Seeing the Northern Lights is, for many, the holiday of a lifetime. These are our favourite spots to witness them - expect the unexpected...
1) Northern Norway
The world's first Northern Lights Observatory, established in 1899, was in Alta, Norway, so sightings are a fairly safe bet here. During daylight hours, try your hand at dog-sledding, snowmobiling or even drysuit diving for huge (and delicious) king crabs.
2) Dog-sledding and the Ice Hotel
Lead a team of Siberian huskies through snow-clad forests and across frozen lakes in Swedish Lapland and stay in private wilderness cabins with zero light pollution for perfect viewing. And if that's not enough, spend another night at the first and best Ice Hotel.
There are more polar bears than people in the desolate Norwegian island territory of Svalbard, deep inside the Arctic Circle. Activities include dog-sledding and snowmobiling as well as ice-caving, and you can enjoy a pint at the world's most northerly pub while waiting for the light show to begin.
4) Icelandic Adventure
Enjoy the weird and wonderful landscapes (and people), and excellent partying potential in the pocket-sized capital Reykjavik, safe in the knowledge that Iceland is the only country on earth where the Northern Lights are visible in every region. …and finally...
5) Rome, Italy
Errrm, excuse me? Yup, those white coat-wearing types at NASA calculate that thanks to the intensity of next year's aurora borealis they might be visible as far south as Rome, so you can peer up and see them while enjoying a nice glass of Montepulciano at a table outside your favourite trattoria.