Combine viewing the northern lights with wildlife spotting, snowmobiling and more on these exciting short breaks
Winter adventure, Saariselka, Finland
Snowmobiles, cross country skis and husky or reindeer sleds provide the means of transport to explore the wilds of northern Finland on this active winter holiday. In the evenings you can relax in cosy Muotka Lodge, and clear your pores in its Finnish sauna. Anyone looking for a final burst of adventure can finish the evenings with a freezing plunge into a nearby river. Thoroughly refreshing stuff.
• 01737 214 250, discover-the-world.co.uk, three, four or six nights from £1,256pp (two sharing) including flights via Helsinki, full-board accommodation, activities and winter clothing, departures until 15 April 2014
Northern lights and wildlife, Norway
The rugged Vesterålen Islands will provide the setting for this photo safari in Norway, where you will be hunting animals with your camera by day, and the aurora borealis by night. The picturesque islands, known as Norway in miniature, are famous for their wildlife, including whales, seals, moose and eagles.
• 0845 287 7626, exodus.co.uk, five days from £1,949pp, including flights and full-board accommodation, departing 2 and 9 February and 9 March 2014
Northern lights and igloo hotel, Norway
The Sorrisniva hotel in Alta, northern Norway, is the closest most people will get to staying in an igloo. Built each winter (it melts by spring), the hotel has 30 rooms in which you can snuggle up in sleeping bags on top of reindeer-leather sleeping pads. Visitors also get to check out the cultural sights of Alta, the largest town in the Finnmark region, such as as the stunning Cathedral of the Northern Lights.
• 0845 166 7003, vjv.com, four nights from £1,195pp (two sharing), including B&B accommodation, activities and flights
Arctic activities, Sweden
A night at the Aurora Safari Camp will the highlight of this winter break in Swedish Lapland, where visitors eat dinner around a roaring fire, sleep in tipis and, with any luck, get to gaze up at the northern lights. The other days will be spent at the lakeside village of Sorbyn, zipping around on snowmobiles and husky sleds and feasting on cloudberries, reindeer meat and mushrooms.
• 020 8758 4722, sunvil.co.uk, four nights from £1,619pp including flights via Stockholm, full-board accommodation in Sorbyn and dinner, bed and breakfast at the Aurora Safari Camp
Northern lights at Glymur, Iceland
Surrounded by horizon-spanning views and open skies, the boutique Hotel Glymur in Iceland offers a great chance to spot the northern lights – not least because of its optional wake-up service should the aurora appear. This self-drive package gives you time to explore some of the area’s stunning geographical features, such as the lava field waterfalls of Hraunfossar and the country’s largest area of hot springs.
• 01737 214 250, discover-the-world.co.uk, three nights from £325pp (two sharing) including B&B accommodation and car hire but not flights. Icelandair (icelandair.co.uk) flies from Gatwick to Reykjavik from £186 return
Get close to wolves in Harstad, Norway
Few things are quite as flattering as a kiss on the lips from a wolf. This new trip to Harstad, in the Arctic circle, invites you to get up close to the pack at a polar park, where an expert guide will call them over to greet you with a sniff and a lick. In the evenings you will be able to head off into the Arctic archipelago to hunt for the aurora in a motorboat.
• 01670 785 044, thewhitecircle.com, three nights from £1,795pp (two sharing) including flights, B&B accommodation, four other meals, activities and winter clothing
Aurora in the Sámi heartlands, Finland
Lake Inari, the third-largest lake in Finland, provides a stunning setting for this northern lights holiday, where you will be also learn about Sami culture, visiting sights such as the wilderness church at Pielpajarvi and the ancient sacrificial site on the island of Ukonkivi. During the day there’s a choice of traditional pastimes such as fishing, cross-country skiing and a husky safari, and in the evenings visitors follow walking trails or hop on snowmobiles to reach the best northern lights viewpoints.
• 01670 785 012, theaurorazone.com, four nights from £1,695pp including flights via Helsinki and full-board accommodation
Northern lights with the family, Sweden
Head to Kiruna in northern Sweden to let the kids try a moose safari, visit reindeer or take a dog-sled ride. On this February half-term break, families. stay in a cosy B&B with large picture windows so you can always keep an eye out for the aurora.
• 01274 875199, taberhols.co.uk, three nights from £2,822 for a family of four (two adults and two under-12s), including flights via Stockholm, full-board accommodation, all activities and winter clothing
Husky safari and northern lights, Finland
Get a taste for rural Lapland on this short break that takes you from your snug boutique hotel on an overnight husky safari during which you’ll run a dog sled, eat around a campfire and spend the night in a wilderness cabin. On the final evening you’ll have the option to go aurora hunting, heading out on a snowmobile through marshes and forests.
• 01625 838225, wildlifewilderness.com, three nights from £1,260pp, including flights, full-board accommodation and winter clothing
Northern lights from a plane, UK
For those short of time but long on desire to see the northern lights, these evening excursions from Gatwick and Bournemouth airports offer a chance to view the spectacle without booking a full holiday. On a three-and-a-half-hour flight into Icelandic airspace, expert astronomers – including Pete Lawrence from the BBC1’s The Sky at Night – will guide passengers through the phenomenon.
• 01524 541800, omega-holidays.com, from £200pp, from Gatwick on 23 February 2014 and from Bournemouth from 24 February to 26 March 2014