June 1, 2015 | The Aurora Zone
If Northern Lights holidays normally conjure up images of snow-clad trees and frozen lakes, think again. There’s actually a better time to go and hunt for the elusive aurora – autumn.
There are many alluring reasons to venture north of the Arctic Circle this autumn, into the Lappish wilderness. First and foremost, the temperatures are warmer, making any long waits for the dancing green lights much more comfortable. The changing season is also a beautiful phenomenon, transforming from ruska – the spectacular displays of autumn leaf colour blanketing Lapland’s vast forests each autumn – into a white wilderness.
For aurora hunters the autumn season brings other benefits, too: snow clouds have not yet gathered in earnest so the skies are much clearer, the lack of snow on the ground means the skies will be darker – all the better to showcase the Northern Lights – and the unfrozen lakes allow for beautiful multi-coloured reflections on the water – a photographer’s dream.
Combine Aurora hunts with a range of activities this autumn with one of these trips:
Wilderness cooking, Aurora campfire, Pallas National Park hike, FINLAND
Witness some of the highlights of the region, from the fabulous views on a hike through Pallas National Park, to getting up close to huskies and reindeer. Enjoying the great outdoors is a fundamental way of life for locals, which will often involve preparing food over an open fire. Testing your own culinary skills is thus a must, with the opportunity to cook up some lunch in the traditional style, preparing local dishes and cooking over the fire. At night, head out in a minibus for Aurora hunts with a guide, who will consult weather forecasts and Aurora activity levels prior to setting off to determine the best possible route for your search.
Departing 22 October or 5 November, the four-night Torassieppi Autumn Aurora Hunt costs £1,045 pp (two sharing) and includes flights (London), transfers, full-board hotel accommodation, activities as listed in the itinerary, cold-weather clothing and guides.
Blue Lagoon, glaciers and geysers, ICELAND
Known as the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’, volcanoes, glaciers, geysers and hot springs are just some of the wonders that are included on this exciting trip. With the services of a driver guide, there’s the opportunity to marvel at the waterfalls of Gulfoss and Skogofoss, to witness the erupting hot springs at Geysir – the largest of which spouts boiling water metres into the air every few minutes – and to see the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Travel close to the Myrdalsjokull Glacier and bathe in the mystical Blue Lagoon, enjoy a dedicated super jeep tour to hunt for the Northern Lights and stay in the famed Aurora hotspot, Hotel Ranga. Optional activity additions include an Aurora Floating Tour, snorkelling between two tectonic plates and a glacier hike.
Departing 15 October, 5 & 19 November, the four-night Iceland – Natural Wonders and Northern Lights trip costs from £1,792 pp (two sharing) and includes flights (London), transfers, full-board hotel accommodation, activities as listed in the itinerary and guides.
Photography, outdoor hot tubs and hikes, NORWAY
In autumn, the best way to explore is on foot. Discover the spectacular wilderness of Abisko on a hike, through several local beauty spots and to the lakes, one of which is said to have the clearest waters in all of Sweden. Abisko sits on the edge of a national park and nestles at the bottom of a rugged mountain – whichever route is taken, it’s sure to be a beautiful walk. Journey beyond the mountains and over the border into Norway, where you’ll head to the town of Narvik with its dramatic coastline. In the evening, a local photography guide will take you out to try and capture the Northern Lights. Other Aurora activities include a minibus hunt and an Aurora hike after a soak in one of the lodge’s outdoor hot tubs. Extend your stay with a night in Stockholm or in the famous Treehotel – a spectacular piece of architecture high up in the trees.
Departing 22 October, 5 November & 19 November, the four-night Abisko – Autumn Auroras trip costs £1,365 pp (two sharing) and includes flights (London), transfers, full-board mountain lodge accommodation, activities as listed in the itinerary, cold-weather clothing and guides.