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Finnish Lapland Escorted Group Tour: Dark Skies and Northern Lights

Flights Included
  • Details

Details

During this fully-escorted tour, you will immerse yourself in the unrivalled landscapes of northern Finland during this 5-night trip, staying at two unique wilderness hotels. Located deep in dark-sky territory, this guided tour begins with three nights at Wilderness Hotel Juutua, which is located in the small village of Inari. The area has been of huge significance for the indigenous Sámi people for centuries. With its abundance of tradition and local culture, this destination provides a restorative escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. 

For your final two nights of the tour, you will stay in a glass-roofed Aurora Cabin at Wilderness Hotel Muotka, nestled amongst the trees and with fantastic views of the night sky. Both properties are much loved for their endearing?hospitality, Nordic décor and brilliant guides.

This region of northern Finland boasts a Northern Lights track record that approaches or surpasses other popular Arctic destinations, and it is a fantastic place to enjoy evenings stargazing with minimal light pollution and beautifully dark skies.

This entirely escorted programme includes the very best winter activities available; a husky safari through snow-capped forests and a snowmobile safari across the pristine Finnish wilderness, as well as a walk to a nearby beauty spot, Jäniskoski rapids. Furthermore, two Aurora camps, an Aurora workshop and an Aurora hunt by car have been organised to give you the best possible chance of witnessing the beauty of the Northern Lights and to maximise your opportunities to enjoy the stargazing possibilities. Furthermore, you will also enjoy an Astro presentation from your expert guide to discuss all there is to know about the night sky.

Your Escorted Tour Guides  

Dan Monk 

Dan Monk is the Director of the Gillian Dickinson Astro-Imaging Academy at Kielder Observatory in Northumberland. He has always been fascinated by the night sky and constellations. One Christmas, he received a telescope and would gaze into the sky from his back garden at every opportunity. Growing up in Sunderland, Dan’s visibility of the night sky was limited by light-pollution from the city, but his passion continued to develop and through his teen years, he invested in more advanced telescopes. 


Visiting Kielder Observatory was a significant moment for Dan as he relished in the undisturbed dark skies of western Northumberland. After volunteering at the observatory, Dan became a full-time member of the team and began his dream role.  


Most recently, Dan has developed a keen interest in astrophotography and a hunger to capture an image of the perfect night sky. Dan was recently interviewed by Dan Walker on Channel 5 news to discuss the recent Northern Lights sightings in the UK. Dedicated to his field, he insisted he would have to do a pre-record as he didn’t want to miss any further sightings that evening.  


We are delighted to have Dan’s passion and expertise for what promise to be truly memorable escorted tours through Northern Finland.

Matt Robinson

Matt Robinson will be our other tour guide for our escorted tours. Matt, also worked at the Kielder Observatory with Dan as well as hailing from the hotbed of astronomy talent that is Sunderland. 


Matt's first experience in astronomy was in 1997, when his uncle showed him Comet Hale Bopp through some binoculars and since then he hasn't looked back.  


After a wonderful 18 months at Kielder Observatory, Matt was given opportunities to work in astronomy in other parts of the world. These opportunities have allowed him to live in the Arctic Circle in Finland and Norway under the spectacular Aurora Borealis. Matt has also spent time in the Maldives where he worked as an astronomer in an Instagram famous hotel, and even to Chile where he covered an unforgettable total solar eclipse. 


Matt is now based in Gothenburg, Sweden as our astronomy expert and tour guide.

About Kielder Observatory
Kielder Observatory is one of the most remarkable places to visit in the whole of the UK. A public astronomical observatory which is second to none, under some of the darkest skies in the world where you'll find "infinite inspiration" and wonders you could never have imagined!

Kielder Observatory is a public outreach astronomical facility located in Kielder Forest, in some of the darkest skies in Europe and the third largest protected Dark Sky reserve in the world.

Located in Northumberland, England. It is situated just half a mile from the Scottish border on Black Fell near James Turrell’s Kielder Skyspace. The site was chosen as one of the locations in the UK which has the least amount of intrusive light pollution.

The primary function of the observatory is outreach via public events. The goal being to bring in members of the public of all ages from school children in primary school, and upward. The aim being to engage in discussions and observations of the Universe. We to do this in a way that is friendly, informative and interesting, through our amazing team of astronomers, guest speakers and volunteers.

The observatory hosts upwards of 40 of these amazing events every month, designed for members of the public. Since its opening in 2008, the observatory has played host to tens of thousands of people to observe and engage with the night sky, via talks, activities and telescope observing sessions.

 

Terms: This holiday requires a minimum of 10 people to run. Maximum 26 people (approximately). Please speak to our Travel Experts for further information. Your flights will not be booked and confirmed until we have reached the minimum number of participants. Please see our booking terms and conditions for further details regarding minimum number of participants.

Embark on a bucket-list escape with like-minded travellers on this fully-escorted guided tour of northern Finland. The dark skies are perfect for stargazing and searching for the Northern Lights. We’ve included an Auora workshop, an Aurora hunt by car, plus two evenings of sky-watching at a secluded Aurora Camp so that you can enjoy the beautiful skies of the far north. Day-time activities include a husky safari, snowmobile safari and a winter walk to a snow-covered beauty spot. And the best bit? You don’t need to research, plan, or organise a single aspect. Our knowledgeable Travel Experts have hand-picked quality wilderness hotels, superb activities and designed a well-balanced itinerary to offer you a stress-free and rewarding holiday. 

Important Information

Itinerary

You will be greeted at Ivalo Airport and transferred to Wilderness Hotel Juutua, which is approximately 40 minutes’ away.
A warm welcome awaits your arrival; once you’re settled and checked in, dinner this evening will be served in the celebrated restaurant, Aanaar. The kitchen here offers a delightful menu of traditional Lappish dishes created using organic and locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.
Cold weather clothing is provided to you either the day of your arrival or the day after, depending on your arrival time.
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. Airport transfers are grouped to set arrival and departure times, all other times will require a transfer supplement.
Included Meals:  Dinner
[IVL] Ivalo Airport, Finland To Wilderness Hotel Juutua
Airport Transfer
Duration
00:00
Wilderness Hotel Juutua - Check In
Address : Inari, Lapland Regional State, Finland

Following a hearty breakfast, you’ll have some time this morning to meet with your group of like-minded travellers, and enjoy an Astro presentation from your expert tour guide. Your guide will discuss all aspects of astronomy and the Northern Lights and it will be a great opportunity to ask questions and exchange stories before your activities begin.
Later this morning, you’ll be escorted to a nearby husky farm where your team of dogs will be thrilled to greet you. A safety briefing and full instructions of how to navigate the sled and trails will be given before setting off in teams of two. Then, you’ll venture out onto a wintry trail past lakes and through the snow-capped forests, experiencing first hand the life of a musher. At the mid-way point, you will swap positions with your partner and nestle down into the sleigh for a beautiful ride back to base. This truly is an unforgettable way to soak up the scenery and tick off a must-do Lapland pursuit. Altogether, your husky experience will last three hours including one hour of driving time.
This afternoon’s itinerary is up to your choosing. Perhaps you’ll snuggle up with a good book in a spot overlooking the beautiful River Juutua or grab some snowshoes to continue exploring the surrounding nature (payable locally). Dinner this evening will consist of a delectable three-course meal in restaurant Aanaar. The chefs tell the story of the northern wilderness through their award-winning cuisine. Expect dishes such as reindeer smoked with pine needles or for a vegetarian alternative, you may sample two times cooked parsley root with fermented blueberry-sriracha glaze.
Before your first adventure into the Arctic darkness tonight, you will be given an Aurora workshop by an expert local guide. They will discuss with you the science and legends behind the phenomenon and what to look for when you are gazing into the sky on your Aurora Camp tonight. They will also detail the camera settings you will need when trying to photograph the Northern Lights. Afterwards, it’s time for your first exciting evening expedition! From the comfort of your sleigh, your expert guide will pull you by snowmobile, leading the way to a special campsite while you (hopefully) admire an enchanting display of the Northern Lights and enjoy the dazzling beauty of the stars above. Listen to fascinating tales and interesting facts about this natural phenomenon around a blazing fire. Your guide will serve up delicious hot drinks as you soak up the Arctic atmosphere. This experience will last around three hours.
Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Wilderness Hotel Juutua - Stay
Address : Inari, Lapland Regional State, Finland

A more leisurely pace has been set for today, giving you the freedom and flexibility to book any additional activities that interest you. After breakfast, there will be an escorted group outing to the mesmerising Jäniskoski rapid which is the largest of the ten rapids at Juutua river. You’ll stroll about 1km to the campsite and learn about how the river plays an integral role in Inari Sámi Culture. Together, you will grill sausages over the open fire and enjoy warm drinks to the soundtrack of the running water and wildlife. You will be out for approximately 1.5 hours today.
 
Tonight, you will enjoy a five-course gastronomic experience at restaurant Aanaar. The restaurant boasts breathtaking views over Juutua River through its panoramic windows and invites you to savour the experience of the wilderness with all of your senses.
In order to maximise your chances of capturing the Northern Lights, an Aurora Hunt by car has been organised for this evening. By travelling this way, your guide can quickly change route and cover further distances quickly in accordance with the Aurora forecast. Inari is one of the best spots for Aurora searching and stargazing as it has very little light pollution. Fingers crossed your luck is in tonight! The hunt will last around three hours and drinks and snacks will be provided.
Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Wilderness Hotel Juutua - Stay
Address : Inari, Lapland Regional State, Finland

Today, you will say farewell to Wilderness Hotel Juutua and hello to its sister property, Wilderness Hotel Muotka, approximately 1.5 hours’ drive away. Muotka is located close to Urho Kekkonen National Park and the magical landscapes of the surrounding taiga forest will ensure your holiday is one to remember. You will spend two nights here in one of the fantastic glass-roofed Aurora Cabins, which allow you to gaze up at the dark skies from the comfort of your bed.
After lunch this afternoon, you will enjoy a snowmobile safari into the Finnish wilderness. You’ll receive full instructions from your professional guide, including a safety briefing and a driving lesson to ensure you are comfortable with the machine. When everyone feels happy and confident, your guide will lead the group on a snowmobile safari through the captivating surroundings. You must be at least 18 years of age and hold a valid driver’s license to drive a snowmobile and you will ride two per sled, with the chance to swap drivers half way. The duration of this activity is approximately two hours.
Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Wilderness Hotel Juutua To Wilderness Hotel Muotka
Transfer
Duration
00:00
Wilderness Hotel Juutua - Stay
Address : Inari, Lapland Regional State, Finland
Wilderness Hotel Muotka - Stay
Address : Saariselka, Inari, Finland

Today has been left free for you to enjoy as you please, whether that means relaxing in Muotka’s cosy lounge area by the roaring fire, or perhaps hiring some snowshoes or cross-country skis and exploring the local trails. There are also lots of extra activities to add on, should you wish. Please speak to one of our Travel Experts for further information.
With a little luck, your trip will climax in a spectacular display of stars and Northern Lights this evening. After dinner, prepare for your final Aurora Camp. Marvel at the northern sky from the comfort of the sleigh while your guide pulls you by snowmobile to the campsite. Keep warm with hot drinks by the crackling fire as you await the lights to make an appearance.
Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Wilderness Hotel Muotka - Stay
Address : Saariselka, Inari, Finland

After breakfast, you’ll transfer back to Ivalo airport for your flights home. Sadly, your winter getaway has come to an end and it’s time to say goodbye to your fellow travellers and dedicated guide. Undoubtedly, you’ll have made valued friendships and lasting memories to take home from this beautiful corner of the world. 
Included Meals:  Breakfast
Wilderness Hotel Muotka To [IVL] Ivalo Airport, Finland
Airport Transfer
Duration
00:00
Wilderness Hotel Muotka - Check Out
Address : Saariselka, Inari, Finland

What's included?

  • Flights: return flights from London to Ivalo (via Helsinki). Flight routes are subject to change.
  • Transfers:?return grouped airport transfers based on set flight times
  • Accommodation:?3 nights in a standard double room at Wilderness Hotel Juutua and 2 nights in an Aurora Cabin at Wilderness Hotel Muotka. Upgrade options are available for a supplement and subject to availability
  • Meals:?5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners (2 Dinners will be a 3 and 5-course tasting menu). Drink allowance for dinners
  • Astro presentation
  • Husky safari
  • Aurora Workshop
  • 2 Aurora camps
  • Winter walk to Jäniskoski rapids
  • Aurora hunt by car
  • Snowmobile Safari
  • Expert tour group leader from arrival on day 1 to departure on day 5
  • Aurora alert service until approximately 1am
  • Cold weather clothing is provided for the duration of your stay
  • Fully qualified guides and instructors during activities

Accommodation

Wilderness Hotel Juutua
     
 

The newly refurbished Wilderness Hotel Juutua is situated right in the heart of Inari village.  

This village has huge cultural significance to the Finnish Sámi population both historically and today, which is reflected in the ownership of this hotel. The hotel became part of the Wilderness Hotel family in October 2022 and whilst they have put their own signature Scandi-chic design style on the hotel they have designed the interior to be sympathetic to its Sámi heritage. 

The main building houses the reception, lounge and bar area and the locally renowned Restaurant Aanaar on the ground floor with the standard double/twin wilderness rooms upstairs. A short walk from the hotel, you will find the Juutua Suites located on the shore of the frozen Juutua River. 

Restaurant Aanaar is a highly regarded fine dining restaurant which is popular with visitors and locals alike in the Inari region. The menu here reflects local dishes unique to Lapland and uses as many fresh, local ingredients as possible which are all sourced through a network of small, independent local suppliers.

Please note: the images used are an artist’s impression which have been developed with the hotel owners to reflect the intended room style once renovations are complete. Interiors may differ slightly and we will update once the renovations are complete.

Wilderness Hotel Muotka
     
 

Wilderness Hotel Muotka resides around 40km from the main town of Ivalo, tucked away in the corner of North-East Finland. Recently renovated and restored it is owned and run by the same couple as the popular Nellim Wilderness Hotel, Mari and Jouko Lappalainen. They run the hotel with the same hard-working ethos and it exudes the same warmth and charm for its much-welcomed guests.

The hotel boasts some wonderful scenery, tucked away in the forested-fells with roaming reindeer frequently seen amongst the trees. It consists of two main accommodation buildings, one with the majority of the bedrooms and another with hosts additional bedrooms, the main restaurant and the reception area.

Hotel facilities

  • The focal point of the main building is the restaurant which is where you will have the majority of your meals. Food will be served buffet style with a variety of continental and cooked food for breakfast and the choice of two or three options for each course at dinner. The menu has been designed with a focus on both traditional and international cuisine using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients
  • There is a bar which is usually open until 1 am and serves a variety of spirits, wines and beers and a lounge area with comfortable armchairs to relax in during your free time
  • There is a sauna in the main building which is heated daily for guest use
  • Free Wi-Fi is available in the main building (at the bar and in the restaurant)
  • In the main building, you will also find two fireplaces, games and books, which makes it a perfect place to relax
  • The rooms do not have tea and coffee making facilities but tea and coffee are available free of charge and available in the restaurant area
  • Hairdryers are available from the main hotel reception

Tour Map

Additional Info

Tour terms, click here  

Booking conditions click here

Key Facts

Pace Balanced
Holiday Type Escorted Tour
Max Group Size NA
Cities / Destinations Muotka, Juutua
Brochure Code 30003
Price from
£3,795 pp
6 days

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Finnish Lapland Escorted Group Tour: Dark Skies and Northern Lights

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