Let’s cross something off your bucket list this winter.
Go see the Northern Lights. You know: God’s light show.
We found a company that’ll lead the way — in appropriately luxe style. Think five-star igloos and ice hotels, along with chauffeured bubble sleds.
You know, the way God intended.
They’re called Off the Map Travel, and they curate plush Arctic adventures. Just now, they’ve debuted several new VIP journeys centered around the ol’ “celestial lava lamp” (as writer Nigel Tisdall once dubbed it).
Side note: If you’re not familiar with the Northern Lights (aka the Aurora borealis), it’s basically the world’s most incredible natural light display, a collision between gaseous particles in our atmosphere colliding with charged particles from the sun’s atmosphere. That collision releases an array of arcing reds, greens, purples and blues, all best witnessed near the magnetic poles (in the Southern hemisphere’s version, you’d be talking about the Aurora australis).
Anyway, this means going somewhere ridiculously cold in the middle of winter. But Off the Map wants to make your chills pleasant.
Their new programs are as follows.
Arctic Animals and Aurora: Good for adventurous families. Start your journey on a boat through Norway’s fjords with whale-watching led by a marine biologist. End with a trip to the world’s most northerly wildlife refuge, Polar Park. Here, you’ll get up close and personal with a myriad of amazing predators, including brown bears, arctic foxes and reindeer. And wolves, which you can kiss. You’ll also engage in Northern Lights hunts across the frozen tundra. (October 10-November 15)
The Aurora Bubble Sled : A cozy private tour. See the Lights in the warmth of a heated, transparent “Aurora Bubble Sled” that glides through the wilderness behind a snowmobile. You can stay overnight in the heated bubble as well. Great for couples. (December 2016-March 2017)
VIP Aurora Borealis Tour: Because seeing something magnificent deserves staying somewhere magnificent, as our just-made-up theory goes. Stay in palatial lodgings in Swedish Lapland (private jacuzzi and sauna included), and take part in a tailor-made itinerary of dogsled driving, ice fishing, ice carving, reindeer sledding, snowshoeing and a “private Sami reindeer experience.” (December 2016-March 2017)
There are plenty of other itineraries: you can stay in an igloo of your own design, add on a four-course Arctic banquet (reindeer roasts and lingonberry compote for everyone!), herd reindeer, trek with actual space physicists and go on a meditation/yoga retreat .
Or, stay in the hand-crafted ice suites of the famous ICEHOTEL — which, as of this November, is open 365 days a year. OTMT offers an interesting double trip here, where you’ll visit both on the shortest (December 21) and longest day of the year (June 21).
Time to light up your winter.