The proverbial Land of the Midnight Sun is an area in the Arctic Circle where, during a certain period of the year, the sun is still up at midnight. Seeing this unique phenomenon for yourself is something that continues to pop up on bucket lists for travel enthusiasts all over the world. Check out some of the best ways to experience the midnight sun as a traveler and tourist.
Where To See The Midnight Sun In The United States
Alaska is the only place in the United States where you'll be able to catch sight of the midnight sun. Excursions to Alaska are among the most attainable since they are within the continent, but going to the Arctic Circle is going to be a trek regardless of where you're coming from.
Fairbanks, Alaska, is a popular spot to see the sun skirting around the edge of the horizon at midnight. There are several guided tours that you can take to make your viewing experience even more accessible. One such tour is the Midnight Sun Arctic Circle Drive Adventure, which will take you through Fairbanks and up the Dalton Highway. You'll see several top destinations, such as the arctic tundra and the trans-Alaska pipeline.
Spot The Midnight Sun In Canada
Canada is the other part of North America where you can witness the midnight sun. The town of Inuvik in the Northwest Territories is home to some of the most incredible midnight sun and sunrise-related activities. Plan a trip in January, and you may be on time for the community’s sunrise festival, which isn't a celebration of the midnight sun, but rather the first sunrise after 30 days of complete darkness.
Photography lovers won't want to miss a curated journey through the Northwest Territory's most stunning locations. Of course, the tour includes several days underneath the midnight sun and an itinerary to help you make the most of it.
Take A Midnight Sun Cruise
If cruises are more your speed, you can experience the midnight sun and check out some of the coolest cities around the Arctic Circle from aboard a luxuriously appointed ship. Viking River Cruises offer a midnight sun cruise with plenty of opportunities to see the midnight sun. Their itinerary includes stops at Bergen, Tromso, and Honningsvag in Norway, plus several other cultural landmarks.
Experience The Midnight Sun In Greenland
Greenland is another northern country where you can watch the midnight sun. Unlike Iceland, it's much icier and far less developed for tourist travel. Because of this, you may want to consider taking a guided tour, which will help you get over hurdles, such as navigation and lodging.
One unique way to see the midnight sun in Greenland is to take a specially curated sailing excursion. Your ship will depart in the evening. Your captain navigates through an ocean landscape of icebergs that feel out of this world. As the sun finally sets on the horizon, it bounces back up, never leaving your sight. This incredible light show is something you have to see to believe. The sun dances along the horizon, creating the perfect opportunity to take dramatic photos as the light rakes across the icebergs and water. Even if your camera doesn't capture all this natural beauty in photos, the memories you make will be among your most cherished.
Make Your Way To St. Petersburg, Russia, To See The Midnight Sun
If you've ever wanted to go to Russia, there's no better time to go than when the midnight sun illuminates the sky. St. Petersburg has the White Nights Festival, which celebrates the midnight sun. The way the midnight sun interacts with the cityscape will let you see it in a whole new light -- literally! If you're looking to take a midnight sun tour, Peterswalk has a special midnight sun bike tour (summer 2020 dates to be announced), which will take you to some of St. Petersburg’s most popular destinations. You'll get to see Senate Square, Trinity Bridge, and the Church on the Spilled Blood, all underneath the midnight sun.
Midnight Sun-Sighting Opportunities In Sweden And Norway
Two other countries where you can see the midnight sun are Sweden and Norway. Abisko, Sweden, is home to the Aurora Skystation, which, as the name suggests, is a place for people to try and catch a glimpse of the northern lights when the sun does make its way below the horizon. During the summer, though, when the midnight sun is out, you can participate in one of the Skystation’s midnight sun hikes. The station offers midnight sun dinner packages as well.
The further north you go into Norway, the more dramatic the midnight sun becomes, sometimes lasting up to four months. If this is the type of experience you’re looking for, the Svalbard Archipelago, which is north of Norway’s mainland, is the place to go. While you’re there, you can go whale watching under the midnight sun.
If you've ever wanted to experience a day that never ends, make your way to some of these Arctic Circle destinations and see the midnight sun for yourself. These destinations all offer plenty of other great things to do as you make the most of long days and bright nights.
Considering a trip north? Read up on visiting the Arctic Circle responsibly: seven things to know.