Continuing my series on must-see destinations for 2013, today it’s FINNISH LAPLAND…
One of life’s ‘must-dos’ is witnessing the aurora borealis. It’s one of nature’s most magnificent displays and watching the sky light up with twisting multicoloured rainbows is a thrilling and strangely spiritual experience. If you’ve ever wanted to see the celestial disco first hand, then this is the time to do it as, according to NASA, 2013 will see some of the best displays of the Northern Lights in a decade, due to a predicted upsurge in solar storms.
It also means, of course, that traditional hotspots, such as Norway and Finland, will be hugely popular this year. Our tip is to head to the remote plains of Finnish Lapland. The epic display, that lights up the night sky with glowing greens, reds and purples, is exceptional when it occurs in this remote Arctic region. Because these are naturally occurring phenomenon, though, there are no guarantees, although the best viewing months are considered to be February to March and September to October.
Thankfully, you can get a helping hand with The Aurora Zone’s itineraries (theaurorazone.com), in which you can proactively hunt the Northern Lights using dogsleds, skis, snowshoes and snowmobiles to race to locations where the Borealis have been spotted, or is predicted by advanced geophysical forecasting.
New for 2013 is a seven-night trip to the Finnish Lapland town of Kilpisjärvi. Truly far-flung, it sits by a three-country border with Norway and Sweden and boasts regular Aurora Borealis sightings
If that sounds too much like hard work, head instead to a glass igloo through which you can have a panoramic view of the night sky. Lapland’s Igloo Village (kakslauttanen.fi/en/), at Saariselka, has a choice of glass or snow igloos, an ice bar, ice gallery, an ice chapel and the world’s largest snow restaurant.
This article is part of a longer feature in this month’s The Mayfair Magazine.