ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES LISTED BELOW ARE INCLUDED IN THE HOLIDAY PRICE
- Flights: return flights from London Heathrow to Ivalo via Helsinki
- Transfers: return airport transfers
- Accommodation: 4 nights in twin/double hotel room
- Meals: full board
- The following activities are included in the holiday: visit a reindeer farm, Aurora photography workshop, Aurora hunt on foot, Aurora hunt by car/on foot, guided nature walk, husky and Sami Siida Museum visit (the order of activities is subject to change)
- Cold weather clothing will be provided to guests for the duration of their stay if required
- Fully qualified guides and instructors during activities
Perhaps the focal point of any trip to Menesjärvi is the anticipation of seeking out the Northern Lights. The Finnish ‘Ruska’ season sees the onset of darker nights and starry skies and the remote location ensures minimal light pollution. The landscape is bathed in the vibrant shades of brown and orange and it is a time of immense change in Lapland. September, in particular, showcases this contrast in colour and is an ideal time to visit.
This holiday is designed to give guests an authentic Lappish experience during ‘Ruska’, whilst maximising the opportunities to explore the vibrant autumn landscapes and potentially witness the Aurora Borealis. Auroral displays during the Finnish ‘Ruska’ can rival, and very often better, those of winter, due to the stunning colours and the captivating reflection as it dances above the still open waters of Lake Menesjärvi.
Imagine the anticipation of seeking out the Aurora Borealis. The hunt is an experience in itself, but to witness the Northern Lights as they light up the autumnal skies is beyond description. Fortunately, an Aurora photography workshop will prepare you for any photo opportunities and introduce you to capturing this natural phenomenon.
This Aurora Borealis holiday also includes a journey into the unusual Sámi culture. A visit to a local reindeer farm will give you a valuable insight into the lifestyle of the local Sámi herders. The Sámi have survived in the harsh Arctic environment for centuries and it is fascinating to learn about how important the reindeer are to that survival.
You will also visit a local husky farm where your arrival will undoubtedly be met by a volley of excited barks, yelps, whimpers, growls and other assorted doggy noises. Following a tour of the husky farm, you will then visit the highly recommended Sámi Siida Museum, which showcases this unusual culture with an array of impressive displays. The museum also has a surprisingly colourful (the Sami people love bright colours) and attention-grabbing gift shop, where you can purchase traditional Sámi handicrafts.
During your time in Menesjärvi, you will be based at Hotel Korpikartano which was a former boarding school and exudes character and charm. Your welcoming hosts Anne and Timo and the rustic simplicity of the accommodation offer the perfect introduction to Lappish hospitality. Its isolated location on the shore of Lake Menesjarvi (jarvi is Finnish for lake) with virtually no light pollution and unobstructed views of the night sky is perfect for Aurora hunting.
To conclude, this holiday has a striking balance of Lappish culture, autumnal nature and alluring Northern Lights hunting which is guaranteed to produce treasured memories.
Image credits: Timo Halonen and Hotel Korpikartano
You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your rustic accommodation which exudes Lappish charm and hospitality. You will enjoy a home-cooked meal consisting of delicious local produce before you settle down for the evening.Included Meals: Dinner
Visit to Reindeer Farm, Aurora Workshop and Aurora Hunt
To awaken in a pristine wilderness such as Menesjärvi for the first time is an experience in itself. You will instantly notice the freshness of the air and will be filled with an eagerness to explore. The hotel looks out towards the lake and beyond this is a remote and picturesque landscape of forest and gently rolling fells. The Finnish ‘Ruska’ is a time of spectacular change and the vibrant autumn colours of September are a particular highlight.
After breakfast, you will begin your exploration with a visit to a nearby reindeer farm. Reindeer herding has long been an important part of the centuries-old Sámi culture and the reindeer itself has become a symbol of this region. It is an animal which is synonymous with these arctic landscapes and meeting the herders provides a first-hand insight into this unusual way of life.
The farm is located a short distance from the hotel and on arrival, you will be welcomed by a local herder. During a tour of the farm, you will gain insight into this fascinating age-old culture. To understand how the local people have thrived in this remote corner of the world is truly remarkable.
Following the tour, you will return to your hotel for lunch before enjoying an afternoon at your leisure. There are a number of marked walking trails close to the hotel or you may wish to enjoy a traditional Finnish sauna, which is a must do for anyone visiting Finnish Lapland. A home-cooked dinner will be served in the restaurant during the evening before your first Aurora hunt.
Prior to your nocturnal excursion, you will participate in an Aurora photography workshop. This is vital if you want to learn the skills required to capture the lights on camera and will prepare you for any sightings.
Following the workshop, you will begin to feel the anticipation and excitement mount, as you venture into the wilderness either by car or on foot. Your knowledgeable guide will use their experience to determine the best possible viewing spot. The location of the hotel means that you may not have to venture far to witness a display.
The lights reflecting on Lake Menesjärvi is what an autumn Aurora hunting holiday is all about. On a really good night, you can get two Auroras for the price of one as the dancing lights are reflected in the inky black waters of the lake. The contrast of light and colour can rival, if not better, those of winter and what’s more, you rarely have to cope with sub-zero temperatures either.Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Guided Nature Walk and Aurora Hunt
Following breakfast, you can enjoy the morning at your leisure. A sauna is a fantastic way to start the day and will leave you feeling revitalised for the upcoming activities.
At around midday, you will venture to a traditional Lappish Kota and enjoy lunch cooked over an open fire. A deliciously cooked starter of reindeer sausage is bound to entice the taste buds, before a homely bowl of hot soup and a homemade pastry.
After lunch, you will enter the nearby forest, enjoying the electric colours and fragrant autumn aromas. The Finnish Ruska can see the first smatterings of snow, so it is not uncommon to witness the first coverings which signal the oncoming winter.
As you peruse the forest, keep an eye out for wildlife and an interesting array of birds. Your knowledgeable guide will point out any animal tracks and will provide insightful information on the surrounding environment, including the autumn flora. September can see the growth of delicious seasonal berries and mushrooms and you can forage for something to include in your evening meal.
As darkness falls you will have another opportunity to seek out the Aurora Borealis. Similarly, to the night before, your expert guide will make a decision as to whether you go on foot or by car. The remote location means that you don’t often have to travel far to escape artificial light and the car offers the possibility of outrunning any cloud cover.
Chasing the Aurora and experiencing that sense of anticipation that it may appear at any moment is a thrilling concept. To then witness a spectacular display, as the night sky blazes with dancing colour is mind-blowing and very difficult to put into words.Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Husky and Siida Visit
No trip to Lapland is complete without a visit to a husky farm. These excitable dogs are eager for visitors and will welcome you with a frenzy of collective barking. The host will give you a tour of the farm and an insight into the role of huskies north of the Arctic Circle. You will then get to meet the dogs themselves. If you are lucky you may also get to cuddle some puppies.
Following your visit to the husky farm, you will then travel to Inari which is the centre of Sámi culture in Finland. The colourful and insightful Siida museum has a fantastic collection of exhibitions, including an outstanding Northern Lights gallery. To thrive north of the Arctic Circle is no easy feat but the Sámi have done so by understanding and respecting the land. An example of this understanding is reflected in the Sámi language, which has around 180 words for snow. Impressive, gigantic photographs tell the colourful story of the Sámi people and how they have adapted to the Arctic conditions.
The remainder of your day will be yours to spend as you wish. You may want to unravel further the mysteries that lie within the forest or admire the views over Lake Menesjärvi. As darkness falls, we would highly recommend taking a final opportunity to seek out the Aurora. Your hosts will be more than happy to assist you, should you wish to follow any of the marked trails, but the wilderness location means that the Aurora can very often be spotted from just outside the hotel.Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Enjoy the picturesque surroundings one last time before embarking on your journey home. Following breakfast, you will be transferred back to the airport with a wealth of life lasting memories from this Finnish ‘Ruska’ experience. Alternatively, if you would like to extend your stay in Menesjärvi, then please contact one of our Travel Experts.Included Meals: Breakfast
Included in price
Personalise this tour
Helsinki city break
With our destinations being so remote, the majority of flights to Finnish Lapland are operated by Finnair and therefore involve connecting through Helsinki Airport. Many of our guests choose to extend this stop and spend some time in the Finnish capital, either at the start or end of their holiday.Read more
We can arrange a wide variety of city centre hotel accommodation for guests to choose from and some options closer to the airport should you prefer. We know that everyone tends to be looking for something different so please contact our Travel Experts for their opinion on the hotels which may best suit you and your party.
Located on the peninsula of the Baltic Sea, Helsinki enjoys a charming coastal location and has much to offer its guests. This thriving city has a rich culture and arts scene with many museums and galleries to enjoy alongside the exciting gastronomy.
Despite its cool urbanism and a reputation for cutting-edge design, Helsinki also retains its charm and visitors will enjoy this city's very friendly atmosphere.
In the city itself, Senate Square is the main feature, showcasing neoclassical architecture and offering easy access to the surrounding shops. With Helsinki once part of the Duchy of Russia, it offers similar striking architecture, with wide streets and bold facades. For those looking for more of an insight into the city's past, we would suggest visiting the Ateneum Art Museum which houses over 20,000 pieces of art or the Helsinki Design Museum which showcases the history of design in the country from traditional folklore to postmodernism.
A 15-minute ferry ride from the main city is the UNESCO-listed Suomenlinna Sea Fortress which was constructed in 1748. As well as being a unique monument, it is also a lovely day trip, as the island has numerous shops and parks to explore.
Helsinki's food scene has seen a recent evolution, with a growth in street food which showcases the city's multicultural population. Helsinki is famed also for its specialist dishes of seafood and Russian cuisine so there is much to sample!
Finland is famed for its coffee consumption so you can be sure of a thriving café culture here. Be sure to include an obligatory stop for a coffee and a cinnamon roll during your explorations!
Whether you add your city break onto the start or the end of your holiday, spending a night or two in Helsinki is not something that you will regret.
Please contact our Travel Experts for a full quotation. All city breaks are subject to flight availability.
Image credit: Visit Helsinki & Jussi Hellston
Dates & Prices
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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
Holiday group size (approximate)
Minimum 2 people
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.
The order of activities is always subject to change and guests will be provided with their final itinerary upon arrival. The trip dossier is standard to the holiday and does not account for any amends, additions or personalisation to an itinerary. Clients should refer to their booking documents for this information.
The order of activities listed in this agenda is provided for guidance only, your final itinerary will be provided on 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 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
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.
Brexit information for British Passport holders
We have no reason to believe that our holidays will be impacted after Brexit and so it is business as usual for us. The European Commission has stated that no aircraft will be grounded, even if no deal is reached between the EU and the UK.
However, the Foreign Office is advising people take the following steps so please review this information and take any necessary action.
The relevant points include:
- check your passport
- get travel insurance which covers your healthcare
If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change. If your adult passport was issued over 9 years ago, you may be affected. You should use this tool to check your passport is still valid for your trip before booking travel.
Adult and child passports should have at least 6 months’ validity remaining on your date of travel. If you renewed your passport early, extra months would have been added to your new passport. Any extra months on an adult passport will not count towards the validity requirement, so some passport holders will need to have more than 6 months remaining in order to travel.
You will also need to double-check your travel insurance as after Brexit there is no guarantee your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be accepted.
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
Please note that the cancellation terms below supersede those mentioned in section 7 of our booking terms and conditions:
- More than 63 days prior to departure - Loss of deposit (including the full cost of flights or other services where paid at the time of booking)
- 63 to 43 days prior to departure - 40%
- 42 to 31 days prior to departure – 60%
- 30 or less days – 100%
Where do I begin? This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for my wife and I to see the Northern lights. The Auroras Zone and all the staff at the hotel have done everything they can to ensure this was a holiday we would never forget. Our 'once-in-a-lifetime trip' has turned into an 'I am definitely going back' trip. We were there to experience the aurora and did so 3 of the 4 evenings. It was simply astounding and the help from Matty with my camera really got the most out of my experience. But the cultural and natural history excursions just added to the enjoyment. The day we travelled home was my wife's birthday. The surprise and delight for her to be presented with a bottle of bubbly on our last night is beyond description. Thank you so much The Aurora Zone.
Unsure whether the autumn would be a good time to see (hopefully!) the Northern Lights - aren't they usually found in Arctic winter skies? Well, I needn't have worried. The glorious colours of autumn in Northern Finland, within the Arctic Circle, has to be one of the best options. Fantastic colours in the trees and skies, all starkly reflected in the smooth surface of the lake at the remote Hotel Korpikartano, bright blue skies during the day and inky-black clouds seeming to hang heavily in the darkening sky.
This is a wonderful location to really feel and understand the people who live and work here, and of course, it is an amazing place to stay, even for just four nights. Brilliant photo-opportunities of course, from the jetty leading out into the lake that looks unreal with reflected clouds, to the orange glow of sunset, and the amazing Northern Lights that surprise you with their shifting green shapes.
This is a fantastic trip, a beautiful place to experience, plus the extra opportunities to see reindeer and husky dogs. Even though it is not freezing at this time of year, it is very cold standing outside until midnight with your camera, so you do need the warm gear. I only have a digital camera and although it is a good one, it is clear that your photographs will be much better with the one you can change to finer settings. But, I saw the Northern Lights and although the photographs are not brilliant, the experience was! Definitely recommended.
I could not have had better hosts. The hotel was wonderful. Matias was superb as a guide. He really made the stay. The food was the best I had in Europe.
We enjoyed all of it! The nature walk, lunch and pancakes cooked outdoors, reindeer farm, Sámi cultural museum - and of course the Aurora.