Menesjärvi Christmas Northern Lights Adventure
- Flights: Return flights from London to Ivalo (via Helsinki). Flight routes are subject to change.
- Transfers: return group airport transfers
- Accommodation: 7 nights' hotel accommodation
- Meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
- The following activities and experiences are included: Snowshoe hike, kick sleds, cross-country skiing, Aurora workshop and Aurora snowshoe, morning with a reindeer herder, wilderness skills, winter fishing by snowmobile, Aurora kota dinner, husky safari, visit to the Sámi Siida Museum* and Christmas festivities, (the order of activities is subject to change)
- Free use of snowshoes, cross-country skis, kick sledges and toboggans throughout your stay
- Cold weather clothing for the duration of your stay
- Fully qualified wilderness guides and instructors
- 24/7 assistance from our UK based operations team and in destination support from our local partners
For any Aurora hunting family, Menesjärvi’s location is absolutely ideal and it is a magical place in which to spend Christmas. You are far from any significant light pollution here and deep within the Aurora Zone. This active holiday includes evening activities that help to maximise your Aurora viewing potential and enjoy an unforgettable festive holiday.
Whilst your nights may be dedicated to trying to spot the Northern Lights, your days contain a wealth of exceptional Lappish experiences for all the family to enjoy. By the end of your stay here, you will have travelled via snowshoes, kick sleds, cross-country skis and snowmobile-pulled sleigh, you will have encountered reindeer in their natural habitat and travelled with a team of huskies – not a bad way to spend Christmas!
The accommodation at Menesjärvi is warm and welcoming, offering simple Finnish décor and hearty food, perfect for the winter climate. Your hosts really do all they can to make sure you have an unforgettable and unique experience.
This festive family holiday is about trying incredible experiences and creating shared family memories whilst getting to know the real people of Lapland, the culture and the landscape. It’s a magical place to spend time together as a family and search out the Aurora Borealis.
©Ville Heimonen & Timo Halonen
Day 1 Arrival
Having started the day in the hustle and bustle of a busy airport, you will arrive in the wilds of Lapland where the contrast could not be greater!
A warm welcome and dinner await you at the Hotel Korpikartano this evening. Afterwards, you will be provided with your cold weather clothing for the duration of your holiday.Included Meals: Dinner
Day 2 Snowshoes (by day & night!), Kick Sleds, Cross-country Skiing And Aurora Workshop
Today you will get your first glimpse of the stunning scenery; the hotel’s lakeside location is just wonderful.
We want you to get better acquainted with your new surroundings straight away and so you’ll be kitted out with your winter clothing ahead of your inaugural activities.
Snowshoes, kick sledges and cross-country skiing equipment are available for you all to use throughout your stay but first, you will have some instruction on how to use them. You will try out this activity trio with your guides today and get to have some serious fun in the snow with the rest of the group, before a warming lunch.
The afternoon is free for you to explore independently and enjoy the sledges and equipment at your disposal. You can also embrace a great Finnish family tradition and enjoy one of the saunas at the hotel.
After a well-deserved dinner, it is time to get to grips with the Northern Lights and your local guides will give you an overview of some of the science behind them and some hints and tips on how to capture them on film. Your guide will then lead you on a lakeside snowshoe hike in search of a display. You will be out for around two hours this evening.Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 Insight into a Reindeer Herder’s day
Reindeer are synonymous with Lapland, the indigenous Sámi culture, their traditions and of course Christmas, so a genuine reindeer encounter is a ‘must’.
Today you will be transferred to a reindeer farm where you will meet with your Sámi host who will give you an insight into the lives of the herders and their animals. The herder will take you to find the reindeer via snowmobile-pulled sleigh and you will get the chance to feed them some of their favourite snacks and learn about the importance of these animals, both historically and in the present day. Hot drinks will be served around a campfire. The activity will last for around two to two and a half hours.
Back at the hotel you will have free use of the snow fun equipment to make the most of your winter wonderland surroundings, we also recommend booking a slot in the hotel sauna to really unwind before dinner is served in the hotel restaurant.
This evening it is possible to add on an additional Northern Lights hunt by Snowshoe if you would like to head off with your expert local guide in search of an auroral display. Please see the personalise section for more information.Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 Wilderness Skills
Wilderness skills are a vital part of any Lappish upbringing and today you spend the morning with a Finnish version of Ray Mears who will take you into the forest on snowshoes and teach you how to navigate using both GPS and compass.
You’ll do some map reading, learn how to identify animals from their footprints, be shown how to light a fire and safely put a wood knife to use (under supervision). Lunch will be enjoyed in a Lappish hut around an open fire: a true wilderness experience.
The remainder of the afternoon will be spent at leisure.
Dinner will be served in the restaurant this evening.Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 Winter Fishing by Snowmobile and Aurora Kota Dinner
Following breakfast, you will spend this morning speeding over the fells on a thrilling snowmobile drive, giving you the chance to really explore deeper into the wilds. Your guide will give a full safety briefing and instruction on how to handle the machines before leading you on your safari. You need a full driving licence to drive a snowmobile and should be over 18. Adults will travel two people per sled and children will typically all travel together in a sleigh pulled by the guide’s snowmobile.
Your destination is a carefully chosen spot on a frozen lake, the ideal place in which to be shown the art of winter fishing, a tradition that dates back centuries in this region. This is a fascinating experience for all the family and the exhilarating snowmobile safari on either side makes for a fun-filled morning. Please note that while this activity is scheduled for today, the order is always subject to change and confirmed on arrival at Menesjärvi. You will be out for around two hours in total.Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 Husky Safari, Sámi Siida Museum and Festive Fun
You will spend this morning on an unforgettable husky safari. This is a ‘must-do’ during any winter holiday and today, after full tuition, you will get to take control of a team of dogs and explore the trails with your guide. You will typically travel two people per sled, with the adults in control and the children either riding as passengers or travelling in a larger sled which will be driven by the guide. This activity will last for around two and a half hours in total and is sure to be an unforgettable family experience.
You will then enjoy lunch in Inari Village, before heading to the famous Sámi Siida Museum. This fascinating museum has enough going on to keep even the kids enthused, as you learn about the local wildlife, the Northern Lights and the fascinating Sámi people and their lifestyles.
In Finland, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th of December, so today's fun and games will be memorable. There will be cookies to be baked and a special evening of Christmas celebrations. Finnish and international traditions will be combined to create a great evening for all to enjoy.Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 Free Day
We have left your final day free, so you have the opportunity to plan your own day however you wish. You could kick back and relax in the hotel, explore the local area independently by snowshoes or kick sledges, or if you have some prior experience you could strap on some skis. There may be the chance to enjoy some optional activities which can be paid for and arranged locally.Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 Departure
Today your adventure will draw to a close and you will enjoy a scenic transfer to Ivalo Airport from where you will fly home.Included Meals: Breakfast
Included in price
When it comes to remote locations there are few that compare to Menesjärvi. Pristine and unspoiled, it is the perfect place for an Arctic family adventure in search of the Aurora.
Menesjärvi is a traditional reindeer herding community and what was once the local school is now the Hotel Korpikartano. Locally owned, you are sure of a warm and traditional Finnish welcome and our guests often say that they leave feeling like they are part of the family.
The hotel is split into two buildings with the main building housing the dining room and reception as well as some bedroom. The annexe, which is approximately 50 metres away, houses the majority of the bedrooms.
- There are saunas available in both buildings for guests to use free of charge
- Free Wi-Fi is available throughout and there is a PC available
- Most meals will be served in the hotel dining room. The set evening meals are self-service and the food served is simple and hearty home cooking. In our experience, it has always been delicious and ideal sustenance after a day’s adventuring
- A selection of games and books is also available but we find that most of our guests spend their time outdoors gazing at the skies or simply enjoying the snow
- Cross-country skis, snowshoes and kick sleds are available to use free of charge
- The hotel’s Aurora Lounge offers the perfect place to relax after a day of fun in the snow with tea and coffee available for guests, as well as a small library, TV (with Finnish channels only) and cosy fireplace
Twin, double and family rooms: The hotel is anything but standardised, with no two rooms being the same shape or size. There are 27 rooms in total, all of which have en-suite shower rooms and hairdryers. There are kettles and cups provided and tea bags and coffee are available in both buildings.
The rooms are comfortable and many are decorated with locally sourced wood and pieces of furniture which have been crafted out of wood from the surrounding forests.
Varying from double and twin rooms to more family-style accommodation (sleeping up to six people) you will be allocated the most suitable room for your party at the time of booking (subject to availability).
Image credits: Timo Halonen
Personalise this tour
Aurora Hunt via snowmobile
This thrilling safari will take you out via snowmobile across the vast frozen expanse of Lake Menesjärvi. Your guide will lead the way to the most likely spot to witness the Aurora, far from any light pollution and where you can enjoy unobstructed views of the night sky.
Adults will travel two per snowmobile (drivers must have a full driving licence and be 18 years or over) whilst children will travel in a sled pulled by the guide’s snowmobile.
Fingers crossed you are successful in your search and see the Aurora in all its glory!
Duration: approximately 2 hours in totalFrom £113 per adult
From £56 per child
Aurora Hunt via snowshoe
On this evening excursion, you will strap on snowshoes and set out into the surrounding frozen wilderness around Menesjärvi in search of the Northern Lights.
Whilst the Northern Lights cannot be guaranteed, your chances are exceptionally high here with Menesjärvi having an excellent track record when it comes to the Aurora so hopefully, your family will enjoy a dazzling display! Whilst you wait patiently, the guide will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about the Northern Lights and the beautiful surrounding nature here.
Duration: approximately 2 hours in totalFrom: £49 per adult
From: £27 per child
Dates & Prices
We include more, no hidden costs
Adult (15+) price based on 2 sharing a twin or double room; child price based on sharing with 2 adults and using an extra bed
Next season’s dates and prices
Our dates and prices for 2023/24 are now available to book, so get in early and secure your places now. Our Travel Experts will happily provide you with a full quotation including any additional activities or accommodation upgrades. We will advise you of your flight details when they are confirmed. This will normally be around nine months prior to departure.
Mon 18 Dec 2023
to Mon 25 Dec 2023
Adult price (per person):
Child (age 12-14):
|Child (7-11): -||Enquire|
Sat 23 Dec 2023
to Sat 30 Dec 2023
Adult price (per person):
Child (age 12-14):
Please note: our holiday prices are based on the lowest available airline fares. These fares can sell out quickly and, as a result, prices may increase and supplements may be applicable. We recommend booking at the earliest opportunity in order to secure the best possible fares and flight times. This only applies to holidays that include flights.
For our full booking terms and conditions please click here
Holiday group size (approximate)
This holiday requires a minimum of 4 people to run, however, we require a minimum of 8 people for our flight allocation. Maximum 20 people (approximately). Please speak to our travel experts for further information.
We always try to provide an approximation of the group size you can expect to be with for the duration of each of our holidays. It may be that you are joined by others for parts of your holiday (such as transfers and particular activities) but the above number reflects those you can normally expect to be with from beginning to end. If group size is something which is particularly important to you, please speak to our Travel Experts and they can suggest the best holidays for you.
Tailor-made holiday group sizes will vary for all activities as will the group size for any additional activities you book.
Minimum numbers required for a holiday to operate
Some of our holidays require a minimum number of participants to operate (as listed in the ‘Group Size’ section). If your holiday departure has not yet reached the minimum number, you will be told at the time of booking. In the unlikely event that your chosen date is not guaranteed by nine weeks before your scheduled departure date, we will contact you to discuss the available options as per our booking conditions.
Minimum and maximum age
The minimum age for this holiday can be found in the ‘Key Facts’ section of the holiday overview.
Younger family members may be able to participate but may not be able to take part in all activities. Please contact one of our Travel Experts if you have any questions.
The order of activities listed in this agenda is provided for guidance only, your final and detailed itinerary will be provided either with your final travel documents (which are uploaded into your online account around a week prior to departure) or upon arrival.
Medical History and Advice
We want our holidays to be accessible as they can be and will do our best to accommodate any special requests and requirements where possible. We have a wide range of holidays and destinations and so our travel experts will help find the best holiday for you.
In order to give us the best possible chance to do this we ask that if you or any member of your party has any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday or has any special requirements, that you tell us at the time of enquiry or booking. You must also promptly advise us if any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday develops after your booking has been confirmed. You may need to provide a doctor’s note and proof of insurance in some cases as the health and safety of our clients is absolutely paramount.
In providing this information you are allowing us to work with our expert local partners to ensure that your whole party can enjoy the holiday. By letting us know in advance we can discreetly work with you to adapt any part of the holiday which may potentially be challenging. Being able to prepare for this in advance makes an incredible difference to what we can offer and minimises any impact on your party and the rest of the group.
Unfortunately, if you choose not to share this information with us in advance then it may limit some or all of the itinerary you have booked, and we cannot be held accountable for any additional costs or missed activities resulting from this.
It is vitally important that you advise us prior to departure of any medical or dietary condition relating to any member of your party so that we may notify our local staff before you arrive. We recommend only drinking bottled water from bottles with unbroken seals and be vigilant about the use of ice in drinks and ice cream.
Insurance is not included in your holiday, but it is a pre-requisite to travelling with us. You will need to ensure that you have cover for all the activities that you will be participating in during your holiday.
It is extremely important that you take out a suitable travel insurance policy at the time of booking. Plans do sometimes change, and you will need this policy should you need to cancel your holiday.
If you are struggling to find a suitable policy then details of our preferred provider, who will cover you for all the activities we offer, can be found on our website by clicking here. Please note that this policy is available to EU residents under the age of 75 only.
The UK Foreign Office Advice
Our clients’ safety is at the centre of everything we do, and our operations team continually assesses and monitors the destinations we feature. We carry out thorough risk assessments and work closely with all of our suppliers to continually follow best practice. For up to date travel advice the UK government offers its Travel Aware website as well as the advice detailed below.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Advice
We receive all updates from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) with regards to travel advice and we always ensure that we follow this advice in our operations. The FCO issues travel advisories for countries based on a very wide range of factors. They may provide notification about things as simple as a football match and crowds, or they may go so far as to advise against all travel to a region. We ask all our clients to refer to the relevant Travel Advice by Country for the destinations they are visiting in order to make an informed decision on the safety of the destination based on the details provided. It also provides vital information regarding entry requirements, embassy information, local laws and customs as well as specific safety and health. Guests should take responsibility for keeping themselves up to date with this advice. Please also ensure that, if you are transiting through another country, you have read the advice and meet the entry requirements for that destination too.
The FCO travel advice is applicable to British Passport Holders. Most governments will issue their own travel advice for a region and, if you are not a UK resident then you can find some helpful links below:
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/
Canadian Consular Affairs Bureau http://voyage.gc.ca/
The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html
If the FCO deems that there is an unacceptable level of risk for UK citizens then, together with the government, they may issue an advisory against all travel to a region or country. If such an advisory is published, then we will act accordingly, and this may require the cancellation, curtailment or amendment of a holiday itinerary. These decisions are made on the basis of ensuring our clients’ safety and will affect all clients on the holiday, regardless of their nationality.
If one of our local experts suggests an amendment due to a situation which develops locally then we may also take the decision to amend an itinerary appropriately.
If we have to cancel your holiday prior to departure you will be offered the option of an alternative trip (where any price difference will either be refunded to or covered by you) or a full refund of the monies paid.
If we have to curtail a holiday, then you will be refunded for any costs for the elements we have been unable to deliver, where we have been able to secure a refund from our suppliers. If we must reroute a holiday, then any basis for refund is determined on a case by case basis and dependent on whether the central holiday experience was provided or not.
Booking activities locally
Additional activities can be booked locally in almost all our destinations. However, as per our booking conditions, we cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss incurred through participation in activities which are booked at your destination outside of our holiday itinerary (see our ‘Terms and Conditions’ for further details).
When arranging any such activity please always ensure that safety is your primary concern.
In some of our destinations, you can borrow or hire equipment for use in your free time. You do so entirely at your own risk. You must ensure that you are correctly prepared, have the necessary equipment and knowledge (maps, etc.) and ensure that where applicable, you follow marked routes. We recommend discussing your plans with the local teams who will be able to advise on the most suitable options for you.
Always let the reception/guide know where you are planning to go and take a torch and mobile phone (with the hotel/guide’s phone number stored). It is also a good idea to leave your contact number and the time you expect to return to the hotel should the hotel need to contact you.
Flight schedule changes and connecting transportation
On your documentation, we will confirm your flight schedule. Sometimes the flight number, routing and timings might change prior to your departure. If the change is classed as a significant change then we will contact you to discuss this. Please see our booking conditions for details.
Flight schedule changes can impact on your pre and post-holiday travel arrangements if these have been booked separately to your holiday. We strongly recommend that you do not book transport (such as trains or transfers), car parking or non-connecting flights to the departure point for your holiday until you have received your final confirmed travel times when your final travel documents are issued. We are not responsible for the effect of any schedule change on your pre or post travel arrangements. We strongly recommend that you do not purchase non-flexible or non-refundable tickets to avoid cancellation and penalty charges.
Booking your own flights cancellation disclaimer
If you have chosen to book your own flights, then you will need to wait until we confirm to you that the holiday departure has met the minimum numbers required to run (if applicable to your chosen holiday). Once the holiday is guaranteed to run, you will be informed and you can then make your arrangements.
If transfers are included in your holiday, please ensure that any potential flights will be met by our standard transfers (speak to one of our Travel Experts for advice) otherwise private transfer supplements may be applicable. Once your flights are booked, please send us a copy of your detailed flight itinerary.
Please be aware that most tickets are non-refundable in the case of cancellation. For this reason, we strongly advise you check the rules of the ticket and check the limitations of your cancellation insurance before booking. We cannot be held liable, in the unlikely eventuality that we should be forced to cancel or amend your trip, for losses incurred relating to any flight booking you have made.
Menesjarvi - cancellation terms
Please note that the following cancellation terms supersede those mentioned in section 7 of our general booking terms and conditions.
More than 63 days prior to departure - Loss of deposit (including the full cost of flights or other services where paid at the time of booking)
62 to 46 days prior to arrival – 20%
59 to 45 days prior to departure - 30%
44 to 30 days prior to departure - 50%
29 or less days - 100%
Terms and Conditions
Our full booking terms and conditions can be found on our website: https://www.activitiesabroad.com/booking-conditions
We were treated to an amazing northern lights display right above the hotel 23 December 2021 by The Mullany Family
Every day was fun-filled but 2 of the most memorable experiences were the husky safari and meeting the reindeer herder. December 24th (Christmas Day) was perfect, a family cross country ski on the lake, followed by a traditional Christmas lunch, festive cooking making and dinner in the Lappish hut cooked on a roaring fire. To top it off, we were treated to an amazing Northern Lights display right above the hotel around midnight. All of the guides and staff were great, they all helped to make it an amazing family holiday. Graham was great, answered loads of questions re vaccine certificates and entry requirements and gave us recommendations for our city break in Helsinki. We loved the seclusion of the resort and really felt like we experienced the authentic Lapland.
We had an amazing time and made so many memories 21 December 2021 by The Wise Family
We had an amazing time and made so many memories. Our most memorable part of the holiday was seeing the Northern Lights on Christmas Eve - magical! The husky sledging was our favourite activity. We also really enjoyed the wilderness walks as the guides were fantastic. The travel experts offered lots of options and explained all of the ever-changing testing requirements too.
Thank you for a great holiday 22 December 2019 by The Fedorin Family
The place was really good, as your consultants told us before booking. Packing list came in really handy. Activities we had during holidays where amazing, and also there was enough free time to explore the area on our own. Hotel staff was very helpful caring and supportive and tended to all our needs. Relaxing atmosphere in the hotel, and sauna with hot tub - it was a really romantic and amazing experience, being outside in the cold and not being cold, and all the candles in the forest. Our kid really enjoyed Santa, this was an unexpected turn of events. And Northern lights workshop was extremely helpful, without it we would not be able to recognize them and would have missed them.
This was a truly amazing holiday... 07 January 2015 by Clare Sharp
This was a truly amazing holiday that we all thoroughly enjoyed. The activities were brilliant as were the guides. We are already thinking about booking a summer holiday with activities abroad as everything was just taken care for us. Everything was brilliant but the husky ride was a once in a life time activity. Also seeing the Northern Lights dance.
Enjoyed all activities 13 February 2014 by Stephanie Dobson
We enjoyed all the activities but the best was dog sledding. We were involved in harnessing the dogs to the sleds (which was great fun) and then went for a long ride. Most exhilarating and enjoyable. We've just returned from a fantastic holiday which was every bit as good as hoped. Your brochure gives a very accurate description of the holiday and we were pleasantly surprised at how well everything seemed to slot together from the flights right through to the various activities on offer. The owners of the hotel have a great loyal team working with them and everyone works incredibly hard. They are clearly passionate about what they do. They were very helpful and approachable. Nothing was too much trouble.
Enjoyed all activities 13 February 2014 by Sophie Taylor
We enjoyed all the activities, but in particular the visit to the reindeer farm was very interesting and the herder was a great host. The husky safari was an amazing experience too. Sadly we only got one tantalising glimpse of the northern lights - might have to try again next year!We would consider another similar trip next winter as this has been such a success.
The most amazing holiday 07 January 2013 by Lynda Scrivener
We have had the most amazing holiday and everything was virtually faultless. We had delays both ways on our flights, but that was the only snag. The owners, staff and guides at Hotel Korpikatano were wonderful, extremely welcoming, and nothing was too much trouble. They provided a fantastic Christmas we will never forget. To make everything just perfect, we saw the northern lights on 3 out of our 6 night stay, and the most spectacular display was on Christmas night. We couldn't have asked for anything more.We were very pleased to find Activities Abroad and this holiday in particular. It meant that we could do all of the activities that we wanted to do for one inclusive price. On other holidays we looked at, the activities weren't included and once we factored them in, everything seemed to work out a lot more expensive overall. It was very good value for money. The destination and hotel were perfect for our active family, and we'd love to return now in the summer for the midnight sun! One day. Fingers crossed.
Best holiday ever 11 January 2011 by Ruth Saville
Best holiday ever! We are now looking at arranging a cross country ski trip staying at wilderness cabins.