Desperate to see the Northern Lights? Well there’s never any guarantee, no matter how much you spend on a holiday. However you can increase your chances by doing the following:
1. Make sure you go North, preferably within the Arctic Circle.
2. Time it right – October to March is the most likely time for them to appear.
3. Avoid light pollution – get out of cities and into the countryside (avoiding a full moon can also help).
4. Check the forecast – you are less likely to see the Northern Lights when it’s overcast. Which brings me to the next point…
5. Stay for more than one night to improve your chances.
6. Don’t build your whole trip around the Northern Lights – organise lots of activities for a memorable trip whether you see them or not. Why not try one of the following:
Enjoy a Lights Dinner
A new experience this year from Off the Map Travel is The Aurora Hideaway in Sweden. This cute little ‘restaurant’ is built on skis so that it can be moved by snowmobile to areas with a good chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis.
Work up an appetite before your meal with a snow shoeing experience. Your guide will also, of course, be looking out for those lights in the sky.
Then you’ll sit in your cabin (with a view of the heavens) whilst local delicacies are cooked for you on an open fire –think foraged mushroom soup with smoked salmon and barbecued reindeer with wild herbs. Yum.
* The Aurora Hideaway is available from December until April for couples, families or groups of up to 10 people. It is bookable as an experience within a tailormade holiday with Off the Map Travel. For example a five night itinerary costing from £1399 per person could include all transfers, full board accommodation, an ice tour by hovercraft, the Aurora Hideaway dinner and a snowmobile tour. Visit www.offthemap.travel or call 0800 566 8901.
Embrace cabin fever
Lie in your bed and watch the Northern Lights swirl around the sky from the comfort of your bed – and if they don’t play ball, just gaze at beautiful Lake Inari instead. The glass-roofed Aurora Cabins at the brand new Wilderness Hotel in Finland open on 20th December. The glass is thermal to ensure a clear view even when temperatures plummet. The hotel also offers snowy activities, including snowmobiling, huskey safaris, snowshoeing, and a night time trip to a remote cabin.
* From £1950 per person including flights, two nights in an Aurora cabin, two nights in a log cabin, full board, return airport transfers, winter clothing rental and activities mentioned above, with Summit & Blue. Visit www.summitandblue.com or call 01243 929121
Stay in the Icehotel
This amazing hotel, created entirely from snow and ice is built from scratch each winter at Jukkasjarvi in Sweden, 300km north of the Arctic Circle. Choose from the standard Ice Rooms or from the Art Suites, individually designed by selected artists from all over the world. You can have a stiff drink in the ice bar to prepare yourself for your night on ice (yes, it’s cold, but there are reindeer skins to snuggle under and you are on a proper mattress!) and most guests spend just one night in the cold and maybe a couple in the warm cabins that are also available.
New family activities this winter including snowman building, wildlife tracking and ice carving. Plus there’s husky sledding, reindeer sleigh rides and, of course, Northern Lights searching!
Free return flights for children under 15 (this holiday recommended for kids over the age of 8) on Discover the World’s exclusive direct flight from London to Kiruna between January and March 2018, a saving of up to £300 per child (this offer even applies during February half term).
• The three night Icehotel Break is recommended for children over the age of 8 years old and starts from £1,154 per adult and from £255 per child includes free return flights for children under 15 on an exclusive direct flight from London) between January and March 2018 with Discover the World. The price also includes two nights in warm accommodation, one night ‘on ice’, breakfasts, and airport transfers. Visit www.discover-the-world.co.uk/icehotel for details or call 01737 214291.