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Price from £1,295pp
VISITING: Finland BROCHURE CODE: 21007
All prices include: flights, transfers, accommodation, meals, guided activities and cold weather clothing; all as listed.
Kapow! Bang, smack, right in the heart of the Auroral zone, reindeer herding country and the snowy wilderness of northern Finland is sleepy, little Menesjarvi. Our flexible programme here allows you to enjoy the silent winter landscapes at your own pace. You can choose which activities you want to do during the day, and we will have you out and about searching for the Aurora at night. After all, this is one of Lady Aurora’s favourite places to come dancing!

What's included?

ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES LISTED BELOW ARE INCLUDED IN THE HOLIDAY PRICE

  • Flights: return flights from London to Ivalo (via Helsinki). Flight routes are subject to change
  • Transfers: return group airport transfers from Ivalo Airport
  • Accommodation: 3 nights’ accommodation in a standard double/twin hotel room
  • Meals: 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Activities: Aurora Workshop, snowshoe hunt for the Northern Lights, snowmobile Aurora hunt, free use of 'snow fun' equipment (snowshoes, kick sleds and sledges)
  • Cold weather clothing for the duration of your stay
  • Evening Sauna
  • Please note: during September to November: 'snow fun' equipment available subject to there being sufficient snow on the ground. The Northern Lights hunts will be by car and on foot instead of snowmobile and snowshoes and a trip to the Sámi Siida Museum* is also included during these months

The words “real” and “genuine” are too often overused to describe tourism destinations. In the case of Menesjärvi, we cannot stress them enough. This is where the Sami people tend their reindeer herds and Lappish traditions hold sway to this day.

The Hotel Korpikartano (try saying that after a couple of drinks!) is not easy to find. After leaving the main road north at Ivalo, the terrain becomes increasingly isolated until after 30 minutes, you turn onto an even more unlikely piece of snow-covered tarmac. It is easy at this stage to begin wondering what you’ve let yourself in for, but any unease will last a matter of seconds.

The welcome here is second to none. Owners Anne and Timmo have been our partners for many years now and numerous clients have returned from Menesjärvi singing their praises. Situated on the shore of Lake Menesjärvi (Jarvi means lake in Finnish)) and surrounded by mile upon mile of winter wilderness, this is the place to really get away from the daily stresses back home.

This is also prime Northern Lights territory and with very little light pollution in this sparsely populated area, the chances of seeing a dazzling Auroral display are extremely good.

The lights are the main focus of your three-night stay, and it is no coincidence that people who are patient and prepared to stay up into the early hours are very often rewarded. For that reason, we have not included any daytime activities but there are several that you can do including: Visiting a reindeer herder, cross-country skiing, dog sledding and visiting the excellent Siida, Sami Museum. These activities can be booked and paid for while you are in Menesjärvi but to guarantee availability you might want to book in advance through The Aurora Zone. After all, there are only so many dogs and sleds to go round.

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If you just fancy a long lie-in after a night scouring the skies then you can enjoy free use of snowshoes, kick sleds and sledges during your stay.

Concentrating on the Northern Lights will start with an Aurora workshop. You will receive information about the Northern Lights as well as instruction as to how to photograph them. We do recommend taking a DSLR camera and tripod for the best results.

You will then strap on snowshoes and your guide will lead you into the dark night while all the time looking for those tell-tale green lights as they emerge from the coal-black Arctic firmament.

The second Northern Lights hunt of your stay is on snowmobiles. You will receive full driving and safety instructions before heading into the wilderness in search of Mother Nature’s celestial light show.

*Please note: The Sámi Siida Museum will sadly be closed for renovation for the 2021/2022 season so the main exhibitions are not accessible. Guests will be able to visit the gift shop and the open-air museum – an outdoor trail showcasing exhibits on the cultural heritage, architectural heritage and livelihoods of Finland’s three Sámi cultures. Guests are also welcome to visit Sajos, an architecturally beautiful building in the heart of Inari which is home to the Sámi Parliament and is the centre of Sámi culture and administration. Guided tours and an informative video are offered throughout the day and there is also a shop selling Sámi handicraft, books and music.


 

Image Credits: Timo Halonen 
  • On arrival at Ivalo Airport, you will be met and transferred to the Hotel Korpikartano in Menesjärvi.

    Included Meals:  Dinner
  • This 3-night break is all about the Northern Lights and hence, we have left the daytime free for you to do as you like. You can take advantage of the “snow fun” equipment which is free to use during your stay.

    As this is very much reindeer herding country, we would certainly recommend a trip to visit a reindeer herder and join him as he checks on his herd. This can be booked in Menesjärvi (subject to availability) or in advance through us at The Aurora Zone if you wish to guarantee your spot(s).

    This evening, we will host an Aurora Workshop (approximately one hour) which will include instruction on how to capture the lights with your camera and you will also learn about the science and myths behind the Aurora. You will then strap on snowshoes and head into the dead silence of the Lapland night. This activity will last for around two hours.

    With a bit of luck and clear skies, you will be treated to the spectacle that has fascinated human beings for centuries.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • If you stayed up into the early hours you may fancy a relaxing day before heading out again this evening. Alternatively, how about a dog sled safari or, if you fancy something less strenuous, a visit to the excellent Siida, Sami Museum? Both can be booked in advance through us here at The Aurora Zone.

    This evening, you will be searching for the Aurora on snowmobiles. You will receive full instruction and a safety briefing before setting off and your guide will head for some of the best local vantage points.

    As before, with clear skies and a just a hint of geomagnetic activity in the atmosphere you could witness a sky blazing with shimmering and swirling colour.

    You will travel two people per snowmobile with the chance to take turns (providing you both have full licences and are 18 years or over). In total, this activity will last around two hours.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Menesjärvi and the Hotel Koprikartano may be remote and functional rather than five-star luxury but we have always found that it is a very, very hard place to leave.

    Nevertheless, leave you must, and you will be returned to Ivalo Airport in good time for your return flights home.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast

Included in price

Hotel Korpikartano

Nights: 1-3

Hotel Korpikartano is a very special place in a breath-taking location in Finnish Lapland. Its situation could not be more idyllic, with a fantastic outlook over Lake Menesjärvi and the remote wilderness beyond. The lack of artificial light in the area ensures that if the Aurora appears, then you can enjoy amazing displays from very close to the hotel.

Hotel Korpikartano was originally a boarding school for those growing up in this remote part of the world and is, therefore, full of quirks, character and charm. The welcome provided by the owners, Anne and Timo (Timo is retired but still makes regular appearances to take Aurora photos here), creates a wonderful atmosphere and their passion for the region is infectious.

The staff and guides have a huge passion for this landscape and for providing guests with a truly memorable stay.

The hotel comprises of two main buildings. The first houses the dining room and a number of bedrooms. A separate annexe building (a very short walk away) houses the majority of the guest accommodation.

It is a place with great soul and which offers guests the chance to completely switch off from the everyday and relax in a wild and beautiful environment. You are likely to leave feeling very privileged to have experienced this wonderful place. 

Hotel facilities

  • Traditional home cooking is the order of the day in the hotel’s dining room. The food can be described as 'simple, tasty and hearty' and is very much designed to fuel you up for your outdoor adventures. In many cases, the evening’s set menu will contain local ingredients such as fresh fish that Timo has caught, berries Anne has foraged, or meat purchased from the local reindeer herders. The set meals are all self-service. Breakfast is a buffet of breads, meat, cheese and fish with the addition of porridge and fruit. Lunch and evening meals start with a salad and bread, a set main and then a pudding which is often a local speciality. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have any dietary requirements so these can be accommodated.
  • You can also purchase a range of wine, beer and spirits to accompany your meal.
  • Obviously, saunas are a pre-requisite in these parts and there are two, one in each building. They can each be booked privately by guests each day in hour long slots.
  • There is an outdoor wood-burning sauna and rustic hot tub. Should you request the use of the outdoor sauna (a local charge will apply), don't forget that a dip in the lake (in autumn) or a roll in the snow (in winter) is almost obligatory (as long as you are in a good physical condition).
  • The simple lounge (near the reception) provides tea and coffee making facilities. Consider this to be the perfect spot to relax by the stove with a book but remember to keep your eyes peeled for the Northern Lights as the windows face north!
  • There is free Wi-Fi for guests to use throughout both buildings and there is a PC available at reception.
  • Books and games are also available to borrow from reception.
  • If you are travelling in the winter then the hotel offers free use of snowshoes, cross-country skis, kick sleds and toboggans so there is also something for those who love the great outdoors and want to explore independently between activities. There are marked trails across the stunning frozen lake and maps are available at reception.
  • If you want to send a memento home, then there are postcards available to purchase and some of Timo’s Aurora photography is for sale. Anne also knits cosy woollen socks for charity and these can usually be purchased at reception.
  • There is a lakeside Kota (wooden tepee) which is open for all guests during the evening. Here you can light a fire and warm up in between forays out onto the lake in search of the Northern Lights.

Room types

The 28 guest bedrooms vary in size and shape as you may expect from a former school. They are cosy, comfortable and decorated with locally-sourced wood. Some of the furnishings have been crafted by Timo's own hand.

All guest bedrooms have an en-suite bathroom with shower and a hairdryer. Cups and kettles are provided in each bedroom and a variety of teas and coffee is available in each building for you to take to your room.


Image credit: Timo Halonen, Matt Robinson (please note: The images depicted show the hotel during both the winter and autumn months)

Personalise this tour


Our pick

Taste of a Reindeer Herder's Day

From £181pp

A Taste of a Reindeer Herder’s Day

Reindeer herding is historically, culturally and economically significant in this region and during this activity, you will gain an authentic insight into this important pastime.

After a transfer by a minibus, you will meet with a local reindeer herder who will transfer you to his home farm via a snowmobile-pulled sledge. Enjoy the winter scenes as you travel further into the wilderness to the animal’s home.

Here, you will help the herder feed the animals and observe them in peaceful surroundings. Enjoy hot drinks around an open fire while you watch the reindeer and herder interact together.

Duration: approximately 3 to 3.5 hours

Availability: mid-December until March


Other options

Activities

Guided cross-country skiing

From: £69pp

Given the Korpikartano’s heritage as a boarding school where many of the Sami children travelled huge distances by cross country skis to attend, it seems fitting to give this ancient pastime (and transportation method) a try whilst at staying in the area. A guide will give you full tuition prior to taking a short loop around the hotel to enjoy the peace and quiet. If you do wish to explore again in your free time then you can hire the skis from the hotel directly. You will be out for around one to one and a half hours.

Husky Safari

From: £222pp

The highlight of so many people’s stay in Lapland is the husky safari. There is truly nothing comparable to preparing the dogs excitement and anticipation before they are on the safari leading almost instantly to the peace and quiet as they head off onto the winter trail.  The whole activity here will take around 2 to 2.5 hours (including transfers and some time at the farm to meet the dogs and take pictures) and is a Lapland memory you will treasure forever.

Image credit: Marcellus Kimont

Siida and Inari Village Visit

From: £85pp

The Sámi Siida Museum opened in 1998 and is located in the village of Inari around 30 minutes from Menesjärvi.  Inari village is of great cultural importance to the local Sámi communities and the museum here provides a fascinating introduction to the Sámi culture and the Northern Nature found in this area. There is a range of permanent and temporary exhibitions. The museum is also home to a wonderful gift shop showcasing some lovely souvenirs produced by local Sámi people. There will also be some free time to explore the village of Inari which has a small supermarket and other souvenir shops to pick up some gifts to remember your time in Lapland.

Please note: The Sámi Siida Museum will sadly be closed for renovation for the 2021/2022 season so the main exhibitions are not accessible. Guests will be able to visit the gift shop and the open-air museum – an outdoor trial showcasing exhibits on the cultural heritage, architectural heritage and livelihoods of Finland’s three Sámi cultures. Guests are also welcome to visit Sajos, an architecturally beautiful building in the heart of Inari which is home to the Sámi Parliament and is the centre of Sámi culture and administration. Guided tours and an informative video are offered throughout the day and there is also a shop selling Sámi handicraft, books and music.

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Expertise and knowledge are key to witnessing the Northern Lights. We’ve been running Aurora hunting holidays longer than any company in the UK and with no lead in prices, no hidden costs and more included, we’re confident our tours will come out on top.
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Please note: If you are travelling over Christmas or New Year, you will enjoy a festive dinner and celebrations on the 24th or the 31st of December (traditionally in Finland, Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve).

Dates
Thu 02 Dec 2021
to Sun 05 Dec 2021
Book
Adults£ 1,355
Thu 09 Dec 2021
to Sun 12 Dec 2021
Book
Adults£ 1,355
Thu 16 Dec 2021
to Sun 19 Dec 2021
Book
Adults£ 1,535
Thu 23 Dec 2021
to Sun 26 Dec 2021
Book
Adults£ 1,545
Thu 30 Dec 2021
to Sun 02 Jan 2022
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Adults£ 1,545
Thu 06 Jan 2022
to Sun 09 Jan 2022
Book
Adults£ 1,325
Thu 13 Jan 2022
to Sun 16 Jan 2022
Book
Adults£ 1,325
Thu 20 Jan 2022
to Sun 23 Jan 2022
Book
Adults£ 1,325
Thu 27 Jan 2022
to Sun 30 Jan 2022
Book
Adults£ 1,325
Thu 03 Feb 2022
to Sun 06 Feb 2022
Book
Adults£ 1,325
Thu 10 Feb 2022
to Sun 13 Feb 2022
Book
Adults£ 1,325
Thu 17 Feb 2022
to Sun 20 Feb 2022
Book
Adults£ 1,385
Thu 24 Feb 2022
to Sun 27 Feb 2022
Book
Adults£ 1,385
Thu 03 Mar 2022
to Sun 06 Mar 2022
Book
Adults£ 1,325
Thu 10 Mar 2022
to Sun 13 Mar 2022
Book
Adults£ 1,295
Thu 17 Mar 2022
to Sun 20 Mar 2022
Book
Adults£ 1,295
Thu 24 Mar 2022
to Sun 27 Mar 2022
Book
Adults£ 1,295

Please note: our holiday prices are based on the lowest available airline fares. These fares can sell out quickly and, as a result, prices may increase and supplements may be applicable. We recommend booking at the earliest opportunity to secure the best possible fares and flight times.

For our full booking terms and conditions please click here

The Specifics

Holiday group size (approximate)

This holiday requires a minimum of 2 people to run, however, on some dates we require a minimum of 8 people for our flight allocation. Maximum 24 people (approximately). Please speak to our Travel Experts for further information.

Group Size

We always try to provide an approximation of the group size you can expect to be with for the duration of each of our holidays. It may be that you are joined by others for parts of your holiday (such as transfers and particular activities) but the above number reflects those you can normally expect to be with from beginning to end. If group size is something which is particularly important to you, please speak to our Travel Experts and they can suggest the best holidays for you.

Tailor-made holiday group sizes will vary for all activities as will the group size for any additional activities you book.

Minimum numbers required for a holiday to operate

Some of our holidays require a minimum number of participants to operate (as listed in the ‘Group Size’ section). If your holiday departure has not yet reached the minimum number, you will be told at the time of booking. In the unlikely event that your chosen date is not guaranteed by nine weeks before your scheduled departure date, we will contact you to discuss the available options as per our booking conditions.

Minimum and maximum age

If a specific minimum age applies to this holiday, it can be found in the Key Facts box on the holiday Overview page.

Unless otherwise stated in the Key Facts box on the holiday Overview page, the minimum age for participation in an Aurora Zone holiday is typically 12 years old (there may be younger children in some destinations who have booked with other companies). If an adult-only environment is important to you, then please contact our Travel Experts and they will advise on the best dates and destinations for you. If you are looking for a holiday designed specifically for families then please see our sister company www.activitiesabroad.com.

Itinerary amendments

The order of activities listed in this agenda is provided for guidance only, your final and detailed itinerary will be provided either with your final travel documents (which are uploaded into your online account around a week prior to departure) or upon arrival.

Medical History and Advice

We want our holidays to be accessible as they can be and will do our best to accommodate any special requests and requirements where possible. We have a wide range of holidays and destinations and so our travel experts will help find the best holiday for you.

In order to give us the best possible chance to do this, we ask that if you or any member of your party has any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday or has any special requirements, that you tell us at the time of enquiry or booking. You must also promptly advise us if any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday develops after your booking has been confirmed. You may need to provide a doctor’s note and proof of insurance in some cases as the health and safety of our clients is absolutely paramount.

In providing this information you are allowing us to work with our expert local partners to ensure that your whole party can enjoy the holiday. By letting us know in advance we can discreetly work with you to adapt any part of the holiday which may potentially be challenging. Being able to prepare for this in advance makes an incredible difference to what we can offer and minimises any impact on your party and the rest of the group.

Unfortunately, if you choose not to share this information with us in advance then it may limit some or all of the itinerary you have booked, and we cannot be held accountable for any additional costs or missed activities resulting from this.

Insurance

Insurance is not included in your holiday, but it is a pre-requisite to travelling with us. You will need to ensure that you have cover for all the activities that you will be participating in during your holiday.

It is extremely important that you take out a suitable travel insurance policy at the time of booking. Plans do sometimes change, and you will need this policy should you need to cancel your holiday.

If you are struggling to find a suitable policy then details of our preferred provider, who will cover you for all the activities we offer, can be found on our website by clicking here. Please note that this policy is available to EU residents under the age of 75 only.

Booking Activities Locally

Additional activities can be booked locally in almost all our destinations. However, as per our booking conditions, we cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss incurred through participation in activities which are booked at your destination outside of our holiday itinerary (see our ‘Terms and Conditions’ for further details).

When arranging any such activity please always ensure that safety is your primary concern.

In some of our destinations, you can borrow or hire equipment for use in your free time. You do so entirely at your own risk. You must ensure that you are properly prepared, have the necessary equipment and knowledge (maps, etc) and ensure that where applicable, you follow marked routes. We recommend discussing your plans with the local teams who will be able to advise on the most suitable options for you.

Always let the reception/guide know where you are planning to go and take a torch and mobile phone (with the hotel/guide’s phone number stored). It is also a good idea to leave your contact number and the time you expect to return to the hotel should the hotel need to contact you.

The UK Foreign Office Advice

Our clients’ safety is at the centre of everything we do, and our operations team continually assesses and monitors the destinations we feature. We carry out thorough risk assessments and work closely with all of our suppliers to continually follow best practice. For up to date travel advice the UK government offers its Travel Aware website as well as the advice detailed below.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Advice

We receive all updates from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) with regards to travel advice and we always ensure that we follow this advice in our operations. The FCO issues travel advisories for countries based on a very wide range of factors. They may provide notification about things as simple as a football match and crowds, or they may go so far as to advise against all travel to a region. We ask all our clients to refer to the relevant Travel Advice by Country for the destinations they are visiting in order to make an informed decision on the safety of the destination based on the details provided. It also provides vital information regarding entry requirements, embassy information, local laws and customs as well as specific safety and health. Guests should take responsibility for keeping themselves up to date with this advice. Please also ensure that, if you are transiting through another country, you have read the advice and meet the entry requirements for that destination too.

The FCO travel advice is applicable to British Passport Holders. Most governments will issue their own travel advice for a region and, if you are not a UK resident then you can find some helpful links below:

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/ 

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade https://www.mfat.govt.nz/

Canadian Consular Affairs Bureau http://voyage.gc.ca/

The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html

If the FCO deems that there is an unacceptable level of risk for UK citizens then, together with the government, they may issue an advisory against all travel to a region or country. If such an advisory is published, then we will act accordingly, and this may require the cancellation, curtailment or amendment of a holiday itinerary. These decisions are made on the basis of ensuring our clients’ safety and will affect all clients on the holiday, regardless of their nationality.

If one of our local experts suggests an amendment due to a situation which develops locally then we may also take the decision to amend an itinerary appropriately.

If we have to cancel your holiday prior to departure you will be offered the option of an alternative trip (where any price difference will either be refunded to or covered by you) or a full refund of the monies paid.

If we have to curtail a holiday, then you will be refunded for any costs for the elements we have been unable to deliver, where we have been able to secure a refund from our suppliers. If we must reroute a holiday, then any basis for refund is determined on a case by case basis and dependent on whether the central holiday experience was provided or not.

Brexit information for British Passport holders

For the most up to date information on how the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your holiday please click here to view our Brexit information for British Passport holders.

Flight schedule changes and connecting transportation

On your documentation, we will confirm your flight schedule. Sometimes the flight number, routing and timings might change prior to your departure. If the change is classed as a significant change then we will contact you to discuss this. Please see our booking conditions for details.

Flight schedule changes can impact on your pre and post-holiday travel arrangements if these have been booked separately to your holiday. We strongly recommend that you do not book transport (such as trains or transfers), car parking or non-connecting flights to the departure point for your holiday until you have received your final confirmed travel times when your final travel documents are issued. We are not responsible for the effect of any schedule change on your pre or post travel arrangements. We strongly recommend that you do not purchase non-flexible or non-refundable tickets to avoid cancellation and penalty charges.

Booking your own flights - cancellation disclaimer

If you have chosen to book your own flights, then you will need to wait until we confirm to you that the holiday departure has met the minimum numbers required to run (if applicable to your chosen holiday). Once the holiday is guaranteed to run, you will be informed and you can then make your arrangements.

If transfers are included in your holiday, please ensure that any potential flights will be met by our standard transfers (speak to one of our Travel Experts for advice) otherwise private transfer supplements may be applicable. Once your flights are booked, please send us a copy of your detailed flight itinerary.

Please be aware that most tickets are non-refundable in the case of cancellation. For this reason, we strongly advise you check the rules of the ticket and check the limitations of your cancellation insurance before booking. We cannot be held liable, in the unlikely eventuality that we should be forced to cancel or amend your trip, for losses incurred relating to any flight booking you have made.

Terms and Conditions

Our full booking terms and conditions can be found on our website: https://www.theaurorazone.com/booking-conditions



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