20 dazzling places to admire the midnight sun
At midnight around the summer solstice the sun doesn’t dip below the horizon north of the Arctic Circle, and lingers longer and higher in the sky at latitudes closer to the North Pole. Human habitation is relatively sparse in the Far North, of course, but if you dream of admiring the midnight sun in person, don’t fret: the 20 places that follow are all bathed in summer sunlight around the clock, and offer all the comforts—or at least some of the comforts—of home.
Billed as the northernmost point in continental Europe, this cinema- and restaurant-equipped visitors’ centre gets direct sunlight from mid-May to the end of July atop a cliff rising 307 metres (1,007 feet) above the Arctic Ocean.
Set picturesquely on the banks of a wide river, the capital of Finnish Lapland is also the self-proclaimed “official” terrestrial residence of Santa Claus.
The world’s largest Arctic city is surrounded by a stunning landscape where hiking, rafting, fishing, and cycling are just a few of the outdoorsy pursuits.
Tucked into a sheltered bay with the sheer rock face of Reinebringen looming above, this town is a prime spot for midnight sunlit views of the rugged and staggeringly beautiful Lofoten archipelago.
A popular stop on the Ring Road out of Reykjavik, this gorgeous waterfall is especially scenic when illuminated by sunlight at midnight.
The seat of Finland’s Sámi parliament is ideal for taking in views of the midnight sun reflected in Inarijärvi, Lapland’s largest lake.
Set at the mouth of a 40-km-long (25-mile-long) ice fjord, Greenland’s third-largest town is an ideal spot to watch icebergs reflect the rays of the midnight sun.
This lakeside Lapland village is on both the Kungsleden and Padjelantala long-distance hiking trails, and also offers day walks up various local peaks.
Despite being a five-hour drive southeast of the Arctic Circle, the only city in Alaska’s interior still gets sunshine at midnight in late June.
An hour’s drive northeast of Lake Myvatn’s hotels and restaurants, Europe’s most voluminous waterfall is known for the brilliant double rainbows that form above its glacial waters on sunny summer days (and nights).
The largest Arctic settlement outside Russia, meanwhile, is surrounded by scenic fjords and rugged peaks, with a graceful bridge connecting the town to the mainland.
Abisko National Park, Sweden
From the scenic shores of Lake Torneträsk to the hilly Lapporten gateway to Lappland, this Arctic park is heaven for hikers.
Greenland’s capital and biggest town, the gateway to several glorious fjords, is backed by a curtain of stunning peaks and is home to plenty of whimsical artwork.
Hveravellir Nature Reserve, Iceland
The midnight sun gives visitors extra time to explore the spectacular geothermal pools of this hut- and campsite-equipped reserve.
Many cruise ships dip below the Antarctic Circle in December, allowing passengers to admire the midnight sun at the southern end of the earth.
Arctic Ocean cruises
Likewise, several cruise companies voyage north of the Arctic Circle in summer, offering close encounters with icebergs, polar bears, and whales.
Situated on iceberg-filled Frobisher Bay, the capital of Nunavut offers views of the peaks of the Meta Incognita Peninsula.
The main settlement of Norway’s Arctic Svalbard archipelago is surrounded by peaks and glaciers, with the Arctic landscape home to more polar bears than people.
Southwestern Greenland’s principal town is scenically set on an inlet in the Davis Strait, its colourful houses ringing a busy harbour.
The northernmost point of the jaw-dropping Kystriksveien Coastal Route is framed by distant peaks, with the islands to the north providing nesting places for the birds that give the town its title as the Sea Eagle capital.
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