Experience New Year in Finnish Lapland! Visit Saariselka, Kemi and Rovaniemi Santa's Home Town. Enjoy an overnight in a Glass Igloo at the Arctic Snowhotel, a reindeer farm visit with sled ride, Snowshoe Walk, Husky Safari and visit to the delightful Santa Claus Village. Plus you can add some great optional activities.
On arrival into Ivalo Airport, transfer to your hotel in Saariselka. This area in Finnish Lapland's far north is full of National Parks, lakes, rivers and highland fells, where the Northern Lights can dance across the sky up to 200 days each winter and ancient Sami culture is still very much alive. Time at leisure and overnight at Santa's Hotel Tunturi (or similar).
This evening, perhaps join the optional Aurora Snowmobile Sleigh Ride. Sit back and enjoy the view as your guide takes you to an area of beautiful hilltop scenery, with unlimited views of the northern sky. Hopefully the sky will be clear to see the moon, the stars and even the Northern lights. (You will sit in sled pulled by the guide's snowmobile - you do not drive the snowmobile).
In the morning, enjoy something that literally has you following in the footsteps of the Sami. Snowshoes are one of the oldest forms of transport in the world, and wearing these you can capture the true feeling of winter in the woods. Remainder of the day at leisure. 2nd overnight in Saariselka.
In the morning we make our way south to Rovaniemi. En route, enjoy visiting a traditional Sami reindeer farm. Meet the farmers who will be dressed in their colourful Sami clothing, as they tell you the importance of reindeer in Sami culture, and teach you how to throw a Suopunki (Sami lasso). Then relax with a short reindeer-sleigh ride, moving through the white landscape, where the only sound you will hear is the music of the reindeer bells. Lunch is included at the farm.
Tonight get ready for a truly magical experience – a night at the unique Arctic Snow Hotel, where you will check-in to your private Glass Igloo. Enjoy the warmth of your Glass Igloo with it's glass roof - weather permitting you can watch for the Northern Lights or the millions of stars, from the comfort of your bed. Your stay includes a traditional Lappish 3 course dinner in a magnificent wooden kota, where fresh salmon is slowly grilled over the fire in a huge pit.
For those who are feeling adventurous, tonight you can upgrade to stay in a Snow Suite at the hotel. Every year the Snow Hotel is built anew, with local artists designing and creating the ice and wall sculptures that decorate the hotel and Snow Suites. Each Snow Suite is different and offers a unique arctic experience, spending the night as the Sami once did in a snow igloo. A mattress on an ice bed with special arctic sleeping bags keeps you warm in the ambient temperature of 0 and-5 C. Bathroom facilities are located in a warm section of the hotel, just nearby.
You might like to take an optional Snow Sauna & Outdoor Jacuzzi at the hotel tonight. The snow sauna has walls made of snow and ice - only the sauna benches are made of wood - an astonishing combination of thick steam within intimate snow walls. Afterwards jump into the outdoor Jacuzzi and admire the Northern Lights or Lapland's spectacular, starry skies.
After your wonderful overnight stay we depart late this morning and head to Rovaniemi. On the way we visit the Husky Farm - the barking of happy dogs will welcome you, and the head “musher” will tell you all about the life of these hard working Arctic dogs. Then enjoy a sled ride - riding in pairs, with 1 person driving and the other seated in the sleigh, on trails through the forest. Refuel with a traditional outdoor lunch of Lappish sausage grilled on the campfire, followed by Lappish pancakes. This afternoon we visit the wonderful Santa Claus Village, the official home of Santa Claus. Take a step into this magical world and meet the man himself, send a letter from his Post Office, step across the Arctic Circle and more. The rest of the afternoon and evening are at leisure. Or perhaps enjoy the unique expereince of a Finnish sauna. Overnight at Santa's Hotel Santa Claus or similar.
Day at leisure to explore this small, picturesque town. At 18:00hrs Santa Claus will pay a visit to the hotel and deliver Christmas presents to the younger guests. (Families can arrange for Santa to deliver a special present to their children, on their behalf. there will also be 1 small gift per child from the hotel). At 19:00hrs, enjoy a special New Year's Eve gala buffet dinner at the hotel. 2nd overnight in Rovamiemi.
Tonight offers an optional Mystical New Year's Eve party. At 22:00hrs you will be transfererd from the hotel to a Special New Year Venue just 20 minutes from town. At Lapland's magical border of the Arctic Circle, festivities are held to welcome in the New Year. Fire, ice, darkness, snow, lights, music and dance combine to create a magical event for the whole family. The mysterious Shamans (ancient fortune tellers) fuel the atmosphere and as the New Year approaches Santa Claus himself will also pay a visit. A giant snow disco, snow bars, massive fireworks display and a spectacular New Year Dance Show definitely make for a memorable experience. New Year's tin casting is an old Finnish tradition to see what the future holds and the shamans help you interpret the marks for the future, in your tin. The event will take place by snowy banks, in an idyllic winter setting. Return to the hotel at approximately 01:00hrs.
Today we head to the town of Kemi. First we visit to the fabulous SnowCastle*. Pure white snow walls surround the gigantic SnowCastle, the biggest of its kind in the world, and built entirely out of snow and ice, with a special snow slide and amazing snow sculptures. Enjoy a lunch onshore in the Seaview Restaurant, then board the Sampo Icebreaker for a cruise on this remarkable vessel, breaking though the ice of the northern Gulf of Bothnia. This extraordinary experience includes a guided tour of the ship and a 3 course meal. Plus something very different - swimming in the middle of the largest ice field in Europe. Wearing a snug survival and floatation suit, just jump in the sea and float! You stay completely dry and a guide is with you at all times. We return to the hotel in the early evening. 3rd overnight in Rovaniemi.
*Please note that the construction of the Snow Castle is dependent on the weather conditions and accordingly the Castle may not be open before the 19th of January
Transfer to Rovaniemi airport and end of arrangements.
Maximium group size: 32 persons
All optional excursions must be pre-booked. Some excursions subject to minimum age & height requirements.