5 reasons to consider a winter adventure holiday
That grand stretch in the evenings is officially over. The autumn bite is in the air, and we’re just weeks away from turning the storage heater up to 11.
While winter means hibernation in Ireland – box sets, hot chocolates and hotter water bottles – there is another way.
We’re talking about winter wonderlands. Places with once-in-a-lifetime sights that’ll have you choosing a snow field over a beach for the rest of your life. With 2013 being a spectacular year to see the Aurora Borealis, plus whale watching, dog sledding and cross-country skiing, winter will never mean a box set again.
1. 2013 is the best year to see Northern Lights
The Aurora Borealis is Mother Nature’s most spectacular sight; the blockbuster of the natural world. It’s actually solar particles colliding with atmospheric gases that create the rippling flares of light across the sky – and now is the best time to see it.
Scientists in NASA predict that the solar activity will peak in December 2013; creating the best conditions for seeing the Northern Lights in the next decade. The place to see it is between latitudes 65 to 72 degrees. We recommend Finland and Iceland for crisp, clear nights of cloudless skies.
Bring. A. Camera.
2. City lights dazzle too
Stay somewhere with a great nightlife and restaurant scene to keep you occupied when there are clouds in the sky. Iceland leads the way on this. Blame it on the local beer, schnapps or late opening hours, but the nightlife of capital city Reykjavik is legendary. They also seem to have a festival on every second weekend.
3. You haven’t hiked until you’ve hiked a volcano
You have probably heard of Eyjafjallajökull. In fact, you probably cursed the ash-spewing, aircraft-grounding volcano back in 2010. It’s time to forgive, and to climb. Known as one of the best day hikes in the world, you’ll get views of Iceland’s mountains, glaciers and coastline on the way up. The route even requires crossing a glacier, and you might be able to ski back down.
4. Try cross-country skiing
Forget the pistes and resorts, cross-country is an authentic and exhilarating winter adventure, with no worry of chair lifts queues. Those not keen on the dangers and physical toll of downhill skiing often go cross-country. It also offers more time to admire the incredible changing scenery of canyons, open vistas and coppices. Trails go through charming villages, a perfect stop for an authentic smoke sauna.
5. Creatures that put the ‘wild’ in wildlife
Avert your gaze from the blue lagoons, smoking volcanoes and hulking glaciers, and there are some incredible creatures running around. Iceland is very popular for its whale-spotting; winter brings Orcas, humpbacks, Minke whales and dolphins. Pop into Husavik's Whale Museum while you’re there.
In the Arctic Circle, travelling in style means a dog sled pulled by huskies. A dog-sledding adventure in Finland will mean driving your own ‘dog team’ through an isolated national park of pine forests and frozen lakes. No one to hear you shout ‘mush’ every five minutes.
We’re experts on winter adventures, so if you want to finally see the Northern Lights or try a cross-country ski, give one of our adventure specialists Colette, Monica or Karen a call on 01 8047188. Or check out our website
for more information or for the latest offers