How to see the world's most impressive natural phenomena in style
Enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer with these once-in-a-lifetime experiences
The Earth is more extraordinary than we could ever imagine. From the Northern lights to the Sea of Stars, nature can sometimes seem like magic.
If you are looking to turn your holiday into a once-in-a-lifetime experience, here are some of the world's most spectacular natural phenomena – and how to catch them in style:
The Great Blue Hole, Belize
Originally a limestone cave above sea level, the Great Blue Hole was formed thousands of years ago when water levels rose and flooded the chasm.
Known as a diver's paradise, the darker hue of blue within this circle of water indicates the great depth it holds in comparison to the surrounding shallows. This means divers can explore what is essentially a vertical underwater cave that's 412ft deep.
For a splash of splendour, rent a speedboat and ride the dark surface of this aquatic anomaly. There is also the option to dive into the crystal clear waters and explore the exceptional marine life.
This nocturnal spectacle of aurora is a result of geomagnetic activity. When charged electrons in solar winds interact with the atmosphere of Earth's Northern Hemisphere, the night lights come out to play.
To catch this dazzling display in a luxurious setting, there are several Snow Hotels that have been set up specifically for Northern Light hunters. From the glamorous glass-cased igloo villages of the Finnish Laplands to the mountainous lava field hotels of Iceland, you can enjoy extravagant front row seats to Mother Nature's greatest show.
Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
While many attribute its existence to that of a mythical giant, the science behind this phenomenon is just as grand. Around 60 million years ago, a volcanic eruption spewed lava onto the Earth's surface, which then hardened into the polygonal pattern of pillars that make up the causeway today.
For the best view, rent a helicopter and enjoy the 40,000 interlocked basalt columns from above, along with Northern Ireland's other gems, such as Rathlin Island and Binevenagh's cliffs.
Sea of Stars, Maldives
This surreal spectacle is found in the waters of Vaadhoo Island and owes its name – 'sea of stars' – to its breathtaking resemblance to a starry night sky.
Marine bioluminescence occurs when a luminous species of phytoplankton called Lingulodinium polyedrum are put under stress. They emit a blue light when affected and create a glow that resembles blue embers burning underwater.
The bioluminescent waves can be seen from other islands in the Maldives and experienced in myriad ways, ranging from glass-bottomed Jacuzzi tubs and night-time scuba diving to an underwater wine cellar.
Abraham Lake's frozen bubbles
Located in Alberta, Canada, these kaleidoscopic ice bubbles consist not of water, but the highly flammable gas methane.
Methane leaks into the water from organic matter and makes its way up to the surface to evaporate, but in the winter, the lake freezes the bubbles in their journey, trapping them until the ice melts.
To enjoy the ice bubbles up close, try ice skating over its frozen surface. Not only will you have the mountains around you, but those winter jewels will be just below your feet. However, adventurers be warned – the bubbles can be quite dangerous when cracked open near a spark.