Eyes on the Skies

Laplandlapland

Tucked away in the far north of Finland, Lapland feels like the end of the earth. And in a way it is: at its extreme tip you’re further north than Canada and most of Alaska. The sense of space in the vast open snowfields gives everything a touch of the otherworldly. With Regent Holidays you have a choice of accommodation, including log cabins, ice houses or glass-roofed igloos. The clean air and lack of light means the night sky is incredibly clear; watching the lights dance as you lie in bed is unforgettable. Spend your days sledding or snowmobiling across the tundra before pulling on your skis and heading into the forests in search of the aurora. If you’re bold enough to brave the elements, try a traditional Finnish smoke sauna, finished off with a leap into the frozen river. From December, you can arrange a stay in the Arctic Tree Hotel in Lapland’s capital, Rovaniemi. Spending a tranquil night among the treetops make for a truly memorable experience.

Best For: snuggling up and enjoying nature’s show.

NorwayLongyearbyen

Statistically, Norway offers your best chance of catching the aurora. That’s because the country has plenty of low-population areas with very little light pollution, which conveniently sit at the right latitude. Spitsbergen is the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago to the north of Norway and home of the world’s most northerly town, Longyearbyen. Lights can appear at any time of the day or night; visit during a cycle of 24-hour darkness so that you can carry on with activities such as dog sledding or a snowmobile or snowcat trek across the icy tundra without having to wait for a show. Tie it in with trips to the Lofoten islands or Tromsø and you’re guaranteed an experience to really write home about.

Best For: an exhilarating aurora borealis experience on the snow.

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