- Hit the ski slopes in Pyhä-Luosto National Park
- Go on a reindeer safari and see the northern lights
- Ride a snowmobile and visit a Sámi village
- Try dogsledding and dine at an ice restaurant
|Day 1||Arrive in Lapland, Transfer to Pyhä-Luosto||Pyhä|
|Day 2||Ski at Pyhä Resort, Northern Lights in a Reindeer Sleigh||Pyhä|
|Day 3||Snowshoeing to an Amethyst Mine||Pyhä|
|Day 4||Transfer to Ivalo, Northern Lights in a Snow Tank||Ivalo|
|Day 5||Day Trip to Sámi Village, Northern Lights in a Snowmobile||Ivalo|
|Day 6||Transfer to Rovaniemi, Snow Hotel & Ice Dinner||Rovaniemi|
|Day 7||Ranua Wildlife Park, Northern Lights Tour||Rovaniemi|
|Day 8||Husky Sledding Safari||Rovaniemi|
|Day 9||Backcountry Skiing||Rovaniemi|
|Day 10||Depart Finland|
Day 1: Arrive in Lapland, Transfer to Pyhä-Luosto
Welcome to Lapland! Located within the Arctic Circle, this is the northernmost region of Finland. Famous for its subarctic wilderness and winter activities, from August to April, it's also a prime vantage point to witness the aurora borealis (northern lights). You'll be flying into the regional capital of Rovaniemi, which has been designated the official home of Santa Claus.
Upon arrival at the airport, your personal driver will pick you up for the 1.5-hour transfer northeast to Pyhä-Luosto. This 55-square-mile (142 sq km) national park protects ancient mountains and forests and offers a range of activities, from hiking and ice climbing to snowmobiling and skiing. Upon arrival, you'll check in to your hotel and can spend the rest of the day relaxing.
Day 2: Ski at Pyhä Resort, Northern Lights in a Reindeer Sleigh
Spend the day at the Pyhä Ski Resort. This is one of the best ski resorts in the country, boasting 15 slopes spanning 8 miles (14 km) of varying difficulty levels. But even if you've never strapped on a pair of skis before, not to worry—there's an on-site ski school with English-speaking instructors. More experienced skiers can enjoy difficult runs like the notorious Huttu-Ukko, which is the steepest slope in Finland and is so formidable that the national ski team uses it for training.
After a day on the mountain, head out in the evening on a two-hour guided wilderness trip on a sleigh pulled by real-life reindeer. As these native animals trot through the powder, your guide will tell stories of Arctic life and how reindeer herding has been a part of the culture here for centuries. The main goal, though, is to spot the aurora borealis, a light phenomenon caused by solar storms interacting with the earth's magnetic field. At the end of the tour, you'll return to your hotel.
Day 3: Snowshoeing to an Amethyst Mine
Besides skiing and sledding, Finland's most famous national park is also a great place to discover the pleasures of snowshoeing. This cold-climate activity was borne out of necessity since, for centuries, it was the most practical and efficient way for residents to hike between locales. In the morning, you'll meet your guide and head into the wilderness, where you'll strap on snow shoes and embark on a four-hour cross-country trek through the snow.
This scenic route passes through the snowy wilderness of Pyhä-Luosto and ends at Lampivaara. This amethyst mine on top of a hill is unique in that it's open to the public. You can even go digging for this prized purple stone yourself. Afterward, you'll return to your hotel.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Transfer to Ivalo, Northern Lights in a Snow Tank
Your driver will pick you up early for the three-hour ride farther north to the village of Ivalo. On this journey, you'll be leaving the scenic Pyhä-Luosto National Park and traveling to the equally beautiful Inari Lake region, the Sámi people's heartland. On the way, you'll pass Saariselkä, a village with some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the area. Eventually, you'll arrive in Ivalo, which sits on a river of the same name. Here, you'll check in to your hotel.
After dinner, you'll embark on another exciting nighttime adventure into the snowy wilderness, this time in a metal sleigh. You'll be riding in a mobile cabin pulled by a snow tank, which is an off-road vehicle purpose-built to travel through snowy conditions. The sleigh itself is fully enclosed in order to keep passengers warm, and there are panoramic windows that afford the best views to take pictures. This is a three-hour tour during which you'll enjoy refreshments as your guide leads you on a hunt for the northern lights. When it's over, you'll return to your hotel.
Day 5: Day Trip to Sámi Village, Northern Lights in a Snowmobile
After breakfast, you'll embark on a full-day tour of the lakeside village of Inari, which is populated by the Sámi people, who are the only Indigenous people in the European Union. They are self-governing and have maintained their language and customs for thousands of years. For example, fishing, hunting, reindeer herding, and craft-making remain the cornerstones of Sámi culture.
You'll witness this firsthand when you meet residents and browse local markets for souvenirs and authentic handicrafts. The major highlight is a visit to the Siida Museum. The permanent exhibits here celebrate Sámi culture, art, and history but also link it with northern nature, the surrounding landscapes, and conservation efforts. There are exhibitions of Sámi traditions in relation to climate history from the last Ice Age to the changes we face today. After touring the museum, you'll return to Ivalo.
In the evening, you'll head out on a small-group tour through the wilderness in search of more great vantage points to witness the northern lights. On this 3.5-hour trip, you'll be zipping through the forest on a snowmobile at night, with only your guide and the headlights to lead you. It might seem scary at first, but it quickly becomes the arctic adventure of a lifetime. Throughout the 18-mile (30 km) ride, you'll stop at various points to try and get the best views of the northern lights.
Day 6: Transfer to Rovaniemi, Snow Hotel & Ice Dinner
In the morning, your driver will pick you up for the 3.5-hour ride back to Rovaniemi. When you arrive, you'll have some free time before visiting one of the most unique accommodations in the world: the Arctic SnowHotel. During a four-hour guided tour of the snow structures here, you'll marvel at ice sculptures and visit ice rooms complete with ice furniture. There's even an on-site snow sauna. After the tour, you'll warm up with a shot at the hotel's ice bar before enjoying a three-course meal in its gourmet restaurant. Afterward, you'll return to your cozy hotel, which you'll be glad to know is not made of ice.
Day 7: Ranua Wildlife Park, Northern Lights Tour
Located an hour south of Rovaniemi, the Ranua Zoo is the northernmost wildlife park in the world. It's home to around 200 animals representing 50 Arctic species. On a half-day guided visit, you'll see brown bears, reindeer, wolves, wolverines, lynxes, owls, otters, wild boars, and many others. Most famously, the only polar bears in Finland are in this park. And while the animals here do live in enclosures, they are spacious and designed to replicate their natural habitat. After walking around the park, you'll enjoy a buffet lunch before returning to Rovaniemi.
In the evening, leave the city on a 4.5-hour excursion into the wilderness. It's in these dark outskirts, free of light pollution, where you'll have another chance to see the aurora borealis. You'll be traveling with a professional guide who knows the best spots to stop and view this extraordinary phenomenon exclusive to this part of the world. For an additional fee, you can upgrade to a tour with a professional photographer.
Day 8: Husky Sledding Safari
After breakfast, your driver will take you just outside of Rovaniemi to the Arctic Circle Husky Park. This is a family-run organization that raises real Alaskan huskies and offers sledding safaris. These dogs were bred to be active and require at least a couple of hours of exercise each day. Besides that, they are good-natured and love people, which makes them the perfect sled dog.
When you arrive for this half-day experience, you'll meet the dogs and board the sled. Then, after a safety briefing, head out on a 3-6-mile (6-10 km) ride through forest trails in the snow. After the safari, you can spend time with your new friends in the dedicated "husky hugging area." They love cuddles and photos! Afterward, you'll return to your hotel and will have the rest of the day free.
Day 9: Backcountry Skiing
This morning, you'll embark on a special ski adventure through the Lapland backcountry. For this three-hour excursion, you'll wear handcrafted skis designed for cross-country travel in rough terrain. These are the same traditional skis that residents of the Altai Mountains of North Asia use for travel during their long winters.
Today's outing is a group activity during which your guide will lead you through remote forests and hills. As you go, you might spot wild animals such as reindeer or Arctic hares. At the end of the excursion, you'll return to the hotel and can spend the rest of the day relaxing.
Day 10: Depart Finland
Unfortunately, today marks the end of your Arctic adventure in Finland. You'll transfer to the airport in Rovaniemi at the appropriate time, where you'll catch your flight home. Hyvästi!