A chance to see the Northern Lights in Inari, the mystical homeland of the Sami people. You can mush your own team of huskies along the shores of the eponymous lake, snowmobile across tundra, frozen lakes and along forest trials and sapping up authentic local hospitality.
the place itself for starters which is universally credited with being an arboreal oasis of peace and tranquillity (OK, quiet and natural if you’re not in to poetry). Jouko and Mari Lappalainen’s hospitality which they’ve managed to infuse in everybody and everything, so it’s as if they’re around looking after you even when they’re not. And of course the natural corollary of all of this, which is the absence of any commercialism – no plastic, slightly dysfunctional WI-FI (why do you want it anyway), locally sourced ingredients for the kitchen and locally sourced guides.
We first met Mari Lappalainen in London dressed in her snow white gakti with appliquéd collar held in place by a pewter clasp talking about how she and her husband had begun to renovate a disused primary school in the village of Nellim. That was in London and later that year one of our number went to Nellim, which is in Inari close to Petsamo on the Finnish/Russian border, to see what she and her husband Juoko were up to. And what that was, was painstakingly converting the school into a home for travellers and doing it in spades so that today the Nellim Wildreness Lodge has a deservedly top of the range reputation for authenticity and charm infused with family warmth. The Lodge consists of 3 buildings facing in on each other around what was once the children’s playground: there are 22 wood clad, simply furnished twin and single rooms with private WC/shower decorated with fabrics personally chosen by Mari; 4 apartments also with private WC/shower and configured with varying numbers of bedrooms capable of accommodating differing family sizes along with private log cabins in the grounds surrounding the hotel. The hotel’s principle public area has a small lounge seating area, recently renovated and extended restaurant and pine wood bar, hand crafted by Jouko himself. Outside there is a Safari House with kick sleds, toboggans and skis free for you to use; a log fired sauna whose hot, sap filled air provides the perfect warm up after a day’s adventures and a traditional Kota. Immediately to one side of the main building are the husky kennels behind which a pathway leads down through the pines to a frozen lake where there is always an open fire to warm you up whilst spotting for the Northern Lights.
fly to Ivalo in Finnish Lapland via Helsinki, transfer to Nellim and check in to your selected room at the Wilderness Lodge. Supper in the hotel with a walk afterwards, down to the lake’s edge for an inaugural sighting of the Northern Lights (possibly, hopefully, maybe!)
After breakfast meet up with your local guide for an instructional and safety briefing on the art of snowmobiling. Once ready, set off for a 40 km safari through arboreal forests, over frozen lakes, along marked trials with a stop en route for some ice fishing and an al fresco snack lunch round an open fire. Return to the hotel in the early afternoon for a warm up and some R & R. After supper set off for one of Juoko’s aurora camps where he stores berry juice, snacks and booze to keep a look out for the Northern Lights
After breakfast meet up with Matti and his dog pack for a mush in pairs along trails in the surrounds of Lake Inari. Once you’re team is laced up their barking falls silent leaving only their vapour breath signatures and the whooshing sound of your birch wood sleigh’s runners slicing thought the snow. After a two hour or thereabouts safari you’ll have a chance to cuddle your dogs back at the kennels before lunch in the lodge’s restaurant. R& R in the afternoon. After supper set off for your third Northern Lights hunts again to one of Jouko’s Aurora Camps where he stores berry juice, snacks and booze to keep a look out for the Northern Lights
check out of your room and transfer to airport for your return ﬂight(s) to UK via Oslo.
Scheduled return flight(s) from the UK via Helsinki to Ivalo in Finnish Lapland
All airport departure taxes and passenger service charges
Complimentary beverages & Pay on Board food service
Carriage of luggage (I pc Cabin 1pc Hold)
Return private group airport/lodge transfers in Lapland
Wilderness Lodge accommodation as per itinerary
Lodgings in twin rooms with private WC/Shower
3 Buffet breakfasts, 2 lunches & 3 suppers
Guided snowmobile safari (approx. 40km/4 hours)
Guided husky mushing safari (approx. 15km/2 hours)
2 guided Northern Lights Search Safaris
PROTECTIVE CLOTHING PACK (THERMAL ONESIE OR TROUSERS & JACKET, DEER FLAPPED HAT, LINED LEATHER GLOVES, RIBBED SOCKS & BOOTS)
Daily December 2016 to April 2017 (excluding December 13th to January 4th)
£1499* per adult & £1200 per child (under 14 year)
FLIGHT PLAN LHR HEL 1020 1515 HEL IVL 1635 1805
TRANSFER 30 MINUTES
IVL HEL 1305 1435 HEL LHR 1600 1710
*Guide prices are in part based on our mid-level contract air fares which are veriable in real time unlike our ground supplier contract costs which are generally fixed. We don’t do fancy lead in prices and the time you confirm your booking always use the lowest air fare available. This may mean the confirmed price of your holiday being slightly less or more than the guide price in which case a proportionate reduction-supplement will apply. Carpe Diem = the earlier you book the better, especially for public & school holidays.