Menesjärvi - Wilderness Auroras
- Duration:4 nights
- Suitable for: Ages 15+. See our terms for further information.
ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES LISTED BELOW ARE INCLUDED IN THE HOLIDAY PRICE
- Flights: Return flights between London and Ivalo (via Helsinki). Regional and non-UK departures available on request (flight routes are subject to change)
- Transfers: Return group airport transfers
- Accommodation: 4 nights in twin/double hotel rooms
- Meals: 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
- The following activities and equipment are included in the price: Snowmobile safari and winter fishing, Aurora workshop and Aurora snowshoe, morning with a reindeer herder, Aurora snowmobile safari, husky safari, visit to Sámi Siida Museum, Aurora dinner (the order of activities is subject to change)
- Cold weather clothing is provided for the duration of your stay
- Free use of snowshoes, cross-country skis, kicksleds and toboggans
- Services of our expert local guides
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 where you can gain an insight into one of the most important industries in this corner of the world. You will also get the chance to take the reins on an exciting husky safari and to enjoy the thrill of snowmobiling. Evenings are of course spent trying to witness a spectacular sighting of the Aurora while taking part in a snowshoe walk, an Aurora snowmobiling session 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 and getting to know them, as well as 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 display.
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 use 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). If you would like to travel one person per snowmobile, see our 'Personalise' section for more information. You will firstly travel to the village of Lemmenjoki - a traditional Sámi community - before trying your hand at one of the most popular local pastimes – winter fishing.
Lunch and dinner are included today. After dinner, there will be 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 Northern Lights on camera yourself.
The second part of your workshop involves outdoor tuition 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 viewpoints.
Day 3 Morning with a reindeer herder and Aurora snowmobiling
Today you will gain a valuable and interesting look 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.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the herder’s farm and from here will travel via snowmobile-pulled sleigh out into the forest. You will journey through the beautiful untouched wilderness, 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 while 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, with lunch included. 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 after breakfast, you will meet your enthusiastic dogs and have the chance to chat with the mushers.
You will then master the basics of dog sledding and receive a full safety briefing before heading out with your husky team (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, both 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, you can head to the lake and keep a watch for the Northern Lights.
Day 5 Departure day
After breakfast, it will be time to say goodbye to Menesjärvi and return to the airport for your flights home.
We can also help arrange a stopover in Helsinki for you should you wish to visit the city en route to home. All of the options can be found in the 'Personalise' section of the holiday page.
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, 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 accommodation for the majority of guests.
- 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, as well as an outdoor wood-burning sauna. Should you request the use of the outdoor sauna (a local charge will apply), don't forget that a dip in the lake is 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 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, so you have free use of snowshoes, cross-country skis and kicksleds during your stay. You need to be instructed by the staff in advance on how to use the equipment; ideally, you will have some previous experience. Maps and trail conditions can be collected from reception
Hotel rooms: 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 £35pp
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 helps you understand why people get addicted to this pastime. Your guide will give instructions 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 (ski hire for the day)
Extra Aurora snowshoe sessionFrom: £48pp
Wandering around on snowshoes is a classic way of getting around in Lapland, taking you into some truly quiet natural spaces. Why not add another to your holiday for an extra session of therapeutic walking, looking out to see if the Aurora are dancing in the skies above?
Duration: 2 hours
Image credit: Timo Halonen
Riding one person per snowmobileFrom: £40pp
Driving a snowmobile over the open whiteness is utterly electrifying, so it is well worth upgrading to drive your own snowmobile for the whole activity, rather than going two per vehicle.
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 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: VisitFinland
Dates & Prices
We include more, no hidden costs
Sun 11 Dec 2016Book
Thu 15 Dec 2016
|Adults£ 1,395||Single Adult£ 1,491|
Wed 18 Jan 2017Book
Sun 22 Jan 2017
|Adults£ 1,325||Single Adult£ 1,421|
Wed 15 Feb 2017Book
Sun 19 Feb 2017
|Adults£ 1,445||Single Adult£ 1,541|
Sun 19 Feb 2017Book
Thu 23 Feb 2017
|Adults£ 1,445||Single Adult£ 1,541|
For our full booking terms and conditions please click here
Holiday group size
Minimum 8 persons, maximum 24 (approximately)
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.
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.
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 effect on the activity experience.
To drive a snowmobile you must have a full driving licence and be over 18 years old.
Enhanced massively by staff and guides 14 March 2016 by Anthony and Sarah Bacon
Both the reindeer herding and the husky safari were equally enjoyable maybe because we love animals. The whole experience was enhanced massively by the fact that all of the staff and guides loved what they were doing and where they lived so much and this proved infectious.
Everything was quite superb 14 March 2016 by Mary Piers
Everything was quite superb. From initial enquiries to final travel you were all wonderful and so considerate and helpful, a million thanks. Words are inadequate. My deepest gratitude to you all and I am looking to you to help me get to Nourgam next year! With my deepest gratitude.
Overall the holiday was excellent 21 February 2016 by Nigel Sellwood
Overall the holiday was excellent. The organisation was very good, including air flights and transfers. The hotel was comfortable and warm and the room adequate. The activities were very well thought through and the staff interested, keen and helpful. The eating arrangements were very good.
I would highly recommend this holiday destination and your company to others 16 February 2016 by Jenny Wright
I thoroughly enjoyed this holiday. This was the first holiday of this kind that I have taken. I would highly recommend this holiday destination and your company to others. The hotel was in a stunning location. The hotel staff were extremely warm, friendly and welcoming. The guides on the activities were friendly and professional. I would be most grateful if your company could pass on my sincere thanks to the hotel staff for their wonderful hospitality. The pre-trip information was invaluable, especially the "what to take section regarding clothing".
We loved this holiday 16 February 2016 by Sharon Cox
We loved this holiday. We had so much fun and enjoyed the setting and the activities. Free use of skis and snowshoes was an added bonus.
I could write an essay praising the holiday and the people 19 January 2016 by Ann Griffiths
Everyone we met were extremely helpful and nothing was too much trouble. We had the warmest welcome we have ever had on holiday when we arrived at the hotel. All the activities were well organised and ran to schedule. The Aurora workshop was cut short because there was activity outside. The guide set up my camera in temperatures around minus 30 degrees C so that I could take some photos of the Aurora for which I am very grateful. I hope his hands have thawed out. I could write an essay praising the holiday and the people.
We were lucky enough to see the Aurora every night, it was stunning. 13 December 2015 by Anne Cardwell
Food was very good and exactly what was needed in that environment. There was no choice of dishes, but that wasn't a problem. The husky safari was exciting, participative and a quiet way to enjoy the beautiful forest environment. We were lucky enough to see the Aurora every night, it was stunning. The location of Hotel Korpikartano is ideal, no light pollution so no need to travel to hunt the Aurora, just stroll down the path to the lake. We enjoyed everything, the weather was perfect for all the activities. The staff and guides exceeded expectations. We were made to feel welcome and special right up to the moment of departure at the airport. Hotel Korpikartano is professionally run by extremely knowledgeable owners. It operates smoothly with great attention to detail and the safety of their clients.
All excellent 11 December 2015 by David Wright
Most enjoyable activity: Dog sledding... good to help with harnessing and unharnessing the dogs! (It was) all excellent.
General atmosphere was very relaxed and genuinely welcoming 26 March 2015 by Rebecca Ship
The food was good home-cooking and I never came away feeling I needed more. The general atmosphere was very relaxed and genuinely welcoming. The evening snowshoe walk into the forest with our guide Ville - Wonderful. Snowmobiling (was) much harder than I expected, and nothing like driving a car. But I'm glad I did it! Also, ice fishing is not something I would particularly want to do again, but the experience was interesting and our guide Marti was attentive and patient.