland.
Lofoten has some of the most surreal landscapes on this planet. The area is full of steep mountains dropping down into blue fjords with small islands sprinkled all around. Add to that white sandy beaches and you have the perfect postcard.
The best way to see this area is to go for one of the many hikes that Lofoten offers. And in summer you can hike day and night, with no need to stop because it's getting dark.
Lofoten, Norway. Photo: Ása Steinars
Iceland is technically not above the Arctic Circle so the sun does dip below the horizon for a few hours each night. However it doesn’t disappear far enough for it to get fully dark. Instead you’re left with a four hour-long sunset to sunrise phenomenon that spreads pink light all over the sky, especially around the summer solstice of June 21. The best place to see it is next to one of the many waterfalls or out in the vast purple lupin fields that cover large areas of the south coast.
Every summer, Sodankylä in Finnish Lapland hosts the Midnight Sun Film Festival. This year it runs from June 15-19, with the programme including two classic silent films with live music accompaniment. The area also allows for a celebration of the summer solstice the Finnish way: bonfires, dancing and late night saunas.
Sodankylä, Finnish. Photo: Juuso Hirvonen
At 78° north this is the most extreme place to see the midnight sun. For four full months each summer the sun is constantly up. Visit the ice caves and see calving glaciers, or dine on local food at one of the restaurants in town.