TO VISIT ARCTIC EUROPE is to stand on the edge of a towering cliff at the northernmost point on mainland Europe, watching the Northern Lights flash across the Norwegian sky. It’s the sensation of absolute silence as you set off on a hike in Sweden’s Abisko National Park at dawn. It’s learning about the eight seasons of the indigenous Sámi in Finland.
To visit Arctic Europe is to experience all these things and more. Here are just 12 of the one-and-only experiences you can have in this unique place.
Go on a midnight-sun whale safari.
Head to the northwest coast of Norway in summer and you have, oh, at least a 95% chance of spotting a whale. In fact, the outfitters at Whalesafari Andenes are so confident you’ll see one that they’ll give you your money back if you don’t. Stand close to the railing and listen to the sounds of some of the largest animals on Earth — sperm and killer whales, pilot whales, humpbacks, and fin whales — as they surface to breathe.
Tip: This far north, it’s still beautifully light at midnight. Still, you’ll want to wear a windproof jacket and a pullover, as it can get chilly. And don’t be too proud for the seasickness tablet. Grab some water and chuck one down!