Showing posts with label Lapland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lapland. Show all posts

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lights in Lapland

Lapland’s biggest attraction

One of the elements which provides a year-round draw to Lapland is simply its natural light. It is unique. It is breathtaking. And the best of all, it is completely free to enjoy. At whatever part of the year you choose to travel to Lapland, you will witness natural phenomena which will provide a lasting memory. It is a haven with photographic opportunities, both for amateurs and professionals. There where the sun never sets in the summertime, the northern lights color the dark winter evenings. Lapland, a land of extremes. Extremely beautiful.

At this time of the year, in the summer, above the polar circle, the sun doesn’t set. The earth’s axis positions the North Pole towards the sun, which is called the northern summer solstice. This means 24-hour daylight and a great many opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts who want to stay out late. No flashlights needed! Midsummer (around the 21st of June) marks the start of a period with midnight sun and is traditionally celebrated with festivities throughout Lapland. 

Midnight sun near Bodø, Norway

No sunset in the summer, but an endless sunset in December, when the sun does not rise above the horizon. This causes a special effect of a warm, pinkish glow on the white snow, which is also known as ‘Kaamos’.

Kaamos light over Finnish Lapland

From September to April the Aurora Borealis makes its entry in the night sky. The Aurora is a spectacle of dancing green lights, an explosion of colors and motion. It is caused by solar eruptions that launch large quantities of energetically charged particles into space. As these particles approach the Earth, they are pulled in by the magnetic field, and drawn towards the magnetic poles. In the upper layers of the atmosphere - 50 to 65 miles above the Earth - the charged particles collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms, and release their energy. A powerful natural process causing the magical northern lights.  

Northern lights in Abisko area, Sweden
Do you wish to go and see the lights with your own eyes? Abisko Aurora is a travel agent which specializes solely in northern lights holidays to Lapland.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top 5 reasons to spend your vacation in Abisko in Wintertime

Spot the northern lights

Naturally, Abisko is the best spot in the world for northern lights observation. Watch the aurora forecast, or book a northern lights excursion, and you will probably be rewarded with one of nature’s most spectacular powers. The patch of sky over the Abisko lake remains clear despite overcast weather in surrounding areas. Excellent for observing the green, red and purple curtains dancing in the starry sky.

Try snowshoeing through the wilderness

The Abisko National Park, Lake Törneträsk, the mountains, all offer good trails for a snowshoeing experience. Snowshoeing is in fact hiking, wearing special shoes under your boots for trudging through tonnes of compact snow. Thanks to the snowshoes, you won’t sink into the deep snow, which makes walking much nicer.

Go snowmobiling through the mountains

Off the beaten track, into the wild. The Abisko mountains are the perfect surroundings for an exciting snowmobile adventure. These machines are quite easy to navigate, and don’t require the level of endurance that skiing or snowshoeing demand. A snowmobile definitely makes going uphill to a mountain top or remote cabin a lot more comfortable, and you are still being rewarded with the magnificent views. This turns snowmobiles into the perfect means of transport to enjoy the natural beauty of the Abisko area.

Catch fish from frozen lakes

If you have never gone fishing before, ice fishing will be an intense introduction! Drill a hole in  a frozen lake to catch an Arctic char, salmon, pike, perch, or whitefish.
Traditionally, once you drill a hole in the ice large enough for your bait, you make yourself comfortable on a reindeer skin. Through the hole you can see the crystal clear water, your bait and maybe an eager fish swimming by.
The enormous Lake Törneträsk doesn’t only have plenty of fish to offer, the view from the Lake is remarkable. Surrounded by mountain ranges, you feel quite small standing in the middle of the 70 kilometers long lake. And this is only the seventh largest lake from Sweden! While fishing, you can also admire the Lapporten high above Abisko.

Drive a husky sled

This is probably the most exciting activity in the Arctic North. The interaction with the animals is refreshing, and on a sled you feel very close to nature.

Many companies run dog sledding tours, from daytrips to multi-day expeditions, it’s all possible. In Abisko, the half day husky tour from the Abisko Mountain Station is a good introduction to husky sledding. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Town on the move

What if your cities’ foundations are starting to show cracks? No panic, just move the entire town!

It is the fate that awaits the mining city of Kiruna. Kiruna is Sweden’s northernmost city within the Arctic circle. The town thanks its existence to the local iron ore mine, the world’s largest underground mine. It is the economic heart of the region employing the majority of the cities’ inhabitants for the past 100 years. Iron ores are rocks used to make iron and steel.

It is the exploitation of the mine which now necessitates the move of Kiruna. Part of the cities’ buildings are in danger of collapsing, because of fissures starting to spread towards the centre. Moreover, the local mining company wants to dig deeper, making it possible to release some 800 million tons of ore that are still in the ground.

A project of some scale: dazzling numbers

The entire town will be moved three kilometers to the east. In total, some 23.000 inhabitants will be relocated. Some buildings will be tore down and rebuilt at a new site. Others will be taken apart and put back together at the new spot, like IKEA furniture so to speak. This will happen to the old church of Kiruna. 

The church of Kiruna was built in 1912 and is Sweden’s largest wooden building, voted the most beautiful Swedish building in 2001.

Moving a town is a vast project involving a great number of actors: city planners, architects, landscape designers, biologists, urban designers, civil engineers, construction workers, social anthropologists… Moreover, it is not something which is completed in just an instant. It will take up 20 years at least. Some even speculate about 40 or 50 years. The city centre and the shopping street are scheduled to be finished in 2018.

Not to mention the cost of the project. The mining company already spent a good 4 billion kronor on the project and has earmarked another 7.5 billion. The company first has to buy people’s homes, for them to be able to buy a new home at the new site. A difficult exercise when it comes down to estimating market value!

A second chance in urban design

To be honest, Kiruna was not the most inspiring of Swedish towns, seen from the touristic angle. Apart from the church, not too many noteworthy buildings solicited a visit. This whole move means there is a great opportunity for urban planners to develop Kiruna along new and well-thought of  visionary lines. So the city council issued a design competition, which was finally won by the project Kiruna 4 Ever, by White Arkitekter AB.

And what about the people of Kiruna? Are they sad they have to part with their familiar places and corners? Not at all! The people are quite happy with the move. Apart from getting a good price for their property, they also get to live in a town which incorporates modern ideas for sustainable development with ample opportunities for leisure, culture and sports and guess what: new opportunities for tourism as well.

The airport of Kiruna is the starting point for most holidays to Swedish Lapland. Also the holidays of Abisko Aurora to the ICEhotel of Jukkasjärvi, to the Pinetree Lodge - deep in the wilderness  - and of course, to Abisko, the perfect base for those wanting to experience the northern lights.