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Price from £1,675pp
VISITING: Finland BROCHURE CODE: 21003
All prices include: flights, transfers, accommodation, meals and guided activities; all as listed.
Menesjärvi is a wild and isolated place at the very heart of the Aurora Zone. The surrounding wilderness ensures that there is minimal light pollution, and as the skies become darker following the period of the midnight sun, the Aurora begins to re-emerge. Witness a spectacular contrast as this natural phenomenon highlights the ethereal shades of autumn and discover how to capture the scene with an Aurora photography workshop.

What's included?

ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES LISTED BELOW ARE INCLUDED IN THE HOLIDAY PRICE

  • Flights: return flights from London Heathrow to Ivalo via Helsinki
  • Transfers: return airport transfers
  • Accommodation: 4 nights in twin/double hotel room
  • Meals: full board
  • The following activities are included in the holiday: visit a reindeer farm, Aurora photography workshop, Aurora hunt on foot, Aurora hunt by car/on foot, guided nature walk, husky and siida visit (the order of activities is subject to change)
  • Fully qualified guides and instructors during activities

Perhaps the focal point of any trip to Menesjärvi is the anticipation of seeking out the Northern Lights. The Finnish ‘Ruska’ season sees the onset of darker nights and starry skies and the remote location ensures minimal light pollution. The landscape is bathed in the vibrant shades of brown and orange and it is a time of immense change in Lapland. September, in particular, showcases this contrast in colour and is an ideal time to visit. You can sense the excitement from the locals at the prospect of the first snows of winter.

This holiday is designed to give guests an authentic Lappish experience during ‘Ruska’, whilst maximising the opportunities to explore the vibrant autumn landscapes and potentially witness the Aurora Borealis. Auroral displays during the Finnish ‘Ruska’ can rival, and very often better, those of winter, due to the stunning colours and the captivating reflection as it dances above the still open waters of Lake Menesjärvi.

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Imagine the anticipation of seeking out the Aurora Borealis. The hunt is an experience in itself, but to witness the Northern Lights as they light up the Autumnal skies is beyond description. Fortunately, an Aurora photography workshop will prepare you for any photo opportunities and introduce you to capturing this natural phenomenon.

This Aurora Borealis holiday also includes a journey into the unusual Sámi culture. A visit to a local reindeer farm will give you a valuable insight into the lifestyle of the local Sámi herders. The Sámi have survived in the harsh Arctic environment for centuries and it is fascinating to learn about how important the reindeer are to that survival.

You will also visit a local husky farm where your arrival will undoubtedly be met by a volley of excited barks, yelps, whimpers, growls and other assorted doggy noises. Following a tour of the husky farm, you will then visit the highly recommended Sámi Siida Museum, which showcases this unusual culture with an array of impressive displays. The museum also has a surprisingly colourful (the Sami people love bright colours) and attention-grabbing gift shop, where you can purchase traditional Sámi handicrafts.

During your time in Menesjärvi, you will be based at Hotel Korpikartano which was a former boarding school and exudes character and charm. Your welcoming hosts Anne and Timmo and the rustic simplicity of the accommodation offer the perfect introduction to Lappish hospitality. Its isolated location on the shore of Lake Menesjarvi (jarvi is Finnish for lake) with virtually no light pollution and unobstructed views of the night sky is perfect for Aurora hunting.

To conclude, this holiday has a striking balance of Lappish culture, Autumnal nature and alluring Northern Lights hunting which is guaranteed to produce treasured memories.


Image credits: Timo Halonen and Korpikartano.Fi
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Key facts

Duration:4 nights
Pace:Balanced
Suitable for: Ages 15+. See our terms for further information
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  • You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your rustic accommodation which exudes Lappish charm and hospitality. You will enjoy a home-cooked meal consisting of delicious local produce before you settle down for the evening.

    Included Meals:  Dinner
  • To awaken in a pristine wilderness such as Menesjärvi for the first time is an experience in itself. You will instantly notice the freshness of the air and will be filled with an eagerness to explore. The hotel looks out towards the lake and beyond this is a remote and picturesque landscape of forest and gently rolling fells. The Finnish ‘Ruska’ is a time of spectacular change and the vibrant autumn colours of September are a particular highlight.

    After breakfast, you will begin your exploration with a visit to a nearby reindeer farm. Reindeer herding has long been an important part of the centuries-old Sámi culture and the reindeer itself has become a symbol of this region. It is an animal which is synonymous with these arctic landscapes and meeting the herders provides a first-hand insight into this unusual way of life.

    The farm is located a short distance from the hotel and on arrival, you will be welcomed by a local herder. During a tour of the farm, you will gain insight into this fascinating age-old culture. To understand how the local people have thrived in this remote corner of the world is truly remarkable.

    Following the tour, you will return to your hotel for lunch before enjoying an afternoon at your leisure. There are a number of marked walking trails close to the hotel or you may wish to enjoy a traditional Finnish sauna, which is a must do for anyone visiting Finnish Lapland. A home-cooked dinner will be served in the restaurant during the evening before your first Aurora hunt.

    Prior to your nocturnal excursion, you will participate in an Aurora photography workshop. This is vital if you want to learn the skills required to capture the lights on camera and will prepare you for any sightings.

    Following the workshop, you will begin to feel the anticipation and excitement mount, as you venture into the wilderness either by car or on foot. Your knowledgeable guide will use his/her experience to determine the best possible viewing spot. The location of the hotel means that you may not have to venture far to witness a display.

    The lights reflecting on Lake Menesjärvi is what an autumn Aurora hunting holiday is all about. On a really good night, you can get two auroras for the price of one as the dancing lights are reflected in the inky black waters of the lake. The contrast of light and colour can rival, if not better, those of winter and what’s more, you rarely have to cope with sub-zero temperatures either.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Following breakfast, you can enjoy the morning at your leisure. A sauna is a fantastic way to start the day and will leave you feeling revitalised for the upcoming activities.

    At around midday, you will venture to a traditional Lappish Kota and enjoy lunch cooked over an open fire. A deliciously cooked starter of reindeer sausage is bound to entice the taste buds, before a homely bowl of hot soup and a homemade pastry.

    After lunch, you will enter the nearby forest, enjoying the electric colours and fragrant Autumn aromas. The Finnish Ruska can see the first smatterings of snow, so it is not uncommon to witness the first coverings which signal the oncoming winter.

    As you peruse the forest, keep an eye out for wildlife and an interesting array of birds. Your knowledgeable guide will point out any animal tracks and will provide insightful information on the surrounding environment, including the autumn flora. September can see the growth of delicious seasonal berries and mushrooms and you can forage for something to include in your evening meal.

    As darkness falls you will have another opportunity to seek out the Aurora Borealis. Similarly, to the night before, your expert guide will make a decision as to whether you go on foot or by car. The remote location means that you don’t often have to travel far to escape artificial light and the car offers the possibility of outrunning any cloud cover.

    Chasing the Aurora and experiencing that sense of anticipation that it may appear at any moment is a thrilling concept. To then witness a spectacular display, as the night sky blazes with dancing colour is mind-blowing and very difficult to put into words.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • No trip to Lapland is complete without a visit to a husky farm. These excitable dogs are eager for visitors and will welcome you with a frenzy of collective barking. The host will give you a tour of the farm and an insight into the role of huskies north of the Arctic Circle. You will then get to meet the dogs themselves. If you are lucky you may also get to cuddle some puppies.

    Following your visit to the husky farm, you will then travel to Inari which is the centre of Sámi culture in Finland. The colourful and insightful Siida museum has a fantastic collection of exhibitions, including an outstanding Northern Lights gallery. To thrive north of the Arctic Circle is no easy feat but the Sámi have done so by understanding and respecting the land. An example of this understanding is reflected in the Sámi language, which has around 180 words for snow. Impressive, gigantic photographs tell the colourful story of the Sámi people and how they have adapted to the Arctic conditions.

    The remainder of your day will be yours to spend as you wish. You may want to unravel further the mysteries that lie within the forest or admire the views over Lake Menesjärvi. As darkness falls, we would highly recommend taking a final opportunity to seek out the Aurora. Your hosts will be more than happy to assist you, should you wish to follow any of the marked trails, but the wilderness location means that the Aurora can very often be spotted from just outside the hotel.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Enjoy the picturesque surroundings one last time before embarking on your journey home. Following breakfast, you will be transferred back to the airport with a wealth of life lasting memories from this Finnish ‘Ruska’ experience. Alternatively, if you would like to extend your stay in Menesjärvi, then please contact one of our Travel Experts.

    Included Meals:  Breakfast

Included in price

Hotel Korpikartano

Nights: 1-4

The Hotel Korpikartano was originally a boarding school for those growing up in this remote part of the world and is, therefore, full of quirks, character and charm. The welcome provided by the owners, Anne and Timo, creates a wonderful atmosphere and their passion for the region is infectious.

The hotel’s location couldn’t be more idyllic, with a fantastic outlook over Lake Menesjärvi and the remote wilderness beyond. The lack of artificial light in the area ensures that if the Aurora appears, then you may well be able to enjoy fantastic displays very close to the hotel.

The hotel comprises two main buildings. The main building houses the dining room and a number of bedrooms. A separate annexe building (a very short walk away) houses the majority of the guest accommodation.

Hotel facilities

  • Traditional home cooking is the order of the day in the hotel’s restaurant. The food can be described as 'simple, tasty and hearty' and is very much designed to fuel you up for your outdoor adventures. In many cases, the evening’s set menu will contain local ingredients such as fresh fish that Timo has caught himself or meat purchased from the local reindeer herders. The set evening meals are all self-service and you can also purchase a range of wine, beer and spirits to accompany your meal. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have any dietary requirements so these can be accommodated
  • Obviously, saunas are a pre-requisite in these parts and there are two in the main building as well as an outdoor wood-burning sauna. Should you request the use of the outdoor sauna (a local charge will apply), don't forget that a dip in the lake is almost obligatory (as long as you are in a good physical condition)
  • The simple lounge (near the reception) provides tea and coffee making facilities. Consider this to be the perfect spot to relax by the stove with a book but remember to keep your eyes peeled for the Northern Lights as the windows face north! There is also a TV in case you fancy watching some unfathomable Finnish TV
  • There is free Wi-Fi for guests to use throughout both buildings and there is a PC available at reception
  • Books and games are also available to borrow from reception

Room types

The 28 guest bedrooms vary in size and shape. They are cosy, comfortable and decorated with locally-sourced wood in a Scandinavian style. Some of the furniture has been crafted by Timo's own hand. All guest bedrooms have an en-suite bathroom with shower and a hairdryer. Cups and kettles are provided in each room and a variety of teas and coffee is available in each building for you to take to your room.


Image credit: Timo Halonen, Matt Robinson

Personalise this tour


Our pick

Helsinki city break

With our destinations being so remote, the majority of flights to Finnish Lapland are operated by Finnair and therefore involve connecting through Helsinki Airport. Many of our guests choose to extend this stop and spend some time in the Finnish capital, either at the start or end of their holiday.

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We can arrange a wide variety of city centre hotel accommodation for guests to choose from and some options closer to the airport should you prefer. We know that everyone tends to be looking for something different so please contact our Travel Experts for their opinion on the hotels which may best suit you and your party.

Located on the peninsula of the Baltic Sea, Helsinki enjoys a charming coastal location and has much to offer its guests. This thriving city has a rich culture and arts scene with many museums and galleries to enjoy alongside the exciting gastronomy.

Despite its cool urbanism and a reputation for cutting-edge design, Helsinki also retains its charm and visitors will enjoy this city's very friendly atmosphere.

In the city itself, Senate Square is the main feature, showcasing neoclassical architecture and offering easy access to the surrounding shops. With Helsinki once part of the Duchy of Russia, it offers similar striking architecture, with wide streets and bold facades. For those looking for more of an insight into the city's past, we would suggest visiting the Ateneum Art Museum which houses over 20,000 pieces of art or the Helsinki Design Museum which showcases the history of design in the country from traditional folklore to postmodernism.

A 15-minute ferry ride from the main city is the UNESCO-listed Suomenlinna Sea Fortress which was constructed in 1748. As well as being a unique monument, it is also a lovely day trip, as the island has numerous shops and parks to explore.

Helsinki's food scene has seen a recent evolution, with a growth in street food which showcases the city's multicultural population. Helsinki is famed also for its specialist dishes of seafood and Russian cuisine so there is much to sample!

Finland is famed for its coffee consumption so you can be sure of a thriving café culture here. Be sure to include an obligatory stop for a coffee and a cinnamon roll during your explorations!

Whether you add your city break onto the start or the end of your holiday, spending a night or two in Helsinki is not something that you will regret.

Please contact our Travel Experts for a full quotation. All city breaks are subject to flight availability. 

Image credit: Visit Helsinki & Jussi Hellston

Price Comparison Guarantee

Expertise and knowledge are key to witnessing the Northern Lights. We’ve been running Aurora hunting holidays longer than any company in the UK and with no lead in prices, no hidden costs and more included, we’re confident our tours will come out on top.
Price guarantee

Next season’s pre-sale dates and prices

To secure places for next season, you can make a provisional booking and fix the cost of your holiday at the provisional package price displayed online. Simply by paying a deposit, you will protect yourself from any package price increases. The departure dates and itineraries remain subject to change and we will contact you when the final dates and itineraries are confirmed. You will have 14 days to decide if you would like to go ahead. If you decide not to travel we will refund your deposit. We reserve the right to charge supplements where there are significant changes to an itinerary or increases in flight costs. Any non-package rates remain subject to change.

Dates
Wed 02 Oct 2019
to Sun 06 Oct 2019
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Adults£ 1,675 Single Adult£ 1,905
Wed 09 Oct 2019
to Sun 13 Oct 2019
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Adults£ 1,730 Single Adult£ 1,960
Wed 16 Oct 2019
to Sun 20 Oct 2019
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Adults£ 1,675 Single Adult£ 1,905
Wed 23 Oct 2019
to Sun 27 Oct 2019
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Adults£ 1,730 Single Adult£ 1,960
Wed 30 Oct 2019
to Sun 03 Nov 2019
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Adults£ 1,675 Single Adult£ 1,905
Wed 06 Nov 2019
to Sun 10 Nov 2019
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Adults£ 1,675 Single Adult£ 1,905
Wed 13 Nov 2019
to Sun 17 Nov 2019
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Adults£ 1,730 Single Adult£ 1,960

For our full booking terms and conditions please click here

The Specifics

Traveller Reviews

I loved the trip to Menesjärvi 27 October 2017 by Carol and Donald Davin

I could not have had better hosts. The hotel was wonderful. Matias was superb as a guide. He really made the stay. The food was the best I had in Europe.

We plan to return and experience the winter! 08 September 2017 by Susan & David Pring

We enjoyed all of it! The nature walk, lunch and pancakes cooked outdoors, reindeer farm, Sámi cultural museum - and of course the Aurora.



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