Welcome to Winter in Lapland with time spent in Kirkenes, Inari, Saariselka, Rovaniemi and Kemi, plus overnight in a Glass Igloo. Excursions include a King Crab Safari, reindeer farm visit with sled ride, snowshoe walk, Husky farm visit with dog-sledding, Santa Claus Village visit, Sampo Icebreaker cruise with ice swimming and finally, Kemi Snow Castle*.
On arrival at the airport, transfer by coach to your hotel. This small town in Northeastern Norway is located just 15km from the Russian border. Remainder of the day at leisure. Overnight at Thon Hotel Kirkenes (or similar).
This morning join a fun, 3hr King Crab Safari, rated by National Geographic as one of the world's best 25 excursions. This giant of the sea lives in Kirkenes Fjord, reaching up to 2m across and 15kg. On this excursion, you will either travel by boat or seated in a snowmobile-drawn sleigh (weather dependent). Once the crab has been caught, transfer to a remote cabin where it is cooked and served, for us, as a delicious lunch. Head south to Inari, capital of Lapland and visit Sajos Sami Cultural Centre and parliament. Set in the heart of Sapmi at a unique natural landscape on the shore of Lake Inari, it serves as a centre for Sami self-governance, know-how and education, where modern facilities and technology go hand in hand with authentic, living Sami traditions. Continue on to tiny Saariselka village, a haven for Finland's winter sports. Evening at leisure, with overnight at Santa's Hotel Tunturi (or similar).
Morning transfer to Sinetta, just outside Rovaniemi. En route, visit a traditional Sami reindeer farm and meet the farmers. Dressed in their colourful Sami clothing, they tell about the importance of reindeer in their culture. Learn how to throw a Suopunki (Sami lasso) before relaxing into a short reindeer-sleigh ride. As you move through the white landscape, the only sound you hear is the music of reindeer bells. Lunch is included at the farm. Continue along winding roads to arrive at the Arctic Snow Hotel, for your magical experience of overnight in a Glass Igloo. Afternoon at leisure as you enjoy the warmth and comfort inside, while the elements surround you outside as you search for the elusive Northern Lights or millions of stars. A traditional, 3 course Lappish dinner is included and in a magnificent wooden Kota, fresh salmon is slowly grilled over a huge fire pit. Take an optional Snow Sauna and Outdoor Jacuzzi. The Snow Sauna has walls made of snow and ice, only the sauna benches are wood, making for an astonishing combination of thick steam within intimate snow walls. Afterwards, take a warm soothing soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi, as you admire the magical skies of Northern Lapland. Make the most of your overnight with an optional upgrade to stay in a Snow Suite. Each year, the Snow Hotel is built anew, with local artists creating the ice sculptures that decorate the suites. All of them offer a unique Arctic experience, as you spend the night as the Sami once did... in an igloo. Sleeping in a special Arctic sleeping bag, on a mattress covering ice, you stay warm in the quiet, snow walls with an ambient temperature of 0 and -5°. Bathroom facilities are located nearby, in the hotel's warm section. This upgrade also includes a Sauna and Outdoor Jacuzzi session.
Morning departure for Rovaniemi. On your afternoon visit to a Husky Farm, the happy dogs will welcome you with their barks, while the head musher tells you all about the life of these hard working Arctic dogs. In pairs, you will enjoy a sled ride (one person driving, one person seated), along forest trails. Refuel with a traditional, Lappish outdoor meal of sausage grilled on the campfire, followed by pancakes. Then pay a visit to Santa Claus' Village, the official home of Santa Claus. Take a step into this magical world and meet St. Nicholas, send a letter from his Post Office, step across the Arctic Circle and more. This evening, you may like the optional Aurora Camp by Snowmobile adventure. Drive through a snow-covered forest wilderness and along a frozen river, to discover the phenomena of a Northern sky. In the theatre at the Aurora Borealis camp, enjoy afilm about the myths and facts of this amazing natural phenomenon. There is time at leisure to wander around the camp, take a brisk sleigh ride or simply recline by the fire in the snow observatory and admire the heavens above. With some luck, a clear sky will prevail and the Northern Lights will appear. A delicious reindeer burger is served before our return to the city. Overnight at Santa's Hotel Santa Claus (or similar).
Travel south to Kemi where we visit the fabulous SnowCastle* where snow walls surround the biggest SnowCastle of its kind, in the world. Built entirely of snow and ice, it has a special snow slide and amazing sculptures. After that, we embark on the Sampo Icebreaker. Cruise on a remarkable vessel as it breaks through the ice in the northern Gulf of Bothnia. This experience includes a guided tour of the ship and a delicious meal¹, plus something very special - swimming in Europe's largest ice field. A guide is with you at all times, as you wearing a snug survival, floatation drysuit. You will stay dry as you slide into the water and float. Early evening return to Rovaniemi for a 2nd overnight. Tonight, one last optional excursion is offered - Magic of the Arctic Circle dinner and Aurora watching, at Snowland Restaurant. At the world's coolest and biggest Igloo Restaurant, feast on a delicious dinner of local specialities and afterwards, enjoy relaxing by the bonfire on the restaurant's terrace, searching for the Aurora Borealis one last time.
Transfer to Rovaniemi Airport, where your arrangements conclude.
Maximium Group Size: 32 persons
All optional excursions must be pre-booked. Minimum age and height requirements may apply. All snowmobile drivers, must hold a valid driver's licence
* SnowCastle construction is weather dependent. Completion may not be until mid-late Jan
^ 14 Dec 2020 departure - visit Ranua Wildlife Park instead of Sampo Icebreaker Cruise
¹ Sampo excursion is either a 4hr cruise with lunch on board or lunch onshore then 3hr cruise