Menesjärvi Half Term Northern Lights Adventure
- Duration:7 nights
- Suitable for: Anybody aged 8 years or over (younger children may join the holiday, but may not be able to participate in all the activities). Please see terms for details
- Flights: Direct flights from London Gatwick to Ivalo. Flight routes are subject to change
- Transfers: Return airport transfers
- Accommodation: 7 nights hotel accommodation
- Meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
- The following activities are included: Snowshoe hike, kick sleds, cross-country skiing, Aurora workshop, Aurora snowshoe, morning with a reindeer herder, wilderness skills, Finnish sauna, winter fishing by snowmobile, husky safari, Sámi Siida Museum, Aurora dinner (the order of activities is subject to change)
- Cold weather clothing for the duration of your stay
- Fully qualified wilderness guides and instructors
For the Aurora hunting family, Menesjärvi’s location is ideal. You are far from any significant light pollution and deep in the Aurora Zone. Over your seven nights you should stand a very good chance of catching a display of the Northern Lights should conditions be favourable.
Your hosts, Anne and Timo, are two of the loveliest people in Lapland and really do all they can to make sure you have an unforgettable holiday. The accommodation at Menesjärvi is warm and welcoming offering simple and cosy décor (some elements have been crafted by Timo using local wood), and hearty home-cooked food; perfect for the winter climate.
By the end of your action-packed week at Menesjärvi, you will have travelled by snowshoes, dog sled, kick sled, cross-country skis and snowmobile-pulled sleigh. Furthermore, you will have encountered reindeer and gained an insight into the remarkable culture of the Sámi people who make their home in this remote corner of the world.
As a family, you will learn about the Northern Lights during an Aurora Workshop with an expert guide. Each night you can all walk down to the frozen lake in front of the hotel to gaze at the sky in search of the Northern Lights and there are some special evening activities to take part in which will help to maximise your chances.
This is a wild location with a truly warm welcome and provides an ideal playground for any active family who wants an escape from the every day and some unforgettable shared experiences.
Image credits: Timo Halonen & Ville Heimonen, Steve Williamson (client), Duncan Milne (client)
Day 1 Flights, arrival and introduction
Having left the hustle of Heathrow behind this morning you will land at Ivalo, deep in the heart of Finnish Lapland. The contrast could not be greater and once you are on your way to Menesjärvi, you will gain a sense of what a special wilderness this is!
A warm welcome and dinner await you at the Hotel Korpikartano this evening. You can settle into your rooms before trying out your winter clothing and perhaps head down to the lake in front of the hotel in search of the Aurora.
Some groups may be arriving on a later evening flight – should this be the case, you will receive a chilled platter on arrival and be given your introductory talk the following morning.
Day 2 Snowshoes (by day & night!), kick sleds, cross-country skiing and Aurora Workshop
This morning you will get your first real glimpse of where you will spend the coming week. You can look out across the stunning frozen lake and take in the views of the winter activity playground.
We want to get you out and about in the snow straight away and so you’ll have a fun-filled morning trying out snowshoes, kick sleds and cross-country skis, with tuition from your guide. This equipment is available for you to use free of charge throughout your stay and so it is really key that you gain initial instruction today so you can use it at your leisure through the week.
After lunch, you will have the afternoon free to spend together with your family. You can try and hone your new-found skills from this morning and explore independently or you may simply like to take to the sauna and relax after your first snowy forays.
Later there will be a presentation on the Northern Lights and some hints and tips from your local guides on how to capture the Aurora on camera (an excellent family portrait!). You will then take a walk down onto the lake on snowshoes to watch the skies together and see if you can track down a display.
Day 3 Visit to a reindeer farm
Reindeer are synonymous with Lapland – its indigenous Sámi culture, traditions and people and a genuine reindeer encounter is a ‘must’ when in the region.
Today you will be transferred to a local 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. You will meet the reindeer, feed them, try your hand at lassoing and enjoy a short sleigh ride; a great experience for all the family.
After lunch in the hotel, you will have the afternoon and evening free to spend as you wish. With free use of the winter equipment, there are plenty of ways to enjoy The Great Outdoors.
After dinner this evening, there is the chance for you to join an additional Aurora hunt using snowshoes. Details can be found in the ‘personalise’ section of the holiday page.
Day 4 Wilderness skills and wood heated sauna
Having some basic wilderness skills is a vital part of any Lappish upbringing so today your Finnish Ray Mears will take you into the forest on snowshoes to teach you how to navigate using a GPS and traditional compass.
You will do some map reading, learn how to identify animals from their footprints, as well as how to light a fire and safely put a wood knife to good use (under supervision). Lunch will be enjoyed in a Lappish hut around an open fire: a true wilderness experience!
In the afternoon, you can enjoy the chance to relax in a traditional wood-heated sauna back at the hotel.
This evening there is no scheduled Aurora hunt but there is the option to add in a Northern Lights hunt travelling in a snowmobile-pulled sled, details can be found in the ‘personalise’ section of the holiday page.
Day 5 Winter fishing by snowmobile
Snowmobiling is exhilarating and allows you to travel deeper into the great expanse of the Lappish wilderness. Your guide will provide a full safety briefing and instruction before you all head out onto the trails for a thrilling safari. To drive a snowmobile in Finland you need a full driving licence and should be over 18, children will, therefore, travel in a sled which is pulled behind the guide’s snowmobile and parents will travel two people per machine.
The destination for your adventure is a frozen lake where you will be shown the art of winter fishing, something which has been practiced in the region for centuries.
Upon your return to the hotel, the afternoon is left free for your family to spend as they wish. The snowshoes and other snow fun equipment will, of course, be at your disposal.
Day 6 Husky safari, Sámi Siida Museum and Aurora dinner
In our opinion, a husky safari is a key element of any winter holiday and today, after full tuition, you will get to take control of a team of dogs and explore the trails on a safari lasting around one hour. This is one of those family experiences that you will never forget. You will travel with two people per team and children will ride tucked up in the sled (it may be possible for older teenagers to drive the sled at the guide’s discretion).
After enjoying lunch in the village of Inari, this afternoon you will head to the famous Sámi Siida Museum. We know that the word museum strikes fear into the hearts of many children, but this place offers so much. You’ll learn about the fascinating Sámi people, as well as the local wildlife and the Northern Lights. There’s also a great gift shop for some souvenir shopping.
At the hotel this evening, you will gather by the lake for dinner in one of the traditional wooden kotas. Eating around an open fire is a wonderfully atmospheric experience. Following on from your delicious meal your Aurora guide will join you to lead you to one of their favourite viewpoints. In some cases, guests don’t have to venture too far as the Northern Lights can often be seen over the hotel.
Day 7 Free day
Today we have left free, so you have the opportunity to plan your own day however you wish. You could explore the local area independently by snowshoes, skis or kick sledges, or you could simply relax inside the hotel. There may also be the chance to enjoy some additional activities which can be arranged and paid for locally.
Day 8 Departure
Today your adventure will draw to a close as you return to the airport for your flights home.
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. Owned and run by Timo and Anne 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.Read more about this accommodation
The hotel is split into two buildings with the main building housing the dining room and reception as well as some bedrooms whilst the annex, 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 the main building and there is a PC available for guests to use
- Most meals will be served in the hotel dining room. The buffet food served is simple and hearty, but 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 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, hairdryers, radios and televisions.
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).
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) 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: 2 hoursFrom £105 per adult
From £53 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: 2 hoursFrom: £52 per adult
From: £27 per child
Dates & Prices
We include more, no hidden costs
Adult (16+) price based on 2 sharing a twin or double room; child price based on sharing with 2 adults and using an extra bed
Sun 11 Feb 2018
to Sun 18 Feb 2018
|Adult price (per person): £1865.00||Child (age 8 - 11): £1205.00||Child (age 12 - 15): £1425.00||Book|
For our full booking terms and conditions please click here
Holiday group size (approximate)
Minimum of 4 people and maximum 20 people (approximately)
Group sizes and minimum numbers
Most of our holidays require a minimum number of participants to operate. Minimum numbers are detailed on each holiday page and are always approximate. Group sizes for tailor made holidays will vary for each of the activities. For private departures you may also be joined by other guests during the activities unless you have discussed specific private activities with us.
If your selected date has not yet reached minimum numbers you will be informed at the time of booking. In the unlikely event that your chosen date has not reached the required minimum numbers nine weeks before your scheduled departure date we will contact you and discuss the various options available to you. We will always do all we can to operate a holiday and in some cases we may be able to operate the holiday by combining your itinerary with that of other guests for some activities (this may mean that the maximum group size is increased but this will be discussed in full with you).
If we are unable to operate the holiday then you will be offered the chance to transfer to an alternative holiday or date (subject to availability). If the alternative is more expensive you will be asked to pay the difference, if it is cheaper then you will be reimbursed. You will also be offered the option to cancel and receive a full refund of all monies paid.
See our booking conditions for further information.
Order of activities
The order of activities is always subject to change and you will be provided with your final itinerary upon arrival at your destination
Medical History and advice
If you or any member of your party is pregnant or has any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday or has any special requirements as a result of any medical condition or disability (including any which affect the booking process), please tell us before you confirm your booking so that we can assist you in considering the suitability of the arrangements and/or making the booking. In any event, you must give us full details in writing at the time of booking and whenever any change in the condition or disability occurs. You must also promptly advise us if you become pregnant or any medical condition or disability which may affect your holiday develops after your booking has been confirmed.
See our booking conditions for further information.
Experience and fitness
We offer a vast choice of holidays which range from 'relaxed' to 'active' so there really is something for everyone and our holidays can be filtered by how active they are. Regardless of the chosen holiday, all activities will include tuition from a beginner's lever and no prior experience is assumed.
If you are unsure about the physical demands of a particular holiday please contact us and our expert team will be happy to help.
See our booking conditions for further information.
Guides and safety
It is absolutely essential when partaking in any activity that you listen very closely to, and abide by, the instructions provided.
If there is anything that you are unsure of during a safety briefing or that you would like to clarify with the guides please make this clear to them immediately before starting the activity.
Our guides' word on activities is always final and your safety is their principal concern at all times, please respect their decisions. By following their instructions, your safety and enjoyment during each activity will be greatly enhanced.
See our booking conditions for further information.
This holiday has a specified minimum age. In some cases however, younger children may be able to participate in the holiday but may not be able to take part in all of the activities. Please speak to our Travel Experts for more details.
Booking activities locally
In almost all of our destinations you can book and pay for additional activities locally. Please note that we cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss that occurs through any activities that are booked in your destination (see our terms and conditions for further details).
Please always ensure that your safety is your primary concern when arranging any such activity.
If your trip includes car hire the named driver must have a credit card registered in their name which they can present when they collect their car along with their driving licence, as a deposit will be held on the credit card. Please see your trip dossier for full details.
We had a fantastic holiday 11 February 2017 by Vera So, Andrew and James Bonsall
We had a fantastic holiday. Everything we need to know is in the information pack. Very well organised. We loved it all. We think the arrangement is perfect. We really like the variety of activities and also enjoy the free time to explore on our own.
Every interaction with the company has been excellent 11 February 2017 by Duncan, Jane and Freya Milne
This was the first holiday we have booked using Activities Abroad. I came across the company after an internet search for winter family holidays - after some research on company reviews, I gave Activities Abroad a call. From that moment - every interaction with the company has been excellent. I received really useful information and insight from the advisor (Barry Nolan) who guided me towards Menesjärvi based on what kind of holidays my family enjoyed. We all (2 adults plus 12-year-old daughter) had an excellent time in Lapland. All of it was really enjoyable but the stand out was the husky sled safari and visiting the reindeer herder plus of course seeing the Northern Lights in this beautiful location. We all enjoyed everything we did and made the most of the "free" time to cross-country ski across the lake, snowshoe walk in the woods and sledging down the hill outside the hotel. No time was wasted. Great hosts and staff at the hotel and good quality provider of the other activities. Tanya at the husky dog safari was brilliant and very informative.
No improvement needed, it was all first class... 11 February 2017 by Steve, Diane and Annabel Williamson
We were initially looking at a trip to Iceland to see the Northern Lights but thought the trips we researched sounded like a production line. After talking to Activities Abroad we were advised to look at Finland, and with our 12-year-old daughter in mind, the half term adventure. So glad we took your advice.
Menesjarvi at half term 14 February 2016 by Rosalind Cook
Most enjoyable activity? Husky sledding, reindeer herder day. Seeing the Northern Lights and making pancakes over the open fire which the children loved.
This really was the holiday of a lifetime; everything was perfect 14 February 2016 by Anthony Moran
It was excellent. This really was the holiday of a lifetime; everything was perfect. The activities were varied and offered enough to do without ever feeling rushed or that we were doing too much. The hotel was fantastic; the hosts and guides were all very welcoming, friendly and knowledgeable and the use of equipment and outerwear for the whole week was brilliant. We felt like we got to experience the real Finland and get some sense of traditional life in the Arctic Circle in the most beautiful of surroundings. And to top it all, we were lucky enough to see a spectacular display of the Northern Lights! Just magical. Thank you so much for such a memorable holiday - it was a truly amazing experience. When Amy (in your office) said that Menesjarvi left a special place in your heart I didn't know quite what she meant - but now I do.....
What a wonderful, magical place and the people we're so friendly and interesting 06 March 2014 by Colin McCaffrey
What a wonderful, magical place and the people we're so friendly and interesting. The equipment provided was free to use all week and the warm weather clothing was so good we needn't have taken our own boots or mittens. We knew there would only be one option at meal times so we took noodles and rice to fill the kids up. Having said that they did enjoy the majority of the meals served.Seeing the aurora tops the list, closely followed by the husky rides and sauna. Everything else was amazing too, total grin factor from start to finish.Thank you for providing us with a perfect family holiday, it can be tricky to accommodate a large family of 7 with a wide age range, but we can honestly say we all had the best time and didn't want to leave. Although we can say we've ticked that one off our bucket list, we just want to do it again!!
Wow what a great time 24 February 2014 by Adrian Langford
Wow what a great time.All of the activities arranged were excellent and our whole family had a wonderful trip.Our only gripe would be the accomodation size and lack of food choice, but the positives far out way this minor flaw.Having never been on a holiday like this before, we were pleasantly surprised by the activities on offer and the overall experience from booking to arriving home. We would definitely recommend Activities Abroad and the overall holiday to friends.I have never visitied anywhere in the world quite so tranquil as the very northern part of Finland.If you are thinking of going, please do. Just make sure you take a few things for the kids to do and I guarantee they won't get bored, just very tired.