ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES LISTED BELOW ARE INCLUDED IN THE HOLIDAY PRICE
- Flights: return flights from London Heathrow to Ivalo (via Helsinki). Flight routes are subject to change
- Transfers: return airport transfers
- Accommodation: 4 nights in twin/double hotel room
- Meals: full board
- Clothing: cold weather clothing for the duration of your stay
- The following activities are included in the holiday: Aurora Camp, dog sledding, reindeer farm and ice fishing, Aurora hunting by car or minibus snowshoeing, Aurora snowmobile safari (the order of activities is subject to change)
- Fully qualified guides and instructors during activities
- Aurora alert until approximately 1 am
Sadly, a winter-white, Dickensian Christmas seems to be very much a thing of the past here in the UK. However, there are places where the snow lies deep all winter and, Wilderness Hotel Inari is one them.
Situated just outside Inari Village in North East Finland, this hotel provides all the comforts you would expect but in a winter wonderland location.
The hotel enjoys an enviable position on the shore of Lake Inari and is perfectly positioned to take full advantage of the wilderness that surrounds it. The thick, thick ice of expansive Lake Inari and the snowy forests and fells that line its banks make this the ideal winter playground and you’ll be exploring it in several exciting ways.
During the day you’ll be taking full advantage of the short daylight hours and what the locals call “blue time” and indulging in some of Finland’s favourite winter activities including dog sledding, snowshoeing, visiting a reindeer herder and ice fishing.
In December, there’s no denying that the nights here are longer than the days but when you are hunting for the Aurora Borealis, darkness is your friend. Inari has a Northern Lights record to match anywhere in Europe. Additionally, there are so few people living in the municipality that light pollution is just not a problem. Once you are on the ice a short walk from the hotel you can be completely enveloped in darkness which might sound a tad scary but, as your guide will reassure you, this is what creates perfect Aurora viewing conditions.Read more
This holiday is focused on the Northern Lights and we have included three Aurora hunting activities during your four-night stay. These include a hunt for the lights by car or minibus which will hopefully provide sufficient mobility to escape any cloud cover. You’ll also be heading out on to Lake Inari and one of the Aurora camps set up by the local guides and finally, you will hunt the lights on snowmobiles.
There are few places, if any, with better views of the northern skies so fingers crossed, you’ll get a grandstand view of the light show.
Image credits: Inari-Saariselkä Tourism Ltd, Markku Inkila
Arrival, Welcome and Aurora Camp
On arrival at Ivalo Airport, you will be collected for your transfer. Due to the small size of the airport, you should be swiftly heading northbound towards Inari. It will be dark so keep your eyes peeled skywards just in case lights appear in the sky.
You’ll check in and settle in, before heading across to the main building for dinner. Here you will also be given your cold weather clothing and the final order of your activities (the order is subject to change and will be confirmed locally).
You will then be heading straight out for your first session of Aurora hunting.
There are various Aurora Camps set up on its southern shores and you’ll be heading to one of them tonight. These camps have been established purely for Aurora viewing and represent the best local vantage spots. Keep your eyes peeled on the night sky while your guide gets some warm drinks on the go. If the Aurora appears she can appear in many shapes and forms and no two displays are ever the same.
Dog Sledding and Christmas Festivities
Dog sledding is just one of those must-do bucket list items and to do it at 250km north of the Arctic Circle is simply unforgettable.
You’ll be given a full safety briefing as well as tuition as to how to drive a sled pulled by a team of enthusiastic hounds before meeting your teams.
The dogs will be excited to see you as they live to pull the sleds, but don’t worry, after a quick start on the trails they soon settle into a comfortable, lolloping stride allowing you to relax and enjoy what is an unforgettable activity. There is absolutely nothing to compare with being pulled over the ice of Lake Inari by a team of huskies.
You will travel two people per team, with one in the sled and the other at the helm, there will be the chance to swap drivers halfway through. The activity lasts around 1.5 hours in total, including your training and some time to meet the dogs and the mushers after the trip.
The timing of your activity will be decided by the guides, so you will either enjoy lunch at the hotel before or after your memorable adventure.
Today is Christmas Eve and so it is time to celebrate as the Finns do their main festivities on the 24th December rather than the 25th. A delicious festive meal will be served in the restaurant this evening and you will be able to sample some typically Finnish traditional dishes.
Reindeer Farm, Snowmobiling, Ice Fishing and Aurora Hunt
Enjoy a hearty breakfast before getting into your cold weather gear in preparation for some good old Lapland fun.
The first order of the day is a lesson on how to drive a snowmobile and a safety briefing. You will then set off on a wonderful snowmobile adventure. This will include visiting a reindeer farm (it is Christmas after all!) and learning a few things about the ancient Sami art of reindeer husbandry. There will also be the chance to take a short reindeer safari.
Another ancient Sami tradition is ice fishing and you can’t possibly visit this part of the world without trying to entice your dinner out of the chilly waters that lie below the frozen ice. Your guide will provide all the equipment including the drill to make the holes and all you have to do is wait patiently.
You will travel two people per snowmobile and you must be 18 years and over and hold a full driving licence to drive a snowmobile.
Tonight, you will be heading out in a warm car or minibus to be driven by your Aurora guide into the in search of the Northern Lights. The beauty of motorised transport is that it means you can cover greater distances and, with luck, that will help to escape any cloud cover and reveal the Aurora in all her glory.
Snowshoeing and Aurora Snowmobile
This morning you will head out on foot to get up close and personal with the Arctic wilds.
Snowshoes allow you to venture deeper into the forest and enjoy your surroundings at a more leisurely pace. Despite the cold winter conditions, animals still move within the woods and your local guide will point out tracks. You may also meet some wildlife en-route. This four-hour walk will showcase the very best of the landscape and during the tour, you will enjoy lunch by an open fire.
Tonight, you will be back on the snowmobiles for a very different experience. After dinner, it is time to restart the Aurora hunt with a snowmobile-based search for the lights. Snowmobiling at night is such fun, as your headlamps illuminate the landscape and you really get a sense of being deep in the wilderness. Your guide will head out in the direction of some good vantage points and should the lights appear in the sky, you’ll get the signal to stop to admire the view. You will travel two people per snowmobile. The driver of a snowmobile must hold a full driving licence and be over the age of 18. A full safety briefing and driving instructions will, of course, be provided before you set off.
Unfortunately, it is time to head home but you will have hopefully had a wonderful festive period and will be returning home with memories to sustain you through the rest of winter back home (you could always come back!).
Included in price
Dates & Prices
Price Comparison Guarantee
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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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.
For our full booking terms and conditions please click here
Holiday group size (approximate)
Minimum group size 2 people, maximum group size 8 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.
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.
The minimum age for participation in our itinerary is 12 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.
We just loved the snowmobile, husky and reindeer safari but of course the highlight of all was the Aurora hunting. What we loved most was the Aurora hunt by minibus where we went to an open space. At least, while waiting for the Aurora and we felt too cold, we could hop into the warm bus!
We loved all the activities, but the husky ride must have been our absolute favorite. The hotel staff was absolutely amazing, considering all the issues they had to deal with, with a brand new opened Hotel. They were super professional, friendly and warm. We lov d the entire atmosphere of the resort. It felt like a welcoming and warm home away from home. We truly had a very special Christmas experience we will never forget. The guides are absolutely awesome and very knowledgeable.