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Price from £2,445pp
VISITING: Finland BROCHURE CODE: 26028
All prices include: flights, transfers, accommodation, meals, guided activities and cold weather clothing; all as listed.
Spend Christmas in authentic Lapland during your winter escape to Utsjoki. Spanning over 7 nights, you’ll make the most of your location within the Aurora Zone with dedicated Northern Lights hunts. You’ll also explore your wild surroundings during the day with activities including dog sledding and reindeer sleigh rides.

What's included?

ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES LISTED BELOW ARE INCLUDED IN THE HOLIDAY PRICE

  • Flights: Direct return flights from London Gatwick to Ivalo (flight routes subject to change)
  • Transfers: return airport transfers
  • Accommodation: 7 nights in Holiday Village Valle Hotel in standard double/twin rooms. Cabin upgrades are available on request and subject to supplement
  • Meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
  • The following activities are included: snowshoeing, husky safari, reindeer sleigh ride, Northern Lights by snowmobile-pulled sleigh and 2 x Northern Lights snowshoeing (the order of activities is subject to change)
  • Cold weather clothing provided for the duration of the trip
  • Fully qualified guides and instructors during activities

As the most northerly municipality in Finland with stretches of rolling fells, frozen lakes and snowy wilderness, it’s fair to say that Utsjoki is a far cry from your ‘usual Christmas’. Rather than battle through the crowds for last-minute presents or tackle the stress of cooking, why not instead enjoy a white Christmas amongst pristine wilderness with excellent Aurora potential?

This holiday is designed to maximise those Northern Lights viewing opportunities in two particular ways.

Firstly, Utsjoki’s remote location deep in the heart of Aurora country means that there is very little artificial light to diminish the clarity of the dazzling displays. What’s more, your accommodation lies outside the town itself. The hotel and cabins enjoy a northerly aspect across the Teno River into Norway and towards some very, very dark skies.

Secondly, we’ve included dedicated Aurora hunting activities in the company of experienced local guides. Nobody knows the terrain (and skies) better and they’ll be able to show you the very best vantage points for viewing a Northern Lights display.

It’s not very often you have the opportunity to stay in such untouched snowy surroundings so we have included key winter experiences to make the most out of it. You will snowshoe to explore the wilderness at a tranquil pace as well as experience the most sought-after Arctic activity of dog sledding.

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Of course, you will still have plenty of opportunities to get into the festive spirit. As Christmas is traditionally celebrated on the 24th, you will enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner in a cosy winter setting. Your itinerary also includes a reindeer sleigh ride for the full Lappish experience and the opportunity to gain an insight into why these animals are so important to the region here.

With its northern location, remote settings and pristine wilderness, Utsjoki is one of the best destinations for serious Northern Lights enthusiasts. Add in the dedicated Aurora activities and wonderful winter excursions and this becomes an unforgettable way to spend Christmas.


Photography by K P Kappest

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Key facts

Duration: 7 nights
Pace: Balanced
Suitable for: Ages 9+. See terms for further information.
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  • Upon arrival into Ivalo, you will be greeted at the airport and transferred to Utsjoki which will take approximately two hours. It’s a fascinating journey and we suggest that you try counting the number of vehicles that pass you on the road. Chances are that you’ll see more reindeer than cars!

    After dinner, you may wish to take advantage of Utsjoki's remote location and minimal artificial light and venture outside, breathe in the invigoratingly fresh air and gaze up at the northern skies.

    Please note that the order of activities within your itinerary is subject to change and the agenda below should be used as a guide only. The exact order of your agenda will be confirmed upon arrival at the hotel.

    Included Meals:  Dinner
  • Following breakfast, you will join your guide for a morning of snowshoeing.

    You will be given a brief introduction to the activity before heading out into what is known locally as the Sacred Valley, a pristine snow-covered wilderness which has strong connections to the local Sami culture. Your local guide will give you an insight into the surrounding nature and wildlife. You will learn how to read animal footprints in the snow, and it is often possible to see tracks from willow grouse, hares or reindeer. You will also learn a key skill in the Arctic - fire building, before enjoying the crackling warmth with a hot drink. You will be out for approximately 2-3 hours this morning.

    This evening the focus turns to the Aurora Borealis. The dark winter nights, lack of light pollution and location at the heart of the Aurora Zone make Utsjoki a prime location for potential displays. During your first evening, you will accompany an experienced guide along one of the walking tracks, away from the artificial light of the accommodation.

    Should the Aurora appear in the sky, a prior introduction on how to capture the Northern Lights on camera will have prepared you for the event. Hot drinks will be served as you enjoy the silence of a winter night, north of the Arctic Circle. You will be out for approximately 2-3 hours this evening.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Your day will begin with a visit to the husky farm in Tana. This farm actually lies on the Norwegian side of the River Teno, around 50 minutes' drive away, so you will be spending your morning in Norway.

    Dog sledding has become extremely popular here in Lapland and the distant barks of the dogs as you approach are only a taste of the eagerness and excitement which you will witness on arrival. These dogs live for adventure and your arrival means that they are going for a run.

    What with all these energised and eager canines literally straining at the leash canine it can get pretty noisy prior to departure. You need to listen carefully as your musher guide gives you a thorough briefing before helping you to get to grips with the sleigh.

    As the dogs set off, the pace can feel pretty quick initially, but your team will very swiftly calm down and settle into a more relaxed running pace. After that, everything else falls into place as you glide across the winter landscapes to the gentle pattering of paws and the swish-swish of your sled’s runners. You will travel two people per sled throughout. The husky safari will last for approximately 2 hours.

    On your return, you will enjoy hot drinks which you can eat around a campfire while listening to stories and interesting facts about these working dogs. Today’s activity will last for 4 hours in total.

    During the evening, you will begin the hunt for festive Auroras via snowshoe on this 2-3 hour safari. Imagine the prospect of spending the Christmas period seeking out a captivating display. The location of Utsjoki, north of the Arctic Circle ensures that you are in the heart of the Aurora Zone with very little light pollution.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • We understand that you are trying to escape a typical Christmas but here in Northern Finland, there is no escaping reindeer. They have played a huge role in the local Sámi way of life for centuries so it is fitting that here, in the heart of Sámi country, you begin with a reindeer pulled sleigh ride.

    The farm is a short walk from the hotel and after meeting your Sámi guide you will gain a fascinating insight into the culture of reindeer herding which has contributed to the Sámi people’s ability to live in the harsh environment north of the Arctic Circle.

    Following this introduction, you’ll jump in the sleigh for a gently paced ride into the terrain surrounding the reindeer farm.

    After the trip, you can relax and enjoy a snack and a hot beverage in your guide’s cosy and authentic Kota. Once again, he/she will regale you with tales and stories about his/her life as a herder while you enjoy the warmth of the roaring fire. You will be out for approximately 2 hours today.

    After dinner, the evening is yours to spend at leisure. You can go out by yourself and try to spot the Aurora Borealis, or simply relax with a well-deserved evening drink.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Following breakfast, the day is yours to spend at leisure and you can simply relax and take advantage of the hotel facilities. Alternatively, you can enjoy a more active day with a number of winter-based activities. Please see the 'Personalise' section for details.

    Christmas is traditionally celebrated on 24th December in Finland, so tonight, a special Christmas meal will be served in the restaurant.

    Who knows, you may even witness an after-dinner Aurora which would signal the perfect ending to this festive day.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Christmas Day, we have left for you to spend at your leisure. There is an abundance of activities which you can add to your holiday, such as a tour of the Arctic Ocean over the Norwegian border or some winter fishing. Alternatively, you may simply want to use this opportunity to soak in the remarkable contrast of life in Lapland compared to anywhere else in the world. Leisure time is ideal for simply exploring the surroundings without any time restrictions and at your own pace. Your hosts will be happy to offer advice on nearby walking trails.

    After dinner, you will venture out into the wilderness in a snowmobile-pulled sleigh. With an abundance of local knowledge at hand, your experienced guide will lead you to an area which they believe will offer the best opportunity of spotting the Aurora. Part of the thrill is in the hunt, as you glide across the snow-covered landscapes looking out for any flickers of dancing colour in the night sky. You will be out for approximately 2-3 hours this evening.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Following breakfast, the day will be yours to spend at your leisure. The remote location North of the Arctic Circle ensures that there are a number of winter based activities which you can add to your holiday. Alternatively, you may just want to relax and take advantage of the peaceful atmosphere and tranquil surroundings.

    A special evening awaits as you bid farewell to Lapland with a traditional Finnish dinner in a Lappish Kota. It is the perfect way to end your festive adventure particularly if the Aurora makes an appearance outside.

    You will eat by the open fire while your Sámi host regales you with stories about life in Utsjoki. If you are lucky he may also sing some 'Joiku' for you, a specific type of traditional Sámi song.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Enjoy the atmosphere of the Arctic one last time. Following breakfast, you will be transferred back to the airport with some fantastic festive memories and a completely different take on how Christmas is celebrated here in the far north of Finnish Lapland.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast

Included in price

Holiday Village Valle

Nights: 1-7

Holiday Village Valle is a unique destination for those looking for magical wilderness surroundings and genuine cultural experiences. This Sami owned accommodation is surrounded by idyllic fells and the remote nature of the accommodation allows for truly dark skies when seeking out the Northern Lights. Holiday Valle offers a homely, peaceful atmosphere in this truly tranquil region. The cultural aspects of the Sami people are particularly evident in Utsjoki and this family owned accommodation allows an insight into this century-old way of life which has survived throughout the ages in this truly remote region.

Holiday Village Valle itself offers an impressive range of accommodation options and a fantastic restaurant offering a wide range of local delicacies, specialising in traditional dishes enjoyed by the Sami people. The produce is hunted and gathered creating a fresh and enticing taste of Lappish cuisine.

Facilities

  • Enjoy the sweeping views from the terrace of the surrounding wilderness and the River Teno. The unique location of this accommodation means that you can see into neighbouring Norway
  • Sample traditional Lappish dishes in the renowned Deatnu Restaurant which offers an enticing selection of local cuisine, including traditional dishes enjoyed by the Sami people
  • Contact friends and family from the remote surroundings of the Lappish wilderness with use of the hotel's free Wi-Fi service

Room Types

Twin/Double:

The brand-new hotel building opened in December 2016 and contains 12 cosy twin rooms Ideal for couples and small families (as some rooms are connectable). Each room is equipped with comfortable twin or double beds, a private bathroom, a television, hairdryer and tea and coffee making facilities.

Grandpa’s Villa (Sleeps up to 8 persons):

This spacious and modern suite is set amidst stunning scenery and has 4 cosy twin bedrooms. Guests can take advantage of a well-equipped dining area with a kitchenette and a roaring fireplace. A homely living room with a flat-screen TV, a private sauna and shower, two bathrooms and a hairdryer are also included. 

Personalise this tour


Our pick

Scenic tour via snowmobile-pulled sled

From £88pp

The focus in Utsjoki is on enjoying the stunning wilderness here in the very north of Finland. This scenic snowmobile-pulled sled tour is an ideal way in which to sit back and enjoy the rugged wilderness fells. This trip is ideal for anybody looking to capture Utsjoki’s natural environment on camera.

Duration: 3 hours

Minimum: 2 people


Other options

Activities

Cross-country skiing

From: £66pp

Cross-country skiing is like a religion in Finland and has been a method of transport for the Sámi people for generations. It is alleged that the Sámi have used skis as transportation for almost 6000 years and one of the oldest skis was found in the nearby municipality of Salla. It is also very enjoyable and a fantastic way in which to explore the untouched wilderness.

Experience a real sense of silence as you enter a nearby forest, which opens out onto the vast landscape. You may encounter some of the local wildlife such as elk, hare and willow grouse and your knowledgeable local guide will point out any animal tracks within the snow. There will be a break for warm drinks en-route.

Duration: 2 hours
Minimum: 2 people

Ice fishing

From: £88pp

In Utsjoki, ice fishing is perhaps the most popular winter activity for locals. Join an experienced guide and learn the secrets behind this popular Arctic sport. You’ll be transferred by snowmobile-pulled sleigh to a nearby frozen lake where your guide will drill holes in the ice using a special drill called ‘kaira’. Then, it’s your turn to do some work as you attempt to catch Arctic or Salmon Trout from the icy waters below. Whilst you are fishing, your guide will prepare warm drinks over a campfire.

Duration: 2-3 Hours

Minimum: 2 people


Image credit: Holiday Village Valle

Tour to the Arctic Ocean

From: £175pp

You will be driven over the border into Norway towards the magnificent Varangerfjord and the small fishing village of Nesseby. A highly recommended Sámi museum lies within the village and you will visit here and gain insight into the lives of the indigenous people of the Nordic countries. The Sámi have adapted and thrived despite the harsh Arctic winters and it is fascinating to understand how they have done so.

Read more about this activity

This tour will also include a visit to ‘seita’, a Sámi worship site, and there will be a picnic lunch along the way. A further stop at the colourful Sámi handicraft workshop in the village of Tana will allow you to pick up any souvenirs.

Duration: 4-5 hours
Minimum: 4 people

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a fantastic and ecological way in which to explore the surrounding nature of Utsjoki. This particular trip will lead you across a beautiful wonderland towards the snow-covered forests whilst your guide gives you an insight into the surrounding nature and the diverse flora and fauna which can be found north of the Arctic Circle. You may even spot some wildlife for yourself with both moose and reindeer common in this area.

Duration: 2 Hours

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Expertise and knowledge are key to witnessing the Northern Lights. We’ve been running Aurora hunting holidays longer than any company in the UK and with no lead in prices, no hidden costs and more included, we’re confident our tours will come out on top.
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Dates
Sun 20 Dec 2020
to Sun 27 Dec 2020
Book
Adults£ 2,445

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 place for next season, you can make a pre-reservation by paying a deposit of only £50pp. The provisional prices, departure dates, and itinerary remain subject to change. We will contact you when the final details are confirmed, and you will have 14 days to decide if you would like to go ahead. Should you wish to proceed then a further deposit will be payable at this stage. If you decide not to travel, we will refund your initial £50pp payment. Our Travel Experts will happily provide you with full terms and a complete quotation. 

 

Dates
Sun 19 Dec 2021
to Sun 26 Dec 2021
Enquire
Adults£ 2,740

For our full booking terms and conditions please click here

The Specifics

Holiday group size (approximate)

This holiday requires a minimum of 2 people to run, however, we require a minimum of 8 people for our flight allocation. Maximum 24 people (approximately). Please speak to our Travel Experts for further information.

Group Size

We always try to provide an approximation of the group size you can expect to be with for the duration of each of our holidays. It may be that you are joined by others for parts of your holiday (such as transfers and particular activities) but the above number reflects those you can normally expect to be with from beginning to end. If group size is something which is particularly important to you, please speak to our Travel Experts and they can suggest the best holidays for you.

Tailor-made holiday group sizes will vary for all activities as will the group size for any additional activities you book.

Minimum numbers required for a holiday to operate

Some of our holidays require a minimum number of participants to operate (as listed in the ‘Group Size’ section). If your holiday departure has not yet reached the minimum number, you will be told at the time of booking. In the unlikely event that your chosen date is not guaranteed by nine weeks before your scheduled departure date, we will contact you to discuss the available options as per our booking conditions.

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.

Itinerary amendments

The order of activities listed in this agenda is provided for guidance only, your final and detailed itinerary will be provided either with your final travel documents (which are uploaded into your online account around a week prior to departure) or upon 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

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

For the most up to date information on how the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your holiday please click here to view our Brexit information for British Passport holders.

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

Traveller Reviews

Utsjoki is a wonderful retreat 08 January 2018 by Laurena Cheah and Huey Beng See

Utsjoki is a wonderful retreat with a comfortable hotel and good restaurant. Amazing staff.

We will be back. 31 December 2017 by Florence (Tsui Ling) Teh and Chun Wai Wong

Family run resort. Very well run. Hope they will keep up their good work. We will be back.



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