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The ultimate guide to a Northern Lights yacht charter

Hoping to see the Northern Lights in 2022? Then check out our tips to see how you can enjoy the best experience while on a yacht charter.

By LLM Reporters  |  December 31, 2021
northern lights yacht charter

Undoubtedly on everyone’s bucket list, the Northern Lights is one of the world’s most spectacular natural phenomena and it is little surprise why. Standing beneath this mesmerising natural wonder is truly breath-taking, whether you are watching this display of lights magically dance across the Arctic night sky on top of a mountain, on the back of a snowmobile or from your yacht’s Jacuzzi, it is an unforgettable experience. 

A private yacht charter offers a myriad of advantages for stargazers searching for the ethereal aurora: the flexibility to cruise up glacial waters to clearer skies, world-class weather monitoring equipment, and the wonderful ability to escape the crowds on land. 

Read on to discover everything you need to know about this magical luxury yacht charter trip, from highlighting the top destinations in the northern hemisphere, the ideal weather conditions, and the best months of the year to see the Northern lights. 

Find the perfect timing 

Northern lights charter in Alaska
January to March offers the perfect conditions in Norway, whereas a yacht charter in September is the preferred month for a Northern lights charter in Alaska

The season to see this incredible light show spans from September through to April, however, the visibility and the likelihood of catching the aurora largely depends on the location. With ideal weather conditions and low levels of light pollution, January to March offers the perfect conditions in Norway, whereas a yacht charter in September is the preferred month for a Northern lights charter in Alaska.

It is also important to note that, although the weather conditions may become a little harsher the further north you cruise, you’ll have a much better chance of seeing them in all their magnificent glory. While most people may be put-off by the icy waters during the depth of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, there is a missed opportunity in the earlier winter months as they are superb months to explore off-the-beaten-track areas of Europe and North America before the crowds start to increase.

Head to clear skies 

Northern lights
A skilled yacht captain will be able to expertly navigate the weather, avoiding potential Arctic storms and poor weather fronts, meaning you can chase the best of the weather for uncompromised views of the majestic borealis

As you cruise the coastlines of remote areas of the world, you will notice much more cloud cover than what is typically seen inland, which can interfere with capturing a clear view of the Northern lights. However, one of the many benefits of a yacht charter is their flexibility to change the route and head to clearer skies quickly and effectively. A skilled yacht captain will be able to expertly navigate the weather, avoiding potential Arctic storms and poor weather fronts, meaning you can chase the best of the weather for uncompromised views of the majestic borealis. 

Another great option to avoid poor visibility is to make use of onboard helicopters for unmatched views of the lights from above the sea. Alternatively, head inland for a night or so for an all-encompassing Northern lights experience. Drop anchor nearby and head to a remote luxury lodge in the snowy wilderness before heading back onboard. In fact, this is a superb option for those looking to combine luxury comforts with thrill and adventure. 

The best destinations for Northern Lights yacht charters

The northern lights can be spotted stretching all the way from Scandinavia, Scotland and North America, but some aurora hot spots are more superior than others. 

Svalbard, Norway 

Northern Norway
Northern Norway is one of the most undiscovered destinations for chasing the northern lights

This remote snow-covered archipelago lies halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. As one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas, it boasts one of the most spectacular areas to catch the lights from the comfort of a luxury yacht charter. Svalbard is best known for this rugged beauty and plethora of wildlife, from remote terrain of glaciers and frozen tundra, polar bears, orcas, reindeer and Arctic foxes thrive here. 

With many put-off by the harsh weather throughout winter, northern Norway is one of the most undiscovered destinations for chasing the northern lights, but don’t let that put you off! 

When cruising through glacial waters, it is important to note that many of the world’s finest yachts for charter have been built by esteemed luxury yacht builders, ensuring charterers the utmost comfort at sea.

Enjoy the show from the warmth and luxury of your private yacht. Sit back and relax in a blissfully warm hot tub under the dancing lights, or scuba dive with the orcas in January off of your yacht charter – perfect for thrill-seekers.

Tromso, Norway 

Tromso
A more urban town, Tromso is situated in the heart of the aurora borealis Oval, meaning this is one of the best places in the world to see the lights

Another must-visit spot on a Norway yacht charter is to the municipality of Tromso. A more urban town, Tromso is situated in the heart of the aurora borealis Oval, meaning this is one of the best places in the world to see the lights. Regardless of the sun’s cycles, you are almost guaranteed to witness the green hue upon your visit. When you’re not sky-gazing, you will find a variety of winter activities to immerse yourself in, from snowmobile safaris, panoramic views of the city from a mountain cable car, whale watching and dog and reindeer sledding.

Luleå Archipelago, Sweden

The Luleå islands
The Luleå islands also offer incredible glacial water cruising, with the combination of fresh and seawater freezing over in winter creating amazing open landscapes

Part of the Gulf of Bothnia, separating Sweden from Finland, the Lulea Archipelago is characterised by the bracken water brought to the sea from the mountains of Swedish Lapland. Despite its incredible rugged beauty, the Luleå islands are mostly uninhabited, resulting in a wonderful lack of light pollution – ideal for off-the-grid northern light watching.

The Luleå islands also offer incredible glacial water cruising, with the combination of fresh and seawater freezing over in winter creating amazing open landscapes. Yacht charters can cruise more than 30 kilometres across frozen seas to some of the world’s most remote islands. Expect to take some of the best snowmobile trips across this frozen expanse, passing seaside cottages and sleepy fishing towns.

Sisimiut, Greenland 

Greenland
Located 20 nautical miles north of the Arctic Circle, this remote borealis hotspot is home to some world-class ice fishing, excellent wilderness hikes and dog sledding

Greenland is another unmatched spot to experience the northern lights. Cruising through these icy waters of the Northwest Passage, passing some of the largest icebergs in the world, you are guaranteed to feel like you are on a proper Northern Hemisphere adventure.

Located 20 nautical miles north of the Arctic Circle, this remote borealis hot spot is home to some world-class ice fishing, excellent wilderness hikes and dog sledding. Not forgetting that the ice-capped peaks that border the town of Sisimiut make for excellent northern lights viewing points. Better yet, Greenland is also host to dreamlike conditions for heli-skiing.

Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage
Anchorage is one of the best bases from which to chase aurora

Of course, no northern lights yacht charter would be complete without a trip to Alaska. In fact, Anchorage is one of the best bases from which to chase aurora. With milder temperatures and long dark winters, the aurora borealis put on quite a display here. As one of Alaska’s largest cities, it is best to move away from the centre of town, away from any light pollution, and head towards the South-central wilderness. 

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik
Located in Reykjavik, Þingvellir National Park is one of the most highly recommended spots to view the aurora from

As a sparsely populated country, you do not need to travel far to get away from light pollution. Located in Reykjavik, Þingvellir National Park is one of the most highly recommended spots to view the aurora from, due to its spectacularly clear night skies. With calm seas and cloudless skies, this national park is located on the Silfra drift – the meeting of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. 

Alternatively, cruise to the glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón, located in the southeast. The glowing blue ice boulders that sit prominently on the black sand beach ignite the red and green glow of the aurora borealis, creating a mesmerising kaleidoscope effect. 

Contact a top yacht broker to discover the northern lights from a luxury yacht charter. The mesmerising aurora borealis awaits!