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.
Featured trips & expertise
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 Huskies through a silent forest. Add on two more days for an optional excursion to the icy wonderland of Kemi.
This 10-day itinerary will take you on a variety of hiking trails in northern Norway and parts of Finland, traversing lush valleys and craggy mountain peaks, wide expanses of tundra and clear glacial rivers. Tackle 5 to 12 miles a day off the beaten path, and immerse yourself in the crisp natural landscapes of the Land of the Midnight Sun.
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 husky, pose for a selfie with a reindeer, snowshoe through the wilderness, participate in epic snowball fights, and — of course — go hunting for the elusive, magical Northern Lights.
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 your days frolicking in the snow and your nights hunting the aurora borealis from towns and fjords. Start and end the trip in Tromsø, a lively city known for its culture and restaurants.
Escape the summer crowds with this winter trip highlighting both southern and northern Norway. Starting in Oslo—Europe's fastest-growing capital—you'll take one of the steepest trains in the world towards the fjords. Then train to Bergen, a UNESCO-listed city loaded with culture and restaurants. Finish with two nights at a resort in the Arctic where you'll dog sled and search for the Northern Lights.
This wintry experience in Norway's Finnmark region starts with a night in Alta before three days of dogsledding in the Arctic wilderness. With the help of a private guide, you'll get to know the huskies by name and drive your own sleigh before falling asleep in cozy cabins—or staying up to search for the Northern Lights.
Recent trip reviews for Elina
Finland - in the wild, Finland - 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
Lapland / arctic circle, Finland - 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.
Lapland northern lights, Finland - 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.
Finland snow experience, Finland - 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
Active winter family fun in lapland, Finland - 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
Lapland visit, Finland - 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
Northern lights in norway: what to know & where to go, Norway - 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
Lapland, Finland - 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!
Norway 2018, Norway - 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
Riddell lapland trip, Finland - 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
Trip to finland, 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.