ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES LISTED BELOW ARE INCLUDED IN THE HOLIDAY PRICE
- Flights: return direct flights from London Gatwick to Ivalo. Regional and non-UK departures available on request (flight routes are subject to change)
- Transfers: return airport transfers
- Accommodation: 3 nights in twin/double hotel room
- Meals: full board
- The following activities are included in the holiday: dog sledding, visit a reindeer farm, Aurora camp, snowshoeing, snowmobiling lesson, Aurora snowshoeing (the order of activities is subject to change)
- Fully qualified guides and instructors during activities
- Cold weather clothing for the duration of your stay
- Aurora Alert until approximately 1 am
Imagine being at a New Year’s Eve party and someone asking you how you’ve filled those limbo days since Christmas. With a glint in your eye, you could respond with,
“Well, we travelled 250km north of the Arctic Circle and stayed in a lovely hotel on the shores of a huge frozen lake. During the day we went dog sledding and in the evenings we hunted down the Northern Lights.”
And then, with an almost apologetic grin, you could beg the question,
“Did you get up to much?”Read more
We’re so excited by Wilderness Hotel Nangu which was totally renovated in 2017. Now in the ownership of our long-term friends, Jouko and Mari Lappalainen who own and run hotels in some of the best places in Northern Europe for viewing the Aurora Borealis.
The focus at Nangu is on the Northern Lights and much more besides. The hotel’s position on the south shore of the huge body of water (or ice in winter) that is Lake Inari means that it enjoys unrivalled views of dark northern skies just a short walk from the hotel. It is also a very isolated location which means that there is virtually no light pollution to blur the clarity of any Auroral displays.
When you are first driven down the forest-lined road to Nangu you might just wonder where on earth you are going. This is genuinely off-the-beaten-track stuff, isolated, quiet and tranquil and the ideal base for exploring by night and day.
This part of Finland is renowned for having a Northern Lights record to match, or even better, those of other far more vaunted destinations. The beauty here is that Nangu is an exclusive and small hotel with easy access to the Aurora camps and other prime Northern Lights viewing points that are dotted nearby. This holiday includes a visit to an Aurora Camp and a snowshoe hunt for the Aurora, two activities designed to maximize your chances of seeing the Northern Lights during your short stay.
The flat, frozen expanse of Lake Inari is not just suitable for Aurora hunting. During the day you’ll be travelling along its shores to visit a reindeer farmer and help him feed his herd, you’ll be driving a team of eager dogs across the winter landscapes and exploring deep into the snowy forest on snowshoes. There will also be the chance to try snowmobiling before you head home.
What’s more, you’ll be home in time for New Year’s Eve with bragging rights well and truly secured when you and your friends gather to welcome in the New Year.
Image credits: Markku Inkila and Anthony Oberlin
Arrival and Welcome
On arrival at Ivalo Airport, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your amazing base at Nangu. It’s a 30-minute drive but of course, you may be delayed by reindeer on the road.
There will be plenty of time for you to settle in this afternoon. Your evening will include dinner in the hotel’s restaurant with its stunning picture windows looking out onto the wilds, the distribution of your cold weather clothing and your Aurora alert. We then recommend heading down to the lakeside and check out the night sky for signs of the Aurora of course though before bed.
Dog Sledding and Reindeer Day in Nellim, Evening Aurora Camp
Make sure you have a hearty breakfast this morning because you are going to be out and about for about seven hours today.
Firstly, you’ll be driven towards the Russian border until you reach the small village of Nellim. Once there, the group will be split into two smaller parties comprising dog mushers and reindeer herders. The roles will be reversed after lunch but for now, the dog sledders will be taken to meet their canine trail companions and the reindeer herders will jump into a sleigh pulled by the guide’s snowmobile and head to a local reindeer farm.
Dog sledding is one of those must-do bucket list activities. There is nothing quite like it to recreate that “Call of the Wild” spirit so perfectly evoked by Jack London in the book of the same name. It’s just fantastic, you and your team against a snowy wilderness landscape.
Initially, you’ll meet the dogs and will be provided with instructions on how to drive the sled and manage your huskies. Two people will share a team of four to six dogs, with one driving and the other riding in the sled (you can swap during the safari so that everybody gets to drive).
The dogs’ enthusiasm to get going will be clear as they leap about in excitement and make a fair bit of noise. They set off at a good pace but, once they are running, the dogs fall silent and just their panting and the hypnotic swish, swish of your sled’s runners break the silence.
Your guide’s route will eventually bring you back to the village where lunch will be served in the restaurant at the Wilderness Hotel Nellim, one of Nangu’s sister hotels.
The afternoon will see you being pulled in a sleigh to a local reindeer farm. You’ll learn about the importance of reindeer husbandry to the local Sámi people and get the chance to meet the animals and feed them. It’s a remarkable thing for the Sámi people to have lived in this harsh environment for centuries and the reindeer have been key to their survival. During your journey, you will stop at the Russian border and at Nellim's log church.
You should be back at the hotel by late mid to late afternoon and it might be worth catching some shut-eye because, after dinner, you’ll be heading out again, this time in search of the Aurora Borealis.
Lake Inari is one of the best places in Northern Europe for seeing the Northern Lights. It stretches away endlessly with unobstructed views of the northern skies. Your guide will take you out to one of the Aurora camps which have been constructed in the area via a snowmobile-pulled sledge and will get a fire on the go to keep you warm and to make hot drinks. Then, it’s up to Mother Nature.
The Aurora appears in many ways but commonly, you might see a green smudge emerging from the coal black sky. Gradually, the smudge becomes more defined sometimes as shimmering curtains, other times as dancing swirls of light which dash and dart across the Arctic firmament. It can take your breath away, it can reduce you to tears and it is certainly very, very humbling to see such immense natural beauty. You will be out for around 2.5 hours in total.
Snowshoeing, Snowmobile Lesson and Aurora Snowshoeing
Make sure you have another good breakfast today, as once more we’ve filled your agenda to the brim with amazing experiences.
One of the problems with the deep, powdery snow is that as soon as you leave the well-compressed trails you find yourself up to your knees or waist or even chest in the white stuff. Snowshoes provide a cunning solution to this problem because they spread your weight over a wider surface allowing you to leave the beaten track and explore further off the trail.
Your guide will help you to strap on your snowshoes and will lead you into the winter landscape for around two hours. Along the way, he or she will point out animal tracks and tell you about the Finnish flora and fauna. Please do not forget your cameras. We believe that the world should be watched through eyes rather than a lens but there will be plenty of stops this morning for you to capture a few photographic souvenirs.
Your guide will make a fire (weather permitting) and you can enjoy a wilderness lunch before heading back to the hotel.
This afternoon it is time to try one of the more modern forms of transport in the Arctic, as you head out on snowmobiles for a lesson. Snowmobiles have become part of daily life in Lapland and driving them can be great fun. They are however serious machines and so a full safety briefing and instructions on how to handle them will be provided by your guide. You will then head out on a slow-paced and easy snowmobile safari in the area surrounding the hotel, so you can get a taste of this exciting mode of transport.
There’s no stopping you today as, after dinner, you’ll be heading out again in search of the Aurora Borealis.
You’ll strap on your snowshoes one last time and your expert guide will lead the way into the dark wilderness. Your aim will be to reach an ideal Aurora viewpoint in which to spend the evening waiting and hoping for a display to reward your efforts.
With any luck, you’ll be regaling your friends with tales of spectacular Auroras when you return home.
After some busy days and nights, you’ll be up early for the transfer to the airport (a packed breakfast will be provided). Still, the return flights will be an excellent opportunity to get some shut-eye and you’ll hopefully be refreshed and ready to take on the world this New Year’s Eve.
Included in price
Dates & Prices
Price Comparison Guarantee
Single adult price: based on single room accommodation, but sharing transfer, husky sled and snowmobile. If you wish to drive your own team of huskies or snowmobile please ask our Travel Experts for a quotation.
Thu 27 Dec 2018Book
Sun 30 Dec 2018
|Adults£ 1,920||Single Adult£ 1,995|
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.
Thu 26 Dec 2019Enquire
Sun 29 Dec 2019
|Adults£ 2,055||Single Adult£ 2,135|
For our full booking terms and conditions please click here
Holiday group size (approximate)
Minimum 2 people, maximum 24 people (approximately)
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.
The order of activities is always subject to change and guests will be provided with their final itinerary upon arrival.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The minimum age for participation in our itinerary is 18 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.
During your stay, you will be supplied with an Aurora alert. This is typically a mobile phone system to which the staff will send a text should the Northern Lights be sighted. The alerts generally operate until 1 am but it is best to confirm with your guide as times may vary.
The alerts are designed as an aid to Aurora hunting and, although every effort will be made to issue an alert should the conditions seem conducive to a display, things can change very quickly so you should not rely solely on them and should also keep an eye on the sky yourself.