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5 Things I Love About The Polar Night

23rd August 2017
polar night

I love the Arctic. And whilst all Arctic countries have amazing features in both seasons, I particularly love the Arctic in Winter. There’s no way of guaranteeing weather, Northern lights or wildlife. But even so there’s something magical about it. A different feeling in the air. Which is totally different to how I imagined it would be. The polar night occurs in the most Northernmost (and Southernmost although I’m yet to go to Antartica!) parts of the World. And is the period in Winter when the night lasts for more than 24 hours. The further North you go, the longer the Polar night lasts. In December in Svalbard the sun doesn’t rise for a month. Whilst during the same period in Tromsø, there would be two hours daylight each day and in Iceland four.

I can’t imagine what life must be like for those living in the North permanently. I’ve seen children walking to school in high vis vests. Playing in the playground in Svalbard in the darkness. It must be strange. At times depressing and very tiring. However I love visiting during this period. As it’s so different from home, here in the UK. We get our dark evenings, but it’s very different to the Polar night.

The majority of our travel occurs during this period. And every year I look forward to going North in search of the Polar night. This year will be different. And it’s made me reflect on what I will miss most about it.

When one of these amazing sunrises or sunsets appears it’s magical.

1. Colourful Sunrises & Sunsets

Obviously in Svalbard and the North pole, there are no sunrises or sunsets. But slightly less North, the shortened days mean not only is being awake for both easy. But the way in which the sun rises and sets (barely rising above the horizon sometimes) means they are dramatic and colourful. In Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland I’ve seen the most jaw-dropping colours in the sky. It’s totally mesmerising.

Of course, it’s always in the depths of Winter. So most days you get snow clouds. Rain. And general darkness. But when one of these amazing sunrises or sunsets appears it’s magical.

The most beautiful natural thing I’ve seen

2. Northern Lights

Impossible to guarantee. And often illusive. The Polar Night allows for optimum Northern lights viewing. And as you need a dark sky, lengthens the window of opportunity for seeing them. Even when we’ve been unlucky and the conditions haven’t been right to see the Aurora, just knowing they are out there is exciting. The chance to see the Northern lights is always there during the Polar night. And I love spending time looking up at the sky in search of them.

When I have been lucky enough to see the Aurora. I couldn’t believe how amazing they were. Dancing across the sky in-front of my eyes. Without a doubt the most beautiful natural thing I’ve seen. And my most fondest travel memories.

Doing this from a hot tub is even better!

3. The Night Sky

The extended night allows for more stargazing. The Arctic is largely free from light pollution and so the night sky is dark. I love looking up at the stars. Working out constellations. And searching for any slight green tinge. The moon always looks amazing, even when peeping out behind clouds. Doing this from a hot tub is even better!

It gets so dark and cold, the lights really brighten up everything

4. Candles & Lights

To make the Polar night period more bearable, locals decorate with lights, lanterns and candles. It’s so beautiful. I’ve never taken a photo of a house -because that would be creepy- but every window, pipe and ledge is outlined with tiny fairy lights. In Norway and Iceland particularly we saw so many houses decorated in this way. A lady in Tromsø explained there are competitions locally for the best house. Trees, postboxes, bridges and even bikes are covered in these tiny fairy lights. It looks like a scene from a snow globe.

In Iceland we saw lights on a hill so drove to have a look. It was a church yard and inside, all the graves had been lit up with lights too. It sounds a little odd, but it was really pretty. And I can see why relatives would do it. It gets so dark and cold, the lights really brighten up everything.

Outside shops and houses tiny tea lights illuminate paths. And lanterns mark doorways. In Svalbard we had every meal by candlelight. It feels so cosy. The number of lanterns and candles in my house has significantly risen since visiting these places. I would love to cover our home in lights like a Scandinavian house.

The sky is a distinctive blue colour

5. The Blue Hour

Before the sun sets, whilst it sits beneath the horizon, there’s an amazing light in the sky. Almost eerie but very recognisable. The blue hour.

Depending where you are, it can last for longer than an hour. But the blue hour is the period of extended twilight before the sun disappears completely. In Svalbard where the sun doesn’t rise, there is still this lighter period when the sun is closest to the horizon. The sky is a distinctive blue colour. The longer the daylight hours, the more drawn out it is. It can start a vivid baby blue. But it always feels strangely unnatural and exciting.

  • Sarah Denzer

    Wow such an amazing Post<3

    Thank you for sharing


    • Amy

      Thank you Sarah X

  • Yiotou_La

    Your photos never fail to amaze me Amy, every single one has the wow factor! I cannot imagine living permanently in a country that there is no day light, here in my country the sun comes out at 6am (in summer) and lasts till 7.30 in the afternoon so I cannot imagine how strange this feels, having to go to work or school in the dark. xx


    • Amy

      Ah thank you so much! I can’t imagine it either, in some places far North it lasts for months. The upshot is that they get periods during the Summer where the sun never sets, so constant daylight. Although I have to admit I found that strange and couldn’t sleep! X

      • Yiotou_La

        Haha I know what you mean, I need my room to be in compete darkness before sleeping!!

        • Amy

          Same here haha. I was like just “soooooo” at 3am.

  • marclamberts

    Wow, this is the first time I’ve been reading your blog and your photos are breathtaking, love them!

    • Amy

      Thank you Marc!

  • Oooh such gorgeous images! Sunrises and sunsets look so surreal! I loveee it! Thanks so much for sharing! x


    • Amy

      Thank you! X

  • Your photographs are just breathtaking! It’s going to be a few years before I manage to experience anything like this, so for now I shall live vicariously through your blog x

    xx Bry Jaimea

    • Amy

      Thank you Bry! It’s going to be a year or so before my next trip too, so I’m feeling nostalgic and full of wanderlust X

  • Abi Street

    This is such an amazing post!! Seeing the northern lights are on my bucket list, and i’m always insanely envious of people who have seen them.

    Abi | abistreetx

    • Amy

      Thanks Abi! X

  • Oh this is a stunning post Amy, the photos are gorgeous and I loved reading through this. The colours in the sky are amazing and I have to admit, travelling to see the Northern Lights is so high on my list of things to do, I just need to save up and try and get there one day. I love those photos of the lights on the crosses there over the graves, that’s so pretty! – Tasha

    • Amy

      Thanks Tasha! I love that part of the World and seeing the Northern lights has been my favourite travel experience X

      • It’s definitely somewhere I want to visit someday, it just looks magical.

  • Great post Amy. It’s just so beautiful, I can see why you love this so much. Gemma x

    • Amy

      Thanks Gemma! Hope you had a nice long weekend X

  • I’ve never thought about visiting the Arctic countries during the winter because I imagined it’d be too cold and dark to be any fun, but wow, your post has proved me wrong! I’m in awe of all the beautiful photos you took, from the colorful sunset to the clear night skies! You really can’t get views like this anywhere else and I’d love to experience them for myself one day!

    Jenny | Geeky Posh

    • Amy

      It’s such a special time of year there X

  • Absolutely stunning photographs! I live for sunset and sunrise photos, and these colours are absolutely insane!

    • Amy

      Thanks Hannah! X

  • Ah it’s beautiful! I’d love to visit arctic countries during polar night but there’s no way I could live there, I mean I get depressed enough with the darkness in winter. But I can just imagine the crisp air and the quiet and almost magical quality about it

    The Quirky Queer

    • Amy

      Same here, but there’s something so different especially when visiting for a short time X

  • Just wanted to come back across and say thank you for the lovely blog comments! – Tasha

    • Amy

      Ah no problem! I’m glad I discovered your blog! X

  • Laura

    I don’t think I would like polar night, but you made it sound magical 🙂

    Pink Frenzy

    • Amy

      Thanks Laura X

  • I’ve heard about Northern Lights and Polar Nights. The skies are always so beautiful both day & night. A blog buddy wants to visit there. It’s fascinating.

    • Amy

      Exactly! It’s so magical. X

  • I really want to see the Northern Lights one day. I’m sure it’s an amazing experience. I’ve not visited many countries in the “north” (exclude Scotland – if it counts..) and although I couldn’t live there, it’d be fascinating to experience everything you described. I’m sure it’d be so cosy when it’s cold and freezing outside but everything is lit up and warm inside!

    • Amy

      I love feeling cosy in Winter, although it’s always a pain having to rip all your outer clothes off when you go inside as it’s so hot haha X

  • Ahh, some of those pictures look so familiar and lovely <3. Winter can be beautiful, especially in Lapland. I still find myself being a bit scared of the upcoming darkness.. I mean, when I look at these photos I instantly think of the other side of the story – the time, when it's just dark and there's no pretty sunset or sunrise (or when it says on the weather app: 'the sun doesn't rise' – that's fun! Not..) Like I'm just not ready to give up the light just yet. But, hell, I've already survived 23 winters here, so what's one more. 🙂 And I know, once the winter is here I'm already adjusted to that. Kinda.

    x Charlotta |

    • Amy

      I can imagine, I feel so down sometimes when it’s dark and miserable here for weeks on end. Can’t imagine if we had such limited day light too. That makes sense! I hope we can visit Finland, Sweden or Norway early next year. I’m going to miss the snow otherwise, we haven’t had any here since 2010 which kind of sucks (although I might be in the minority saying that haha) X

  • Kim

    I have always wanted to see the northern lights! It sounds so unreal to me.

    Simply Lovebirds

    • Amy

      It was unreal! X

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