Days are getting shorter all the time and it means we have more and more time to spot northern lights or aurora borealis from the night sky. Here in Saariselkä we have lot of good spots to see Auroras because we don’t have so much light disturbance. Nearest city in South is Sodankylä (120km), North Ivalo (30km), West Levi (over 150km) and East Murmansk (Over 300km). Also getting here is really easy due to Northern most international airport inside European Union (Ivalo airport).
In Saariselkä region there are lot of good spots to see auroras and night sky. We have lot of fells and big lakes. And you can even see them inside Saariselkä village, if you just know where to look. Most common mistake for trying to see them is that you are not in a spot dark enough. That is why you should try to get out of village lights.
Good places in the village are snowshoe trail (Aurora trail) around a chapel. That is easy to walk and have darker spots to watch the sky. Another good one is just between Holiday Club and Javri restaurant. That spot is good when you are spending your evening shopping and you just want to see if you should get out of village to see the sky.
Little bit more hiking and you can go on the top of Kaunispää. From there you can see the whole northern sky and you can spot even the dimmest auroras. If you don’t have luck with Auroras you still have magnificent view towards Saariselkä village and surrounding white fells.
From Saariselkä to Ivalo you have plenty of good parking areas by the road where you can stop and try your luck. First one is just after Saariselkä on a fell area (Urupää). On this spot you can even walk behind the snow fence and you are middle of open fell area. On windy day you should hold on your hat!
Less than hour away from Saariselkä by car and you can get to Inari Lake. It is 3rd biggest lake in Finland. To reach that you can drive your own car or rent one from us. On Inari Lake you have plenty of open space to watch the sky but be aware that if you walk on the lake ice you should know where to walk. Currents and streams can make the ice thinner on some spots.
South from Saariselkä a good place to see Auroras is on top of fell Kiilopää. You can drive with a car to Kiilopää fell center and there you have marked trail going up the fell. What you need to remember is that weather can change fast and even that you are not far away it can still be hard to find your way back. So be prepared!
For travelers who want to get more adventure a good way to see northern lights is by snowmobile. One of the best places to watch them is on top of Palopää. That is a fell just 5km north from Kaunispää. It sounds like a short distance but already there you are really by yourself, no lights or noises, just wilderness. If you don’t know how to use a snowmobile then the best option is to book a safari. Local guides always knows the best places to spot Auroras and you also get more information about the area and perhaps nice drinks by open fire in a traditional Kota (Lappish tiipii).
Good luck for the hunt! Hope to see you in Saariselkä
– The pictures of this post has been taken by Petri Valo (Many thanks to him!)