Ivalo, Finland

Photo: Aurora Village Oy

There are a lot of things you should be doing right now. You should be on a sleigh, a snowmobile, or snowshoes. You should be riding a horse, playing with huskies, or feeding reindeer. You should be learning how to ice fish or perfecting your low-light photography skills. You should be outside.

But you’re not. You’re in your cabin with absolutely no plans on leaving. Why would you? Your cabin looks like an igloo. It has a glass ceiling, whose panels are heated to ensure that ice and snow don’t obstruct the view. At the moment, that view includes droopy pine trees and a half-moon. Hopefully, if you wait long enough, the northern lights will make an appearance.

Photo: Aurora Village Oy

This is the perfect spot to wait for the aurora borealis to dance across the sky. You’re at Aurora Village. The remote hotel has plenty of cozy spots, including fireplaces and saunas, where you can hang out while you wait. The main building is outfitted with wooden furniture and soft fabrics. Meals at Restaurant Loimu start with warm blueberry juice. A dip in the icy river is offset by the steam in the barrel sauna. The glass-roof panorama sauna is a larger alternative if that one is booked. While a comfortable king-size bed, a surprisingly large shower, and an espresso machine await you in your cabin. Cozy, indeed.

Aurora Village is in Ivalo. The Sámi village, above the Arctic Circle, attracts winter sports enthusiasts (Saariselkä, Europe’s northernmost ski resort, is nearby) once the snow starts to fall. That’s all part of Lapland. Finland’s northernmost region is usually associated with Christmas. Santa Claus’ hometown is even believed to be up here. No wonder it feels magical.

It’ll feel even more magical once the colorful streaks start to appear. Until then, though, you don’t plan on doing anything. Well, almost anything. You’ll brew a steaming cup of coffee, turn off the lights, curl up in bed, and stare at the dark sky. Everything else can definitely wait.

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