Feature: Northern Lights

Between October and March, the Kola Peninsula is one of the best places on earth to witness the aurora borealis, the natural phenomenon that has been wowing both locals and travellers alike since time immemorial. Spirals, waves and ripples of green (and sometimes yellow, white, red, blue or purple), caused by the collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun entering the earth's atmosphere, move across the dark sky.

The northern lights are the subject of many Sami legends, and the Kola Sami gather to watch the spectacle unfold above Lake Lovozero, one of the better places for viewing due to the relative lack of light pollution. Murmansk-based tour companies organise ventures into the tundra in search of the northern lights, but bear in mind that your quarry is unpredictable and not visible on a daily basis. Success depends on the weather, so you'll need plenty of time and a bit of luck.