Considered to be one of the world’s most magical natural resources, the Aurora Borealis is a breathtaking wonder that colours the sky in a multitude of ethereal hues. Best seen between November and March, their spectacular appearance is created by solar particles drawn towards the Pole then crashing into the Earth’s atmosphere. Here is my selection of the four best areas for witnessing this phenomenon.
The Northern Lights of the Yukon, Canada
Emblazoned with a rich tapestry of soaring, snow-capped peaks, boreal forests and glacier-fed rivers, Canada’s Yukon boasts an unspoiled wilderness far from the crowds of winter-sports resorts and is one of the best places in the world to observe this natural marvel. Northern Lights viewing takes place in the evening, and what an experience it is stepping out into the crisp night air, the squeak of your footsteps on the hard-packed snow; the magical ambience of a Yukon winter. Embrace the full Yukon experience and spend days in this snow-covered landscape dog-sledding, snowshoeing or ice fishing.
Icehotel, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
Created afresh each year by international artists, entirely hewn from ice and snow, the Icehotel is as unique as it is transient. Standing 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, the location of this temporary landmark of snow and ice provides the perfect vantage point for the spectacular light show. Take the Northern Lights tour, an exhilarating experience where you drive your own snowmobile, racing across the frozen Torn River and out into the wilderness chasing your first glimpse of the billowing, dancing lights. Stopping at a wooden hut to sit around a roaring fire and devouring heart-warming goulash – what a perfect place to sit and wait for a glimpse of the spectacle, faces turned to the night sky.
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland
In the deep mid-winter, when the sun doesn’t rise, the frozen landscape exudes a mystical blue light around this Arctic Resort; and it is during this time between – October to March – that you have the best chance of catching a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis. A combination of log cabin and glass igloo accommodation comprises a stay here – and both are superb in their own way. The log cabins are a back-to-nature retreat with fireplace and sauna set amidst snow-covered pine trees. By contrast, the appeal of the glass igloos lies in the thrill of being able to snuggle down into your cosy bed and look up at the night sky, just waiting for a tantalising glimpse of the Northern Lights. The igloos are built in a traditional dome shape with thermal glass walls and ceilings – fully insulated, very cosy and the glass never frosts so you always have a clear view of the night sky.
Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, Russia and Norway
The name of this voyage – ‘Arctic Explorer, Quest for the Northern Lights’ – sounds as though it should be the title of a Hollywood epic; instead it is the name of a train journey, one which is, indeed, epic. Your passage starts in St Petersburg where you can enjoy vibrant Christmas markets and ice skating al fresco before boarding the train and following the curve of the railroad down to Moscow in pursuit of the Aurora Borealis. An on-board guest astronomer reveals the mysteries of the night sky as you travel through landscapes straight from Doctor Zhivago. The cabins of this luxury private train are incredibly well-appointed with large picture windows – which means that even whilst relaxing in your suite, you can still gaze out at the night sky waiting to catch a glimpse of the fall and swell of the luminescent green and blue lights.
Maxine Roberts is Head of Marketing at Carrier.
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