Finnish Lapland in Winter

Trip Code: BMXF

Why we love it

Be pulled across the landscape at high speed on the back of a dog sled. These incredible huskies are doing what they love most – making a lot of noise before rushing along sprawling trails, Visit a local Finnish family, who will guide you through their world and lifestyle. You will be shown their skills in reindeer herding with the option to get close and personal with some of the animals on the farm, The aurora borealis is the best lightshow on Earth, and this trip is your ticket. Stay up late to see the northern sky dance with green light (subject to weather conditions), Explore Helsinki, then travel on the famous 'Santa Claus Express' overnight train all the way from the cosmopolitan Finnish capital through the frozen Northern wilderness to Rovaniemi

Is this trip right for me?

Lapland can be extremely cold at this time of year. Please bring appropriate clothing for adverse weather conditions. Please see the Packing section in the Essential Trip Information document for more details. There may be the rare occasion where your leader has to alter the itinerary and activities due to the weather. In this case an alternative will be offered. Please also note that even though it will be cold, not always will there be snow cover, especially on the departures earlier in the winter season. In these cases snow dependent activities will be replaced with suitable alternatives.

The Northern Lights (also known as the Aurora Borealis) are a natural display of coloured lights in the night sky of the northern hemisphere. While Northern Light displays can never be guaranteed, as they are a natural phenomenon, you have a higher chance of seeing them in locations at high latitudes, such as Northern Finland. Keep your fingers crossed for clear skies during your visit.

As accommodation on this trip is twin share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. However, if you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. Also, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together/apart. Please also be aware that many guesthouses offer shared bathrooms rather than en-suite facilities. Rooms in Finland can be small, and at times you may be accommodated a short walk away from the main building.

Finland can be an expensive destination in terms of eating out. Your leader will be able to advise on how to save money. In Yllastunturi the only option for dinner will be at the guesthouse we are staying at, or alternatively there are cafes and restaurants in the nearby town (approximately 35 minutes on foot, or a short taxi ride away).

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip, subject to availability at the time of booking. The price of the single supplement does not include the following nights, where a single room does not form part of the package:
- Day 2 - Overnight Train
Please also note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. Lapland can be extremely cold at this time of year. Please bring appropriate clothing for adverse weather conditions. Please see the Packing section in the Essential Trip Information document for more details on what is available for hire in location and what we recommend you should bring along.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, WATER BOTTLE
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination, if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day., PACKING
On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are likely to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list., WINTER TEMPERATURES
During the winter months in Lapland, temperatures can drop to well below zero. Winter boots and overalls are available for hire in location for the included activities, however in order to ensure you have high quality equipment with the right fit for your entire time in Finland, we recommend to all our guests to bring these items from home. This includes good sturdy shoes for walking across snow or ice (good waterproof walking boots), warm wind and rainproof jacket and trousers, gloves or mittens, thermals and base layers, extra wool or cotton socks, fleece, good head wear that covers your ears, scarf or other face protection, and sunglasses.

DARKNESS
We also suggest you bring along a torch/flashlight, as days are short, and street lighting in the village will be turned off in the evening to increase the chance of spotting the northern lights.

RECOMMENDED
- Personal medical kit. Your leader will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as blister relief, mild pain killers and bandaids.
- Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
- Swimwear & flip-flops - for an optional visit to one of Finland's famous saunas

OPTIONAL
- Camera with spare batteries. You won't be able to recharge during the day. Keep in mind that cold weather conditions drain batteries much quicker compared to warm weather. Keeping your camera or phone close to your body can be a solution.
- Earplugs and eye mask (for light sleepers)

Physical rating

3

This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.

Joining your group

Hotel Arthur, Vuorikatu 19, Helsinki, FINLAND, Phone: +358 09 17 34 41

Hotel Arthur is located close to the railway station in the heart of Helsinki. The main sights, shopping district and theatres are just a short walk away. The recently refurbished rooms are cosy and brightly coloured. All rooms have a private shower/toilet, telephone, TV, and hair dryer - some also have a minibar. If you choose to arrange additional accommodation at this location you may be required to change rooms for the nights which are not included as part of your Intrepid itinerary.

Joining instructions

From Helsinki Vantaa International Airport (airport code HEL), your best option is to take the train to the main railway station in Helsinki. Alternatively public bus No. 615 or the Finnair Bus go to Rautatientori (railway square). The train/bus journey takes about 35 minutes and both modes of transport depart frequently. From the railway station it's a 5 minute walk to our hotel. Go to the square on the eastern side of the railway station. Take Vilhonkatu Street which leads off the top left corner of the square with the railway station behind you. You will come to a metro station at the corner of Vilhonkatu and Kaisaniemenkatu, Here turn left and head towards Kaisaniemi Park. Our hotel is located on the next corner on the right hand side. Alternatively, you can take a taxi from the airport directly to the hotel.

Pre booked arrival transfer from Helsinki Vantaa International Airport (HEL): If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, your transfer driver will be waiting in the arrivals hall in front of the airport's exit doors, holding a board with the Intrepid Logo or your name on it. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +358 50 545 5454.

Finishing your trip

Hotelli Aakenus, Koskikatu 47, Rovaniemi, FINLAND, Phone: +358 16342205

Hotel Aakenus is located 500m from central Rovaniemi and just around the corner from the bath house Vesihiisi. It offers freshly decorated rooms with TV, desk, fridge, hairdryer and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also offers access to their sauna (at an additional cost) and serves home cooked meals at their in-house restaurant.

The hotel will be able to organise a taxi to the airport or the railway station for you. The ride to the airport takes about 15 minutes, and to the railway station its about a 5-minute drive. Alternatively you can walk to the railway station in about 20 minutes.

Pre booked departure transfer to Rovaniemi Airport (airport code RVN): Please double check with your tour leader for the exact pick up time for your transfer from the hotel. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +358 50 327 27 88.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 6

Lunches included: 

Dinners included: 

To give you maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, only breakfasts are included on this trip. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

During our stay in Yllastunturi there will be a limited selection of places to eat. Most convenient is the cafeteria at our hotel, which offers a daily set dinner menu at around EUR 25 pp. Lunch is around EUR 10, and snacks and drinks are also available. Dinner should be pre-ordered the day before, and is subject to minimum numbers. Alternatively there are restaurants in the nearby town, which is just a short taxi ride or a 35-minute walk away.

Vegetarians might find the menu selection less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables, soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

Climate & seasonal information

The winter months in Lapland can be extremely cold. The average temperature between November and March ranges from minus 5 to minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit), but cold snaps of below minus 35 degrees Celsius (minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit) are possible. Heavy snowfalls are common, and snow remains on the ground until the thaw in spring. Please read the 'what to pack' section for information on how to stay warm.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below:

If you have booked an arrival transfer, and you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find to the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly on the number listed in the joining point instructions in the section above.

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Operations Team can be reached on the number listed below:

Intrepid's Local Operator: +49 8024 4679 540

Accommodations

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per the gender marker on each of their passports. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

FACILITIES
Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

Transportation

OVERNIGHT TRAIN
Finnish overnight trains are a very comfortable way to travel long distances without losing valuable time to explore the destinations. Compartments usually consist of 3 or 4 berths (2 bottom bunks and 1 or 2 top bunks), lockable doors with key-card access, communal bathroom facilities at the end of each carriage (sink and toilet), and plenty of space for luggage. Blankets, pillows and linen are provided, and each berth has a reading light. The exact layout of the cabin depends on the carriage type the group are allocated to. All trains have heating, however please note that windows can't be opened.


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