ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES LISTED BELOW ARE INCLUDED IN THE HOLIDAY PRICE
- Flights: return from London to Ivalo (either direct or via Helsinki depending on departure date). Regional and non-UK departures available on request (flight routes are subject to change)
- Transfers: return group airport transfers
- Accommodation: 4 nights in a standard double or twin hotel room
- Meals: 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
- Activities: snowshoeing, Northern Lights hunt x 3, reindeer safari and local culture (order of activities subject to change)
- Cold weather clothing is provided during winter activities
- Fully qualified wilderness guides and instructors during activities
Utsjoki is the only Finnish municipality where the indigenous Sámi people still represent the majority of the human population yet even they are outnumbered by reindeer. That’s the nature of this last stop before you reach Norway. It is dominated by nature not human activity and remains steeped in tradition and mysticism.
Utsjoki isn’t your archetypal Lapland. This far north, you won’t find snowy forests or gentle lakes. The terrain here is much harsher than it is further south but there is a wild beauty to the gently rolling fells which surround the town of Utsjoki. What’s more, in Sámi culture, three of those fells still have “ailigas” or “sacred place” status.Read more
Situated a couple of kilometres from Utsjoki and sheltered from the town’s very little artificial light the Holiday Village Valle Hotel is an ideal base from which to explore and hunt for the Aurora. There’s some thought gone into the positioning of the accommodation with all the hotel rooms and the cabins enjoying a northerly aspect. The views by day are of the Teno River and that’s Norway on the opposite bank.
At night, the dark Arctic sky can offer up spectacular displays of the Northern Lights and it is entirely possible to enjoy them from the warmth of your room.
Your holiday in Utsjoki is not all about hunting for the Northern Lights and there will be plenty to occupy you during the daylight hours. Included in the itinerary is an introduction to some of Finland’s most popular winter activities.
Snowshoeing, in particular, is a popular pastime for the locals and incredibly enjoyable once you get the hang of it and are enjoying the snowy trails.
Given the strong Sámi traditions in Utsjoki, spending time with the reindeer is an absolute must do during your time in this small community. You will visit a local farm, meet the reindeer gain an insight into the remarkable tradition of reindeer herding and how it has helped the Sámi to live in such harsh winter conditions. This will be followed by a short safari where you can sit back and enjoy the scenery while the reindeer do the leg work.
The winter months bring long dark nights and the Aurora Borealis is a regular visitor in these parts. Utsjoki’s location north of the Arctic Circle makes it a prime spot for Northern Lights hunting and we have included three Aurora hunts in the programme.
Experiencing this natural phenomenon as it dances above the winter fells is, without any doubt, one of life’s greatest moments.
Image credits: Holiday Village Valle and Klaus Peter Kappest
- DAY 1 Arrival
Following your flight into Ivalo, you will be transferred to your accommodation in Utsjoki, approximately a two-hour drive away. The northern skies are visible all the way to your destination and many a transfer has witnessed a display of the Aurora – what a way to be welcomed! Depending on when your flight lands, you will either have a packed dinner during the journey or dinner in the restaurant on arrival.
You can head to your cabin or hotel bedroom (Aurora permitting) to enjoy your first peaceful night in the very north of Finland.
*Arrivals which do not meet the group transfer times will be subject to a private transfer supplement.Included Meals: Dinner
- DAY 2 Snowshoe Tour in the Sacred Valley and Northern Lights Hunt
After breakfast, you will be issued with your cold weather clothing which will be yours for the duration of your stay. Once everyone is properly kitted out the introduction to the Arctic starts with lessons in snowshoeing.
Take a short trip with your guide and learn about the flora and fauna of the region and how to identify the variety of animal tracks dotted across the snow. You will also be shown how to light a fire – an essential skill in these parts.
Back in Utsjoki, you may wish to hone your new-found skills by making use of the free snowshoes or cross-country skiing equipment available to guests. Alternatively, you may choose to spend the afternoon enjoying the tranquillity and natural beauty of the area.
Dinner will be served in the on-site restaurant after which you will have the opportunity to seek out the Aurora during a Northern Lights hunt. The guides here are all local experts and know all the best spots from which to view the Aurora. The method of searching for the lights will be decided locally by our team. This may be a short snowshoe hike, hunt by minibus or snowmobile-pulled sleigh ride. They can also provide advice on how to photograph them too. With their expertise, this introductory search will hopefully be successful, affording you your first sighting of the Aurora Borealis.Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- DAY 3 Reindeer Sleigh Ride, Local Culture and Hunting the Northern Lights
Appropriately, your hosts in Utsjoki are Sámi reindeer herders and it is just a short walk to their reindeer corrals. Here you can help feed the animals before enjoying a short reindeer-pulled sleigh ride.
Pausing en-route for a warm drink, your guide will tell you about the lives of the herders and the way in which reindeer are pivotal to the culture, traditions and economy of this region.
You’ll be back at your accommodation in time for lunch at the on-site restaurant and the afternoon is free to enjoy the surroundings. If you are eager to experience more of Utsjoki, why not try one of the additional activities available in the 'Personalise' section.
After dinner, you’ll meet with your guide who will discuss the current weather and solar conditions before heading out on a second Northern Lights hunt in the local area.Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- DAY 4 Free Day for Optional Activities and Aurora Hunt
Following breakfast, you will have a free day to enjoy Utsjoki as you please. There are plenty of optional daytime and evening activities which you can see in our ‘Personalise’ section. The options include a tour by car to the shore of the Arctic Ocean or an excursion into the northern wilderness. You might also want to walk into town or visit the Giisá village hall and make the most of its handicraft store and café.
After dinner, the Aurora hunting continues apace by one of the methods already detailed. Fingers crossed they will come out and reward you with your efforts and bid farewell before you travel home in the morning.Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- DAY 5 Departure
Today, you will be transferred back to Ivalo Airport for your journey home. If your flight is early in the morning, you will be given a packed breakfast rather than eating in the Holiday Village restaurant.Included Meals: Breakfast
Included in price
Personalise this tour
Scenic tour via snowmobile-pulled sled
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
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 picnic snacks en-route.
Duration: 2 hours
Minimum: 2 people
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 car 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
Tour to the Arctic Ocean by car
After breakfast, you will be driven across the border into Norway to the magnificent Varangerfjord and the fishing village of Nesseby. A trip will be made to the nearby Sámi museum to learn more about the indigenous people of the Nordic countries, and you will also find out about contemporary Arctic Ocean life. Time will be made to visit a ‘seita’, or Sámi worship site, and there will be a picnic lunch along the way. Heading back, a stop will be made at a Sámi handicraft workshop in the village of Tana.
A minimum number of two participants is required for this activity to take place.
Duration: 5 hours
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
Dates & Prices
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Please note: our holiday prices are based on the lowest available airline fares. These fares can sell out quickly and, as a result, prices may increase and supplements may be applicable. We recommend booking at the earliest opportunity to secure the best possible fares and flight times.
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. A further deposit payment of £350pp is due by 01 April 2019 or at the time of us confirming the trip details to you, whichever is sooner. If you decide not to travel, we will refund your full deposit 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.
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For our full booking terms and conditions please click here
Holiday group size (approximate)
Approximately 2 – 20 people. However, please note that for the Aurora Centre Wilderness Yurt, the maximum capacity is 120 people.
We always try to provide an approximation of the group size you can expect to be with for the duration of each of our holidays. It may be that you are joined by others for parts of your holiday (such as transfers and particular activities) but the above number reflects those you can normally expect to be with from beginning to end. If group size is something which is particularly important to you, please speak to our Travel Experts and they can suggest the best holidays for you.
Tailor-made holiday group sizes will vary for all activities as will the group size for any additional activities you book.
MINIMUM NUMBERS REQUIRED FOR A HOLIDAY TO OPERATE
Some of our holidays require a minimum number of participants to operate (as listed in the ‘Group Size’ section). If your holiday departure has not yet reached the minimum number, you will be told at the time of booking. In the unlikely event that your chosen date is not guaranteed by nine weeks before your scheduled departure date, we will contact you to discuss the available options as per our booking conditions.
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 9 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.
Just a few words to say how much we enjoyed our time in Utsjoki. Everything was great and we were lucky enough to see the Aurora on 2 nights. The accommodation was first class and they met Irene’s dietary requirements well. The clothing provided was superb for the conditions and when we went to the husky safari the guide there commented on its high quality. The activities were very professionally run and were greatly enjoyed. We found the 6-hour husky safari a bit strenuous but thoroughly enjoyed it. An extra day would have been nice as we would have gone up to the Arctic Ocean. The transport arrangements from and to Ivalo airport were well organized the taxi waiting for us on arrival and being on time for the return journey. All the staff at the Holiday Village Valle and on the activities were superb and very helpful. All in all a great experience and one we would recommend to anyone. We would have no hesitation in recommending your Company to anyone wishing to go and see the Aurora. Again thank you for a great experience.