The midnight sun at North Cape, Norway (Shutterstock.com. See main credit below)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 20 June

7 things you must do under the midnight sun

The midnight sun offers you the chance to do more – and for longer – on your Arctic holiday. Here are 7 surreal activities to enjoy where the sun never sets.

1: Watch whales in Greenland

Photographing whales in Icefjord, Greenland (Shutterstock.com)

Photographing whales in Icefjord, Greenland (Shutterstock.com)

Spot humpback whales feeding with hundreds of diving gulls and minke whales, all basking in the glorious golden light of the midnight sun. Head to Greenland for truly spectacular views of rare species against a pristine backdrop of snowy-white sheets of ice.

Whalewatching can be done from air or in a host of vessels including kayaks and yachts, and if lucky enough to find such a spot, some places offer views of the whales from standing on the shore. 

2: Celebrate White Nights in St Petersburg

White Nights in St Petersburg (Shutterstock.com)

White Nights in St Petersburg (Shutterstock.com)

The summer solstice is the perfect time to visit St Petersburg. It never gets properly dark, the Winter Palace literally glows in the intense sunlight and the world famous Mariinsky Theatre holds its annual White Nights Festival, with a program chock-full of opera, ballet and classical concerts.

The locals call this time of the year Byeliye Nochi, White Nights, and celebrate with a midnight morozhenoe (ice cream) or a wedge of arbus,  juicy watermelon that is cut open and enjoyed in the park. With your belly full, head off on a White Nights bike tour, starting at midnight and finishing sometime after 2 a.m. 

3: Kayak the Eastfjords in Iceland

Kayaks in Iceland (Shutterstock.com)

Kayaks in Iceland (Shutterstock.com)

Kayaking through Iceland's calm and serene Eastfjords is highly recommended all year round, but the midnight sun in June provides a unique opportunity to paddle the waters through the night.

Under the midnight sun, the landscapes and coastlines look even more dramatic, with Northfjörthur's dark sea caves, in particular, looking even more ethereal. The local seals and seabirds are out in force too, filling their bellies in anticipation of the long winter nights ahead. 

4: Play midnight golf in Fairbanks, Alaska

Midnight golfer in Fairbanks (Fairbanks Golf Club)

Midnight golfer in Fairbanks (Fairbanks Golf Club)

Each summer the local Golf & Country Club in Fairbanks, Alaska, stays open for 24 hours a day for most of June and July, offering keen golfers the unique opportunity to tee off after midnight.

If golf is not your thing, you can still get sporty in the midnight hour. Fairbanks celebrates the solstice with a wide range of activities including a midnight baseball game, a midnight fun run, and the Midnight Sun Festival that starts at noon on June 21 and goes well past midnight.

5: Climb a mountain on Norway’s summer island

Sommarøy in summer (Shutterstock.com)

Sommarøy in summer (Shutterstock.com)

A 45-minute drive from Tromsø, the small fishing village of Sommarøy in Norway is swathed in the light of the midnight sun for weeks on end during the Midsummer period. You'll be greeted by a blanket of green Arctic hills, mirror-calm fjords and wild flowers nodded drowsily in the sunny breeze – at any time of the day!

Home to just 450 people, Sommarøy's isolated location means you can enjoy uninterrupted midnight hikes taking in lush green landscapes and peaceful fjords dappled in the midnight sunlight. Or climb to the top one of the peaks and watch the sun dip but not quite go below the horizon.

6: Watch bears in Finland

A Finnish bear enjoying the midnight sun (Shutterstock.com)

A Finnish bear enjoying the midnight sun (Shutterstock.com)

As the bears emerged from their winter slumber, Midsummer offers the perfect time to watch them in their natural habitat in Finland. You can keep a lookout for the bears all night, if you ant, increasing your chances of seeing them bathing and foraging for food.

Be sure to pack a healthy supply of insect repellent, though.  Mosquitoes and blackfly in Finland love this time of year too, and use the extra daylight hours to feast as well.

7: Watch a volcano erupt on Kamchatka

Volcano erupting on Kamchatka peninsula (Shutterstock.com) 

Volcano erupting on Kamchatka peninsula (Shutterstock.com)

Russia’s remote Kamchatka boasts the world’s most spectacular collection of volcanoes in the world, including Kliuchevskoi, the largest active volcano in the Northern Hemisphere, the Valley of the Geysers and the 10km-diameter Uzon Caldera. There is one catch though. For most of the year the peninsula is covered in snow and ice.

Summer then, and the longer days it brings, offers the unique opportunity to explore this volcanic wonderland, as well as encounter the local wildlife including wolves, brown bears, wolverines and reindeer. Be warned, just because it is summer on the Kamchatka peninsula doesn’t necessarily mean it will be sunny. Mist, fog and rain can descend at a moments notice.

Looking for a Midnight Sun adventure of your own? See Wanderlust's Trip Finder for Midnight Sun related tours with top travel operators.

Main image: The midnight sun at North Cape, Norway (Shutterstock.com)