The Northern Lights are one of the world’s most magical natural phenomena. This natural light display, caused by ionisation in the atmosphere, actually occurs in both of the poles, though the spectacle in the Arctic — the Aurora Borealis — tends to have the best balance of accessibility and brightness. The prime viewing season in the northern hemisphere is between December and March, when the nights are long and temperatures cold, however in some areas of Canada it is possible to see the lights as early as August. Book several nights to increase the likelihood of having clear skies, and prepare for an awe inspiring Arctic experience.
For an isolated private holiday, we are very fond of Hotel Ranga in Iceland. Far away from civilisation, and thus from the light pollution of cities, you will not only be able to see the stars more clearly than ever, but the Northern Lights also put on a vivid show of lurid greens, blues, reds, and even purples.
Hotel Ranga has 51 rooms, so it is small enough to still have a chalet feel. It is in a fantastic location surrounded by glaciers, volcanoes, hot springs, waterfalls, and more, so in the short hours of daylight there is plenty for you to see and do, especially if you love exploring the great outdoors. Come nightfall, you can prepare for your Northern Lights excursions with an extraordinary culinary experience. Most of the ingredients chosen by the expert chef at Hotel Ranga are seasonal and locally sourced, and you can try various unusual Icelandic delicacies such as smoked puffin or reindeer.
To see the Northern Lights from the water, you can do no better than to cruise aboard the luxurious Silversea Silver Cloud. Embark at Svalbard and sail through the Arctic archipelagos to Greenland, witnessing the beauty of the polar landscape through the ship’s large glass verandas. By day, you will see the ice floes floating by, often packed with colonies of seal, and there are opportunities for whale watching, too. After dark, the sky lights up as if with fireworks, and you can watch the Northern Lights from the ship’s top deck or through the large, panoramic windows in your comfortable suite.
For many of us, visiting the Arctic is synonymous with staying in an igloo and meeting Eskimo. At Kakslauttanen in Finland, you can certainly live that part of the dream.
This hotel is one of the very best for viewing the stunning night sky. Each room is in a private glass igloo, giving you clear views of both the Northern Lights and uncountable glittering stars. Lie in bed and pick out the constellations, and admire the wash of colour. This is one of the most romantic experiences imaginable and even more so given that you are tucked up in the warm, probably with a glass of Champagne or mug of hot chocolate in hand!
If glass igloos aren’t for you, Kakslauttanen also has log chalets, snow igloos, and various other suite rooms. It offers guests the chance to experience the beauty and quiet of the Arctic wilderness, but with luxurious facilities and high levels of service. Relax in the saunas, try ice swimming, or cross country ski across the snow and ice.
For more inspiration of what you can do on an Arctic adventure with Journeysmiths, get in touch on 01604 637332 and one of our travel designers will passionately share their ideas for your Northern Lights extravaganza.