Plus, 9 other great spots to catch the elusive Aurora borealis.
Whether or not you’re a “bucket-list kind of a person,” you probably still consider the northern lights a must-see experience. For those of us who dwell at lower latitudes, the aurora borealis is one of the most exciting and spectacular natural phenomena we can witness. Even those lucky enough to see the ghost lights regularly agree that the sight of those mad, silent, and mysterious electric lights dancing across the northern sky is special. It’s worth braving the harsh Arctic winters and short, dark days just to see them.
But hold on to your wool hats: The experience can get even more outstanding.
The aurora borealis may be worth the cold, but imagine spending the night out under the northern stars, protected by your own heated bubble. We’re not talking igloos here—from December through April, you can spend the night in a personal, snowmobile-pulled, transparent-roofed mobile hotel room for the coziest and most creative northern lights viewing experience imaginable. The “Aurora Bubble Sled” (pictured at top) from Off the Map Travel—a U.K.-based travel company that specializes in personalized, private northern lights experiences—is an extraordinary twist on an iconic experience.
Off the Map offers an overnight in the sled as part of its Lapland Aurora program, which introduces travelers to the wonders of northern Finland’s wilderness. The tailored trip is based in Kilpisjärvi, which sits right on the border of Sweden, Finland, and Norway, at 69 degrees north (borealis junkies will know that latitude as one of the most ideal for northern lights viewing), and can include other classic arctic activities such as a wild reindeer tour, ice fishing, and snowshoeing.
So how does that tiny pod stay warm? The sled-mounted bubble built for two is encased in see-through polycarbonate and lined with beanbags. A thermostat-controlled heating system means that not only will you stay warm, but you’ll stay at the exact temperature that you find most comfortable. And while you don’t have to commit to a full (and clearly romantic) overnight, why wouldn’t you? Overnight guests are provided with sleeping bags and traditional reindeer skins to ensure that they stay extra warm after their snowmobile driver departs for the night.
The Aurora Bubble Sled is available as part of the Lapland Aurora program from December through April. From $1,375 for four days and three nights.