Finland: Northern Lights and Life in Lapland

Trip Overview

Join AdventureWomen in February 2018 as we explore the magical world of the Northern Lights, where winter becomes a visual masterpiece in the night sky. Whisking over the snow on a sleigh led by reindeer, you glance up into the night sky as a narrow streak of soft light appears within a sea of stars. Suddenly, yet silently, the faint light bursts into shimmering curtains of green, pink, and yellow incandescence. This is winter in Finland.

Don’t let Finland’s modern, 21st century attitude fool you. This country on the Baltic Sea is brimming with rich history and heritage. Finland is home to some spectacular outdoor settings, from truly enormous areas of untouched countryside, nearly 200,000 lakes, and beautiful natural parks, to famous snow hotels and igloos, and the most spectacular display of Aurora Borealis in the North!

You are privileged to learn about Finland's wartime history from the women who formed the Finnish Women's Aid Foundation, an auxiliary paramilitary organization founded by Lotta Svärd and launched to provide assistance for women and children who suffered during the Second World War. "Lotta" is the name for the young girls and ladies who joined the organization, most of them helping on the front lines, in war hospitals, cooking meals for soldiers, working in watch towers, and sounding alarms of approaching bombers. You will have the opportunity to meet some of these fearless ladies whom are still alive today, now in their 80s and 90s, and hear their stories!

Later, our "women-to-women" experience in Finland continues as you attend a private concert performance by pianist, Elina Viitaila, and opera singer, Antti A. Pesonen, and enjoy dinner in the company of some of the country’s most important women leaders, including Bishop Irja Askola and the former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen.

You explore the coastline of Helsinki, beautifully decorated with colorful homes and spanning over 315 islands. Some unique and popular souvenirs to take home from Finland are salty licorice candy and timeless, authentic, Finnish glassware.

Then experience the thrill of an Arctic Day at sea. We start with a snowmobile ride to the majestic Sampo Icebreaker boat. The Sampo is the only icebreaker in the entire world dedicated for tourism, taking passengers around the northern Gulf of Bothnia (part of the Baltic Sea) out of Finnish Lapland. You will have a chance to swim/float in the sea in special thermal dry suits! Once you are in the water, you will realize that it is warmer (or less cold, depending on your point of view) in the water than on the ice.

You’ll journey north beyond the Arctic Circle and meet the Sami, the only indigenous people of the European Union. These “Laplanders” still live a largely pastoral existence with their herds of domestic caribou, better known as reindeer. We'll venture on to Rovaniemi, the official Hometown of Santa Claus on the Arctic Circle in Lapland, Finland, where culture, outdoor activities, and fairy tales come together!

And finally, we'll drive to a husky farm for a four-hour dog-sled ride. The dogs will be harnessed for the sledges, followed by safety instructions, and after that you will “take-off!” Later, you will have some time to spend at the farm, pet the huskies, get to know them, and hopefully even see some puppies too! You will also meet the welcoming Finnish family that runs the farm.

Travel by snowshoe, snowmobile, icebreaker, and sleigh. Glide through the snowy countryside on a sled led by a team of eager huskies. And, whether you’re steaming in a sauna or soaking in a hot tub, keep one eye on the night sky. You just might get to see the northern lights - an experience of a lifetime!

 

 

 

 

Main Attractions

  • Take a reindeer sleigh and search for the Aurora Borealis; nature’s most resplendent light show.
  • Enjoy dinner with leading Finnish women, including former Finnish President Tarja Halonen and Anne Berner, Managing Director of Marimekko
  • Revel in a private concert performance
  • Experience Finnish cuisine: cook a traditional lunch and enjoy dinner with a Sami family in their Lavvu, a traditional dwelling made from logs and reindeer hides.
  • Ride a snowmobile to the majestic Sampo Icebreaker

What You'll See and Do

  • Anthropology
  • Cooking Class
  • Cultural Exploration
  • Cultural Performances
  • Handicrafts
  • Local Delicacies
  • Natural History
  • Sightseeing
  • Sleigh Ride
  • Walking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Women-To-Women

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Finland: Northern Lights and Life in Lapland

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Sunday, February 18, 2018 - Arrive in Helsinki
Don’t let Finland’s modern, 21st century attitude fool you. This country on the Baltic Sea is brimming with rich history and heritage. Finland is home to some spectacular outdoor settings, from truly enormous areas of untouched countryside, nearly 200,000 lakes, and beautiful natural parks, to famous snow hotels and igloos.

You will be picked up at the Helsinki Airport by your guide. Enjoy a short introduction to the city on the way to your hotel..
Dinner

Overnight: Hotel Haven
https://www.hotelhaven.fi/en/

Hotel Haven in Helsinki is designed to provide homely warmth, exclusive comfort, and high-quality services. The hotel is conveniently situated in the attractive setting of Helsinki’s Market Square. Enjoy the view of the Market Square and harbor of Helsinki from your breakfast table, relax by the fireplace in the foyer, and enjoy hot beverages or cocktails at Bar Haven.

Day 2

Monday, February 19, 2018 - Helsinki
In Finland, girls are likely to do better in school than boys. In fact, 53% of university students in Finland are women, and 64% of graduating university students are women. Women are also more likely to complete a PhD in Finland: 54.5% of PhD students are women!

Enjoy a full day city tour of Helsinki with a special focus on history and religion. Explore the Lutheran Cathedral, Temppelinaukio Rock Church, Russian Orthodox Church, and War Museum. Have a delicious lunch at Restaurant Krapihovi.

Visit the Lotta Museum this afternoon. In 1944, towards the end of Finland’s involvement in the Second World War, the Central Board of the Lotta Svärd Organization founded the Finnish Women’s Aid Foundation to provide assistance for women and children who suffered from the war. According to its present by-laws, the Foundation may also assist the training of women for crisis-related activities and maintain the traditions of the Lotta Svärd Organization. On its 60th anniversary, in 2004, the Foundation was renamed the Lotta Svard Foundation. Lotta is a name for young girls and ladies who joined the organization, most of them helping on the front lines, in war hospitals, cooking meals for soldiers, working in watch towers, and giving alarms of approaching bombers. Some of these fearless ladies are still alive today, now in their 80s and 90s. You will have the opportunity to meet them and hear their stories! Enjoy chatting with the Lotta ladies over coffee and pastries.

Visit Villa Kokkonen for a private concert. Villa Kokkonen is a masterpiece of architecture, designed by Alvar Aalto for the composer Joonas Kokkonen and his family in 1969. Enjoy listening to Sibelius, performed by pianist Ms. Elina Viitaila and opera singer Mr. Antti A. Pesonen.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Hotel Haven
https://www.hotelhaven.fi/en/

Hotel Haven in Helsinki is designed to provide homely warmth, exclusive comfort, and high-quality services. The hotel is conveniently situated in the attractive setting of Helsinki’s Market Square. Enjoy the view of the Market Square and harbor of Helsinki from your breakfast table, relax by the fireplace in the foyer, and enjoy hot beverages or cocktails at Bar Haven.

Day 3

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Helsinki
The coastline of Helsinki is beautifully decorated and spans over 315 islands. Some unique and popular souvenirs to take home from Finland are salty licorice candy and timeless, authentic, Finnish glassware.

Cook a typical Finnish homemade lunch with “Marthas” and then enjoy the meal with them today. This cooking experience will be a learning experience as well! Towards the end of the 19th century, Finland was struggling under the Russian Empire. A number of women decided that Finland needed to start educational work at grass-roots level, and they founded the Martha Association in 1899. The association started to do home economics work, first by making house-to-house visits, and later developing planned courses. The Martha Organization is very much alive today. They have carried out local development projects with African Women’s NGOs since the early 1980s. The projects provide poor women with information on home economics, such as the nutritional value of locally- produced food, and with entrepreneurship skills, as well as small-scale financing for their business ideas.

Explore and do some shopping on your own this afternoon.

Have an unforgettable dinner at Restaurant Sipuli with leading Finnish women, including Tarja Halonen, the former President of Finland, Anne Berner, Minister and CEO, Tiina Alahuhta-Kasko, the Managing Director of Marimekko, and Bishop Irja Askola.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Hotel Haven
https://www.hotelhaven.fi/en/

Hotel Haven in Helsinki is designed to provide homely warmth, exclusive comfort, and high-quality services. The hotel is conveniently situated in the attractive setting of Helsinki’s Market Square. Enjoy the view of the Market Square and harbor of Helsinki from your breakfast table, relax by the fireplace in the foyer, and enjoy hot beverages or cocktails at Bar Haven.

Day 4

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - Helsinki to Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi is the official Hometown of Santa Claus on the Arctic Circle in Lapland, Finland, where culture, outdoor activities, and fairy tales come together!

Fly from Helsinki to Rovaniemi this morning. Have a brief introduction to Rovaniemi on the way to your hotel.

Explore Rovaniemi on your own this afternoon, or take an optional trip to Santa Claus Village for lunch and to meet Santa Claus himself!

Search for the Aurora Borealis by reindeer sleigh. One or two women will ride on each sleigh with two guides leading the group and one guide following behind. This is an experience you will never forget!

Enjoy an outdoor dinner in a Lappish teepee this evening!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Santa Claus Hotel
http://www.santashotels.fi/en/hotelsantaclaus

The Santa Claus Hotel is a modern hotel in the heart of Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, and is a convenient place from which to explore the stunning natural surroundings.

Day 5

Thursday, February 22, 2018 - Rovaniemi
Experience the thrill of an Arctic Day at sea. Take a snowmobile ride to the majestic Sampo Icebreaker boat. The Sampo is the only icebreaker in the entire world dedicated for tourism, taking passengers around the northern Gulf of Bothnia (part of the Baltic Sea) out of Finnish Lapland.

Enjoy a full day excursion to Kemi for a snowmobile ride along the frozen sea, northern Gulf of Bothnia, to the Sampo Icebreaker. Board the boat for a four- hour cruise. You will have a chance to swim/float in the sea in special thermal dry suits! Once you are in the water, you will realize that it is warmer (or less cold, depending on your point of view) in the water than on the ice. As a matter of fact, the water is never colder than 32° – any colder and it would freeze.

Enjoy lunch on the Sampo Icebreaker.

Take an optional snowshoe hike after lunch. The hike will be just over a mile, but it is a spectacular way to see the landscape.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Santa Claus Hotel
http://www.santashotels.fi/en/hotelsantaclaus

The Santa Claus Hotel is a modern hotel in the heart of Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, and is a convenient place from which to explore the stunning natural surroundings.

Day 6

Friday, February 23, 2018 - Rovaniemi to Sinetta
The Sámi, an indigenous people, have inhabited the Arctic for at least 5,000 years. The Sámi, whose homelands stretch across northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway, and a corner of northwestern Russia, are the only indigenous people of the European Union.

Drive to a husky farm for a four-hour dog-sled ride. When you arrive at the husky farm it will be quite noisy because all dogs will be excited and eager to race. Two women will share each sledge, and this will be a ‘speedy ride.’ The dogs will be harnessed for the sledges, followed by safety instructions, and after that you will “take-off!” The dogs will be very quiet and do not make a sound during the ride.

Later, you will have some time to spend at the farm, pet the huskies, get to know them, and hopefully even see some puppies too! You will also meet the family that runs the farm.

Visit a typical Sámi home of a local handicraft artist, who will prepare a little souvenir made of reindeer bone or skin. You will have the opportunity to learn about the Sámi culture and spend time with the artist and his family.

Enjoy a farewell dinner at the Ice Restaurant. You will wear special capes for added warmth.

After dinner, spend some time at the snow sauna or an outdoor hot tub. Look for the Northern Lights one last time - hopefully they show themselves!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Arctic Snow Hotel
http://arcticsnowhotel.fi/

The Arctic SnowHotel is carved each year to look slightly different. The room temperature is 32- 41°F, but by using the well-insulated sleeping bags intended for extreme conditions combined with reindeer furs, you can be sure you will sleep soundly. On the shores of the lake the moonlight, stars, and Northern Lights illuminate the silent, Lappish nature.

Day 7

Saturday, February 24, 2018 - Sinetta and Depart
Enjoy one last breakfast in Finland before departing for the US.

Say goodbye to your new AdventureWomen friends as you transfer to the airport for your flights home.
Breakfast

 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Finland: Northern Lights and Life in Lapland

Traveling to Finland



Traveling to Finland

Arrive: Arrive in Helsinki, Finland (HEL) on February 18, 2018 by 6:00pm

Depart: Depart Rovaniemi, Finland (RVN) on February 24, 2018 any time. Most US-bound flights will depart early in the morning.

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. Please contact us at:

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. Please contact us at:

(800) 804-8686 or (617) 544-9393
email: info@adventurewomen.com

If you’d like to do anything prior to or following the AdventureWomen trip, we’d be delighted to help you arrange any trip extensions you’re interested in.

Note: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last-minute registrants, we must release hotel rooms two to three months prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Passports and Visas

Citizens of the United States must have a passport valid for six months beyond your travel dates. If you do not have a passport, please apply now!

Health Considerations

We rate this trip as easy to moderate. You should be able to walk comfortably for a few hours and be prepared for a cold climate. We have a partnership with FitForTrips, a company that will design an individualized fitness plan for you to ensure that you are prepared for the trip. Visit https://fitfortrips.com/partners/adventure-women/ for more information.

You should come with a flexible, adventurous, and enthusiastic spirit, and a wonderful sense of humor that adventure travel requires.

Money

The local currency of Finland is the Euro. ATM's are accessible throughout the trip, and credit cards can be used. Note that Visa and MasterCard are more commonly accepted than American Express. You will want to bring a credit card with an electronic chip.

Suggested Gratuities:

  • Guide: $3 per day
  • Drivers: $2 per day

How To Register

Call the AdventureWomen office at (800) 804-8686 to determine space availability and register for this trip. We can complete your registration, including taking your credit card deposit over the phone. As a courtesy, we can hold your space for five days while you are making personal and travel arrangements.

If you prefer, you can register online by clicking "Sign Up for this Trip" on the trip page.

Please be sure to read the AdventureWomen policies before registering!

Forms and Final Payment

Once you book, you will need to fill out and return to AdventureWomen:

  • Information Form
  • Booking Conditions Form
  • Copy of Flight Information
  • Copy of Issuing Page of Passport (photo page)

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen in a cash form (check, money order, or wire transfer) on or before November 20, 2017.

 

 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Finland: Northern Lights and Life in Lapland

Included

  • All hotel accommodations throughout the trip
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary
  • All ground transportation
  • Fully-guided sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary
  • English-speaking guides throughout the trip
  • One AdventureWomen Associate

Not Included

  • International airfare to and from Finland
  • Optional visit to Santa Claus Village
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Fees for passports
  • Cost of hospitalization or evacuation
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Finland: Northern Lights and Life in Lapland

What to Bring

You are traveling to Finland in the winter - it is going to be cold! Temperatures range from 37°F to -13°F. You should be prepared for these temperatures and plenty of snow.

Clothing and Gear:

  • 2 pairs long underwear pants (mid or heavy weight)
  • 2 long underwear tops (mid or heavy weight)
  • 1 lightweight fleece shirt/ sweater
  • 1 mid-weight fleece sweater/ jacket
  • 1 down vest
  • 1 wind shell with hood
  • 1 warm winter jacket (we recommend pairing a heavy weight down jacket with a Gore-Tex shell for insulation and wind protection)
  • 2 pairs wool or polypropyl- ene liner gloves
  • 1 pair insulated mittens
  • 1 pair shell mitten (water- proof to cover the insulated mittens)
  • 1 hat that covers your ears
  • 1 synthetic neck warmer/gai- ter/Buff
  • 4 pairs wool socks
  • 1 pair fleece pants
  • 1 pair insulated/waterproof pants
  • 1-2 nicer outfits for Helsinki
  • Sleepwear

AdventureWomen Essentials:

  • Travel documents (passport, airline tickets, money)
  • 2-3 spare passport photos (in case of lost passport)
  • Write down/print out travel  insurance number
  • Locks for your suitcase/duffel bag
  • Travel alarm clock with spare batteries
  • Headlamp or small flashlight with spare batteries
  • Binoculars (8x40/42 models are excellent choices; center focus models are easiest)
  • Digital camera, memory cards, battery charger
  • Power adapters
  • Sunglasses, case, and strap
  • Spare glasses, contact lenses, cleaner, saline, etc.
  • Money belt or neck pouch
  • Your AdventureWomen insulated bottle (good for hot or cold drinks!)
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Hand wipes/hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Soap, shampoo, and conditioner
  • Small packet of tissues
  • Tampons and panty liners (avoid plastic applicators)
  • Earplugs: We recommend Mack’s Pillow Soft White Moldable Silicone Snore Proof Earplugs. Available at most drugstores or at www.earplugstore.com
  • Assortment of stuff sacks and Ziploc bags
  • 1-2 bandanas/Buff
  • Reading material/journal and pens

Personal First Aid Kit:

  • Prescription medicine you usually take (in original containers)
  • Personal epi pen (if you need one, don’t forget to pack it!)
  • Bandages, Gauze, Ace bandage, blister prevention
  • Antiseptic wipes/spray
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Cotton-tipped applicators
  • Oral rehydration tablets/packets
  • Antidiarrheal medication
  • Mild laxative
  • Antacid
  • Cold remedies
  • Ibuprofen/acetaminophen
  • Eye drops
  • Tweezers, scissors (travel size), safety pins

If you prefer to buy a complete kit, we recommend the Smart Travel first aid kit.


If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.