The Christmas countdown may have started in earnest but, while the nation’s attention fixes on a few days in December, let’s not forget that the magical Northern Lights season lasts until well after the tinsel has been taken down. The time to book your Aurora escape is now.
Specialist tour operator Kirker Holidays offers tailor-made itineraries to three spectacular Nordic destinations this winter, perfect for discerning travellers with a sense of adventure who are keen to experience one of the world’s most spellbinding natural phenomena for themselves. Whilst there is always an element of luck (and favourable weather conditions) involved in Aurora Borealis sightings, Kirker has chosen remote parts of Iceland and Scandinavia (where light pollution is at a minimum) for its Northern Lights trips. It has also included the invaluable expertise of a local guide to maximise the chance of clients witnessing an unforgettable display first-hand. Each destination has been selected for its spectacular landscapes which, coupled with deep powdery snow and crisp fresh air, make for an unforgettable winter break, whether or not the Aurora make an appearance.
Kirker can tailor-make short breaks and multi-centre itineraries, carefully crafted by its expert team to suit clients’ specific requirements and budgets, across Iceland, Sweden and Norway this winter, including the following sample itineraries:
Reykjavik & the Golden Circle
Enjoy a blend of dramatic scenery, unique natural wonders and aurora hunting as Kirker’s expert guide escorts travellers away from Reykjavik’s city lights in search of the Northern Lights, using local knowledge and weather reports to ascertain the best viewing opportunities. This itinerary includes a full-day tour of Iceland’s ‘Golden Circle’, with its famous geysers and breath-taking waterfalls, as well a thrilling drive on the Langjökull glacier in a custom-designed 4×4 ‘super jeep’. The price is from £1,522 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), private car transfers, three nights’ accommodation with breakfast at the four-star superior Hotel Borg in Reykjavik, an evening Northern Lights excursion and full-day ‘super jeep’ excursion to the Golden Circle, both with local guides.
… with a South Iceland Extension: Add a two-night stay in the rural south of Iceland at the four-star Hotel Ranga, where open-air Jacuzzis provide a luxurious spot from which to view the Northern Lights. A five-night holiday, combining three nights at the Hotel Borg (package as above) with two nights at Hotel Ranga, is from £2,634 pp (two sharing), including private car transfers and a full-day super jeep excursion to the scenic black sands and waterfalls of Iceland’s South Shore with a local guide.
Swedish Lapland & the Ice Hotel
The dark night skies in the heart of Swedish Lapland make this one of the best locations in the world from which to observe the Aurora Borealis, and where better to stay than at the extraordinary Ice Hotel? Spend one night in an ice room (warm clothing and sleeping bags provided), the other two in one of the adjacent ‘warm’ rooms, and your days snowmobiling and dog-sledding or taking a relaxing reindeer sled ride across pristine, snow-clad landscapes. The Northern Lights are often seen over the Ice Hotel but, for the ultimate Aurora hunting experience, take an optional evening excursion to seek them out by snowmobile, dog sled or on horseback. The price is from £1,087 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), transfers and three nights’ accommodation with breakfast at the Ice Hotel in Jukkäsjarvi.
… with a Stockholm extension: Add two nights in stylish Stockholm, strolling the pretty streets of the atmospheric mediaeval old town, Gamla Stan, and sampling fresh Nordic cuisine at one of the city’s many excellent restaurants. A five-night holiday, combining three nights at the Ice Hotel (package as above) with two nights’ accommodation with breakfast at the four-star superior First Reisen, is from £1,529 pp (two sharing), including return private car transfers in Oslo.
The magical Lofoten Islands
Spend three memorable nights in a traditional ‘Rorbu’ cabin (a converted fisherman’s cottage) overlooking the water on the enchanting Lofoten Islands, where two Northern Lights hunting excursions await. The islands’ remoteness and latitude make them an excellent place for catching the Aurora, as well as sightings of some wonderful wildlife, including sea eagles, orca and pilot whales. The price is from £1,597 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), transfers, three nights’ accommodation with breakfast in a Rorbu, and two Aurora hunting excursions with a local guide.
… with an Oslo extension: Add two nights in Norway’s cosmopolitan capital, home to over 50 museums and world-class music venues, including the striking Opera House. A five-night holiday, combining three nights on the Lofoten Islands (package as above) with two nights’ accommodation with breakfast at the five-star deluxe Hotel Continental, is from £2,172 pp (two sharing), including private car transfers in Oslo.
Get even closer to the beautiful shores of Norway on a Hurtigruten winter cruise, taken either as an extension to one of the short breaks above or enjoyed as a stand-alone trip. Suitable for discerning travellers who want to explore Norway’s fascinating coastline and abundance of wildlife aboard a comfortable, intimate working vessel (rather than take a ‘typical’ cruise), there are a number of itineraries from which to choose, weaving in cultural city sightseeing or activities such as dog-sledding during shore stops as required. For winter departures, Kirker recommends a four-night voyage from picturesque Bergen to Norway’s Arctic capital, Tromso. A seven-night holiday costs from £1,749 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), four nights on board the ship from Bergen to Tromso, one night’s accommodation in Bergen and two nights in Tromso, staying in four-star Kirker hotels.
For more information or to book, call Kirker Holidays’ expert team on 020 7593 2283 or visit www.kirkerholidays.com.