I love showing our guests what Finland is for me, nature where I grew up; share its secrets and stories, the flavours and sounds. Northern Norway has become a bit of a home too, that is where we spend weekends, meet friends and have a lot of fun. I enjoy our outdoor adventures and sometimes join Gareth as a second guide, but I am most at home telling stories over the campfire and leading you to calming meditations.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"Above Arctic Circle; Rovaniemi and North-West Finland and Northern Norway. We like to keep you active, so even if you are on a road trip with us, we include at least short nature walks to the programme. Our focus is the nature and all the fun you can do there, whether you like day walks or want us to take you on a three-country Nordic ski trip into the wilderness. We know that visiting the famous cities is important, but otherwise, we like to keep you off the busiest destinations and show you the Finland and Norway we love. Whenever possible, we work with small local companies, where we know the owners and who share our values of fun and respect.
As a bonus on our trips, you have a professional photographer as your guide, so you can be sure to see the most photogenic locations, not only the ones famous from social media. "
How did you get involved in travel?
"My first trip I abroad was when I was 19 years old. I travelled around Europe for a month on my own, managed to find my way around with paper maps and getting peer reviews by actually talking to other travellers at hostels and train stations. In the end, I run out of money and made it back home pretty hungry, and with a travelling bug. I have since travelled, studied and worked in Europe and Latin America. I have been working in business travel and regional tourism development, and now I jump in whenever Gareth needs help at the company. I also lead our nature meditation retreats starting spring 2018."
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"On my first trip to New Zealand, among other cool adventures, Gareth took me sea kayaking in Abel Tasman. I had only kayaked once before on a lake and I was terrified of the big waves. Between the super enthusiastic guide who called himself “the Pirate” and Gareth, they managed to convince me that “everything will be ok”. I kept breathing and paddling, convinced that I’d only be happy once I’d be out of the water. Until suddenly, a little blue penguin swam in front of us.
One thing on my bucket list had been “to see a penguin” and I was excited to see this creature in the wild, happily swimming on the waves. So excited indeed, that I forgot the waves. The little blue soon went on his way, leaving me in awe and enjoying the rest of the kayaking. I am learning to challenge myself and come out of my comfort zone because that is the best way to see some amazing things.
Elina's favorite itineraries and travel advice
Top itineraries and travel advice
Visit Santa Claus's hometown (Rovaniemi) and fall in love with winter sports haven Ylläs on this snow-dusted winter wonderland adventure above the Arctic Circle! Snuggle a...
Pack your warmest winter clothes and head to the far north to experience the beauty and mystery of the Northern Lights and the peaceful communities that bear them witness. Spend...
Welcome to Lapland! With four days in Rovaniemi, there's so much you can see and do. Visit Rudolph and the elves at Santa Claus Village, catch the Northern Lights, and sled with...
Recent trip reviews for Elina
Finland - in the wild
Jul 17 - Jul 25, 2019
We've just spent a wonderful week travelling with Adventure By Design from Rovaniemi (Lapland) to Tromso (Norway). Our trip was all about immersing ourselves in the environment and taking beautiful day hikes. Elina & Sonja organised a great itinerary which gave us a taste of the different types of environment in the Arctic Circle. It wasn't till the end that we reflected how different each day was and how that made the trip so great! The hikes were well marked and really suitable for us in... read more
Thank you Carolyn. It was nice to meet you both, and we're looking forward to seeing you back in Finland! Elina, Amanda and Gareth :)
Lapland / Arctic Circle
May 4 - May 11, 2019
I cannot rave enough about Gareth & Elina. They were so knowledgeable, responsive, and gracious. The agenda they organized for us was exactly what we wanted - they took our travel goals and interests and turned them into an outstanding programme. Both are true experts, customer-oriented, and kind people. We wanted an active, hiking-centric trip through Swedish & Finnish Lapland and far norther Norway. This is what Elina & Gareth delivered, and we could not be happier.
Thank you so much Kevin :)
Lapland northern lights
Mar 5 - Mar 12, 2019
Rikka was a great guide - very knowledgeable and helpful and so full of energy! She made our two snowshoeing trips very easy and enjoyable!
Elina and Sonja tailored an itinerary exactly according to my interests and gave me very clear instructions so that I had a very smooth trip and was able to do a lot in a short period of time. When she heard that my camera was not functioning, Elina even helped to adjust it to enable me to successfully photograph the Northern Lights.
Thank you Susan. I'm glad I was able to help with the camera, and happy to know you had a great holiday. It was lovely meeting you. Greetings also from Riikka!
finland snow experience
Feb 1 - Feb 7, 2019
Right from the start Elina was excellent at helping to plan our trip . Elina and Gareth always responded quickly to our questions and were very helpful in providing us with information from what clothing to wear to what camera to buy.
Our trip was amazing from start to finish . Gareth picked us up in Kittila and drove us to Ylläs and Kilpisjärvi , then on to Tromso. Our accommodation were beautiful cabins in the woods (exactly what I had asked for ). Our activities, snowmobiling, dog... read more
Hi Tracy, thanks for the awesome feedback. It's always great to hear that our guests have loved the trip we have designed for them. We're especially happy to hear you loved the snowshoeing! We hope you enjoy the rest of your time in the north. Elina & Gareth
Active Winter Family Fun in Lapland
Jan 4 - Jan 8, 2019
Elina and Gareth from Adventure by Design put together an amazing Finnish Lapland experience for our family. After sharing with them the general structure of our holiday they sourced terrific providers and developed an itinerary that would ensure we made the best of the limited daylight. The traditional sauna and ice swimming at Wild Blueberry was a magical experience. As it was a small family business the service was personal and of a very high standard. We had so much fun on a snowmobiling... read more
Hi Wendy, thank you, these words give me a big smile - this is why we do these long days at the office, to be able to read feedback like this. Thank you so much. I will pass on your review to our providers who did the hard work, and send an special thanks for Tuija. She is an awesome guide indeed, and we're happy to have her with us!
Dec 30 - Jan 3, 2019
Elina and Gareth did a great job of putting together a nice itinerary for us. We really loved the snowmobile excursion and the boys loved riding the mini snowmobiles. Rovaniemi is just a magical place and I'm so glad we got to see it. There is really so much more to do than I expected so if I ever get the chance to go back I'll know! (Like the amethyst mine!)
The Scandic hotel was just OK. Our friends ended up in the Arctic Light hotel and that is a really lovely place! I loved our night in... read more
Thank you Victoria. I loved seeing all these photos, thank you for sharing them! Those happy faces make me smile too. Any time you are looking into repeating the arctic adventure, we'll be happy to help you. All the best to your family, Elina & Gareth
Northern Lights in Norway: What To Know & Where To Go
Sep 16 - Sep 19, 2018
My husband and I went on a trip to Norway organized by Elina in March this year. Start to finish it was a truly perfect trip. Our first three days were spent at Malangen, an absolutely lovely, modern hotel with breathtaking views of a fjord. The staff at Malangen was extremely helpful and friendly and there were wonderful activities to choose from. We snowshoed, went to a campsite owned by the hotel to see the Northern Lights and had a fascinating session with someone who taught us about... read more
Thank you Audrey. We're so happy to know that you enjoyed the holiday with us. Hopefully we'll see you return one day. Best regards, Elina & Gareth.
Jun 9 - Jun 11, 2018
We had the most amazing trip and a great time with Elina and Gareth. Visits to nature center, raindeer farm and husky farm were interesting and educational. The day-long hike was incredibly enjoyable! Overall our whole group was very happy with the experience, especially living in the cabins, going to sauna and making pancakes on the open fire!
Thank you, Daria. We had so much fun with your group! I can't remember the last time I've made so many pancakes, on open fore or elsewhere. All the best to all of you, Elina & Gareth
Mar 25 - Mar 31, 2018
First of all: kudos to Elina - her attention was first-class and, I am very grateful for it - above all, I value the personalized attention. We wanted to experience the artic environment in Norway and we did get it. Our days spent in and around Tromso are unforgettable - to remember thru our lifetime. We took this trip as an opportunity to experience (first time ever) the cold artic in a leisure way and we did -so much so that we skipped some activities to simply enjoy the scenery and the... read more
Thank you Julio. I'm really glad you both enjoyed the holiday and had the possibility to just relax and enjoy. Best wishes, Elina
Riddell Lapland trip
Mar 5 - Mar 8, 2018
Elina planned a fantastic trip for us. Her and her husband Gareth were very accommodating to us given the late notice we gave them, they even managed to condense a 5 day trip into 4 days for us.
The whole trip was a highlight and all the activities exceeded our expectations!!!
- Accommodation in Tromso was great and the breakfast at the hotel was amazing.
- Husky sledding was brilliant and the lunch in and tour of the ice dome/igloo was an unexpected bonus.
- Snowmobiling was fantastic.
-... read more
Hi Craig, thank you so much for your kind words. It was really great meeting you and all your family. Gareth had a great time guiding you and reconnecting with fellow Kiwis. Please send our love to all of the family and wish you all the best with the new job. Elina & Gareth.
Trip to Finland
Feb 25 - Mar 2, 2018
Elina and Gareth were so much fun and really did everything they could to make sure we had an enjoyable trip. Elina always answered all my questions in a very timely manner- so much that I wondered if she ever slept! I wouldn’t hesitate to book a trip with them again.
Thank you, Rebecca. It was really great to have you two as our guests. I wish you lots of fun adventures in the future and hope to see you again someday. Elina