8 of the world’s best Northern Lights holidays
Seeing the Northern Lights is something of a rite of passage for the winter traveller. Those magical bursts of colour in the night sky are one of nature’s true wonders. And, while Scandinavia is well-known for its displays, there are myriad other destinations that also offer world-class viewing, particularly in North America, from the far-flung wilderness of Canada’s Yukon to Alaska’s vast backdrops. Discover Wexas Travel’s curated selection of Northern Lights holidays below.
Northern Lights in Yellowknife & The Rockies
There are many ways to witness the famed lightshow, but among the most memorable is surely from the immense wilderness of the Yukon, home to just 0.07 people per square kilometre. On this spectacular holiday you’ll head to the capital of Yellowknife to discover its gold-rush history on included tours before heading out of the city, far from any light pollution, to spot the aurora from around a roaring bonfire. Then, swap it all for an ultra-scenic road trip through the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, with stops at those famed Alberta icons: Lake Louise, Banff and Jasper National Park, for everything from sleigh rides to cross-country skiing.
Rocky Mountaineer & Yukon Northern Lights
For a touch of luxury, go one up and pair your aurora holiday with a journey on Canada’s most luxurious train. The Rocky Mountaineer offers the chance to discover its eponym in style as you enjoy multi-course meals and drinks while speeding past rushing rivers and winding mountain passes only reachable via train. Along the way, included excursions range from national park tours to helicopter rides. Taking place at summer’s end – the aurora appears from as early as August – it’s then time for the main event as you fly to the Yukon and settle into your luxury log cabin. Complete with your own private hot tub – a spectacular vantage point from which to the view the aurora – you’ll head out on daily excursions to chase the lights, alongside optional activities like snowmobiling and husky sled rides.
Polar bears of Churchill
Go east to the picturesque coastline of Hudson Bay in Manitoba, a remote province in Canada’s far north, and you’ll find one of the best places on earth to see polar bears – and Northern Lights. You’ll follow the annual polar bear migration, setting out on special 4×4 Tundra Buggies with an expert local guide for the ultimate bear-spotting experience. Return each night to cosy, log-cabin accommodation with roaring fires, fuelling up with gourmet meals before, with luck, stepping out to witness the aurora. Along the way, there’s chances to head on wilderness walks or thrilling dog-sledding rides through the Arctic tundra.
Alaska’s Northern Lights
For something truly remote, Alaska’s Fairbanks – located within a ring-shaped region around the North Pole called the auroral oval and less than 200km south of the Arctic Circle – is one of the world’s prime aurora viewing locations. Alongside glacier tours, snowshoeing and horse-drawn sleigh rides through the snow-dusted wilderness, you’ll also enjoy a stay at the region’s famed Chena Hot Springs Resort. The hot spring-fed pools are the perfect vantage point to spot the lights before warming up in the wood-clad restaurant – or perhaps enjoying a drink in the Aurora Ice Museum, complete with its own bar.
If you’d rather stay closer to home, for the classic Northern Lights experience Scandinavia offers some of the world’s best aurora spotting, deep in the Arctic Circle.
Tromso & Malangen Resort
You don’t need to venture too far off the beaten path for prime lights viewing, as demonstrated in what’s known as the Northern Lights capital of the world: Tromso. Here, a roaring bar scene – there are more pubs per capita than anywhere else in Norway – is paired with everything from husky sledding to distillery tours under, hopefully, that iconic lightshow. It’s a perfect pairing with Malangen Resort, where you’ll stay in a luxury fisherman’s cabin on the shores of the fjord, enjoying fine dining to refuel before nighttime wilderness excursions. There’s even the chance to head to a remote camp in the wilderness, with dinner around a roaring fire as you watch for the aurora in the pollution-free, star-spangled sky.
Romantic Iceland and the Northern Lights
Over in the land of ice and fire, the Northern Lights are set to a backdrop of landscapes on the grandest of scales. Think spurting geysers, giant waterfalls and striking black-sand beaches, made all the more romantic when they’re lit up by the magical aurora borealis. This itinerary will also see you add in outdoor hot tubs perfect for lights-spotting alongside epic road trips and SuperJeep excursions, returning to Scandi-luxe hotels, gourmet dining and time to explore artsy Reykjavik.
Winter in Spitsbergen
To really get away from it all, Svalbard, that far-flung archipelago in the north of Norway, offers Northern Lights watching in the remotest of settings. Whether you want to go snowmobiling, tour sparkling ice caves or even visit the world’s northernmost brewery, it’s perhaps the ultimate Arctic getaway. And, it’s made all the more epic when the eerie blue polar night – when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon for three months – allows for Northern Lights watching during the day, a truly unique experience. Return each evening to the region’s most luxurious lodge, all wood-clad furnishings, views of the famed Lars glacier and superb dining.
Glass igloos and Northern Lights
A stay in one of Scandinavia’s iconic glass igloos is a permanent bucket-list topper, and this itinerary will see you experience one of Finland’s best. Perched on the edge of the fell, you’ll stay in the remote Levin Iglut igloos, their heated domes a wonderful vantage point as you watch for the performance from the comfort of your motorised bed. Fuel up with delicious wilderness dinners in the tipi-style restaurant before swapping it all for a stay in a cosy lodge adorned with a hot tub and sauna, where there’s chances for husky sledding, snowmobiling and even outdoor cooking classes.
For the latest offers and expert advice, call Wexas Travel on 020 7838 5994 or visit wexas.com
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