Finland winter activity vacation & Northern Lights

“What sets this vacation apart from the Finnish pack is that spotting the elusive Aurora is as much a part of the plan as trying your hand at a new winter activity.”

Highlights

Oulanka National Park | Snowshoeing | Cross-country skiing | Riisitunturi National Park | Husky sledding | Ice climbing | Ruka | Snowmobile safari | Wilderness skills day | Dinner in a traditional tipi | Northern Lights

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Basis
09 Dec 2018
US $ 2165
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Full
 
16 Dec 2018
US $ 2325
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23 Dec 2018
US $ 2555
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30 Dec 2018
US $ 2555
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06 Jan 2019
US $ 2165
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13 Jan 2019
US $ 2165
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20 Jan 2019
US $ 2165
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27 Jan 2019
US $ 2165
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03 Feb 2019
US $ 2245
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10 Feb 2019
US $ 1955
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17 Feb 2019
US $ 2245
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24 Feb 2019
US $ 2165
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03 Mar 2019
US $ 2095
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10 Mar 2019
US $ 2095
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17 Mar 2019
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24 Mar 2019
US $ 2095
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31 Mar 2019
US $ 2095
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21 Apr 2019
US $ 2325
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08 Dec 2019
US $ 2245
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15 Dec 2019
US $ 2245
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29 Dec 2019
US $ 2635
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Our top tip:
Temperatures can hit -20°C, so pack light layers. Full outer clothing - including hats and gloves - provided.
Trip type:
Small group tour. 4-16 adults (min. age 16) with a tour leader.
Activity level:
Moderate. You need to be reasonably fit with a spirit of adventure.
Accomm:
Cosy, self-sustaining wooden complex in remote area.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome. Single rooms available with surcharge.
Included:
Accommodation, tour leader, flights and transfers (if booked with flights), all arctic equipment.
Meals:
All breakfasts and dinners.
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. Its easy to tick off the big sights independently but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If youre heading off on a gap year your, perhaps but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides theyre not there to shepherd you around. Instead, theyll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food without running the risk of travelers tummy. Theyll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds and organised travel without the coaches. And its cheaper than a tailor made tour. Its sits somewhere in the middle and we think its just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you dont have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers whod like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
I wont get any privacy!
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

There wont be any free time
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

The accommodation will be basic
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations wont have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

I wont like the other travelers!
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic age, families, activity levels... Chances are, youll even make new friends.

Will we be following an umbrella?
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. Shes spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Finland winter activity vacation & Northern Lights

Environment

Accommodation and Meals:
You will spend 7 nights at Basecamp Oulanka. This wilderness camp is a lovely complex of wooden buildings on the edge of Oulanka National Park and is renowned for its environmental and sustainability practices. They have won several awards including the VESTAS award as an Outstanding Example of Accommodation and TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Gold Award. All energy used is renewable and all waste and water is recycled. The heating system used throughout the complex relies totally from nature using special wood pellets for fuel. Even the hot tub is run from an ingenious system that uses the excess heat generated from the sauna. Ingredients are sourced locally or at the very least produced in Finland, so guests can expect fresh elk, reindeer, salmon, vegetables and berries.

Activity:
This trip offers a number of environmentally friendly winter activities, including: dogsledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, igloo building etc. If possible, man-power is used over motors to minimise carbon emissions and there is constant attention to a strong leave no trace policy. We also visit a reindeer farm and museum where everyone will have the opportunity to ride a reindeer and try some lasso throwing. The farm is part of a co-operative and is dependent on tourist visits like this as it is in such a remote place. Optional activities like snowmobile tours are also run through local people, who really benefit from our business.

Conservation:
Part of the trip cost is a contribution which goes towards wilderness protection and conservation of Oulanka National Park. This donation is used partially for the restoration of Krpskelh- which is an old meadow area used for cows, sheep and reindeer to graze in. The meadow has been out of use since the mid 50s and has since been growing freely, slowly losing its usual customers and instead becoming overrun with plants and insects. Now, with Basecamp Oulanka, clients can volunteer in Krpskelh if they like and participate in conservation activities. Together with our local operators we have donated more than 60,000 Euros over the past 6 years to wilderness protection work.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Community

Local Craft and Culture:
Along with spending time with local people and visiting businesses (including the reindeer farm), we intend to share local culture by introducing clients to the varieties of handcrafts and local produce on offer here. Smoked elk is a traditional delicacy in these parts and can be purchased in the area, as well as traditional Lappish socks, hats, drums and Karhunkynsi tableware. By buying local crafts, we are contributing to the community and often encouraging customary craftsmanship which has lasted centuries. However, guides will remind clients not to purchase any products made with parts of endangered species whilst they are on the trip.

A Fair Deal:
All of our guides are local and live close to the camp, which has a positive effect on the very high unemployment levels in these rural areas. This also ensures that all generated income stays within the community and helps the village to function properly. Our staff work all year round and receive wages every month- despite our working season not covering the whole year. All staff is educated on responsible tourism issues and this should come across to clients in frequent briefings on current environmental and community issues. Their training extends to topics like flora and fauna, socioeconomic systems and sustainable tourism.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

4 Reviews of Finland winter activity vacation & Northern Lights

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 11 Jan 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Everything was memorable. My favourites were the Riisitunturi National Park snowshoe, cross-country skiing by the lake, and husky sledding.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Going at the start of January (one of the darkest times of the year for this region) means that one gets only about 2.5 hours of "daylight". This is something to bear in mind as even 1-2 months will make a difference if you are someone who likes things light when doing activities. A number of afternoon activities took place in the dark. But if you don't mind, or are open to doing some things "at night", then I would say to just go for it. In the end, it didn't bother me and made for some good long nights of sleep! Perfect if you need to catch up on rest (as I did).

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I hope and think so. I enjoyed eating local produce such as salmon, elk, reindeer and all sorts of red berries - the chefs know what they are doing!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Waking up everyday to a landscape of white, black and blue (has to be lived to be believed), and having something active (but not overly so) to look forward to was a great way to end a tough year, and to start a fresh new good one!

Reviewed on 06 Feb 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The all day Husky safari came top very closely followed by the rest of the weeks activities.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring your own base layer, but vacation notes are correct in that all the other clothing is provided.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The week is designed to work with the local environment in all aspects.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent vacation in an idyllic location providing, fun and adventure.

Reviewed on 26 Jan 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Huskies. Location. Snowshoeing.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take disposable hand and feet warmers.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent.

Reviewed on 30 Jan 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The scenery was just fantastic, and I really enjoyed being with the huskies. The
whole experience was like nothing I've ever done before.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be reasonably fit and you will enjoy the trip more, and don't go directly from a
warm climate without acclimatising somewhere for the cold beforehand.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The vacation provided jobs for the locals, and the opportunity for other foreign
staff to work in and experience/understand the Arctic region.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Fantastic experience - the most enjoyable activity vacation I have ever done.

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