Menesjärvi New Year Northern Lights Adventure
- Duration:7 nights
- Suitable for: Children aged 7 years and over (younger children may join the holiday, but may not be able to participate in all the activities). Please see terms for details
- Flights: return direct flights from London Gatwick to Ivalo. Flight routes are subject to change
- Transfers: return airport transfers from the airport to Menesjärvi
- Accommodation: 7 nights' hotel accommodation in Menesjärvi
- Meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
- The following activities are included in your stay: snowshoe hike, kick sledding and cross-country ski tour, Aurora workshop and Northern Lights snowshoe, morning with a reindeer herder, Aurora kota dinner and New Year celebrations, wilderness skills, winter fishing by snowmobile at Lake Menesjärvi, husky safari, Sámi Siida Museum (the order of activities is subject to change)
- Free use of snowshoes, skis, kicksleds and toboggans throughout your stay at Menesjärvi
- Cold weather clothing for the duration of your stay
- Fully qualified wilderness guides and instructors
Menesjärvi is the ideal place to spend New Year with your family. You can try unforgettable winter activities, search for the Northern Lights, enjoy a very warm welcome from your hosts and explore some unforgettable scenery.
This trip is all about amazing, shared family experiences and learning about life in Lapland. You are far removed from the holiday crowds here. During your stay, you will explore together and enjoy the array of exciting activities. By the end of your trip, you will have explored your surroundings using snowshoes, snowmobiles, kick sleds, dog sleds and on cross-country skis.
Upon arrival in Lapland, your days will be filled with activities and we do what we can to help ensure that your nights may be filled with Aurora sightings. Menesjärvi is situated at the heart of the Aurora Zone, far from light pollution and populated areas. The hotel is situated on the banks of a large frozen lake and every night you will find that families gather to watch the skies in the hope of a sighting.
The accommodation at Menesjärvi is warm and welcoming, offering simple Scandinavian décor and hearty food; perfect for the winter climate. 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 and unique experience.
©Ville Heimonen, Timo Halonen
Day 1 Arrival
On arrival at Ivalo Airport, you will be greeted and transferred to your accommodation at Menesjärvi. The drive to the hotel takes you through beautiful winter landscapes, so sit back and enjoy!
Dinner will be served in the hotel restaurant tonight. Then you’ll need to get a good night’s sleep tonight ahead of your adventures beginning tomorrow.
Day 2 Snowshoes (by Day and Night), Kick Sleds, Cross-Country Skiing and Aurora Presentation
Today will be spent getting to know your new surroundings at Menesjärvi as you travel on snowshoes and kicksleds. This is a great way to get really stuck into the snowy landscape and to start exploring this winter wonderland.
Following lunch, your guide will instruct you in the art of cross-country skiing. The people of Finnish Lapland have been navigating the landscape in this time-honoured fashion for centuries, and although it can take a little getting used to, it is great fun.
Snowshoes, kicksleds and cross-country skis are available for you to use throughout your stay at Menesjärvi if you wish to explore independently.
You will be given a brief presentation on the Northern Lights later this evening. This will explain the basic science of the Aurora and also the legends and myths it has inspired over the centuries. Your guide will also give you some tips on how best to photograph the lights which will hopefully come in handy later when you snowshoe to a vantage point by the frozen lake.
Day 3 New Year’s Eve: Morning with a Reindeer Herder, Aurora Kota Dinner and New Year Celebrations
Today you will be spending time enjoying the company of some of Lapland’s most famous residents, reindeer! You will meet with a local Sámi reindeer herder to learn about how important these furry nosed animals are to the Arctic. You will transfer to the nearby farm and then travel by snowmobile-pulled sleigh ride out into the wilderness to locate the herd and call them in for some food. Once you have located the reindeer you will be able to feed them and take some pictures of them in their natural surroundings before the guide will light a fire and answer any questions. Lunch will be served back at the hotel.
After lunch, you can enjoy using the free cross-country skis, snowshoes or toboggan equipment independently at your leisure. It is a great way to spend some quality time together as a family.
This evening you will all gather for some New Year celebrations and a special meal to celebrate the end of another twelve months. All guests will gather in the hotel's special Aurora kota restaurant for a memorable night to see in the New Year. With a little luck, the Northern Lights may also grace you with their presence.
Day 4 New Year's Day: Wilderness Skills
After breakfast on New Year’s Day, the group will set off towards the forest on snowshoes for a lesson in wilderness skills. Your local guide (effectively a Finnish version of Ray Mears) will teach you the basics of map reading, show you how to identify animal footprints, use a wood knife (under supervision) and light a fire. It’s all a wonderful experience and something that families rarely get to try back in the UK. Lunch will be prepared over an open fire in a traditional Lappish hut.
The remainder of the afternoon will be yours to spend at leisure. It is a great time to relax and enjoy the New Year in a picturesque winter setting. Alternatively, you may wish to make use of the hotel's winter equipment. Dinner will be served in the restaurant this evening.
Day 5 Snowmobile Safari and Winter Fishing
Following breakfast, you will join a local guide for a snowmobile safari, allowing you to experience the immense scale of the wilderness and have a great time! Following a full safety briefing, you will head out to explore the trails with your guide to lead the way. You must be 18 years old and have a full driving licence to drive a snowmobile in Finland. Typically, adults will travel two people per machine and children will generally travel together in a sled pulled by the guide’s snowmobile.
Your destination is a spot on the vast frozen Lake Menesjärvi where you can all try the ancient skill of ice fishing. Your guide will show you how to drill through the thick ice to reach the water below. You then drop your line into the water and wait for a fish to bite. There can be some serious excitement if someone is lucky enough to catch a fish!
After lunch, you can enjoy using the cross-country skis, snowshoes or toboggan equipment independently.
This evening it is possible to add an optional second snowshoe search for the Northern Lights. Please see the ‘Personalise’ section for details. Dinner will be served at the hotel restaurant.
Day 6 Dog Sled Safari, Sámi Siida Museum
A dog sled safari is a ‘must-do’ activity during any holiday in Lapland and it's a phenomenal way to spend the last day of the year. The dogs’ enthusiasm is always mirrored in the faces of the families taking part. There is a real thrill gained from travelling in such a traditional way. The dogs’ always make quite a noise prior to departure but when they hit the trail they settle into what they love best.
The adults will be given full instruction on how to handle a team of dogs and sled before departing in pairs. Typically, the children will ride in a large sled which is controlled by the guide. The safari will last for around one hour and lunch will then be enjoyed in the village of Inari.
Next on the agenda, is a visit to the famous Sámi Siida Museum. Now we don’t want to scare all the kids with the idea of a boring museum, this place is great fun for all. There are many interactive exhibits which show how people live in this remote environment as well as a short film about the local area and Northern Lights. It is a fascinating place for people of any age and there’s also a souvenir shop selling local handicrafts which are always popular.
Dinner will be enjoyed in the restaurant this evening.
Day 7 Free Day Your Way
Today has been left free for you to end your trip as you wish. You can explore independently using the snowshoes and skis that are at your disposal or you can also arrange additional activities locally (subject to availability and local payment).
Dinner will be served in the hotel and will offer one last evening in which to think back over your adventures and, of course, take a walk down to the lake to gaze at the skies.
Day 8 Departure
Today your adventure will draw to a close as you are returned 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.
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 Timo has handcrafted.
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) 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 £114 per adult
From £57 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: £56 per adult
From: £28 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
Sun 29 Dec 2019
to Sun 05 Jan 2020
|Adult price (per person): £1995.00||Child (age 12-14): £1795.00||Child (7-11): £1595.00||Book|
Next season’s pre-sale dates and prices
To secure your holiday for next season, you can make a pre-sale booking and fix the price of your trip at the pre-sale price displayed below. Simply by paying a deposit of £400pp, you will protect yourself from any package price increases. The departure dates and itineraries remain preliminary and we will contact you when the final dates and itineraries are confirmed, you will then have 14 days to decide if you would like to go ahead. We reserve the right to charge supplements where there are significant changes to an itinerary or increases in flight costs. Any non-package rates remain subject to change.
Sun 27 Dec 2020
to Sun 03 Jan 2021
|Adult price (per person): £2135.00||Child (age 12-14): £1920.00||Child (7-11): £1705.00||Enquire|
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 24 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.
The order of activities is always subject to change and you will be provided with your final itinerary upon arrival at your destination.
Please note that some of our holidays may incur a single supplement. Please speak to one of our Travel Experts who will provide you with a quotation.
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.
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.
If you have a reduced level of mobility, then please contact our travel experts to discuss the suitability of this holiday in relation to your requirements.
Experience and fitness
Most of the activities we offer have been designed for beginners who have no prior experience and are of all age ranges and fitness levels. Our guides provide expert advice, tuition and instructions prior to any activity going ahead. Activities are designed to be enjoyed and not endured, but some, do require a more basic level of fitness than others. If you have any questions, then please contact one of our Travel Experts who can provide first-hand advice.
The only holidays which are not as suitable for complete beginners are the multi-night safaris which involve several days in wilderness cabins travelling by either snowmobile or husky safari. Again, this all depends on the individual taking part, but some prior experience and understanding of these types of activities can be very helpful and a greater level of fitness is recommended.
Guides & Safety
When partaking in any activity, it is imperative that everyone in your group listens very closely to the instructions provided by the guide and that they are abided by at all times. Our guides are experts in their field and no one knows the environment better than these highly knowledgeable and experienced providers.
Prior to starting any activity, please make it clear to your guide if there is any element of the safety briefing you are unsure of or would like to clarify before you set off.
Our guides will always take local conditions into account when considering whether an activity can go ahead. This is, in part, why your itinerary is subject to change at short notice. This rarely happens, however, if it does, we will always endeavour to reschedule the activity for later in your holiday. If this is not possible then the cost of the activity will be refunded to you when you return home.
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.
NB: In order to participate in our holidays, all guests must be able to understand instructions given in English. These instructions may be delivered verbally or in writing and will include vital safety information and ongoing instruction during activities.
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.
Booking activities locally and equipment hire
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 properly 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.
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.
Travel Safety and 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.
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.
Children and snowmobiles
For safety reasons, children under the age of 16 will typically travel in a sledge pulled behind the guides’ snowmobile on any snowmobile tours. From approximately 15 years onwards, children may be allowed to ride pillion on the back of a parent’s snowmobile. The guide will make a decision on the day as to where each individual child shall travel, and this may depend on the child’s height and the guide’s confidence in their ability to travel safely as a pillion for the duration of any safari. The guide’s decisions are final.
The driver of a snowmobile must be 18 years or over and have a valid driving licence. If an adult is unable to share a snowmobile with either a child or another adult in their party, they will be required to pay a single snowmobile supplement as all prices are based on two people sharing.
Everything was fantastic 28 December 2017 by The Barker Family
All the activities were fantastic - snowmobiling was the favourite.
Back from Finland - great experience and highly recommended 26 December 2016 by The Stafrace Family
Hotel - lovely staff always at hand. The close encounters with the animals (dogs and reindeer) were surely the highlight for me. My wife celebrated a lovely 40th - hard to beat. Phenomenal show from the Northern lights on the 31st as well. We have travelled a lot as a family but the consensus is that this experience was certainly our favourite - something for everyone in the party.