Imagine riding a snowmobile through a snow-dusted forests, driving a team of huskies along frozen mountain trails. Picture yourself watching the Northern Lights from your private glass igloo or sleeping on a bed of ice, carved by hand. These are the experiences that will make your Scandinavian adventure stand out from the crowd.
To help you plan, our specialists have picked out their top five cold-weather experiences and the holidays that showcase them best.
This is real bucket-list stuff. Seeing the Northern Lights dance across dark winter skies is an experience that will live with you forever. And, with a season lasting right from September through to April, there are plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of the aurora at destinations right across the Northern Hemisphere, from Iceland to Svalbard and Canada’s Arctic provinces. Our top tip? Check into a glass igloo in Finnish Lapland for your own, private display.
For those living north of the Arctic Circle, the humble husky sled is a mode of winter transport that’s been around for centuries. For us visitors, however, it’s a truly thrilling way of exploring winter’s frozen landscapes. Yes, you can opt to ride as a passenger, but there’s nothing that beats the thrill of mushing the pack yourself. To really make the most of the experience, book a full day out on the sled, pausing for a campfire lunch where your guide will share stories of life in the wilderness.
Swap paw power for horsepower with an adrenaline-pumping snowmobile ride. For a genuine slice of adventure, head out at night, taking in forests trails and frozen lakes by the power of headlights as you pause in the depths of the wilderness for hot drinks and, hopefully, to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. In terms of excitement, there’s not much that comes close.
Scandinavia’s winter landscapes have a certain tranquillity that you just don’t find in other parts of the world. In fact, when you get right out into nature, the thick layers of snow carpeting the ground and trees creates an almost eerie silence. To make the most of this unmatched peace and quiet, you can’t get better than a snowshoe hike. This traditional form of footwear offers the chance to following in the footsteps of Arctic adventurers of old, breaking new ground as you leave the beaten trails far behind.
Alongside all of those outdoor adventures, there’s also an indoor one that’s simply not to be missed. Dotted throughout northern Norway and Finland, ice and snow hotels have been offering nights in the freezer for some 30 years, ever since the original ICEHOTEL first welcomed guests back in 1989. Today, these accommodation icons are nothing short of works of art, serving up themed rooms cared to perfection by the world’s leading ice artists. What’s more, if you’re unsure about an entire night on a bed of ice, Sweden’s scene-starter now offers deluxe suites, where en-suite warm rooms come complete with sauna and freestanding bath. Cheating? We certainly won’t think any less of you.