While the enchanting display of the aurora borealis often takes center stage for its mesmerizing Northern Lights spectacle, its appearance remains unpredictable, leaving some to never witness its magic. Yet, one certainty prevails between the months of May and July – the uninterrupted presence of consistent sunlight. Within these periods, five unique destinations beckon, where the sun’s retreat is but a distant concept.
For those who relish the world of nocturnes, these seven destinations might initially evoke a sense of otherworldly dread. However, for those of us who reside within the paradox of perpetual daylight and night, the captivating allure of the “Midnight Sun” proves irresistible. This phenomenon is more than just the sun at night; it is a poetic dance between light and clouds, an experience to be treasured.
This natural marvel graces these locations during summer, providing compensation for their long, dark winters. As the summer’s embrace gradually loosens its grip, let’s reminisce about five remarkable places where you can embrace extended days, embark on midnight odysseys, and partake in daytime activities beneath the persistent sun.
1. Fairbanks, Alaska (United States): From May 17 to July 27, Alaska’s second-largest city enjoys an astonishing 70 days without the customary curtain call of sunset. Locals capitalize on the abundance of daylight, engaging in activities such as nighttime rounds at the Midnight Sun Golf Club – the country’s northernmost USGA course. Nearby, Chena Hot Springs awaits, offering relaxation until 11:45 p.m., while Midnight Sun ATV Tours guide you through moonlit forests. The annual Midnight Sun Game, a century-old amateur baseball tradition held on the summer solstice, brings a delightful sense of continuity to this lively city.
2. Reykjavík, Iceland: Iceland’s plethora of natural wonders, from geysers to glaciers, and beaches adorned with basalt columns, can often leave visitors feeling there’s not enough time to explore it all. During the summer months, this land gifts travelers with 24 hours of unending sightseeing and immersive experiences. Set sail on the Midnight Sun tour with Elding Whale Watching to witness minke whales, white-beaked dolphins, and humpback whales against a pink and orange sky. Kayak through serene waters, embark on a snowmobile adventure, or bask in the rejuvenating embrace of the Blue Lagoon’s silica-rich waters.
3. Svalbard, Norway: Revived in June, the Svalbard Express itinerary offers 10- to 16-day journeys, guiding travelers across the Barents Sea from the North Cape to Longyearbyen – the world’s northernmost settlement with over 1,000 inhabitants. Daylight ushers in leisure trips, while nights are spent traversing the enchanting coastline. Svalbard’s rich history is palpable, evident in details like Arctic-inspired cocktails at the 1893 Bar and the timeless charm of the Funken Lodge, occupying a building constructed in 1947.
4. Lapland, Finland: Often referred to as the “Land of the Midnight Sun,” Lapland experiences the phenomenon of “white nights” from late May through early August. The region’s denizens celebrate the perpetually illuminated days with cultural events like the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä. Lapland’s adventures are myriad – paddleboard across serene lakes with Nordic Unique Travels, journey through the woods with the huskies of Arctic Circle Husky Park, or engage in late-night activities, such as a round of midnight sun golf at Ounasvaara’s Santa Claus Golf course, where you may find yourself sharing the greens with free-roaming reindeer.
5. Yukon Territory, Canada: Nestled alongside Alaska, the rugged expanse of Yukon Territory beckons road trippers of every caliber. The enduring presence of the midnight sun ensures ample daylight to explore after a long drive. As you traverse the 1,387-mile Alaska Highway, the Yukon Black Spruce presents a distinctive property – a collection of four cabins in Whitehorse named after the Japanese method of preserving wood, “shou sugi ban,” reflecting its charring technique.
In the midst of these unique locales, the sun’s unrelenting glow paints a canvas of eternal daylight, casting aside the boundaries of conventional time. Here, in the embrace of the Midnight Sun, nature’s awe-inspiring phenomenon invites you to step into a realm where days and nights blend seamlessly, creating a world of endless exploration and wonder.