It’s not hard to pinpoint why this trip has been a firm favourite with families over the years. The ideal combination of the warmth and hospitality of the hotel, the fantastic Aurora record and the varied itinerary of exciting Finnish activities on the agenda ensure that this trip is the ideal arctic adventure for adults and teenagers alike.
Situated 230km north of the Arctic Circle on the Swedish border, Harriniva Wilderness Hotel is a lovely Scandinavian style retreat whose reputation for excellent activities is known throughout the area. They have their own husky centre on site which allows for easy access to a variety of safaris, taking you across the beautiful surrounding area of snow-laden forests and frozen lakes.
Your accommodation will be in comfortable hotel rooms, with one night in a genuine wilderness cabin, providing a unique opportunity to experience untouched wilderness against the backdrop of spectacular winter scenery of forested fells and mountains.
Your days here will be spent participating in a range of unforgettable experiences and by the time you leave you will have enjoyed a thrilling snowmobile safari, driven a team of enthusiastic huskies on an overnight safari and gained an insight into the unique culture of this remarkable region. The free time that is included will also allow you to relax and enjoy the peaceful nature of your surroundings. Alternatively you can enjoy the area at your own pace by hiring cross-country skis or snowshoes to explore the trails which surround the hotel with your family.
Evenings will be spent in the warmth of Harriniva’s first rate hospitality, enjoying saunas and getting to know your fellow guests. As if all this wasn’t enough, with Harriniva’s prime location there is also a very high chance that you will see some fantastic displays of Northern Lights too.
Anybody aged 15 years or over.
Day 1: Flights, arrival and introduction
After landing at the airport you will be welcomed before your transfer to Harriniva Wilderness Hotel where, after checking in and settling into your rooms, you will enjoy a welcome dinner with your group. Harriniva serves a delicious variety of local and international dishes and meal times here are a great time to socialise with fellow like-minded families.
Following dinner there will be an introductory meeting with your guide who will discuss your upcoming adventures and provide you with the cold weather clothing that will be yours for the duration of your stay.
Some groups may be arriving on a later evening flight. If this is the case then you will have a cold supper on arrival and have your introductory meeting the following morning.
Day 2: Free day
Your first day in Finnish Lapland has been left free for you to settle in to your new accommodation and explore your new found surroundings. If you and your family want to get stuck into activities straight away, Harriniva runs a weekly timetable of activities which you can book in advance with us or book and pay for locally (all subject to availability).
Otherwise you may wish to explore the local area at your own pace. There are some great walks on the trails surrounding the hotel and just across the river you can reach Sweden (the hotel resides on the border between the two countries). The family can also hire snowshoes and cross country skis from reception and follow the set trails which traverse the surrounding wilderness (payable locally).
Day 3: Reindeer farm and safari
Today is the ideal introduction to your new surroundings.
After breakfast you will be driven to Torassieppi Reindeer Farm, which, at over 100 years old will allow you an insight into the traditions and customs of the reindeer industry. You will be able to chat with the herders and ask them questions about their livelihood before enjoying a 7km reindeer safari through the forest (1-2 people per sled). This is a lovely, peaceful way to take in your surroundings as these gentle creatures lead you across the snow. Weather permitting; you will also enjoy lunch over an open fire.
Following your reindeer encounter, you will be returned to the hotel where the afternoon is free for you to perhaps enjoy a traditional Finnish sauna or maybe hire cross-country skis or snowshoes to explore your surroundings at your own pace.
Day 4: Snowmobile safari
The introduction of snowmobiles to this region was somewhat revolutionary as it allowed rapid access to remote areas. Efficiency aside though, they are also exceptionally good fun and a major trip highlight for the majority of our guests. Today, after a full instruction and safety briefing, your guide will lead you on a thrilling snowmobile safari which is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Your adventure will last around five hours and cover 60 to 80km of the expansive snow-covered landscape, during which you will also enjoy lunch over an open fire. As you speed through snow-covered forests and across frozen lakes you will be able to gain a very real sense of the full scale of the Lappish wilds. You need to be over 18 and have a full driving licence to drive a snowmobile; Children aged 15 and above can travel as passengers at the discretion of the guides.
Day 5: Free day or optional activities
Today’s itinerary has been left open for you and your family to relax and enjoy the peaceful silence of your surroundings. You may of course, wish to do something a little more exciting and if this is the case then there are a variety of additional activities which you can book locally such as guided cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing or dog sledding - the choice is entirely yours. Alternatively you may choose to spend a night in a snow room at Torassieppi Winter Village. We would suggest booking additional activities with us before you travel in order to ensure availability.
Day 6 and 7: Overnight husky safari and night in the wilderness
On today’s husky safari you will enjoy a true adventure as you encounter the exceptional connection that exists between the dogs, their musher and environment of this remote corner of the world.
Following breakfast you will pack up your equipment for your two day tour, before meeting your team of enthusiastic huskies from the onsite sled dog centre. Full instruction on how best to handle these eager creatures will be given before you harness up your team of 4 to 6 dogs. The dogs were born to run and their anticipation for the trail is hugely infectious.
Once their initial excitement dies down, the dogs will soon settle into a steady and relaxed rhythm as they pull you across the landscape. As well as being a highly memorable experience, a husky safari is also a very peaceful experience. The journey is one of almost total silence, with the gentle swish of the sled’s runners and the padding of the dogs’ paws the only sound to distract you from the beauty of your surrounds.
You will travel one to two people per sled and cover around 25km each day. Your overnight accommodation will be a remote wilderness cabin with shared facilities. Whilst here you will be able to hone your wilderness skills by building fires, preparing food for the group and feeding the huskies.
This remote location, with its almost total lack of light pollution is also the ideal opportunity for a potential Aurora viewing, so be sure to keep an eye on the night sky before settling into your Arctic grade sleeping bag.
Your second day on the trail will allow you to further hone your mushing skills as you head back to the welcoming warmth of Harriniva. Back at the hotel, the sad farewell to your dog team will hopefully be eased by a special farewell dinner with delicious Lappish dishes, during which you will no doubt enjoy the opportunity to relive your exciting week with your fellow travellers.
Day 8: Departure
Today you will bid farewell to Harriniva as you return to the airport for your flights home.
Flights are based on scheduled departures from London Gatwick to Enontekio Airport. These flights are operated by Snowbird airlines which is a Finnish airline operating this specialized and direct route throughout the winter season.
Tourism in Finnish Lapland has become the main income source of employment and income replacing traditional industries such as forestry.
Development from a period of extractive industry to an industrial society has come about quickly. In 1950 the largest part of Lapland’s inhabitants lived in rural areas and more than half the workforce worked in forestry and agriculture. Today 65 % of the workforce are in the service industry, 22 % in processing and 10 % in primary production.
This huge growth in tourism and service provision has been developed in conjunction with a long-term sustainable tourism plan with one of the primary objectives being to maintain nature in its natural state while guaranteeing the traditional way of life.
Much of this has been achieved along with membership of EU development programmes, aimed at diversifying sources of livelihood, effective usage of resources and to increase export.
Approximately a quarter of Lapland’s 100 000 strong workforce was unemployed in 1997. Promoting entrepreneurship, ongoing re-education of the workforce and development of the educational system to suit the needs of enterprises is continuing. The target is to diversify the sources of livelihood, increase the value of refinement production and develop new enterprises particularly in the area of tourism. National measures as well as EU-programme measures support this objective.
We embrace this philosophy, employing local activity providers and using only locally owned hotels. In this manner we help to maintain jobs in an area where unemployment was, until recently, very high. Additionally, the use of local suppliers ensures that the tourism spend filters through to local economies via the tourism multiplier effect.