I was so excited to be going to Lapland and to be staying in an Ice Suite! The location of the IceHotel is stunning. It’s set on the banks of the beautiful river Torne which freezes in winter. The ice from the river is then used to build the winter IceHotel which then melts away in the spring. Each room in the IceHotel is designed and built by an International Ice Artist.
Upon arrival at the IceHotel we were shown around the 365 (I went in September before the winter IceHotel was built). At the entrance we were given special Arctic capes to wear as it’s incredibly cold once inside. Each room was stunning in its own right with the most amazing designs. In the 365 they have several Deluxe Art Suites and lots of Ice rooms, and a shared dressing area (for those not staying in a Deluxe Suite).
I was lucky enough to be staying in a Deluxe Art Suite which was a beautifully designed bed chamber with a sort of air-lock corridor between the bedroom and the dressing area. The dressing area was gorgeously warm with a relaxation area consisting of comfy chairs, wardrobe, shower, loo and sauna. The floor of the dressing area had underfloor heating which I imagine is fantastic in the winter. There is then a door which goes out of the back of the suite enabling you to exit the room to see the Northern Lights should they be displaying without having to use the main entrance.
I was then taken to the Ice Bar and given the most amazing cocktail in a glass also made of ice. Even in there it has the most spectacular ice carvings, a library (made of ice), seats, wall decorations and even a chandelier! After dinner at the Old Homestead, which was delicious, I then headed back to my Art Suite but not before a really good look for the Northern Lights. I’d been given a sleeping bag with an inner cotton bag and given instructions of how to dress for bed. Now, I’m a lady of a certain age and was actually looking forward to being cold (if you know what I mean) so once ready for bed in my nightie I managed, with difficulty, to get into the inner cotton bag and then into the sleeping bag. Stupidly I did not take my hat into the bedroom although I had been advised to wear it, thinking I wouldn’t need it. It had been a very long day with lots of travelling so I was quite tired. I managed to get off to sleep quite quickly but woke at some point with a very cold head. No matter how hard I tried I could not go back to sleep so consequently spent a long time berating myself for being so stupid as to not take my hat in!
When morning came it was lovely to go through the corridor to the dressing area and have a sauna and a nice hot shower. Afterwards the staff came round with hot lingonberry juice, very welcome! When I met up with my fellow travellers it transpired that one of our party had gone out to see the Northern Lights and forgotten to take his key to get back into the room! He spent quite a long time outside whilst waiting for someone to come from Kiruna to let him back into his Suite. He had a great time though and managed to capture some great Northern Lights images whilst we were all tucked up.
So what did I learn about my trip to Lapland and the IceHotel? Wear pyjamas (much more practical and warmer), wear a hat as advised (a must) and enjoy the most delicious food I think I’ve ever tasted. I would definitely recommend a stay in an Ice Suite; it’s a once in a lifetime treat and something to put on your bucket list! For our full range of Ice Hotel Northern Lights Holidays
A 12 hour super-jeep tour into the Icelandic highlands is an opportunity not to be missed. Anton was our expert guide for the day, a geology/chemistry/meteorology (to name just a few)-geek, bursting with enthusiasm and exciting stories of volcanic eruptions, rescuing tourists who tackle fast flowing rivers in ford fiestas, and crazy scientists who push the laws of nature to the edge.
We set off not really knowing where we were going or what was in store. All we knew was the end goal was Askja, a giant 200km long and 20km wide volcanic system, the longest of its kind in Iceland. Little did we realise the geological gems that we were to visit on the way. The landscapes were constantly changing, each a stark contrast to the previous one just 30 minutes earlier. We drove past endless lava fields, some being more than 3000 years old, past giant fissures, fields of pumice, and moon-like terrains, visible evidence of an explosive volcanic history. A particular highlight was the beautiful pahoehoe lava, its swirls artistically etched across the rock.
At a spring we refilled our bottles with the most delicious crystal-clear and refreshingly chilled water ever tasted. We crossed the Grafarlandaá and Lindá rivers, both spring fed with clear mountain water, and watched a broken-down truck get towed out of the river. A common occurrence in the area – idiots who think their cars can survive the torrent! Our spot for lunch was the most unique and abstract of all localities. We jumped out of the jeep to see nothing but a black desert over 100km in width, stretching to the mountains on the horizon, and not a soul in sight. Sadly no 360 degree photo does this incredible vista justice. The vast expanse of nothingness, no plant life, and no water, is mind-blowing. It was so random, so unexpected, to turn a corner from a landscape of huge lava flows to a charcoal black desert. The contrast of the white glaciers in the distance meeting the black was striking. The only thing we drove past in the desert was a mudpool, where the plants were so colourful they were verging on fluorescent. A perfect spot to stop for lunch and a warm cup of tea.
When we didn’t think the day could get any better, we arrived at Ӧskjoup for the grand finale. We walked past the scoria cones from the 1961 fissure eruption to the explosion crater, Viti, and Ӧskjuvatn (‘Askja lake’), situated in the small collapsed caldera formed in the Plinian eruption of 1875. Rising more than 800m above its surroundings and capped by an 8km wide composite caldera, the final destination was truly spectacular. Anton instructed us to walk with our hands in front of our eyes, and only when we reached the top could we unveil what lay before us. It was worth the wait. It felt like we were standing on the edge of the world, looking down into the massive crater and the milky geothermal water within. We had brought our swimming costumes, so carefully ventured down the slippery muddy slopes to the water’s edge. It was quite a challenge, but totally worth the feat as the warm water was idyllic! As we swam, a few tourists peered over the crater rim at us, watching what looked like tiny ants in the massive milky pool. Casually digging a toe under the rocks was a strong reminder that we were in an active volcanic area, as the heat from under us was immense; bursts of boiling hot water escaping from beneath. For a geology-enthusiast, it doesn’t get better than this!
Thanks to my sister and I begging Anton to continuously stop the truck so we could check out the variety of igneous rocks, walk between fissures, or climb over lava flows, the day overran by 4 hours! A trip across the Central Highlands is not to be treated lightly and one should be prepared for and excited at the prospect of venturing into the harsh environment. It is no wonder why astronauts have trained for moon-missions here…you cannot help but feel like Neil Armstrong.
This is why you should come to Iceland. This is what it is all about. To see our recommended break to North Iceland that includes a trip to Askja, and of course the Northern Lights
It is always frustrating when you are not able to fly direct from your regional airport to your point of destination, and instead have to travel down at the start of your holiday. For those in search of the Northern Lights and some adventure in stunning volcanic scenery then Reykjavik is the place to fly to. Reykjavik probably has more direct flights than most with daily direct departures in the winter from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow. For those looking to go on a Northern Lights holiday from some of the more regional airports there are also regular departures from London Luton, Edinburgh, Bristol, Belfast, Dublin and London City (though not every day).
However that still leaves a gap in the more Central and Northern part of England.
Jet 2 have just issued their winter flight schedule for Reykjavik and for those who are flexible with their departure dates this will help you!
They do only have a few limited flights to Reykjavik on specific dates, so they tend to fill quickly and to be more expensive. However, they are quite useful as they focus on key Northern Lights travelling times and also include some of the smaller regional airports which other airlines don’t offer. So if you would like to fly from Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham or East Midlands direct to Reykjavik on a Northern Lights trip then these dates with Jet 2 could be your solution!
31st Oct – 4th Nov 2019 4 nights
4th – 7th Nov 2019 3 nights
24th – 27th Feb 2020 3 nights
20th – 24th Feb 2020 4 nights
23rd – 26th Mar 2020 3 nights
2nd – 6th Apr 2020 4 nights
24th – 28th Oct 2019 4 nights
28th – 31st Oct 2019 3 nights
25th – 28th Nov 2019 3 nights
13th – 17th Feb 2020 4 nights
17th – 20th Feb 2020 3 nights
19th – 23rd Mar 2020 4 nights
6th – 9th Apr 2020 3 nights
7th – 11th Nov 2019 4 nights
11th – 14th Nov 2019 3 nights
28th Nov – 2nd Dec 2019 4 nights
5th – 9th Mar 2020 4 nights
9th – 12th Mar 2020 3 nights
30th Mar – 2nd Apr 2020 3 nights
14th – 18 Nov 2019 4 nights
18th – 21st Nov 2019 3 nights
21st – 25th Nov 2019 4 nights
12th – 16th Mar 2020 4 nights
16th – 19th Mar 2020 3 nights
Jet2 also fly from Glasgow and Manchester on some select dates. However as IcelandAir also flies from Glasgow, and both EasyJet and IcelandAir fly from Manchester we are able to offer all departure days during the winter from these two departure airports.
To be inspired check out our amazing range of Iceland Northern Lights short breaks
When you have chosen to self drive some of the activities we still want to add some extra experiences for you to enhance your day. These are our Local Top Tips!
Self driving the Golden Circle in Iceland
We would recommend you avoid the restaurants near the Geyser and Gullfoss which are extremely busy tourist traps with no character. Instead we would recommend you visit one of the restaurants below which are both in Reykholt which is a small town 15 mins from the Geyser.
Friðheimar Tomato Farm
Enjoy a unique food experience at the restaurant in the greenhouse, with 3 different varieties of tomatoes growing all around! Tomato soup and fresh-baked bread, as well as other goodies are served, in a charming environment among the plants.
Mika is a family business run where everyone from grandma Józefik to the children contribute. They deeply care about the freshness of the food and buying from local farmers, and everything is made on site. They specialise in handmade chocolates and langoustine dishes.
Extra Waterfall and View: Faxi waterfall near the restaurants
The waterfall Faxi in the river Tungufljót in South region in Iceland is only twelve kms from the famous Geysir hot spring area and twenty kms from the famous waterfall Gullfoss.
Faxi has been described as a small version of Gullfoss but of course not as powerful. The waterfall is 80 meters wide and seven meters high. It is a beautiful waterfall placed in a wonderful and peaceful landscape. It is also possible to walk quite near the waterfall on the lower level and feel the drizzle from the water.
Self driving the South Coast to Vik in Iceland
For those looking for an extra view divert to Dyrhóley which is the west of Vik
Dyrhólaey is a 120-metre high promontory, not far from Vík. The place got its name from the massive arch that the sea has eroded from the headland. (The name literally means “door-hole”). There are also amazing rock formations all along here. The Birdlife here is abundant, with puffins and eider ducks being the most common species.
The lighthouse on the top of the cliff stands impressive and stoic in this very windy area.
Suður Vík Restaurant
Whilst there is a very convenient café restaurant on the Reynisfjara beach with the basalt columns, the best restaurant in the area is the Suður Vík in Vík. Fresh meals are made with love and local ingredients. The restaurant is located in an old and charming house on the top of a hill with a lovely view of the ocean, town and surrounding mountains.
Reykjanes peninsula –Take the Coastal Road rather than the more direct road
On this coastal route you will have great views of the sea which has even been known to freeze at the edges! We would recommend you visit Krysuvik (Road 42). These are bubbling mud pots. It’s not a long stop but definitely worth seeing.
There is also another waterfall to see on the way on the route 302 which is just before Selfoss (Road 427). It is a sort of mini Gulfoss so much quieter and it is claimed it is the most powerful in Iceland…therefore more powerful than Gulfoss.
Gunnuhver (Road 427 and 425)- close to Reykjanes lighthouse. The mud pools and steam from the boiling geothermal reservoir water condense and mix with surface water. The resulting gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide make the water acid, causing the fresh lava rock to change into clay
For those of our clients looking to travel over from America to Iceland for a Northern Lights Holiday this coming winter we thought you might find it useful to know quite how many different airports in the States you can fly from direct to Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland .
Chicago, New York, Denver, Washington, Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, Orlando, Minneapolis all offer direct over-night flights with IcelandAir to Reykjavik.
Iceland is renown for its breath-taking dramatic volcanic scenery with Geysers, Volcanoes, Lava Flows , Glaciers around every corner- and don’t of course forget the Aurora Borealis too!! You will even have the chance to see some whales are sightings are surprisingly high in the winter.
Weekend a La Carte Aurora Nights has a super range of Iceland Aurora short breaks that will enthral, with a choice of staying in your own private cabin or atmospheric luxury hotels with hot tubs. Prepare to take exciting super-jeep adventures up volcanoes and visiting ice caves. For the more adventurous there is ice climbing and glacial hiking and the chance to snowmobile on the volcano that erupted in 2010 which shut all of Europe down! Don’t worry we keep a very close monitor on the situation to ensure you are not in any danger- but what a great story to tell to say you have snowmobiled on it!
Even better is that the airline IcelandAir also have this great offer where you can stop for up to 7 days in Iceland before continuing your journey to a new destination to explore before flying back to America. When you have flown so far you may as well continue and experience more after all!
This is a super solution for our multi destination Aurora breaks where you visit both Iceland and Sweden. This way you can really get to experience a huge array of varied arctic activities combining the stunning volcanic scenery in Iceland with incredible Husky Sledding and snowmobiling safaris, Ice Fishing and Sami Reindeer experiences in Sweden. You can visit, or even stay, in the atmospheric Ice Hotel and you will have an excellent chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
We have been offering these breaks for 15 years now and are very confident you will have the most memorable time that you will talk about for years, and IcelandAir have just made the logistics so much easier for you. Do contact us and let us know what appeals so we can craft the perfect Northern Lights break for you.
It is a little over 10 years since Joanna Lumley, on a trip to the Lofoten islands in Norway, set of an explosion of interest in seeing the northern lights.
I remember coming into the office the day after the programme was aired on TV and saw a 400% increase in traffic to our web site and knew that the interest in seeing one of nature’s great phenomena was real.
A lot has transpired since then and the whole of the Arctic Region has benefitted from a wave of travellers from all over the world who have flocked to search for the Aurora Borealis.
Media hype has played its part and various interpretations of the science behind the aurora have been adapted to try and drive the market but the simple reality remains and that is one most nights in the arctic during the aurora season ( Sept-March) you stand a good chance of seeing some activity – clear skies being the overriding requirement.
Over time we have seen a shift in holiday makers looking for destinations where the weather is more stable and predictable and that are why destinations like Abisko in Swedish Lapland have exploded in popularity. With an 83% chance of seeing the northern lights in a 4 night visit in Abisko through the season these are the odds that most travellers are happy to take.
The Best Northern Lights Holidays of the Future
However 10 years on the basic break of aurora hunting, snowmobile and sled dog trip as the core of a break are making way to clients seeking more multi destination breaks with more luxury included. As the market has evolved so has the quality of accommodation and food in particular. There are some wonderful small lodges and cabins with private services now available.
Additionally the countries of Norway, Sweden and Finland have joined forces on a project entitled Visit Arctic Europe with the goal of developing transport links between the 3 countries in the Lapland region north of the Arctic Circle. This is beginning to bear fruit and in the foreseeable future it will be easier to do exciting multi destination northern lights holidays across the 3 countries.
Weekend a la Carte’s Aurora Nights has been at the forefront of developing northern lights holiday for 15 years and is already offering some incredible longer journeys through Iceland & Sweden, Greenland & Iceland and Sweden & Norway.
For some inspiration take a look at our Multi Destination northern lights holidays.
The opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis in the Polar Regions has attracted holiday makers from all over the world on a northern lights holiday quest to see the green ribbons of light that burst into action during the Arctic Nights.
As one of the leading northern lights holiday providers, we are often asked when is the best time to go to see the northern lights and where should I go.
When Should I Go to The Northern Lights?
The simple answer to this is when the arctic nights begin to lengthen (September) until when the spring begins in early April. So the window that is open to seeing them is large.
There are two overriding factors that will dictate whether you get to see the northern lights during your holiday. The first is driven by the sun and the level of radiation that is produced and then channelled to the Polar Regions by the earth’s magnetic field. Basically, the higher the activity the more pronounced the Aurora Borealis is. This can only really be determined with some accuracy a week or so beforehand. There are a number of aurora tracking sites and the two we use are Space Weather and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical institute site.
So whether you choose the right time to go is largely down to luck but the further north you are the more likely you are to see the northern lights on even a low forecast night.
The second factor is weather. You can have a wonderful aurora display but excessive clouds block this from the naked eye. In the arctic there are a lot of weather fronts so this needs to be taken into consideration. Coastal regions, for example, can be cloudier on average than mountainous regions.
Where Should I Stay on a Northern Lights Holiday?
So when to go to the Northern Lights is a little bit down to lottery but where to go is a little more scientific and there are some places that have a higher statistical probability of seeing them than anywhere else.
After years of providing northern lights holidays for our clients, there is one place that consistently has a higher incidence of seeing them. That place is Abisko in Sweden.
Situated in a mountainous area on the border between Norway and Sweden, Abisko is blessed with a unique micro climate that results in significantly less precipitation than anywhere else in Sweden and thus has less cloud cover.
On average, 4 out of 5 nights has some level of northern light activity during the season. This does not mean 4 out of 5 nights has a huge display – that is driven by the first point I made relating to the sun spot activity happening 93 million miles away on the surface of the sun. But, for clear nights, Abisko in Sweden is hard to beat.
If you are planning one Northern Lights holiday in your life, then I would not hesitate to recommend a northern lights holiday to Abisko , Sweden.
Of all the destinations we offer we get more requests from clients celebrating a wedding anniversary or big Birthday for a break to Lapland than any of our other destinations.
It’s really not difficult to see why as a trip to the Arctic for most people is once in a lifetime experience and so completely different to almost any other holiday they have been on before. After all if you are celebrating a silver wedding anniversary or a 40th or 50th Birthday then you want an experience that stands out from what you have done previously.
Who could not be captivated by the idea of being pulled through a pristine snowy wilderness by a team of eager to please Huskies or by the thought of staying in the world famous ICEHOTEL in an individually designed Art Suite? To crown it all of why not go Northern Lights hunting in Abisko in Swedish Lapland probably the best place on earth for consistent sightings of the Northern Lights.
In addition you have unique wildlife, the indigenous Sami culture centred on reindeer herding and all manner of unique settings from fjords to mountains and icebergs to volcanoes.
In terms of places to stay there are small lodges, wilderness cabins with private chef and the unique Tree Hotel with its quirky rooms such as the Mirror Cube, Birds Nest ad UFO! Whether you are travelling as a couple or bigger group to celebrate we can suggest itineraries that fit best for your group size.
Click on this link to see our suggested breaks for celebrating a special occasion
If you truly want to make your special moment an amazing adventure, why not combine more than one country on your Arctic Northern Lights holiday adventure. We offer great combinations of Sweden and Norway, Iceland and Sweden and Iceland and Greenland for spectacular journeys that will be forever etched on the memory.
Click on this link to see some of our longer journeys
We have, over 14 years, built up the expertise to knit together arguably the best journeys possible in the region and have reams of feedback from satisfied clients over the years. If you have a special occasion on the horizon, then give us a call to see what we can do for you.
Northern Lights – The Age of the Aurora
Solar activities, also known as sunspots, are what regulate the intensity of the solar wind which in turn creates the aurora borealis. The sun has an 11 year cycle – or “pulse” – which regulate the intensity of the sunspots/Northern Lights and thereby also their consistency. Scientists have been monitoring this for hundreds of years and also know when to expect increases in activity.
As we now head into a period with very high sunspot activity – one could say we are in The Age of Aurora – which should therefore bring about some fantastic displays of aurora.
The next time this high sunspot occurs again will be around 2022 – so if you want to view this nature’s splendour in the foreseeable future – now is the time to book a trip to the northern latitudes where this is viewable.
To see the Northern Lights Holidays we offer.
The amazing spectacle known as the Northern Lights is an experience you will never forget and if you use your camera correctly you will be able to share your experience with others.
The Aurora Borealis occurs in the North and the Aurora Australis occurs in the south. We are talking extreme north and extreme south close to the Arctic and Antarctic circles. The majority of activity forms a kind of halo at both ends of the earth.
Camera – almost any DSLR is suitable. The deciding factor is the ability to open the shutter for long periods. Check to see if your camera has a bulb mode and maybe invest in a cable. A tripod or any other means of keeping the camera still for long exposures is essential. Lens – if you are dedicated, choose a lens with a super wide aperture. I use a f1.4 lens although I rarely go past f2.8. Wide angle is best … quite simply, wide angle improves your chances of getting a shot and also the stars start to trail much later on a wide angle.
To increase your chance of a successful aurora hunt, you need to be aware of the weather. If it is cloudy on earth, your chances of seeing the aurora grow weaker. You can increase your chances again by eliminating light pollution. A really strong Aurora can be seen in the city, but you really need to get far away from the city lights to improve your chances. The moon can also work against you. If you can see stars you have a chance, if you can see the Milky Way, you have a good chance.
Get your camera set up so that it is easy to handle. I would suggest chest height. Using a flashlight make sure your cable is connected, your lens is set just short of infinity and the camera is level. Then turn off the flashlight and let your eyes adjust to the darkness. Then wait. You can use the waiting time constructively. You can practice with your bulb and find a good composition. Set your camera to f2.8 (or as wide as possible) iso 800 and take some test shots for 30 seconds. Do this in all directions but mainly due north (Aurora Borealis). You may start to see a green hue on your pictures near the horizon. This is a good sign and this is the part of the sky you need to watch.
As the aurora starts to get brighter you need to start adjusting your settings accordingly. Start by bringing down your iso. Always check the brightness of your image on the histogram and never rely on the camera preview screen. Your eyes have adjusted to the dark so an underexposed image will look fine – until you get it home!
If the whole sky explodes and the Aurora casts a shadow, you need to be quick to adjust your exposure times. The best Aurora shots occur during these brief moments. A faster shutter of 8 – 20 seconds will preserve some of the details of the display.
Sometimes you cannot avoid star trails if you don’t trust iso 800 and your lens stops at f4, you might be exposing for 2 minutes with a weak aurora. Generally it is preferred to expose for less than 30 seconds to prevent noticeable star trails.
We get asked this question more than any other question.
Firstly you can never guarantee seeing the Northern Lights. If there was a magic switch somebody would have found it by now! However there are certain places in Europe which record much higher overall levels of sightings. The three most celebrated and visited are Abisko in Swedish Lapland, Ranga in Iceland and Tromso in Norway.
The seasons vary and Iceland, due to the non-reliance of snow for the destination to work, has the longest viewing season. This runs from October – March. Abisko and Tromso have a shorter but more intense season running from December – April.
If I was to choose between the 3 destinations I would pick Abisko as the best. Not only does the percentage of nights during the season when the lights are viewed register the highest but the drama of seeing them up at the sky station is unbeatable. You feel you can reach out at times and touch them!
So having established the best location we focus on the best time. There is certainly an argument to say that the lights are seen at their best when there is low lunar light but from experience it should not be the overriding reason of the timing of your visit. We have found that what is more important is finding a spot where there is a high chance of a clear night (Abisko being the best) and then it’s down to the intensity of the solar wind bouncing off the earth’s magnetic field.
However having done this break for many years what is equally as important during a Northern Lights Holiday is to ensure you have a full programme of exciting activities to do during the day. This is where the best tour operators earn their stripes ensuring your break to the Arctic is a once in a lifetime experience with a mix of Husky Dog Sledding and Snowmobile Safaris to name but a few.
To see our Northern Lights Holidays click here.
Northern lights holidays are becoming ever popular and the arctic region of Europe continues to attract travellers from all over the world to witness the Aurora Borealis and participate in the fantastic arctic experiences like Husky sledding, snowmobiling, indigenous wildlife, ice fishing, whale watching and the unique Sami reindeer culture.
We have been doing trip to Swedish Lapland for 15 years and have seen how the traveller has grown from requesting a simple 3 night break visiting one location to now wishing to stay in multiple locations and increasingly cross borders to experience different Nordic countries.
The good news is that this is becoming easier to cross borders as transport links develop and we for one have expanded our offering of northern lights holidays to offer our clients more choice than ever before. We are able to combine the very Best of Swedish Lapland with Highlights from some of Norway’s most dramatic locations.
We are great Fans of Abisko in Swedish Lapland and unashamedly call it the northern lights capital. The stats of seeing the Aurora from here are the best we have come across and we use this as the cross roads for many of our Northern Lights Holidays. Abisko is located close to the Norwegian border and as such we are now able to connect you down to Narvik and then on to either the Lofoten Islands, Norway’s coastal crown jewel or up to Tromso, the Paris of the North.
Our Aurora Addicts break allows you to embark on an amazing journey through Abisko and up to Tromso with 4 incredible nights of aurora hunting. This is the first break to offer travellers the opportunity to visit 3 different aurora sky stations and partake in one of the amazing Lights over Lapland photo workshops in Abisko.
Our Sweden and Iceland combinations are becoming increasingly popular for those that wish to combine Icelandic Volcanic Splendours with a night at the Ice Hotel, or combining a stay in Abisko with Iceland
Finally if you want to say you have been from one end of Lapland to the other try our Coast to Coast Adventure which brings you the highlights of the Lulea Archipelago in Sweden with the majestic Lofoten Islands in Norway.
We are delighted to announce the launch of our new refreshed website for Weekend a la Carte Aurora Nights.
We think it will really help you imagine yourself there watching the Northern Lights, and experiencing the activities with many more photos, bigger photos, and lots of videos to inspire and tempt you.
Over the years we have developed many new breaks and as a result it has become quite hard for you to find your way around the website with so many breaks to choose from. The new website has been restructured so the different types of breaks and destinations are much clearer.
We have also for the first time added Norway to our portfolio. With the call for more autumn Aurora Holidays Norway was an obvious destination as an alternative to Iceland which also has strong Northern Lights in the autumn.
Whilst Iceland offers dramatic volcanic landscape and truly exciting adventure superjeep tours, Norway offers spectacular fjords and mountains that drop right into the sea.
Greenland is developing as a winter northern lights destination with more and more people combining Iceland and Greenland in one break so as to experience the full range of Volcanic wonders of Geysers, Rift valleys, Glaciers, Volcanoes, Icebergs, Snowmobiling and Husky Dog Sledding with the Inuits to remote settlements.
Swedish Lapland continues to be a Northern Lights Trip favourite with superb activities during the day to entertain you, and a high chance of seeing the Northern Lights at Abisko, called the Northern Lights Capital of Europe. The Husky Sledding and Snowmobiling really is the very best.
So with four aurora destinations we want to make sure we have made it as easy as possible for you to chose where you want to go to so as to help focus your search.
We have written a destination guide which covers everything from activities that you would undertake, expected weather, departure airports, food you should expect to eat, and accommodation by destination. It’s totally free for you to download, with no obligation, so you can peruse at your leisure to help you plan your Northern Lights Adventure.
We are here to help guide you and craft that perfect Northern Lights experience for you. Do give us a call on 01722 744695.
Some people like the idea of a cruise, visiting different places on the way and being able to see the lights from the deck of the ship. There are then those who would prefer to stay on land in a hotel and take a trip out to appreciate the lights instead.
However, the question for the uninitiated is: where are the best places to visit to really appreciate the aurora borealis and get some truly breathtaking views?
The very name of this country is in fact misleading, and indeed there is the well-known joke that Greenland and Iceland should swap names as Iceland can be very green, with the snow and ice focusing on the Glaciers. Having said that Iceland is full of volcanoes and lava fields. This gives it a rugged, harsh look and makes it a very dramatic back drop for seeing the Northern Lights.
Out in the countryside in the South of Iceland, you’ll have an unreserved view of the sky, giving you some fantastic chances to take pictures of the very reason you came to visit; the Northern Lights. The area around Hella is particularly good as it has little artificial light to interfere with the Northern Lights, and has a great incidence of sightings of the Aurora Borealis. There is a great 4 star Hotel option in this area with a superb restaurant, as well as a wilderness cabin for those looking to enjoy the peace and serenity on their own. In the North of Iceland you get away from the crowds and have the opportunity to enjoy the Aurora in isolation over waterfalls and a quiet estuary.
It’s not all about looking up at the sky in Iceland though. The snowy, mountainous areas are perfect for enjoying various adventurous activities like ice climbing with crampons, snowmobiling on the Glaciers and amazing off road Super Jeep tours with an experienced local guide right in the heart of the wilderness, and away from others.
Iceland is also famous for its Gullfoss Waterfall and the Strokkur Geyser, which erupts about every 5 minutes, as well as its black volcanic beaches and extraordinary volcanic landscape in the north. Whilst the best time to see whales is in the summer with an incidence of sightings at 90%, winter sightings are also high with an average of 70-75% and non summer Whale Watching is now increasing in popularity with the best sightings in the Aurora Season at either end near the equinoxes in March and October. You’ll get spectacular views of the Icelandic nature whatever time of the year you visit, so be sure to pack a good camera.
One of the most popular places to visit in Iceland is the Blue Lagoon. This thermal spa is situated near the capital city of Reykjavik and simply cannot be missed. The water temperature is around 37 to 39 degrees Celsius, making it a stark contrast to the fresh, crisp air temperature. A most pleasurable way to spend the afternoon is having an in water massage followed by a steam bath or sauna.
To see all our Iceland Northern Lights Breaks
Sweden and Lapland
This is one of the most popular places to visit; with various cities and villages giving great views of the Northern Lights.
Abisko is found in the north of Sweden, 300 kms above the Arctic Circle, and is a tourist attraction ideal for Northern Lights hunters. Due to its unique climate it has the highest incidence of seeing the Northern Lights in Sweden, if not in the whole of the region.You can take a snowmobile or a pack of huskies on a sled out over the frozen rivers and lakes, away from the light-pollution caused in the cities and towns. This wilderness will give you the perfect open space to chase the Aurora and get the best possible views.
Professional photographers often frequent the region so you may be able to pick up some tips on how best to capture the Northern Lights. Alternatively an evening in the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko is a wonderful way to see the northern lights. The IceHotel near Kiruna is worth including on your trip to Sweden. Made entirely of ice and snow, this hotel was the first of its kind to exist.
Visit the IceBar for a relaxing drink as a completely alternative setting to what you’re used to, and if you go at the right time of year, you may glimpse the Northern Lights here as well.
For the ultimate Northern Lights hunter -do the coast to coast adventure. Start off in Lulea in Swedish Lapland and take a snowmobile over the frozen Archipelago. There are some great opportunities to go ice fishing here, while the vast open plains are fantastic for spotting the northern lights. You can then move on to Sorbyn further inland and spot wild reindeer.
There’s also a chance to stay in the special aurora camp located in the Rane River valley; a truly unique experience for the more adventurous holidaymaker. Then make your way across the Arctic Circle to Abisko where you not only have the Northern Lights but you can try your hand at ice climbing in this vast National Park or ice fishing on Lake Tornetrask. When you finally reach the Norwegian Fjords, another train ride away, you’ll get some breathtaking views of the mountains and have the chance to ask the locals about the Northern Lights.
To see our Northern Lights Trips to Sweden
This emerging destination is a very special place. Can you imagine anything more spectacular than watching the Northern Lights over gigantic Icebergs in the north west of Greenland in Ilulissat?
With numbers limited by very small flight capacity this destination remains a spectacular foray into true wilderness, though equally boasts the most northerly 4 star hotel in the world!
Take a Husky Safari with a Innuit to a remote hunting settlement during the day or go on a snowmobile safari or ice shoe walk in the wilderness as you wait for the evening and the display of Auroras!
To see our Aurora Adventures in Greenland
Norwegian Lapland was put on the map by Joanna Lumley. The scenery is truly some of the most spectacular with dramatic mountains, fjords and the Northern Lights reflected in the sea. Whale watching has also become a popular pastime in the Fjords with autumn being the prime time for viewings of both whales and northern lights.
To see our Norwegian Lapland Aurora Breaks
The Northern Lights can be viewed in a number of different places around the northern hemisphere and the location you choose will largely depend on the type of holiday you want. If you’re after an action-packed, white-knuckle adventure, you’ll have a different idea of what you expect than if you want a relaxing, chilled-out hotel stay with some spectacular views.
Whatever you’re seeking, you’re sure to find it in one of these places. Just be sure to wrap up warm and take your camera; these are some sights you’ll never want to forget.
There are three main types of travel. The first are the beach holidays. Flights, car hire and a hotel/villa and you’re all set. These are great for when you just want to get away and have a relaxing break. They are perfect for those that don’t want to plan and just decide as they go what they do with tomorrow. This is the sort of trip for someone who wants to keep full control of their schedule. They are simple, easy trips. Pick a beautiful location and half an hour on Expedia, and it’s all done.
The second category is the full set tour package. Whether it is a case of you travelling alone, wanting to meet new people, or whether you are just unsure how to put together everything you want to do, these are the breaks for those wanting someone else to plan out the A’s to B’s. It could be a case of too much to organise or just not knowing how. City breaks are easy to organise, but how about a trip to the arctic on a northern lights holiday? How do you organise a husky sled tour? Or maybe you are travelling around. Organising a trip to the arctic Circle would be quite daunting for most people. This is where the tour package excels; it gives you effortless travel without the worry. Trying to arrange this sort of trip would feel like a comparison search for new car insurance at the end of the day, and that rather defeats the point of a wonderful holiday!But there is a downside to the second category. What if you don’t get on with everyone in the group and you spend part of your coach or cruise trying to avoid set people? Also, it means many early starts, which feels contradictory taking into account that for a few days/week etc you want to escape the alarm clock! Lastly, whilst you’re happy to get up early for a tour you are looking forward to, there are always parts of the ground programme you have no interest in, and that’s when getting out of bed early, packing the case and checking out of your hotel to be driven to the next place, just feels like too much hard work.
Onto category three. At Weekend a la Carte most of our clients have done many of the previous types of trips, and they know what they want. This includes hassle-free travel and to be looked after, but not to be part of a group and have no say on their itinerary. Everything we do is bespoke travel, reaching from an African Big 5 Safari, Venice Carnival package, Northern Lights trips, to city breaks. We know you want control of your holiday, but we also know you want someone else to work on the finer details. Most of our travellers are celebrating special birthdays and wedding anniversaries. These are our forte. We know how to make your trip special. You won’t be waiting for others to get on the bus, we won’t take you places you have no interest in, your hotel won’t be away from all the local sights
The travel dates, hotels and duration are for you to decide. We are very flexible! We have many clients who want us to arrange ground only and then leave them to their devices, and if you want a second snowmobile trip or a extra night at the wilderness cabin, we can do this. We have been doing it for thirteen years, and are constantly looking at ways to improve our breaks, extensions being one of the main ways. We really do have something for everyone. Why not take a look?
Weekend a la Carte – a chocolate box of trips including Slovenia, Russia, Prague, Jordan, India and Vienna.
Aurora Nights – northern lights inspired trips to Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Greenland.
Italian Short Breaks – Verona Opera, Venice Orient Express Train, Venice Carnival and the Siena Palio.
The Big 5 Safari Company – South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia.
Now the only hard part is for you to decide where your next adventure takes you!