Flying into the light

Flying into the light

It’s your best chance to witness the natural wonder – this January, climb above the clouds onboard Sweden’s brand new aerial tour of the Northern Lights.

Captivating us with its supernatural appearance, Aurora Borealis is at its brightest in a decade from now until February, due to its solar activity peaking – something which happens only every 11 years.

The amazing multicoloured spectacle is usually viewed from the ground; but now Spaceport Sweden is launching a new flight to give travellers an unrivalled view of the bright fluorescence playing across the sky.

With just nine seats, the hour-long flight is an exclusive one. It departs from Kiruna – the northernmost airport in Sweden – and takes passengers above the clouds, which can often hinder visibility when on land. And, due to the unpredictable nature of the lights, a full refund is offered to passengers if they fail to appear.

The small, Beech 200 makes its maiden flight on 15 January, and is then scheduled to make three more journeys on the 5, 12 and 19 February. But if you don’t manage to get tickets for one of those, you can still charter the jet any time between 1 January and 15 March.

The experience begins with a presentation at the Icehotel (the world’s first and largest ice hotel, pictured), in Swedish Lapland.

Witnessing the spectacular display – which happens when the sun’s solar particles collide with the earth’s atmosphere – is easiest done between September and March, in the limited number of countries within its sight.

You don’t need to get to the North Pole to see it in its prime, as the Auroral Oval (think of it as a colourful halo that circles the top of the earth) means that the nations with the best view are, most notably, the Scandinavian and Arctic regions, as well as some surprising alternatives, such as the western Canadian territory of Yukon and even, on a very clear night, the Shetland Islands in Scotland.

A seat on a flight costs around ?415 (4,305 kroner); chartering the entire aircraft costs around ?3,610 (37,445 kroner). Discover the World offers a three-day break to Swedish Lapland from ?1,093 per person, including flights, a night in a Snow room and two in a Kaamos room at the Icehotel (the Northern Lights flight can be booked in conjunction with this trip). To book contact Discover the World (01737 214291;

Prices for a double room at the Icehotel start from around ?117 (1,250 kroner) per person, per night in the winter season (00 46 980 66 800;

A further step towards space travel

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