Flights on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) are on sale now through Thursday, August 30. Destinations from the US include Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden with ticket prices starting at $449.
Though most tourists shy away from northern climes during the fall and winter, there’s a very good reason to travel to Scandinavia: the Northern Lights, a natural light display in the sky, seen best in the high-latitude regions.
According to the Northern Lights Space and Science Centre in Canada, "The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere. Variations in color are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common auroral color, a pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth."
The sale is on SAS flights from November 1, 2018, through June 5, 2019, with blackout dates around the holidays from December 20 to January 8. The Northern Lights can be seen at their brightest from November through March.
Fares include New York City to Oslo for $447 round-trip or Stockholm for $452 round-trip, and Boston to Oslo for $446 or Stockholm for $450. SAS flies to Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, England, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, and Switzerland, among other European destinations.
There are also special offers on flights to other destinations, like $418 round-trip from New York City to London. All flights are available on the SAS website.
Among the best cities to see the Northern Lights, travelers may consider the following:
Tromsø, in the heart of the Arctic wilderness, is a Norwegian town in the middle of the Northern Lights Ova. A great place to stay is the 269-room Radisson Blu Hotel Tromsø, which is centrally located and features views of the auroras from the glass bridge that connects the building.
Svalbard in Northern Norway also showcases the Northern Lights during the day and can be seen by dog sled, snowcat or by boat, or cruising through the northernmost fjord. The 95-room Radisson Blu Polar Hotel Spitsbergen has panoramic views of Hiorthfjellet mountain, outdoor hot tubs and saunas, and dinners by the fireplace to help you forget the cold temperatures outside. Rates start at $222 or 70,000 Club Carlson Gold points per night.
Muonio in Finland has very dark, cold nights with great views of the Northern Lights nine months a year. The town is a favorite among glamping fans who want to enjoy an Aurora Dome, a heated igloo-inspired tent. Another option is Lapland Hotel Olos, a ski resort with saunas in the rooms and log cabins on the slopes.
Reykjavík in Iceland showcases the Northern Lights right in the city center. Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre, which is right downtown, is located in six connected houses, which feature local artwork, as well as fresh fish and organic foods at the Geiri Smart restaurant.