When it comes to witnessing wonders of the natural world, you don’t always have to travel to the end of the Earth to experience it.
For this instalment of Stay or Away, we present two options when it comes to marvelling at the Northern Lights – whether it requires hopping on an aeroplane for a luxe getaway, or keeping it simple by opting for a staycation.
STAY – ISLE OF SKYE
Experiencing the natural phenomena of the Northern Lights need not come with a Scandinavian price tag. The theatrical performances of the Aurora Borealis that have captured the awe of mankind for millennia often frequent the skies of Scotland with cameo appearances.
One such parterre for viewing is the Isle of Skye on Scotland’s North West coast. Famed for its rugged landscape, wild heather, glistening lochs and ambient moorlands, the Isle of Skye is a wild, natural wonder from earth to sky and is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s most breathtaking landscapes.
The largest and most northern island in the Inner Hebrides, Skye has close similar latitude to Stavanger in Norway and Nunivak Island in Alaska: this, paired the unpolluted skies make the Isle of Skye the ideal stage for an otherworldly viewing the Northern Lights right here in the UK.
Step back from the humdrum of daily life with a relaxed stay at a Skye Eco Pod. Ideal for a romantic stay, these eco-friendly pods are scattered across unsullied countryside with the peaceful community of Minginish. On the doorstep of the mighty Cuillin Mountains, these pods are ideal for those wishing to explore the spiritual heartland of Skye.
By day, dive into timeless romanticism and explore some of Skye’s on-the-ground wonders. venture to the Neist Point Lighthouse, one of the most famous lighthouses designed by David Alan Stevenson or The Old Man of Storr, a captivating landscape formed as a result of an ancient landslide and now one of the most photographed landscapes in the world.
For the perfect date, pay a visit to the Taliskar Distillery before indulging in fresh oysters and delectable seafood at The Oyster Café. Finish off with a viewing of the celestial alchemy that adorns the one of Skye’s Dark Sky Discovery Sites.
Whether tagging it on to a larger Scottish road trip or just spending a couple of days in retreat, the Isle of Skye will enchant your sense of adventure and reawaken your love of the natural world.
AWAY – TENERIFE
The largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, off the West Coast of Africa, Tenerife isn’t all beach resorts and wellness retreats. Officially named a Starlight Tourist Destination and starlight reserve, Tenerife, and most specifically Tenerife’s Teide National Park, offer tourists a splash of sparkling constellations on a nightly basis.
With the Sahara Desert on one side and the wild Atlantic Ocean on the other, Tenerife is uniquely placed for a stargazing experience that rivals even that of Atacama Desert, Chile and Death Valley National Park, California. The craggy peaks of the island, away from the light polluted urban areas of the island guarantee the best astrological experience.
Teide National Park is a unique geological treasure: by day it’s an impressive array of shapes, colours and shadows delivered by the park’s volcanoes, smoking craters and lava flows, by night it’s the best amphitheatre to sit back and enjoy one of Europe’s most spectacular cosmic shows.
Such grand experiences demand ultra-luxury digs, particularly for the discerning traveller who wishes to reap the benefits of Tenerife’s pristine coastlines and skies. Gran Villa, a five-bedroom luxury dwelling situated within the Chayofa Hills with easy access to Teide and Los Cristianos, is where beautiful ocean panoramas meet unrivalled galaxy views. Ideal for those in search of a secluded, luxury holiday with the opportunity to explore the island at their own pace, with their own agenda, Gran Villa can be a romantic oasis or a glam party household for a mate-cation!
Frequented by celebrities throughout the year, Tenerfie is also a party stronghold – the non-trashy kind, of course. Party with young clubbers on Playa de las Américas if you’re in the market for a wild night or opt for Papagayo, South Tenerife’s most chic beachfront party venue for a totally different type of stargazing. Sunset cocktails mandatory!