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Don’t miss out on the 2012 Autumn Lights

8th August 2012 Print

Eager to see the Northern Lights, but not too keen on knee-deep snow and sub-zero conditions? Or perhaps saw the Borealis last year and seek to experience the Lights in a new way this season? Specialist Northern Lights tour operator, The Aurora Zone, has announced a range of new Autumn Lights itineraries for travellers who would like to see the Aurora in a different light in 2012.

Ruska (Finnish for ‘time of autumn colours’) lends a different perspective to the Lights. Travellers are treated to magnificent scenes of golden forests and flowing streams, with the incandescent Auroras reflected in tranquil and unfrozen lakes.

Unlike other ‘stand and stare’ Northern Lights holiday companies, The Aurora Zone uses a mixture of local knowledge and geophysical forecasts to locate the best places to see the Lights on a night-by-night basis – it hunts the Lights proactively. Whereas in winter, Aurora-hunters experience the beautiful Scandinavian countryside using snowshoes, snowmobiles and husky sleds, in autumn, travellers hike through forests accompanied by huskies. To add to the adventure mix, in autumn there’s also the option of panning for gold and digging for precious gems at Europe's only working amethyst mine.

With 2013 bringing the Solar Maximum – a period of time when the Auroras are at their most vivid, which won’t be repeated until 2030 – The Aurora Zone is already experiencing high demand for its new Autumn Lights itineraries as well as its winter Aurora-hunting tours.

Says Alistair McLean, The Aurora Zone’s Managing Director: “There’s something transcendent about the Aurora that makes it difficult to express in words. What I can say is that the Finnish countryside in ruska (autumn) is magical enough in its own right. Add to that the mystery of solar waves rebounding off charged particles in the atmosphere and you have a fireworks display fit for the gods! Thanks to the Solar Maximum, the Lights will be at their most vivid this coming season, making for an awesome display above the colourful scenery. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the 2012 Autumn Lights.”

Current Autumn Lights tours include:

Nellim: Autumn Lights over Lake Inari

Simply breathtaking – while the Northern Lights dance in the skies above they are simultaneously reflected in the still waters of Finland’s third largest lake. Situated on the Russian border, the remote village of Nellim has close to zero light pollution, providing the perfect conditions for seeing the Borealis. Aurora-hunt in the evenings, spend the days hiking through the Finnish wilderness with a picnic of local produce, and visit the Tankavaara Gold Museum and learn how to pan for gold. Stay at the family-run Nellim Wilderness Hotel, boasting a cosy and relaxed atmosphere and an excellent track record for Aurora-spotting. Departs September-October 2012.

(NEW) Harriniva: autumn Aurora Photography

This trip is about more than just capturing the Autumn Lights on film – it’s about experiencing every element of Lappish culture and cherishing the beauty of the Finnish autumn. Under the expert tutelage of native Lappish photographer, Antti Pietikäinen, hike to the summit of Pallas Fell and hold a vigil for the Lights, roasting sausages on a camp fire while you wait. Pay a visit to a husky kennel and reindeer farm, and snap these iconic Scandinavian characters while they’re off duty. There’s also time to put down the camera and take advantage of the unfrozen lakes and rivers for a spot of canoeing and optional white-water rafting. Departs 20 October 2012.

Luosto: searching for the Autumn Lights

Situated in prime Aurora-viewing territory, not far from the Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory, this trip takes in the majesty of the Finnish countryside in the autumn, whilst providing plenty of opportunity to see the Lights. The trip includes Aurora-hunting on foot and by minibus, a visit to a reindeer farm, a tour of Europe’s last-working amethyst mine and the chance to go hiking with off-duty huskies and play with their playful cubs. Stay at the Aurora Chalet, where guests are provided with an ‘Aurora Alert’, which informs them when the Lights are in the vicinity. Departs September-November 2012

Tailor-made Autumn Lights itineraries are also available for groups of four or more, including family groups of all ages.

A full list of Autumn Lights itineraries is available at