See Winter's Northern Lights

Experiencing the most vivid displays of the green and purple bands of light that dance across the night sky requires traveling to remote locations near the magnetic poles. But that doesn't mean you can't travel in style.

See the Northern Lights—the Aurora borealis—this winter in comfort on an Off the Map Travel Northern Lights trip. Experiencing the most vivid displays of the green and purple bands of light that dance across the night sky requires traveling to remote locations near the magnetic poles. Off the Map’s guided private and small group trips go to prime viewing spots in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Canada.

Forget about roughing it. In Sweden opt to stay in a hotel room or in a heated cabin with a kitchen. In Norway, overnight in a fisherman’s cabin with heated floors plus a hot tub and in Finland stay in cabins, some of which have their own saunas.

When I caught the northern lights by chance as part of a Canada polar bear safari with another company, I bedded down on a shelf in a just-above-freezing tundra buggy. Awakened by a fierce wind storm, I went outside, stood on a platform rocked by the violent gales and was instantly mesmerized by the undulating ribbons of colored light.

With an Off the Map tour you go to spots known for their predictable and dazzling night displays and during the day, you discover more winter adventures. Off the Map custom designs its trips to cater to your interests.

Try ice fishing, ice climbing, and caving as well as snowshoeing and reindeer sledding in Sweden’s Abisko National Park and in Bjorkliden. Add whale watching and cross country skiing in Norway plus glide through the snowy woods on reindeer or dog sleds in Norway and Finland. Trips depart between December and April.

Jeep tours to waterfalls and soaks in natural geothermal pools plus horseback riding fill out an Iceland itinerary. Snowmobiling, hiking, dog sledding and snowshoe tours are some of the ways to explore Canada’s Yukon. Trips depart between September and April.

Festivals and Retreats

• Aurora Festival: Find out the science and the myth behind the Northern Lights at this inaugural festival that gathers experts and enthusiasts. Bjorkliden, Swedish Lapland, Jan. 15-17, 2016

• Northern Lights for the Soul: At this four-day retreat, combine viewing the Northern Lights with yoga and meditation sessions. The aim is to leave “feeling energized and touched by the Northern Lights.” Kilpisjärvi, Finland, March 7-11, 2016.

Off the Map Travel can be reached at its website, or by calling 0800 566-8901 (free via Skype). Check out this video of the Northern Lights, from Lights Over Lapland:

Aurora Borealis in Swedish Lapland. February 21st, 2014 from Lights Over Lapland on Vimeo.