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Price from £2,025pp
VISITING: Finland BROCHURE CODE: 22003
All prices include: flights, transfers, accommodation, meals, guided activities and cold weather clothing; all as listed.
This four-night holiday to Inari, in Finnish Lapland puts you in the heart of Sámi culture as well as in prime Northern Lights viewing territory. Taking part in truly memorable winter activities including dedicated Aurora hunts, this will certainly be a Christmas to remember.

What's included?

All of the activities and services listed below are included in the holiday price

  • Flights: return flights between London Heathrow and Ivalo (via Helsinki). Regional and non-UK departures available on request. Routings are subject to change
  • Transfers: return group airport transfers
  • Accommodation: 4 nights' accommodation in twin/double hotel rooms
  • Meals: 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
  • The following activities and equipment are included in the price: entrance fee to Sámi Siida Museum, snowmobile safari, Aurora hunt, husky safari, reindeer farm visit and Aurora snowmobile (the order of activities is subject to change)
  • Cold weather clothing is provided for the duration of your stay
  • Services of our expert local guides

This festive edition of our hugely popular Aurora in the Sámi Heartlands trip provides the opportunity to spend Christmas in a beautiful winter wonderland, celebrating the season in a traditional Finnish manner. The holiday includes unforgettable activities such as snowmobiling and husky sledding whilst also exploring the unique culture of this region and spending the evenings seeking the Aurora Borealis.

Your base over the four nights will be the wonderful Kultahovi New River Hotel. Here the rooms offer a touch of luxury with a private sauna and your own balcony or patio.

Furthermore, the hotel is renowned for its skilfully prepared food and offers guests an array of traditional dishes with modern flair. Its location in the village of Inari also puts you at the centre of Sámi culture with the wonderful Sámi Siida Museum and parliamentary building just a short walk away.

As well as Christmas festivities and the chance to escape what is usually a very hectic time of year, you will have the chance to try out some much-loved Finnish pastimes such as snowmobiling both by day and by night. Highlights of your holiday are sure to include the husky safari and the morning spent at the reindeer farm. There are also a few days which include some free time, allowing you to add additional activities or simply relax and enjoy your festive break.

Your night-time pursuits will be dedicated to seeking out the Northern Lights with Aurora hunts by car/minibus and snowmobile. The mobility that the vehicles provide will aid you by allowing you to hopefully escape any cloud cover that may be blocking a potential display.

We love Inari at any time during winter for its warm welcome, deliciously tempting food and excellent Aurora prospects. At Christmas though, with its snow-topped trees and frozen lakes, it is delightful and a fantastic place to make the most of the festive season.


Image credits: Visit Inari and Inari-Saariselka Tourism

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Key facts

Duration:4 nights
Pace:Balanced
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  • You will be met at the airport before being transferred to the Kultahovi Hotel in Inari. The village is at the heart of Sámi culture in Finnish Lapland.

    On arrival at the hotel, you will check in to your accommodation before enjoying dinner in the hotel restaurant. Depending on the arrival time of the group you will either be given your welcome meeting and cold weather clothing this evening or tomorrow morning.

  • After a hearty breakfast, you can enjoy a leisurely morning as you walk the short distance to the Sámi Siida Museum in Inari. The exhibitions here will give you a perfect introduction to the indigenous culture which defines this region. There are fascinating displays which document the lives of the Sami people both past and present as well as exhibits offering information on the local flora, fauna and of course, The Northern Lights.   Entry to the museum is included and you are free to explore the exhibitions at your own pace.

    Lunch will be served back at the hotel restaurant.

    In the afternoon, you will depart on your first Arctic activity as you head out on snowmobiles for a two-hour adventure.  Prior to departure, you will be given a full driving lesson and safety briefing. You will then take to the trails for a safari through the winter landscape, taking in the pristine winter environment for the first time. Your route may take you through snow-laden forests or you may head out onto the thick ice of Lake Inari. Your expert guide will lead the way throughout and you will travel two people per machine (there will be the chance to swap drivers). You must hold a valid driving licence to drive a snowmobile.

    Your snowmobile trip will finish around mid-afternoon and so if you would like to visit the museum in the afternoon instead of the morning, or you would like to return then it is open until 5 pm.

    Following dinner at the hotel, your Aurora guide will join you for a car/minibus hunt for the Northern Lights. Using their expertise, local weather reports and solar activity information, they will determine the best possible route for a potential Aurora viewing. The mobility provided by the vehicle means that you can hopefully outrun any localised cloud cover to catch a glimpse of the lights (should conditions be favourable).

  • Today will be special for two reasons. Firstly, it is Christmas Eve and in Finland, this is the main day of celebrations. Secondly, today will be the day when you will take control of a team of eager huskies for a dog sled safari.  

    In the morning you will be transferred to the local husky centre where you will meet the dogs and your expert local guide. You will be shown how to control the sleds and a safety briefing will be given before you release the brakes and set off on the trails. You’ll travel two people per sled and you can take turns to drive and travel as the passenger. As the dogs silently pull you across the snow you will really begin to understand the magic of mushing! You will be with the dogs for around two and a half hours and this includes a break for a hot coffee and snack. In total, you will be away from the hotel for around four hours. Please note that the order of activities may still change and you will be given your final schedule on arrival.

    After lunch at the hotel, you will have a free afternoon in which to relax and unwind before the festivities commence this evening. At around 8 pm you will join other guests for a delicious meal in the hotel’s renowned restaurant and you will experience some of the local Finnish traditions.

  • Following lunch in the hotel, you will then enjoy an appropriately festive activity as you visit a working reindeer farm. Herding dates back centuries and remains of the utmost importance to the Sámi people.

    You will have the chance to get up close with reindeer at the home of a local lady called Tuula. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask the herder about her life in this remote region before she also imparts her knowledge of local handicraft making.

    This evening you will spend your final night searching for the Aurora via snowmobile. Again, there will be a full safety briefing before you set off on your safari and you will travel in pairs.  If you would prefer not to drive at night, then you can travel in a sleigh behind the guide’s snowmobile and keep an extra close watch on the skies as you wind along the trails.

    This will be your last night in Inari and so, with a little luck, the lights may appear to bid you farewell.

  • Today your festive adventure will draw to a close and you will be transferred to the airport for your flights home.

Included in price

New River Hotel Kultahovi

Nights: 1-4

The Kultahovi New River Hotel resides in the northeast of Finland in the small town of Inari and offers views to the north over the River Juutua. It is owned and run by Kaisu and Heikki, a brother and sister with Sámi roots in Inari which goes back generations.

The original building was constructed in 1956 on the foundations of the original Tourist Hotel which was destroyed during the Second World War. Today it consists of two buildings – the Traditional Hotel which houses the newly renovated restaurant and older style rooms and the New River Hotel where you will stay during your time here.

Hotel facilities

  • The Kultahovi enjoys a deserved reputation for its wine and food with enthusiasm for local produce and traditional dishes with a modern flair. Guests enjoy a set menu, with the option to upgrade to the à la carte menu if you wish (payable locally). Dishes such as reindeer and whitefish are common, with a focus on flavour and style.
  • All meals will be served in the newly renovated restaurant which offers a wonderful view over the rapids of the river. Next to the restaurant, there is a wonderful lounge area with a central fireplace which is a lovely location to relax in the evening.
  • Other facilities include a drying cupboard and free wireless internet throughout. There is also a riverside sauna that is free for guests to use.
  • The hotel has a 360° camera on the roof which takes a photo of the sky once every minute. These photos are then projected onto the TVs in the bedrooms, lounge and bar area. The idea is that you get a real time update of the weather outside and can keep an eye should the Northern Lights appear. Should they make an appearance we would strongly recommend heading outside though as a photo can never do them justice.

Room types

Double/twin rooms

The New River Hotel has 16 rooms in total. These are over two floors so each has either a patio or balcony. Inside, they are decorated to a very high standard with a TV, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities. The highlight of these rooms though is that each has its own private sauna (with the exception of one room) - the ideal place to relax in the evening before heading out on your Aurora hunts.

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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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The single adult price is based on a single room and driving your own snowmobile.

Dates
Sat 22 Dec 2018
to Wed 26 Dec 2018
Book
Adults£ 2,025 Single Adult£ 2,270

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.

Next season’s pre-sale dates and prices

To secure your holiday for next season, you can make a pre-sale booking and fix the price of your trip at the pre-sale price displayed below. Simply by paying an initial deposit of £50pp, you will protect yourself from any package price increases. The departure dates and itineraries remain preliminary and we will contact you when the final dates and itineraries are confirmed, you will then have 14 days to decide if you would like to go ahead. Should you wish to proceed, the remaining deposit will be payable at this stage. If you decide not to travel, we will refund your initial £50pp payment. We reserve the right to charge supplements where there are significant changes to an itinerary or increases in flight costs. Any non-package rates remain subject to change.

Dates
Sun 22 Dec 2019
to Thu 26 Dec 2019
Enquire
Adults£ 2,165 Single Adult£ 2,425

For our full booking terms and conditions please click here

Holiday group size (approximate)

Minimum 4 and maximum 16 people (approximately)

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.

Itinerary amendments

The order of activities is always subject to change and guests will be provided with their final itinerary upon arrival.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT

Please note that some of our holidays may incur a single supplement. Please speak to one of our Travel Experts who will provide you with a quotation.

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.

PREGNANCY

If you are pregnant at the time of booking your holiday or you discover you are pregnant prior to your departure, firstly – congratulations! Secondly – please tell us as soon as possible. This situation does arise, and we are able to advise you both from our own first-hand experience and from discussing this at length with our expert local partners who have experience in this area. The more notice you can give us the better, in order to suggest any adaptions to the itinerary you have booked which will reduce the risk to both mother and baby. Please contact our customer service team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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.

Reduced Mobility

If you have a reduced level of mobility, then please contact our travel experts to discuss the suitability of this holiday in relation to your requirements.

Experience and fitness

We offer a vast choice of holidays which range from 'relaxed' to 'active' so there really is something for everyone and our holidays can be filtered by how active they are. Regardless of the chosen holiday, all activities will include tuition from a beginner's level and no prior experience is assumed.

If you are unsure about the physical demands of a particular holiday please contact us and our expert team will be happy to help.

See our booking conditions for further information.

Guides and safety

It is absolutely essential when partaking in any activity that you listen very closely to, and abide by, the instructions provided.

If there is anything that you are unsure of during a safety briefing or that you would like to clarify with the guides please make this clear to them immediately before starting the activity.

Our guides' word on activities is always final and your safety is their principal concern at all times, please respect their decisions. By following their instructions, your safety and enjoyment during each activity will be greatly enhanced.

See our booking conditions for further information.

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.

Car Hire

If your trip includes car hire the named driver must have a credit card registered in their name which they can present when they collect their car along with their driving licence, as a deposit will be held on the credit card.  Please see your trip dossier for full details.

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.

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.

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 http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/                                                  Canadian Consular Affairs Bureau http://voyage.gc.ca/                                                                                                      The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.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.

Minimum age

The minimum age for participation in our itinerary is 15 years old, however, for some activities and transfers, you may be joined by other guests and this may include some of a younger age than stated. Any younger participants will be fully supervised and the guides will ensure that their participation takes place only if the activities will be unaffected.

Very few hotels have a minimum age and there may be families staying at them with younger children, especially during the holiday periods. We do have some itineraries and destinations which are guaranteed to be adult-only, so if this is important to you please speak to one of our Travel Experts.

To drive a snowmobile you must have a full driving licence and be over 18 years old.

Traveller Reviews

It was a brilliant holiday 02 January 2018 by Jacqueline and Andrew Watson

It was a brilliant holiday. The food was wonderful - great variety and quality. The activities were great fun and our main guide was very knowledgeable and went the extra mile. We thought he was great!

A very well organised trip 23 December 2016 by Michele & Vernon Rozycki

The husky safari and snowmobile safari were my favourite part of the trip. Very exciting and taken through some beautiful scenery. A very well organised trip. The guides were very knowledgeable, the rooms were comfortable and the staff very friendly.

The guide was great 23 December 2016 by Barbara Selby

We were really pleased how aware everyone was about my daughter's lactose intolerance and how easily they dealt with it, even providing separate food for the picnic lunch on the snowmobile trip. The guide was great, it was especially nice that he would sit in the bar with us in the evening and chat, it made us feel as though he enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed his. The hotel was lovely
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and all the staff. The way that lunch was ready when we returned just helped the days go smoothly. I really would recommend the holiday to friends except that it is physically hard if you have never done this type of activity before you can't judge how much it would take out of you. Even the snowmobile if, like me, you're not a motorcyclist, is pretty scary. My daughters had no such problems.
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A fantastic holiday 23 December 2016 by Laura Amor

A fantastic holiday. The hotel was more than accommodating and the Guide (Anti) was a real gem. His knowledge, patience and personality made the activities all the more enjoyable. I loved the whole experience. After seeing the Northern Lights everything else came a very close second! I cannot express how lovely the staff in the hotel were and how well organised all the activities were. The whole
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experience would not have been the same without Anti and his crew!!
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The people leading were excellent in knowledge and expertise 22 December 2015 by Teresa Kearney-Williams

Our activity guide was superb he went the extra mile, did everything possible to ensure that we had a great experience. He was very knowledgeable with regard to the locality we were in and was personable. The Husky ride was a magical experience. It wasn't a token visit/ride, it took a couple of hours and was fabulous! The people leading were excellent in knowledge and expertise. The scenery was
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spectacular and varied. From the forest to a frozen river bed; the sense of wilderness was profound as was the silence and space. The dogs just wanted to pull and got restless when we stopped. In terms or organisation, no addition is needed. The hotel was basic but clean, the people at the hotel were most helpful and accommodating. The hotel was situated in fabulous environment, with scenery that was spectacular. This was a holiday that lived up to expectations, including the ability to see the Northern Lights. The weather is something that we are really unprepared for. It is so easy to talk about "very cold weather" but one has to experience it to truly understand what very cold weather actually is!!
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Wow, what a brilliant holiday 05 January 2015 by Wendy Tabb

Wow, what a brilliant holiday. Even the lights came out to play four nights out of six and were truly amazing - a wonderful experience seeing them. All arrangements were so smooth and on time. The hotel and room were excellent as was the food. The sauna was a great plus at the end of an exciting day of activities in -16 to -30C temperatures. At those temperatures even wearing our full ski wear we
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needed the provided additional snowsuits, gloves and boots. The hotel staff were excellent, accommodating and helpful especially when we disappeared to watch the lights as Christmas Eve dinner was about to be served. Their English was far better than our Finnish! Apart from the light displays the husky sledge ride was probably the number one activity followed closely by the skidoo activities. It was lovely to see the dogs working yet enthusiastic and apparently enjoying it as much as we were. The guides for all activities were knowledgeable and friendly and went out of their way to ensure we had the best experiences even going as far as extending the time of our activity to accommodate the lights showing up late. There were no negatives to this Christmas holiday except that it went by so fast. Couldn't fault it - everything worked smoothly from start to finish. The schedule was perfect. Lots to do and enough free time to see the Sámi centre, the village and have a nice riverside walk. If we had wanted we could have booked another activity such as ice fishing instead. The Aurora watch channel on the TV in our rooms and in the bar was particularly useful to save us running outside in the cold to check if the lights had appeared.
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Four nights of clear skies and excellent Aurora Borealis viewing 05 January 2015 by Richard Fairless

Most enjoyable apart from four nights of clear skies and excellent Aurora Borealis viewing - definately the husky sledge run, great fun.



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