Sue Mcdonald

Sue Mcdonald

Torassieppi Winter Village

Written by Sue Mcdonald
Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Exclusive accommodation

Torassieppi Winter Village enjoys an idyllic setting close to the borders of Pallas Ylläs National Park in the north-west corner of Finnish Lapland.

Inspired by world-famous ice and snow accommodations, the village is constructed annually to showcase local talented artists and to provide a memorable and unique night's sleep for adventurous travellers.

The rooms here will only ever be enjoyed by an exclusive few during the season as come summer the rooms will return to the rivers of Lapland as the temperatures melt them away. 

The winter village is part of Torassieppi Reindeer Farm, which is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the region, dating back to 1847. The reindeer farm has its own accommodation and guests at the village will enjoy their breakfast here. 

A night's stay in one of the ice and snow rooms is a fitting way to complete your unforgettable winter adventure.

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Sue Mcdonald

The ICEHOTEL®

Written by Sue Mcdonald
Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The world's coolest hotel

The ICEHOTEL® is one of those places where even if you are not knowledgeable about Swedish Lapland or indeed Lapland at all, you will likely have heard of it or perhaps even know someone who has slept there. It is an accommodation option that we get asked about frequently and remains a bucket list experience for many.

The hotel is constructed each season in the small village of Jukkasjärvi in Northern Sweden on the banks of the Torne River. It is from this river that the hundreds of blocks of ice are harvested to form this hotel. A truly breathtaking spectacle, the ICEHOTEL® develops each season, changing its scale and design but always boasting some truly amazing sights.

It usually covers around 5,500 square metres and utilises 1,000 tons of ice and 30,000 cubic metres of 'snice' (a combination of snow and ice).

The ICEHOTEL® is a large scale operation, yet still retains its magic through its incredible and ever more complex designs and by offering adventurous visitors a very special place to rest their head!

The minds behind The ICEHOTEL® also created a new year-round experience - the ICEHOTEL 365. Complete with 20 beautiful ice suites, an ice bar and ice gallery, this hotel has been created like the original ICEHOTEL®, with inner walls made from ice blocks, but has some extra help to keep it at a perfect -5°C throughout the warmer months, too! Combining exterior concrete walls, steel pipes drilled into the permafrost below, powered by solar panels, and then thoroughly isolated, this is the world’s first permanent Ice hotel.

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Sue Mcdonald

Treehotel

Written by Sue Mcdonald
Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Spend a night in the treetops

The spectacular Treehotel is a must-see location for visitors to Swedish Lapland and in our opinion, it is one of the most unforgettable places to stay in Europe. 

The concept rooms here have all been created by some of Sweden's top architects and represent the bringing to life of some remarkable ideas. From a carefully camouflaged mirror cube to an out of this world UFO - these rooms are guaranteed to make a lasting impression.

Each room is effectively a sophisticated tree house, either suspended in the treetops or built on platforms that set the room amongst the bows of the trees. 

The scenery which surrounds these rooms is idyllic and, as they are situated within the Aurora Zone, your chances of witnessing the Northern Lights from your treetop retreat are excellent if the conditions are favourable. 

The Treehotel is the perfect way to make your stay in Swedish Lapland even more unforgettable and can be added to the majority of our trips based in the Lulea region.

Scroll to learn more about the innovative rooms.

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Sue Mcdonald

Snowmobiling

Written by Sue Mcdonald
Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A way of life

In the far northern reaches of Finland, Sweden and Norway, snowmobiles have become part of the way of life during the long winters. The machines are now a cornerstone of everyday life here, not only as they keep remote communities in contact with one another during winter but, they are also a key element in the local economy. 

Their introduction has transformed the lives of many locals and when they are used for recreation or by visitors, the environment is treated with a great deal of respect. 

Snowmobiles offer guests an exciting chance to experience the wilderness of these regions and to gain a better understanding of it as a result. It puts you directly in the driver's seat, allowing you to explore areas of the winter landscape that would otherwise be inaccessible.

As darkness falls, snowmobiles also become a handy mode of transportation to help you outrun any localised cloud cover. Imagine speeding along the Arctic tundra to reach a location with a break in the clouds and as you turn off your engine, the Northern Lights start to appear overhead. 

Please note, to drive a snowmobile you must be over 18 and have a full driving licence.

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Sue Mcdonald

Reindeer

Written by Sue Mcdonald
Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A symbol of Lapland

Reindeer are wholly synonymous with Lapland and are very much a part of the history, culture and tradition of the region. Excavations here have revealed hunting pits and stone carvings which highlight that reindeer have been herded here since the Stone Age.

Herding and reindeer husbandry are primarily roles occupied by the Sámi people, the indigenous people of Lapland, with the animals raised for their meat, hide and antlers.

The practice of herding has been updated to fit with a more modern Lapland but herding would not be possible without the maintenance of traditional knowledge and skills that are passed from generation to generation.

During your visit to Lapland, experiencing a day with a reindeer herder and their animals is a brilliant way to gain an insight into life here. During some of the activities, you will also be able to try your hand at some of the reindeer herding practices including feeding the animals and lassoing.

Scroll to learn more about the reindeers of Lapland.

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Sue Mcdonald

Photographing the Northern Lights

Written by Sue Mcdonald
Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Capturing the Lights

We know that as well as seeing the Northern Lights in all their dazzling glory, a goal for most of our clients is also to capture their remarkable beauty on camera. Over the years we have seen such truly beautiful Aurora photography that it is easy to see why. Whilst a picture or video can never quite be the same as a live show, an image which shows the spectacular colours or a time-lapse video that shows the shimmering, dancing and swirling movement of the lights is something to be treasured forever.

As the local guides and suppliers in Lapland become aware of this desire to view the Northern Lights on film, more of our trips are moving towards helping our guests achieve this aim.

We offer a popular photography evening on our Abisko trips, organised by renowned photographer Chad Blakley and operated by one of his expert guides. This is the perfect excursion for those who may have the enthusiasm to capture the Aurora but may not have the correct equipment, as you will be issued with a camera and tripod. All you need is an SD card so you can take your photos home with you!

With our trips to Menesjärvi and Nellim, the guides are growing ever more experienced in photography and will be happy to offer advice and guidance on how to get the ideal photo should the conditions be in your favour.

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Sue Mcdonald

Luosto Arctic View Rooms

Written by Sue Mcdonald
Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Sleep under the Northern Lights in Luosto

A wonderful feature of our hugely popular trips to Luosto is the chance to stay in one of the luxurious Arctic View Rooms.

Ten of these wonderful concept rooms have been created, within easy walking distance of the hotel, to offer guests an alternative nights' accommodation with stunning panoramic views of the night sky.

Each room is self-contained, offering large windows and a partially glass-roof to ensure you can keep an eye on the sky at all times. Whilst we can't guarantee the Northern Lights, we can give you the best possible chance of witnessing them as you stay tucked up in bed. 

These rooms are part of a growing trend across Lapland in providing a warm and comfortable setting from which guests can enjoy the night sky at their leisure.

At Luosto though, they really have given great attention to the detail and comfort in these rooms and we are thrilled to be able to offer these to our guests as an add-on to some of our most popular trips.

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Sue Mcdonald

Log cabins and winter cottages

Written by Sue Mcdonald
Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The cosiest places to stay

Thoughts of a winter in Lapland conjure up images of pristine snow-topped scenery – frosted trees, frozen lakes and perfect white fells.

Many people also picture a cosy and welcoming log cabin against this idyllic backdrop. On a selection of Aurora Zone trips, this image can often become reality and we have several trips which feature cabins or winter cottages as an accommodation option.

Having a log cabin as your base and hideaway brings a sense of adventure, escapism and romance and we will often happily recommend them to our guests who are travelling for an anniversary or a honeymoon for example.

These cottages and cabins also work well for families and small groups who want their own home from home whilst on holiday together. 

Scroll to learn more about this wonderful accommodation choice.

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Sue Mcdonald

Husky Safari

Written by Sue Mcdonald
Wednesday, 18 March 2015

An exceptional experience

Dog sledding is one of the most sought after experiences we offer at The Aurora Zone and has almost universal appeal.

There is something about travelling in this time-honoured fashion that really puts you in touch with nature and allows you to experience the landscape from a unique perspective.

We offer all kind of husky sledding experiences during Aurora Zone trips, from full day adventures to a short taster session. We have safaris that allow you to enjoy the scenery by day and also those that take you out in the darkness in search of the Northern Lights.

You will be accompanied by expert mushers who know the trails and their dogs extremely well. They will give you full instructions on how to handle your sled and loyal team of dogs before you set off into the wilderness. Though this is not your typical form of transport, you will soon see that stepping into the role of a musher is an exceptional way to explore the Arctic landscape.

For those who prefer to ride as a passenger, we also offer many experiences where our expert mushers stay in the driver's seat and you can simply sit back and watch the breathtaking winter scenes unfold around you.

Scroll to learn more about this brilliant activity.

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Sue Mcdonald

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing

Written by Sue Mcdonald
Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A Nordic tradition 

Snowshoes and cross-country skis may not seem as exciting as husky safaris and snowmobiling but these simple activities not only have a long history in remote regions but are often a surprise hit with many of our clients and we warn you, they can be addictive. 

Both sports have developed over centuries to allow easier and faster transport across the thick layer of snow that winter brings to these remote regions.

When snowshoes are strapped on they provide you with a larger surface area on which to walk across deep layers of snow, allowing your weight to be distributed more evenly and thus stopping you from sinking.

Cross-country skis work on more compacted and thinner layers of snow and involve the use of flat, long skis and poles to propel you across the snow. 

We offer many different opportunities to get you out on both snowshoes and cross-country skis. From following your expert local guide into the surrounding wilderness to learn all about the flora and fauna in the Arctic to taking off into the dark night for a peaceful way to search for the Northern Lights, there are plenty of different ways to experience both activities.

Many of our hotels also offer hire of the equipment so that you can do some independent exploration of the snowy landscape. Scroll down to learn more about snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

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Get an expert opinion

The Aurora Zone was born from a desire to share Mother Nature’s greatest wonder with our clients. We’ve explored the destinations, researched the science, and fallen in love with the Scandinavian way of life. It’s our mission to pass this knowledge on to you, providing you with the very best chance of experiencing the magic for yourself on your Northern Lights holiday.

  • Specialist

    Aurora knowledge and experience

    Unique holidays, in the very best destinations

    Expert guides – exceptional local knowledge

    Advice and guidance every step of the way

  • Comprehensive

    We include more in our holidays than any other Aurora operator

    Price Comparison guarantee

    No ‘from’ prices, everything you see is included in the price

    No hidden extras

  • Independent

    Proudly Independent

    The original and still the only dedicated UK Northern Lights tour operator

    Personal, hands-on service

    Fair and sustainable work ethos

  • Trusted

    100% ATOL and ABTA protection

    Providing peace of mind

    Award-winning

    Responsible relationships

    Over 16 years’ experience