The Big Six: Nordic retreats
Northern Lights, rustic rooms, viewing bubbles, canvas walls, saunas and luxury domes
Saturday 16 November 2013
Aurora Safari Camp Sweden
Photographer Fredrik Broman opened this camp within the remote reaches of Swedish Lapland earlier this year. He selected the spot in the Rane River Valley for its natural beauty and lack of light pollution, making it ideal for glimpsing the Northern Lights and also for photography tours, which Broman now runs from the camp. You'll spend nights holed up in one of five tepee-like Lavvu Rooms, furnished with roaring wood-burning stoves for warmth, and head out during the day for snowshoe treks or wildlife drives – both of which are included in the price.
Aurora Safari Camp, Sweden (00 46 70 655 7966; aurorasafaricamp.com). Double tepees SEK7,500 (£728), half board with excursions.
The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard is one of the most extreme corners of the planet that's still easily accessible from the UK. The main accommodation provider here is Basecamp Spitsbergen, which has four lodges dotted around the main island. Its latest addition is Nordenskiold, an electricity-free former hunting cabin, that stands beside a glacier. Accessible only by boat, dog sled or snowmobile, it has five rustic rooms, a sauna and stunning views of the Arctic scenery.
Nordenskiold, Svalbard, Norway (00 47 79 02 46 00; basecampspitsbergen.com). Four nights from NOK14,600pp (£1,532), all-inclusive with excursions.
Aurora Bubble Finland
Northern Lights specialist, Aurora Zone, has opened two camps of semi-transparent "bubbles" in Finland this year. The first is in Nellim, 10km shy of the Russian border. The second is in Kakslauttanen. Both are firmly within the Arctic Circle, offering spectacular winter scenery and access to untainted night skies. Whichever you choose, you'll spend days out adventuring, then lie in bed at night with, if you're lucky, the region's seasonal spectacular dancing overhead.
Aurora Bubble, Nellim/Kakslauttanen, Finland (01670 785 012; theaurorazone.com). Four nights from £1,710pp, full board, with excursions and flights.
Canvas Hotel Norway
The Canvas Hotel stands amid the forested hills of southern Norway's scenic Telemark county. Located beside a lake, it offers nine Mongolian-style yurts, with thick canvas walls, heavy-set double beds and log fires. The owners picked this spot in 2005 for its mountain-biking potential and they have since developed a network of swing bridges, elevated trails and singletracks that extends for 100 kilometres around the camp. After a day out exploring, relax in the lakeside spa and cauldron-like hot tubs.
Canvas Hotel, Nissedal, Telemark, Norway (00 47 95 938 337; canvashotel.no). Double yurts from NOK1,650 (£173), B&B.
Aurora House Finland
The Davvi Arctic Lodge is due to launch this new retreat later this month. Set in the heart of the hotel's grounds, on a quiet, secluded hillside in the village of Karesuando, the Aurora House promises to be a more stylish affair, with one suite and several other superior or double rooms enclosed within. Underfloor heating, free-standing baths, saunas and fold-down double beds will feature, making the rooms ideal for couples or families. It is available to book via tour operator Transun.
Aurora House, Karesuvanto, Finland (01865 565 806; transun.co.uk). Three nights from £1,179pp, full board, with excursions and flights.
Luxury Camp Iceland
For those with cash to splash, tailormade travel company Carrier has launched this luxury dome in Iceland. One of the benefits of forking out a small fortune is that you get to choose where you camp: be it within sight of a glacier, beside some geothermal springs or above a lava field. Head out on private excursions during the day, then return for chef-cooked meals and solitude in your double-bedded dome, which comes with heaters, lights and even a loo.
Luxury Camp, Iceland (0161 826 3496; carrier.co.uk). Nightly from £7,330pp, half board with excursions and flights.
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