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Latest Review Aurora In The Sami Heartlands Janine Rees (Reviewed 01, Apr 2012)
This was a superb holiday which we both loved. Everything exceeded our expectations, food, hotel, activities etc. ...
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the aurora zone

To the outsider, Finland is a land of contrasts. The endless warm daylight of Midnight Sun versus the long polar nights, vibrant, modern city living contrasting with remote, untouched and spectacular wilderness…it is a county that seemingly refuses to be categorised. It is the eighth largest country in Europe, but also the most sparsely populated.

What can be said though is that it is a country that ensures it makes the most of its incredible natural landscape. In the summer, locals will be cycling along mountain roads, swimming and sailing in the endless lakes and camping in the forests or ensconced in their lakeside cabins. Autumn will see Finns hunting, berry and mushroom picking and hiking. Winter brings uninterrupted snow and with it a multitude of exhilarating activities to make the most of this vast Arctic playground – snowmobiling, husky sledding, cross country skiing, ice fishing and snowshoeing.

Our trips will take you into the remarkable winter wonderland that is Finnish Lapland, beyond the Arctic Circle, as far East as the Russian border and as far north as where the three Scandinavian countries meet. Finnish Lapland – home to 203,000 reindeer, 183,000 people, 6 national parks, and 200 nights a year of Northern Lights.

This is Europe’s last expansive wilderness. A place where you will find true peace and quiet, a space to breathe and a chance to escape modern life and appreciate the natural world at its very best.

Climate
The Finnish Lapland region is characterised by its subarctic and continental climate which ensures mild summers and cold snowy winters.

During winter, the average numbers of days with snow on the ground is between 175 and 225 generally covering the landscape from mid November to mid or late April. During this period, Lapland is an exquisite, pristine white wilderness just asking to be explored with snowshoes, cross country skis, husky sleds or snowmobiles.

Temperatures have been known to drop as low as -50°C but this is a very rare occurrence! The average temperatures for the winter months are as follows:

September 5°C (2°C at night)
October 2°C (-1°C at night)
November 0°C (-4°C at night)
December -10°C (-14°C at night)
January -11°C (-17°C at night)
February -10°C (-16°C at night)
March -8°C (-13°C at night)
April -3 (-6°C at night)

The weather here can change quickly, especially in winter so it is always best to be prepared with extra thermal layers. You will find though that the air in winter tends to be dry and crisp with little wind chill, making it far more pleasant than you might at first imagine.

In deep winter, the sun does not rise above the horizon for up to 51 days. Contrary to popular myth however, this does not mean that the region is pitch black though, as, even in deepest winter, there are a few hours of unique polar light between 10am and 2pm, casting the region in a bluish glow as the light reflects off the dazzling snowscape.

It’s worth remembering as well that the snow reflects every bit of available light. If the snow falls late, it is often said by Laplanders that October and November are the darkest months of the year because there isn’t a blanket of white loveliness to brighten the landscape.

Activities
For information on all the activities available to Finnish Lapland please click on the following links:

Snowshoeing

Snowmobiling

Ice fishing

Husky Sledding

Reindeer Experiences

Cross country skiing

Food and drink
As with all things they do, the Finns make the most of their natural landscape when it comes to dining. Meals reflect the distinctive taste of the forest – berries and mushrooms picked from the ground, fish caught from lakes, and meat and wildfowl hunted from the wilds.

The simplicity of traditional Finnish food has been turned into an advantage and meals place a strong emphasis on freshness, natural taste and local ingredients – indeed, this far north, ‘local’ is not so much a watchword as a necessity.

You will commonly find dishes made from an array of dried, smoked or sautéed meat including reindeer, poultry, moose and bear, with small game such as hare, duck and grouse also being popular. Fish dishes are also widespread with salmon, perch, herring and whitefish used frequently.

The region is known also for its variety of mushrooms and berries, whose strong flavours and nutrient content complements a variety of dishes. Rye bread too will be seen in abundance, particularly at breakfast time, and comes in flatbread, sliced or crisped form.

Famous Lappish dishes to look out for include the wonderfully filling sautéed reindeer (poronkäristys) with mashed potato and lingonberries to add that touch of sweetness as well as salmon soup with cream (lohikeitto). Desserts will take the form of sweet breads, (pulla), cinnamon rolls, berry desserts and Lappish cheese.

When it comes to beverages, the Finns are a nation of fanatical coffee drinkers and consume more coffee per head of capita than any other nation on earth. In this part of the world it is an absolute staple, drunk several times a day and served everywhere! The Finnish beer scene is dominated by pale lagers, but other alcohols which you can sample here include vodka, mulled wine and flavoured ciders.

Destinations
The destinations for our trips all within the Arctic Circle and spread across Finnish Lapland’s remote wilderness. Each holiday offers its own unique selling point.

Remote in its location is Menesjarvi, a destination that is steeped in Sámi culture and boasts absolutely wonderful views, especially stretching away to the Lemonjoki National Park.

In the east, close to the Russian border, Nellim is situated on the shore of Lake Inari, Finland’s third largest lake, and surrounded by vast, untouched wilderness. Its sister property Muotka enjoys a fabulously remote location deep in the Lappish forest and far, far removed from any significant light pollution. At Muotka, silence is the order of the day…and the night!

On the opposite side of the country is Harriniva and its sister hotels Jeris and Kittila. Harriniva lies directly on the shores of the Muonio River which, when frozen, you can walk across and find yourself in Sweden.

The village of Inari is the centre of Sámi culture and is home to the famous Sámi Siida Museum. Our trip here provides a valuable insight into the Sámi traditions that have helped to shape the area’s traditions and culture.

Luosto in the south of Lapland, with its picturesque fell backdrop, lies next to Pyhä-Luosto National Park and boasts a small number of ski slopes.

Economy and culture
Reindeer husbandry and forestry are key industries in this part of the world. The role of mineral prospecting and mining has also become more prevalent in the last few years as the ore resources in Lapland are among the richest in the whole of Europe.

However, as these traditional industries become increasingly mechanised. Tourism has developed into a vital contributor to the local economy. The tourism industry now provides considerable employment especially given that the Northern Lights are attracting global attention to this unique area.

The culture of Lapland is highly influenced by the traditional Sámi way of life. These indigenous people settled in the Scandinavian Peninsula around 4000 years ago and today they are recognised and protected under international conventions.

Their best known means of livelihood is reindeer herding, followed by farming, fishing, hunting and handicraft. For reasons both political and cultural, in certain regions, reindeer herding is reserved only for Sámi people. Our trips aim to introduce you to the culture of the Sámi people and the majority will include a meeting with a reindeer herder, allowing you an insight into the importance of their culture within this region.

Finland - Lapland Holidays in Finland
Jeris - Winter Cottages - 7 Nights from £1595
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Northern Lights
Snow Mobiling
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Kittila - New Year Lapland Winter Adventure - 7 Nights from £1585
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Kittila - Christmas Lapland Winter Adventure - 7 Nights from £1585
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Luosto - Log Cabin Tailor Made - 3 Nights from £1085
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Harriniva - 5 Day Husky Safari - 7 Nights from £1625
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Harriniva - 5 Day Snowmobile Safari - 7 Nights from £1925
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Finland - Lapland Holidays in Finland
Harriniva - 7 Day Husky Safari - 8 Nights from £1925
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Harriniva - Extreme Adventure - 7 Nights from £1945
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Harriniva - Snowmobile Powder Pro Short Break - 4 Nights from £1195
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Harriniva - Tailor Made - 7 Nights from £875
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Harriniva - Winter Adventure - 6 Nights from £1795
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Utsjoki - The Top of Finland - 5 Nights from £1645
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Saija - Husky Safari - 7 Nights from £1865
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