Menesjärvi - Wilderness Auroras
Overview & Agenda
- Duration:4 nights
- Group Size: Minimum 2 and maximum 16 people (approximately)
- Suitable for: Ages 15+. See our terms for further information.
- Flights: Return flights between London 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. NB: 16th February departure is 5 nights in duration
- Meals: 4 night duration: 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
- 16 February departure: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
- The following activities and equipment are included in the price: Snowmobile safari and winter fishing, Aurora workshop, morning with a reindeer herder, Aurora snowmobile safari, husky safari, visit to Sámi Siida Museum, Aurora dinner, Aurora snowshoe (the order of activities is subject to change)
- Cold weather clothing is provided for the duration of your stay
- Free use of snowshoes and cross country skis
- Services of our expert local guides
Image credits: Timo Halonen
With no light pollution and unobstructed views of the night sky from the lake, Menesjärvi offers visitors a high chance of witnessing the Northern Lights at their spectacular best.
Your base for your four nights here is Hotel Korpikartano, a wonderfully welcoming hotel which, as a former boarding school, has a unique charm and is full of character. The accommodation is rustic and simple, but being in the middle of nowhere, it is the perfect wilderness location for an Aurora trip.Read more
This holiday is designed to keep you nicely busy, with great opportunities to try out snowshoeing and cross country skiing during your free time, and explore this stunning scenery at your own pace. One of our personal highlights is the morning with a reindeer herder; a genuine experience in which you can gain an insight into one of the most important industries in this corner of the world. You will get the chance to take the reins on an exciting husky safari and enjoy the thrill of snowmobiling. Evenings are of course spent trying to witness a spectacular sighting of the Aurora with a snowshoe walk, Aurora snowmobile and an evening dinner outside in a traditional wooden kota.
There are many reasons why we love this location, but the real draw lies in its location and the people who will be looking after you. Anne and Timo are wonderfully welcoming hosts and with their team they make everyone feel at home.
In the evenings when you are not enjoying activities, guests often gather to light a fire in one of the hotel's kotas, enjoying the warmth and company whilst awaiting the Northern Lights. If a display is visible then guests can typically be found on the frozen lake enjoying the view.
This destination is about meeting the real people who live in the region, getting to know them, getting to experience their culture and the landscape in which they live. Of course it is also designed to ensure you have the best chance of witnessing one of the greatest spectacles on the planet.
Image credits: Timo Halonen & Ville Heimonen
Day 1 Flights, arrival and introduction
Upon arrival at the airport you will be met and transferred to the remote region of Menesjärvi. On the way you will drive through an increasingly wild landscape before reaching Hotel Korpikartano.
After arriving at the hotel you will have a chance to settle into your rooms before enjoying dinner in the hotel dining room. You will also be given a brief introduction to the upcoming schedule of activities and will be provided with your cold weather clothing.
Before bed we would suggest taking a walk down to the lake. Here you can see the vast arctic sky from a prime vantage point and this is the ideal place to stand and wait for a potential Aurora.
It may be that you are arriving on a late night flight – if this is the case then you will get a cold supper on arrival and be given your introduction and cold weather clothing the following morning.
Day 2 Snowmobile safari, winter fishing, Aurora workshop and Northern Lights snowshoe
Today you will get the chance to explore the endless, pristine wilderness of the surrounding area both during the day and at night.
Following breakfast this morning you will be given a safety briefing and full instruction on how to utilise snowmobiles before setting off on an exhilarating safari. You will travel two people per machine with the chance to take turns at driving (providing you both have full licences). You will firstly travel to the village of Lemmonjoki, a traditional Sámi community before trying your hand at one of the most popular Lappish pastimes – winter fishing.
Upon your return to the hotel your day continues with dinner and a two part Aurora workshop. Many of the guides here are exceedingly talented and passionate Aurora photographers.
You will see some of their spectacular images during the presentation alongside information on the science and myths behind the Aurora. If you are interested in photography and have the right equipment they will also give you tips on how to capture the Lights on film yourself.
The second part of your workshop involves tuition outdoors and photography practice before you strap on snowshoes and head out with your guide on a leisurely hike. Our local experts know all of the best spots from which to capture the Northern Lights and they will lead you to the ideal viewpoint for any potential display.
Day 3 Morning with a reindeer herder and Aurora snowmobiling
Today you will gain a valuable and interesting insight into the essential role of the reindeer herder in this traditional community. Reindeer are of the utmost importance in the region and many elements of herding have remained unchanged for centuries.
You will be transferred to the herder’s farm and from here will travel via snowmobile-pulled sleigh out into the forest. You will travel through beautiful untouched wilderness until reaching a clearing. The herder will call in his reindeer who will appear through the trees, drawn by the promise of the food they are about to receive. You will then be able to see these wonderful creatures up close and have the chance to feed them and take some photographs.
The herder will then light a fire and provide you with warm drinks and snacks whilst you chat and ask him any questions you may have about his herd and his way of life.
This afternoon is free for you to do as you wish. You will have access to snowshoes, cross country skis and toboggan equipment at the hotel so you can explore in the snow independently if you have some experience. You must obtain maps and trail conditions from the reception before setting off.
Many people simply like to relax and unwind with a good book or perhaps enjoy the sauna facilities.
After a hearty meal this evening you will be back on the snowmobiles for a safari into the arctic night. The mobility provided by the snowmobiles should enable you to hopefully escape any cloud cover that may obstruct a potential Aurora. Regardless, this will be a thrilling experience as the forest takes on a very different feel once darkness has fallen.
Day 4 Husky safari. Sámi Siida Museum, Aurora dinner
Along with the Aurora Borealis, one of the main highlights for most visitors to Lapland is a husky safari. Today it is your chance to feel the thrill of driving a team of eager dogs through this stunning landscape.
Following a transfer to a nearby husky farm, you will meet your enthusiastic dogs and have the chance to chat with the mushers.
You then need to master the basics of dog sledding and, following a full safety briefing and instruction, you will head out with your husky teams (two people per sled) for a safari lasting around three hours.
After your husky adventure you will head to the village of Inari. Here you will have lunch and then have the chance to visit the famous Sámi Siida Museum. The wonderful exhibits, displays and presentations offer an insight into Sámi Culture and life in this region past and present.
To allow you to bid farewell to Menesjärvi in style, tonight’s dinner will be cooked on an open fire in one of the hotel’s lakeside kotas. After a meal to remember then you can head to the lake and keep watch for the Northern Lights.
Day 5 Departure day or free day (16th February departure only)
If you are booked onto a 4 night holiday programme then it is time to say goodbye to Menesjärvi and return to the airport for your flights home.
If you are travelling on our 16th February departure then today will be free for you to relax and enjoy another day in these spectacular surroundings. You can make use of the free snowshoeing equipment at the hotel or arrange additional activities locally.
Alternatively, we can arrange for you to stay in one of the unique Aurora Bubbles situated around 45 minutes from Ivalo airport; these glass domed pods mean that you get an exceptional view of the night sky (weather permitting) and can hopefully gaze at the Aurora from the comfort of bed.
We can also help arrange a stopover in Helsinki for you should you wish to enjoy the city en route to home.
All of the options can be found in the 'personalise' section of the holiday page.
Day 6: Depart or extend your stay (16th February departure only)
If you are booked onto a 5 night holiday on 16th February, then following your extra day yesterday it is now time to bid farewell and head to the airport to catch your return flights home.
Included in price
Once a boarding school for children growing up in this remote corner of Lapland, Hotel Korpikartano is full of character and charm. It also has the added warmth of its owners (Timo and Anne) stamped across it, providing a wonderful atmosphere.
The hotel consists of two buildings; the main building which houses the dining area and a number of rooms and a separate annex building (a short walk away) which houses the majority of guests' accommodation.Read more about this accommodation
- The hotel dining room is in the main building and is where you will enjoy the majority of your meals at Menesjärvi. Traditional home cooking is the order of the day and can be described as 'simple and hearty' to fuel you for the outdoors. In many cases, the buffet will contain local ingredients such as the fresh fish that Timo has caught or meat from the local reindeer herders, which is exactly what you want after a day in the wilds. Your meals are all buffet service and you can also purchase a range of wine, beer and spirits throughout your meal.
- Obviously saunas are a pre-requisite in these parts and there are two in the main building and an outdoor wood burning sauna. Should you request the use of the outdoor sauna (local charge will apply), don't forget that a dip in the lake is obligatory, as long as you are in good physical condition.
- The simple lounge (near to 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 within the main building and there is also a selection of books and games for guests to use.
- Timo and Anne want their guests to really embrace the outdoors and so you have free use of snowshoes, cross country skis and kick sleds during your stay. You need to be instructed on the use and conditions of use of equipment with the staff in advance and ideally have some previous experience. Maps and trail conditions can be collected from reception.
The 28 guest bedrooms vary in size. All are cosy, comfortable and furnished with locally sourced wood in Scandinavian style. Some of the furniture has been crafted by Timo's own hand. All guest bedrooms have an en suite bathroom, with shower and a hairdryer. There is also a TV (although Finnish TV can be fairly unfathomable) but we recommend spending as much time as possible outdoors, enjoying the scenery.
Image credit: Timo Halonen
Personalise this tour
Cross-country skiingFrom £60pp
Cross-country skiing is remarkably good fun and is an efficient way to travel and explore the terrain surrounding the hotel. Gliding across a frozen lake or through a snow-laden forest it helps you to understand why people get addicted to this pastime. Your guide will give instruction and lead you through the forest on a short ski trip. The skis will then be yours for the remainder of the day should you wish to further enhance your skills. This is an excellent option for your first full day in Lapland.
Duration: 1 – 1.5 hrs (skis hire for the day)
Aurora Bubble from MenesjärviFrom: £270pp
Situated at Muotka Lodge, this famous bubble is one of the most wonderful places to spend a night in Lapland. Having left Menesjärvi we can arrange for you to bypass the airport and head straight to Muotka to enjoy dinner at the lodge and a night to remember in the bubble.Read more about this activity
Effectively the bubble brings the night sky to you through a large domed glass window. This means that if the Northern Lights are visible you can see them from the comfort of your bed!
The bubble is located away from the main building and is equipped with a discreet, compostable toilet so that you can spend the whole night in comfort, hopefully with the Northern Lights dancing overhead.
The Northern Lights can sadly never be guaranteed and Aurora hunting always requires a bit of luck. There are however, few better ways in which to wait for the Northern Lights than tucked up in your bubble enjoying a truly unique experience and a wonderful last night in Lapland.
In the morning, breakfast will be served in the lodge restaurant before you are transferred to the airport for your return flights home.
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.
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.Read more about this activity
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 UNSECO 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 multi cultural 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: VisitFinland
Sleep in an Aurora KotaFrom: £270pp
As ever, Muotka leads the way in Aurora viewing innovation and we are therefore proud to offer our guests the chance to spend the night in one of the magnifcent Aurora Kotas. These stunning, part cabin, part glass tepee buildings, offer guests an exceptional overnight Aurora hunting experience.Read more about this activity
Guests get the space and feel of a cabin during the day and the Aurora viewing benefits of a glass igloo at night, as you sleep under a glass tepee. This means that you are provided with the most wonderful views of the night sky from the comfort of your bed.
The Aurora Kotas are en-suite with shower rooms. They also feature a small seating area.
These Kotas are an an unforgettable place in which to spend the night and should not be missed.
They will be ready to welcome guests from November 2015.
Dates & Prices
Tour dates and prices
Flight inclusive prices
Sun 13 Dec 2015Book
Thu 17 Dec 2015
|Adults£ 1,395||Single Adult£ 1,490|
Tue 19 Jan 2016Book
Sat 23 Jan 2016
|Adults£ 1,435||Single Adult£ 1,530|
Tue 16 Feb 2016Book
Sun 21 Feb 2016
|Adults£ 1,465||Single Adult£ 1,585|
Sun 21 Feb 2016Book
Thu 25 Feb 2016
|Adults£ 1,425||Single Adult£ 1,520|
Mon 14 Mar 2016Book
Fri 18 Mar 2016
|Adults£ 1,375||Single Adult£ 1,470|
Thu 31 Mar 2016Book
Mon 04 Apr 2016
|Adults£ 1,585||Single Adult£ 1,680|
For our full booking terms and conditions please click here
Order of activities
The order of activities is always subject to change and you will be provided with your final itinerary upon arrival at your destination
Medical History and advice
If you or any member of your party is pregnant or has any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday or has any special requirements as a result of any medical condition or disability (including any which affect the booking process), please tell us before you confirm your booking so that we can assist you in considering the suitability of the arrangements and/or making the booking. In any event, you must give us full details in writing at the time of booking and whenever any change in the condition or disability occurs. You must also promptly advise us if you become pregnant or any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday develops after your booking has been confirmed.
See our booking conditions for further information.
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 lever 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.
Group sizes and minimum numbers
Most of our holidays require a minimum number of participants to operate. Minimum numbers are detailed on each holiday page and are always approximate. Group sizes for tailor made holidays will vary for each of the activities. For private departures you may also be joined by other guests during the activities unless you have discussed specific private activities with us.
If your selected date has not yet reached minimum numbers you will be informed at the time of booking. In the unlikely event that your chosen date has not reached the required minimum numbers nine weeks before your scheduled departure date we will contact you and discuss the various options available to you. We will always do all we can to operate a holiday and in some cases we may be able to operate the holiday by combining your itinerary with that of other guests for some activities (this may mean that the maximum group size is increased but this will be discussed in full with you).
If we are unable to operate the holiday then you will be offered the chance to transfer to an alternative holiday or date (subject to availability). If the alternative is more expensive you will be asked to pay the difference, if it is cheaper then you will be reimbursed. You will also be offered the option to cancel and receive a full refund of all monies paid.
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
In almost all of our destinations you can book and pay for additional activities locally. Please note that we cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss that occurs through any activities that are booked in your destination (see our terms and conditions for further details).
Please always ensure that your safety is your primary concern when arranging any such activity.
The minimum age for participation in our itinerary is 15 years old, however, for some activities and shared transfers, our guests may be joined by others and these may include those of a younger age. Any younger participants will be fully supervised by an adult and the guides will ensure that they are only able to participate if there will be no affect on the activity experience.
To drive a snowmobile you must have a full driving licence and be over 18 years old.