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Midnight Sun - The top 5 places to visit where the sun does not set

Midnight Sun

Preview by Jack Foley

THE ‘Midnight Sun’ is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle, or south of the Antarctic Circle, when the sun is visible throughout the night.

Like a prolonged sunset and sunrise all at once, the midnight sun kisses the sky with glorious rays.

Critically acclaimed Scandi-noir drama Midnight Sun takes its name from this sunlight sensation.

When it was recently televised on Sky Atlantic, audiences were introduced to Kiruna – a town in Swedish Lapland bathed in this ethereal light, and is also the site of a gruesome homicide of a French citizen…

Kahina Zadi (Leila Bekhti, The Prophet, All That Glitters), a French police officer, travels to Kiruna to investigate a brutal murder. With the help of Anders Harnesk (Gustaf Hammarsten, Bruno, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), a Swedish DNA and a member of the Sami, an ancient mysterious indigenous tribe of Scandinavia, they are faced with new killings and the initial murder turns out to be the tip of the iceberg.

In celebration of this eight-part series, we’ve rounded up a list of five places where you can experience the wonders of the Midnight Sun, available on EST from May 8 and DVD & Blu-ray from June 5, 2017.

Norway

The midnight sun keeps Northern Norway lit for 76 days between May and July, where many sights and activities such as golfing, cycling, river paddling and sea kayaking are kept open to the public during the night.

The seaside town of Bodø, the North Cape at Magerøya and the cultural city of Tromsø (the city is also famed as a viewing point for the Northern Lights) are the best places to see this phenomenon. If you are looking for complete solitude, head further north to the unique arctic islands of Svalbard, where the sun doesn’t set between April and late August.

No roads connect the settlements here; instead snowmobiles, aircraft and boats serve inter-community transport. Home to six national parks, midnight walks on glaciers are a traveller favourite, or you can experience the beautiful surroundings from another common mode of transport – the dogsled. Want a sneak preview? The fictional towns of Fortitude and Vukobejina, portrayed in the 2015 TV series Fortitude (from UK’s Sky Atlantic), are situated in Svalbard.

Russia

White nights are locations where the sun remains less than 6 degrees below the horizon. Rather than midnight sun, this part of Russia (including St Petersburg) experiences midnight twilight, where the sun does not set until after 10pm.

The last 10 days of June are celebrated with a cultural event, the White Nights Festival, where you can enjoy various traditional street carnivals or watch ballet, opera, and star performances at the Palace Square. The event ends with a hugely popular fireworks and culture show, the Scarlett Sails, which celebrates the end of the school year.

During these months it is also great to explore Russia’s network of canals and 101 islands by tour guided boats. For a little something extra special, you can stay at Orient-Express’s Grand Hotel Europe on Nevsky Prospekt, where you can hire a speedboat and explore the imperial palace at Peterhof or the Gulf of Finland.

Canada

The Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest territories of Canada are where you can experience the midnight sun in a warmer climate. Inuvik, with a population of around 3,500 people, experiences 56 straight days of sunlight during summer months. Inuvik parties occur on the 21st June, also known as Aboriginal Day in Canada. Here you can enjoy traditional drumming, dancing and delicious food and drink under the glow of the midnight sun. If you’re looking for some activity in the stunning surroundings, sign up for the Midnight Sun Fun Run – a 5km, 10km and half marathon run held on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice.

Iceland

Iceland, known as a landscape photographer’s playground, is a must-visit destination for any traveller’s bucket list. Reykjavik, the country’s capital, is the perfect place to stay as you can enjoy city amenities whilst having access to the Iceland’s most picturesque settings. Here you will find some of the most wondrous views in the world under the phenomenal nocturnal sun, along with the must-see Northern Lights.

Key areas of interest include the Grotta lighthouse in Seltjarnarnes, the breath taking Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon or the landscapes surrounding Mt. Kirkjufell, where you can watch the sun lighting up its three waterfalls all at once. If you are looking to dance the night away under the sun’s rays, be sure to plan your visit around the Secret Solstice music festival in mid-June, a new music festival to Iceland hosting popular talent from all over the globe.

Sweden

In northern Sweden, the midnight sun occurs for 56 days during late May to mid-July; lighting its mountains, wilderness and rippling waters in a enchanting golden hue. Highly recommended is the nine-day long Inland Railway holiday, running from Stockholm and crossing the Arctic Circle into Swedish Lapland – stretching deep into Kiruna, land of the indigenous Sami people.

Here, many Sami work hard to keep their culture alive and visible in the community, offering traditional cultural activities that are plentiful during all hours of the day under the midnight sun. Foodies, be sure to indulge in the traditional dish of reindeer meat cooked over an open fire, or for non-meat eaters you can simply enjoy watching the reindeers grazing in the striking open landscapes. Also popular are fishing, river rafting and hiking trails along the majestic Kungsleden (the King’s Trail). A 20-minute drive from the centre of Kiruna stands the iconic IceHotel in Jukkasjärvi, the world’s first hotel made from ice – and powered by the midnight sun!

Midnight Sun is available on EST from May 8 and on DVD & Blu-Ray from June 5, 2017.