Once the clocks change in late October, there's no denying winter. November's bad for winter sports as there's little light and not enough snow. It can be a good month to see the aurora borealis, though.

Aurora Watching, Iceland, Norway, Sweden & Finland

Whether you are blessed with seeing the aurora borealis is largely a matter of luck, but the further north you are, the better the chances. Dark, cloudless nights, patience and a viewing spot away from city lights are other key factors.

Stockholm International Film Festival, Sweden

Screenings of new international and independent films, director talks and discussion panels draw cinephiles to this important annual festival. Tickets go fast; book early.

Iceland Airwaves, Iceland

This five-day event in Reykjavík is one of the world's most cutting-edge music festivals: don't expect to sleep. It focuses on new musical trends rather than mainstream acts.