Iceland’s capital Reykjavik is an arty, edgy place, with a lively creative scene. It’s also one of the only major cities far enough north to get a good view of the lights, making it a great base for trips to the more remote interior. Try hiring a modified superjeep and heading out to track down the lights. Regent Holidays’ itineraries also take in the geothermal waters of the famous Blue Lagoon and the volcanic Eyjafjallajökull glacier, where the lights can be even brighter. Don’t miss Pingvellir National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site, and Alþingi, seat of the world’s first democratic parliament, founded by Vikings in 930 AD.
Best For: relaxing in a geothermal spa as you drink in the celestial spectacle.
The world’s largest non-continental island experiences the northern lights all year round, but the midnight sun of the Greenlandic summer means they’re mostly invisible between April and August. Visit outside of then though, and you’ll find a remote, often desolate, but starkly beautiful nation. Regent Holidays will arrange for you to stay in Kangerlussuaq, one of the best places to see the lights thanks to its clear skies (on average, the town has more than 300 cloudless days a year). It sits on the boundary between the green coast and the blues of the icecap, so you can spend your days exploring the fjords before embarking on a husky trek deep into the interior to hunt out the lights.
Before you leave, make sure you visit Roklubben: Kangerlussuaq’s best restaurant specialises in the use of local ingredients, and the chef there makes some uniquely delicious schnapps based on seasonal herbs and spices.
Best For: experiencing an authentic way of life in one of the world’s more remote regions.