This grand journey starts in Stockholm then takes you to Lulea, Kiruna, Jukkasjarvi, Svolvaer in the Lofoten Islands, Tromso, Alta, Kirkenes, Saariselka, Sinettä, Kemi and Rovaniemi, so you can explore the very best of Winter in Lapland. Highlights include an evening walking tour of Stockholm, visit to Abisko Sky Station, the IceHotel in Jukkasjarvi, Viking Lofotr Museum, famous fishing village of Henningsvaer, Polar Park to see the Arctic animals; the award-winning Alta Museum and the Northern Lights Cathedral; a reindeer farm visit with sled ride; a visit to the Arctic Snow Hotel with 2 nights in a Glass Igloo, Husky farm visit with sled ride, a visit to Rovaniemi and delightful Santa Claus Village, a Sampo Icebreaker cruise with ice swimming, and (weather permitting) a visit to Kemi Snow Castle. Plus you can add some great optional activities.
On arrival in Stockholm, transfer to your hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure. Tonight at 18:00hrs meet your Tour Director and fellow travellers at the hotel for a short welcome meeting. At 19:45hrs, join for an evening walking tour of the beautiful Swedish capital. Overnight at the Scandic Anglais or similar.
This morning, enjoy a 3hr city sightseeing tour. The city of Stockholm is built on 14 islands, connected by 57 bridges and embraces the unique character of its 13th century Old Town and modern high-tech architecture. Stockholm's islands are bordered by Lake Malaren in the west and the Baltic Sea in the east where the archipelago, with its 30,000 islands awaits exploration. The capital is a big city with a small town personality and is proudly called 'Beauty on Water'. Your sightseeing tour with an Old Town walk, makes for a memorable morning and a discovery of contrasts. Go back 750 years in time and feel the medieval atmosphere of the Old Town (Gamla Stan) as you wander through its narrow streets. You will even see the 700-year-old cathedral of Stockholm, Seat of the Archbishop, along with Stortorget, where the Stockholm Blood Bath took place. At the end of the tour you will be transferred to Arlanda Airport for your flight to Lulea (1hr 20mins). Lulea is the largest city in Swedish Lapland and located at the mouth of the Lule River. Transfer from Lulea Airport to the hotel for your evening at leisure. Overnight at Clarion Hotel Sense or similar.
Mid-morning departure from Lulea as we continue to Kiruna.The scenic ride across the top of Sweden gives you time to relax while taking in the beauty of nature. There will be a stop for lunch (not included) along the way. Arrive in Kiruna and check-in to your accommodation. Time at leisure. Meet your Tour Director in the hotel lobby at 19:15hrs then travel by bus to Abisko. From 21:00-01:00hrs, the unique Aurora Sky Station offers the possibility to gaze at the Northern Lights and stars from a large, outdoor terrace and lookout tower. Inside you find a Northern Lights exhibition with a comprehensive presentation of the Aurora Borealis. Perhaps in the warm cosy café you might treat yourself to fika (coffee break) and cake, or browse for a souvenir? Two overnights at Camp Ripan or similar.
Today travel to Jukkasjarvi where you will enjoy a guided tour of the world's most well-known IceHotel, the first in the world dating back to the late 1980s. Learn the history of the impressive ice construction rising out of the snow and ice, in a new form every year. Afterwards, continue to Jukkasjarvi Church with some parts dating back to 1608, making it the oldest surviving church in Lapland. See the richly decorated altarpiece by Uppsala artist Bror Hjorth, depicting the revivalist preacher Lars Levi Laestadius, alongside the woman who inspired him to rid Lapland of alcohol, Maria of Aasele. The organ above the door is made from reindeer horn and birch wood, and the artwork in the centre of the organ, suspended over the pipes, symbolises the sun rising over Lapporten, the two U-shaped mountain-tops near Abisko which are one of Lapland's most enduring images. Then head next door to the Nutti Sami Siida where reindeer graze alongside the Torne River's banks and outdoor exhibitions show nomadic and modern Sami life. A traditional Sami lunch will be served. Return to the hotel mid-afternoon. 2nd overnight in Kiruna.
Morning departure aboard the Arctic Circle Train for the 3.5hr journey to Narvik. Sit back and enjoy this beautiful journey on part of the Iron Ore Line, which played a central role during WWII, supplying the Germans with iron critical for wartime production of steel. Disembark with time for a casual lunch (not included) before continuing on by coach to Svolvaer, with its age-old history as a fishing village – a tradition which remains as one of the town's most important economical foundations. There is also magnificent nature, a great cultural scene with many galleries, plus the Lofoten War Memorial Museum. Tonight offers an optional Fishing Village Walk with dinner at Børsen Spiseri. Svinoya is the oldest part of Svolvaer and has thrived as a fishing village since 1828. Hear of the area's culture, stories of how the fishermen lived 100 years ago and what happened in Trollfjord in 1890. You will also be able to taste the stockfish. Please wear warm clothes and sensible footwear, also bring your camera. The evening moves along with a 3-course dinner at Børsen Spiseri– the most distinctive restaurant in the Lofoten Islands. Housed in a venerable quayside warehouse dating back to 1828, you will be served dishes made with unique, fresh, local ingredients from the Lofoten Islands. Three overnights at Svinøya Rorbuer or similar.
Morning departure by coach to the Viking Lofotr Museum, where you can see the excavation of the largest known Viking house and take a guided tour of the museum, complete with several permanent exhibitions including audio guides. Then travel through idyllic, Leknes village, before reaching Reine where we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards, continue via Nusfjord before returning to Svolvaer early in the evening. Time at leisure.
Today we head towards Henningsvaer, one of the most famous fishing villages in the Lofotens, inhabited by only 1,300 people. Time at leisure to explore on your own, before continuing to Kabelvaag, (another important fishing village) with a stop at the North Museum (Nord Museum). See a history of the local fishing industry, presented in one of the best-preserved squire farms in the Lofotens. In Northern Norway's first medieval city, you will find the main stately building (1815), authentic fishing huts and boathouses, while the Museum offers exhibitions on Lofoten fishing history, ports, lighthouses and traditional crafts. Return to Svolvaer mid-afternoon. Tonight offers an optional Northern Lights Search by bus. Travel past frozen lakes, silent forests, beaches and small fishing villages as you prepare to hunt for the Northern Lights. As it is impossible to predict when the Aurora will appear, your guide will keep a close eye on the sky.
Continue by coach from Svolvaer to Tromso stopping en route at the famous Polar Park. This is the world's northern most animal park and your guided tour passes many Arctic animals including wolves, bears, deer, elk and reindeer. Onwards to Tromso where the evening is at leisure. Tonight at 19:45hrs you can join an optional cable car ride up Mount Storsteinen. After a short transfer from the hotel to the cable car station, you will board a gondola which will transport you to 421m above sea level to enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Tromso and the surrounding islands, mountains and fjords. If you are lucky, the Northern Lights may even make an appearance! Two overnights at Clarion Hotel The Edge or similar.
Start today with a 3hr city sightseeing tour, where we learn about the nature and culture of northern Norway, and the indigenous Sami people. Next we travel around the island, passing Lake Prestvatn and crossing the bridge to the Arctic Cathedral, a masterpiece built by Jan Inge Hovig in 1965. It reflects northern Norwegian nature, culture and faith, and has a monumental stained-glass window. Afternoon at leisure. Or perhaps join an optional tour to the Polaria Museum and Tromso University Museum. The tour starts with a visit to the Arctic experience Polaria, where the co-dependency of sea and land life is both seen and felt. The next stop is at at the Arctic University Museum of Tromso which offers diverse and insightful exhibitions from northern culture, including everything from Norway’s oldest chewing gum to the northern lights and Vikings. Located in Tromsø, a city Nylund describes as The Port to the Arctic Ocean, the museum is a place for cutting-edge research in subjects ranging from mosquitos and Vikings to fossils, Polar exploration, and the indigenous Sami people. The museum offers three different attractions: Tromsø Museum, the Polar Museum and the Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden.
At 18:30hrs, we head out to the Aurora Camp, where over 300 friendly huskies are waiting to greet you. A visit to the puppy enclosure is also possible! Enjoy a traditional light Norwegian dinner in a cosy Gamme Hut and prepare to search for the Aurora, while a warm fire outside sets the mood and keeps you toasty. Late evening return to the hotel.
Travelling from Tromso to Alta sees stunning scenery and includes two ferry crossings with lunch en route. Sit back, relax and enjoy the views! On arrival in Alta, check-in at the Thon Hotel or similar, for two overnights. This evening is at your leisure. Tonight offers an optional horse-drawn sleigh ride at a nearby, country farm. Pulled along by a charming Norwegian Fjord horse, your sleigh glides through the forest and along Alta River, as you sit back, snuggled warmly in blankets. Along the way, stop for a light supper served around a warm fire. Maybe the Northern Lights will appear!
Today visit the award-winning Alta Museum, on an early settlement site dating back 11,000 years, with exhibitions on local culture and history. Northern Europe's largest and richest rock carving site has walkways around the 2,000-6,200 year old rock carvings, depicting the life of hunters and fishermen. After a guided tour of the museum we visit the Northern Lights Cathedral - an elegant, modern construction with architecture inspired by the Aurora. Tonight offers an optional visit to Sorrisniva Ice Hotel and Aurora search. Travel by bus into the countryside to the family owned Sorrisniva adventure facility, perfectly located to maximise your chances of seeing the magnificent Aurora. Experience the world's northernmost ice and snow hotel, built from the ground every year with different themes, while also enjoying its serenity and silence. Wander amongst handcrafted ice sculptures or perhaps visit the ice bar for a drink (not included). Later a knowledgeable local guide will take you to search for the Aurora. Learn more about the natural phenomenon as well as the local history of Alta. Your guide will also be happy to help you catch some beautiful images with your own camera.
Early departure by coach this morning as we head east to Kirkenes, through beautiful northern Lapland. Sit back and enjoy breathtaking nature and landscapes, with a stop along the way for lunch in Karasjok. Late afternoon arrival into Kirkenes and evening at leisure. Overnight at Thon Hotel Kirkenes or similar.
Morning at leisure. Or perhaps join an optional 3hr King Crab Safari. This giant of the sea, living in Kirkenes Fjord, can reach up to 2m across and weigh 15kg. Depending on weather/ice, this excursion might be by boat or snowmobile drawn sleigh (no snowmobile driving; passengers' sit in a sled drawn by the guide's snowmobile). Once the King Crab has been caught, transfer to a remote cabin, where it is cooked for a delicious lunch. Early afternoon we continue south to the centre of Sami world at Inari, the capital of Lapland, to visit the Sajos Sami Cultural Centre and Parliament. Set in the heart of Sapmi, in a unique natural landscape on the shore of Lake Inari, it serves as a centre for Sami self-governance, culture, education and know-how. Modern conference premises, facilities and technology go hand in hand with authentic, living, Sami culture. Continue on to tiny Saariselka village, the centre of Finland's winter sports. Your evening is at leisure. Overnight at Santa's Hotel Tunturi or similar.
Morning departure for Rovaniemi. 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.
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).
Late morning departure and visit to the world-famous Santa Claus Village, built right on the Arctic Circle and home to Santa Claus. Stop by his busy post office where you can ask Santa to send a letter to your loved ones just before Christmas. Take a step into the magical world of Santa´s home and meet Santa himself. No words can describe the emotions of this fairy-tale-like moment. It is something you will always remember. An absolute must for any visit to Lapland. Time on your own for visiting the area and to enjoy a local lunch. In the early afternoon, continue to the banks of the Kemi-joki river to enjoy one of the highlights of the tour, one of the most idyllic Husky Farms in the region. 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.
Then continue along winding roads to the Arctic Snow Hotel, for your magical experience where you will spend the next two nights in a Glass Igloo. Check-in and afternoon at leisure. Enjoy the warmth and comfort inside, while the elements surround you outside as you search for the elusive Northern Lights or millions of stars. 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. Or perhaps take an optional upgrade to stay one night 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.
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 meal, 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 the Arctic Snowhotel for your 2nd night. Tonight, join your fellow travellers for a Lappish farewell dinner prepared by the open fire in a wooden kota. After dinner, perhaps enjoy a drink in the Sky Bar.
Transfer to Rovaniemi Airport, where your arrangements conclude.
Maximum group size: 32 persons
All optional excursions must be pre-booked.