Summer is associated with longer days and lots of sunshine, and in the northern hemisphere, the further north you go between May and July, the longer your days will be. While many countries notice the effects of the Earth tilting on its axis, nowhere is this more pronounced than in the Arctic Circle. The circumpolar area stretches through eight countries; Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the United States, Canada, Greenland and Iceland, and despite the harsh northern climates, there are many vibrant cities north of 66 degrees.
Here are 8 places you can visit that experience non-stop sunlight.
Anchorage, Alaska, is the most populous city in the northernmost American state. The summer months average a temperature of almost 20 degrees Celsius, and the city receives well over 200 sunshine hours for 5 months of the year, with almost 300 hours per month in May, June and July. Summer days in Anchorage are very long indeed.
Although Inuvik is technically a town, it is the administrative center for the Inuvik Region of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Theaverage summer temperature in Inuvik is almost 20 degrees Celsius! That’s because the long days of May and June warm Inuvik up quickly. Twenty-four-hour sunlight is experienced for 50-plus days each summer, and Inuvik celebrates the midnight sun with the annual Great Northern Arts Festival in July and many races, including a half-marathon.
Iqaluit, formerly known as Frobisher Bay, became a city in 2001. It is the capital city of the territory of Nunavut, in Canada. Iqaluit receives 200-plus sunshine hours per month in the summer. During the summer solstice, on June 21, Iqaluit celebrates the midnight sun with a festival called Toonik Tyme, which combines traditional Inuit activities with the Alianait Music and Arts Festival, among other modern events.
Located in Russia, Murmansk is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle. Even though it lies on the 68th parallel, the city’s port remains ice-free year round thanks to the warm North Atlantic current. In June and July, the city receives around 230 hours of sunshine and the average temperature is between 15 and 17 degrees Celsius.
Nuuk, the capital city of Greenland, is one of the smallest capitals by population in the world. That means you can visit Nuuk without being overwhelmed by big crowds or urban sprawl. On the longest day of the year, the sun rises at 3 a.m. and does not set until midnight; the remaining few hours are marked by a dusky half-light, until the sun rises again at 3, meaning that Nuuk is never fully dark.
Situated on the 64th parallel, Reykjavik is one of the world’s northernmost capitals. Despite lying outside the Arctic Circle, you can still experience the phenomenon of perpetual daylight in the city, which means that Reykjavik is also one of the few capital cities where the midnight sun can be experienced. Although the days get longer around the solstice in June, May actually averages the most sunshine hours of any month of the year.
The commercial center of Finland’s northernmost province, Lapland, Rovaniemi is inhabited by about 60,000 people. In June and July, the city receives almost 300 hours of sunshine. Rovaniemi is also considered to be the hometown of Santa Claus.
Umeå is the 12th largest city in Sweden, and the largest in the province of Norrland. The city receives nearly 300 sunshine hours per month between May and July. It is known as the cultural center of northern Sweden, since it is the largest center north of the Stockholm-Uppsala region, and is home to many festivals and museums.