A 5 day family Christmas holiday in Lapland at Inari, a village that’s both the heart and soul of Lapland with a clutch of snowy adventures and a visit from Father Christmas on Christmas Eve. Arranged as an ‘untour’ for you to be together as a family when you want to and with like minded people when you need to.
the traditional Hotel Kultahovi alongside Inari’s eponymous lake; the spiritual heartland of the Sami people as immortalised by Philip Pullman in his trilogy ‘Dark Materials. Here you'll take a husky safari with Tinja Myllykangas known locally as the ‘dog whisperer’, spend a morning feeding reindeer with Sami herder Petri Mattus; take a horse drawn evening sleigh ride to see the Northern Lights; a snowmobile safari across Lake Inari’s snow white vastness and enjoy a supper of pan fried white fish, pancakes and cloudberries around an open fire in a Kota. And, of course, have a visit from Father Christmas on Christmas Eve.
Immortalised as Enari in Philip Pullman’s trilogy ‘His Dark Materials’, Inari is infused with the mysticism of Sami culture and the Hotel Kultahovi lies at its very heart. Here in an Arctic setting, an Inari Sami sister and brother Kaisu and Heikki Nikkula have created for visitors a warm and magical atmosphere alongside the waters of the Juutuanjoki. The hotel’s Heritage building houses Restaurant Anaar overlooking the river and the Juunta lounge bar. The latter styled in charcoal and pine with loose cushions reflecting Inari Saami colours is dominated by a slate grey wood burning stove bathing the room in warmth. Our rooms have been completely renovated in what Kaisu calls a ‘modern classic’ style. In her words this reflects both the historic legacy of the hotel and the Golden age of Finnish design from the 30’s and 50’s. Each has a private WC/Shower with radio, TV and telephone.
fly from London Heathrow on a scheduled flight with Santa’s official airline (Finnair) via Helsinki to Ivalo in Finnish Lapland. Meet your driver/guide at the airport and transfer to the Hotel Kultahovi, fit and collect your thermal clothing and settle into your room. Have supper in the hotel.
after breakfast meet Sami Reindeer Herder Petri Mattus from whose farmhouse on the edge of Menesjarvi you’ll travel on the back of his snowmobile hay sledge out into the forest to a clearing where he’ll unload the hay shouting ‘oyyyyyyyaiii….oyyyyy-ayiii’ in the rhythmic fashion of a Joik or Sami song poem . Gradually you’ll hear what sounds like raindrops falling on canvas which become a clicking sound as the reindeer come closer to feed, and with luck right up to the sledge. Take sooty coffee with Petri who’ll tell you of his daily life and the lives of Dasher & Dancer, Dunder & Blitzen, Comet & Cupid and Rudolph. Warm up and lunch back at your hotel. Have a traditional Finnish/Saami festive dinner with a medley of fish starters, moose, mustard baked ham and cloudberry desserts. Sing traditional carols with Heikki at the piano followed by a visit from Father Christmas who has made a special trek down from Korvatunturi to deliver your presents early.
After breakfast set off to meet Tinja Myllykangas known locally as the dog whisperer; Tinja has a special talent with dogs and keeps just 40 or so in her kennels. There are black & white ones, white & black ones, brown & white ones, all sorts: every one with their own name. After a short handling tuition and with children safely tucked up under a reindeer skin on your other half’s lap, set off mushing your own team in the enchanting wilderness of Inari, the spiritual homeland of the Sami people. As the dog’s excited barking subsides the only sound is of your sled’s runners slicing through the snow and the muted padding of their paws. En route you’ll make a pit stop and swap drivers as well as take pictures of the children with their dog team. Warm up and lunch back at your hotel. Spend the day as you will with supper in the hotel
after breakfast, it’s time to enjoy the ultimate boy’s toy adventure: a safari by Snowmobile. Transfer to a local Safari Adventure House and, with children safely tucked up under insulating reindeer hides on a sleigh towed behind your guide, scoot across frozen mires and past snow sculpted conifers with the frozen air chilling your nostrils and adrenaline pumping through your veins. Lunch around an open fire in the wilderness. At around 5.0’clock, transfer for a family Northern Lights safari to the Kotaniniemi stables where they keep a number of beautiful, bay dun Norwegian fjord horses whose placid temperament is perfectly suited for drawing you by sled through the forest and across the lake to a wilderness hut. Here your Sami guide will tell of the Fox Fires myth, why a shaman’s drum often has runes depicting them and other Aurora myths & legends. Take supper in the hotel.
Have breakfast in your hotel before a private group transfer to airport and your return flight to the UK.
Scheduled return flight(s) return from London Heathrow to Ivalo via Helsinki
All passenger service charges & airport departure taxes
Pay on board cabin service
Private group return Airport/Hotel transfers
4 nights’ accommodation in twin rooms with private WC/Shower at Hotel Korpikartino
4 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners including festive Christmas Eve dinner & programme
Snowmobile sledge safari with Reindeer Herder to reindeer feeding ground
Visit to husky kennels and Husky Safari
Family snowmobile safari
Horse drawn sleigh ride in search of the Northern Lights
Small gift from Father Christmas
Smuggle Father Christmas your own present facility (how this works is you bring a present for your children and we smuggle it to Father Christmas who will hand it over as if by magic he knows what they want).
Complete set of protective clothing: thermal salopette & jacket or onesie; gloves, mittens, ribbed socks, snow boots, scarf & deer flapped hat for duration of stay.
Services of local guide(s)
£1435 per adult, £1295 per teen (age 12-15), £1195 per child (age 6-11) December 23rd 5 days/4nights LHR 10.20 IVL 18.00/IVL 13.05 LHR 17.10
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.
Finnish Lapland hasn’t quite reached the state of a New York department store that once advertised “Six Santas – No Waiting’ but there’s no question some mass market places have more than a hint of Alton Towers in the snow about them. So we think we have the answer with our ‘Un Tours’ which aren’t, in the accepted mass market sense of the word, really tours at all. We set the scene in family owned places that play out traditional Lutheran customs in a commercially unsullied way. We take groups of seats on flights rather than charter a whole plane so we can take small groups of like-minded people. We arrange the story we have to tell the children over two or three days with relaxing intervals. We take you with your children to see Father Christmas in the forest and also arrange for him to come and visit you. Our reindeer herders are genuine Sami ones rather than people dressed up for the occasion; our huskies live in kennels where they were born and our snowmobiles are 4 stroke turbo charged ones with comfort rear suspension. [If the latter description leaves you cold it means you can enjoy a ride without your coccyx being jammed up your throat]. Where things need to be done in a group they’re organised that way and when they’re not, you can keep yourself to yourself as much as you please. Our couriers work rather like Club Med GO’s (gentils organisateurs, if you haven’t been) who are there to give you as much of a hand as you want or need, and no more. Because we’re on first name terms with Father Christmas, we arrange for him to come down from Korvatunturi on different days to Harriniva’s Hotel Jeris, the Hotel Lodge Korpikatarno by Menasjarvi and Hotel Kultahovi in Inari: remote villages in the snows where traditional Finnish Lutheran customs are still played out on a small scale. Where everybody can enjoy snowmobile rides, husky mushing, reindeer safaris and children get to visit Father Christmas; where you’ll find tobogganing & snowmobiling not discos; ice-fishing not fast food; pine clad rooms or open-fired log cabins not soulless cell blocks and herds of huskies not people. We think seeing Father Christmas should be magical, mystical and very, very special for both you and your children.
Father Christmas lives in the Finnish part of Lapland on a fjell or hill called Korvatunturi, which means ‘the hill with ears’, because of its shape. It is from there that he listens to wishes from children all over the world and, if they have been good, tries to make them come true. Some American children think that Father Christmas lives at the North Pole which is really rather silly, because if he did, Rudolph, Prancer and Dancer and all the other reindeer would have nothing to have to eat because there is only snow and ice at the North Pole. He shows himself only to children who believe in him and who are lucky enough to be taken to see him. Some grown-ups never, ever see him because they don’t believe he really exists. In December his elves help him move to the fjells further south because it gets very cold in Korvatunturi and he needs to be really warm before he sets off around the world on Christmas Eve.