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7 ways to see the midnight sun

Want to bathe in that 24-hour, golden glow? Go north for sun-soaked boat parties, Arctic rail adventures, and a road trip to the top of the world

7 ways to see the midnight sun
Image: Alamy

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1// The ‘secret’ festival
New events at Iceland’s Secret Solstice music festival (16-18 June) include an acoustic performance in 5,000-year-old subterranean lava tunnels, a dance party inside a glacier and a midnight sun boat party outside Helsinki, complete with DJs, a cocktail bar and the chance to spot whales. The never-ending sun will light up such acts as Foo Fighters, The Prodigy, and the grand dame of R&B renaissance, Chaka Khan. secretsolstice.is

2// The epic Scandi rail journey
Ride the rails from Sweden’s Arctic to Norway’s fjords aboard trains that offer front-row seats to spectacular wilderness. Board the Arctic Circle Train from Stockholm to Narvik, travelling along Sweden’s Baltic coast to beyond the Arctic Circle. Continue aboard the Northern Railway to Norway’s coast, before the final stretch, on the Dovre Railway, through Norway’s national parks, to Oslo. May-August, eight nights from £1,425 per person. simpysweden.co.uk

3// The year-round Icehotel
This summer, it’s the first chance to experience a stay under ice and midnight sun, at the new Icehotel 365. The Icehotel’s innovative, year-round sister property, which opened last year, uses sustainable energy from the midnight sun for a year-round igloo experience. icehotel.com

4// drive to the top of the world
Hire an RV in Whitehorse, gateway city to Canadian Gold Rush country, and follow the North Klondike Highway to Dawson City, before crossing the Yukon River by ferry to follow the scenic Top of the World Highway to Alaska. Returning to Whitehorse, don’t miss Kluane National Park, one of North America’s great grizzly bear-populated wildernesses. travelyukon.com

5// The pretty city break
Celebrate what Finns call the ‘nightless night’ in Helsinki where, on Midsummer Eve, locals head to nearby island cabins. Try Seurasaari, an island specialising in traditional celebrations: spirit-appeasing bonfires and folk dancing. Also check out Löyly on Helsinki’s waterfront — a new, smoke-heated public sauna. visithelsinki.fi

6// The remote island retreat
The dramatic mountain setting of the Lofoten Islands, a large archipelago inside the Arctic Circle, is a place where ‘drying racks’ still stand outside rorbuer (fisherman’s cottages), just as they have done since Viking times. The village of Eggum comes with an amphitheatre-shaped space, designed by the architects of Oslo’s Opera House, with views of the open sea. visitnorway.com

7// The cultural escape
Wander along canals in a dusky light that never quite fades to black during the White Nights of St Petersburg. From the second week of June to the first week of July, the Russian city has 24-hour museum openings, outdoor ballet, fireworks and DJ sets until dawn at clubs Taiga and Contour Family Loft. visit-petersburg.ru

Midnight sun for dummies

WHEN
End of May to the beginning of August. 
WHERE
The further you travel north, the longer the days; up to 24 hours of sunlight above the Arctic Circle, and almost that in bordering regions.
WHAT TO PACK
Your camera. The midnight sun’s golden glow is the most memorable part of any trip north, accentuating colours and lengthening shadows. Lots of scope for creative photography.

Published in the June 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)