Posted by Elizabeth Kovar
Most of us are used to four seasons, long summer days and extended winter nights. But some countries in the northern hemisphere experience two time periods: dark and light. The night sky showcases beauty and northern lights to locals and visitors, but it’s during the days of light when life comes alive. The midnight sun fuels fun and exploration throughout the summer months making them long, adventurous days without much sleep. If you visit one of these midnight sun countries, be sure to explore the local late-night enjoyment. Just remember to bring your sunscreen as this big yellow star is intense all day and night.
The part of Norway located in the Polar Circle, or “Land of the Midnight Sun,” never takes a break during summer months. Photo lovers; bring your camera to North Cape point in Finnmark to capture the midnight sun floating through a globe statue all day and night. Water lovers set sail on a midnight sun cruise in Hurtigruten as you glide across the sunny Fjords. Get extra energy in Bodo as you kayak under the sunny moon or night hike up the local mountains in the Lofoten Islands. For those who yearn to see sea-life, head to Sto where for a night boat ride to explore whales, seals and birds. Now can you see why Norway is also labeled, “Land of Excitement?”
Alaska is filled with adventure, even during the night sky. In Fairbanks, the annual Midnight Sun Run, Midnight Sun Festival and the Midnight Sun Game, which is a solstice baseball game powered by only natural light. In Anchorage, hike up Flattop mountain either on or after solstice. Make sure you stop at the Solstice Bar and Grill for a delicious salmon meal. For golf lovers, the traditional tee time during Alaskan summer months is 5am to 12am. With 17 hours available, there is time to golf even after a long day at sea or in the mountains; plus, the scenery is spectacular!
Dark winters counterpart with summer’s natural phenomena where there are 70 days without sunset. Hiking, golfing, fishing and boating are just some of the more popular late night activities. Stay at one of the many cottages to take a nocturnal dip into one of the many bodies of water. Midnight cycling is a unique experience as the daylight fuels the biker’s energy, but life is still and silent at midnight. For those who love to party, come to Finnish region of Lapland. Clubs close at 3am and there are not many places on this planet where you can exit the bar mid-night with full-on sun, which leads you to an after hour beach party. For the bold and daring, go open-air dancing. This old tradition was revived by urban youth. The music varies from retro to Finnish tango, but is sure a one-of-a-kind experience.
Iceland is a beautiful, pristine island country that offers adventurous jeep tours to experience the best of the Midnight sun. Many tours visit the geothermal areas and waterfall regions such as Haukadalur, Gullfoss Waterfall, Thingvellir National Park or the black volcanic sand beaches. Some even stop for a midnight lobster meal in Fjorubordid, a small fishing town. This is a neat way to explore the midnight sun as the bright dome lingers on the horizon prior to it re-rising into the sky.
Still part of the Arctic Circle, Sweden is filled with magnificent views of the midnight sun over the Thorne River and in Jukkasjarvi. Play golf at the 18-hole Bjorkliden Arctic Golf Course or white water raft down the Trollforsen River. For the bold and daring, try scaling Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise. Sweden’s Lapland region is filled with many quiet, serene locations where one can bathe in silence underneath the sun’s rays.