The Artisan Blog
"A Night at the Theatre", art suite created by Jonathan Green and Marnie Green
Summer might be drawing to a close but that doesn't mean it is time to pack up your passport just yet! Here at Artisan Travel we think there is plenty to get excited about when it comes to the winter months. Not only are there thrilling Arctic adventures to look forward to but equally as exciting is the fact that Sweden’s world-famous ICEHOTEL® has released its plans for this year as they celebrate their 30th birthday!
As the summer sun begins to fade and the dark nights start to return, some travellers might be tempted to pack their passport away for another year. However, we believe there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the arrival of the winter months.
Now don’t get us wrong we love sunny escapes to places such as Croatia, Madeira and the Azores and there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy some of the last of the summer sun if you want. However, what these destinations can’t offer, as excellent as they may be, is the chance to enjoy some truly great bucket list, Arctic experiences.
Despite having travelled to Finland several times by myself, I had never given my parents the chance to experience its wonders for themselves. However, in January they got to experience a holiday to Torassieppi in Finnish Lapland for the first time. Read on to find out what they made of their experience to the Arctic North!
To say we were apprehensive about going on a 25km Snowmobile safari is a drastic understatement. The closer to the activity we got the quieter Jorie and I became. However, when it was time for the activity we went along, watched the briefing video and before long we were being swept along on a snowmobile!
Despite having been lucky enough to experience the delights of Finland numerous times for myself, my parents had never had the opportunity to visit this amazing country for themselves. With my dad having a very special birthday coming up, I decided that I would give him and my mum the chance to experience this beautiful Arctic gem for themselves. Here's what happened from their point of view!
Cold, dreary weather, post-festive season torpor, and back-to-work blues; welcome to the joys of January. How do we recommend you cure your mood?
Start planning your 2018 adventures of course!
We have a vast variety of bucket list holidays all around the world, skilfully designed by our Travel Experts with you in mind. We'll take you from the wilds of Finland to the sun-drenched island of Gozo; the fjords of Iceland and Norway to the volcanic paradise of the Azores.
I woke up this morning in my cosy Northern Lights Cabin and looked out of the window to see the sun shining down on the far side of the river.
I went to Harriniva to see my guests. They were super excited as they were about to go out on a 17km Husky Safari. I was telling them all about our 420 dogs and their smiles got bigger the more I told them.
Nature's greatest light show
The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights as they are more commonly known have left people spell bound for thousands of years. They epitomise the wonder of the natural world for many people and there can be few sights on Earth that are as awe-inspiring as seeing the Northern Lights dance across a northern sky.
For many people to view the Northern Lights is a lifetime ambition and here at Artisan, we are thrilled that we can help our clients achieve their goal.
My very first memory of Iceland is seeing it on a travel programme as a child and being completely captivated. I couldn't quite tell you why – I think it planted itself in my 6 year old mind as this big frozen country – a mystical, otherworldly place in the middle of the sea that seemed so far from and so unlike anything else.
As strange as it sounds to most of my friends and family, I have never been a fan of hot places and whilst I appreciate a bit of sunshine every now and then it's the cold that I enjoy the most (I'm one of those people that enjoys when the English two week summer is done and I can get out my woolly jumpers again...) so Iceland, even by just its name, was a place that called out to me.
Since then I always wanted to visit and it was forever in the back of my mind as a sort of bucket list place that I knew I wanted to visit when I was a grown up (as far off as that seemed at the time).
One of the first tasks I had, when I joined The Artisan Travel Company, was to spend two weeks acting as the company's representative in the tiny ski resort of Luosto. Travelling north of the Arctic Circle on my first assignment all seemed a bit daunting at first but I got to know Luosto and our suppliers very quickly and found myself falling very deeply in love with the place because it has just about everything you could ever want from a winter holiday.
As a Product Development Manager, I get to visit loads and loads of places but this very often has to be done reasonably quickly.
Spending 14 nights in the same destination allowed me to appreciate the slower way of life, to get to know the wonderfully friendly locals and take huge joy in the vast range of winter activities available in Luosto.
I have been lucky enough to visit Menesjärvi twice during my time working for Artisan. The first time was in September during the wonderfully scenic Finnish autumn. The drive here will take you away from the small town of Ivalo and into increasing wilderness – the trees grow denser, the roads grow quieter, and you pass nothing except a small handful of houses (owned mostly by local reindeer herders) before you come across the main hotel here.
Hotel Korpikartano is located on the banks of Lake Menesjarvi which at this time of year, is a beautiful glittering vista of water, reflecting the changing colours of the surrounding trees.
The important thing in our job is getting to know a destination and experiencing everything it has to offer. On my very first trip to Finnish Lapland I learned very quickly that the best way to appreciate the wide open wilderness spaces north of the Arctic Circle is by snowmobile. You can enjoy all sorts of activities here in Lapland; dog sledding and reindeer safaris, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing will all get you from A to B but nothing will show you as much or take you as far as a snowmobile.
My first snowmobile safari was blessed by a typically beautiful early-spring day (in the opinion of most locals, late-March and early-April are the best times to visit) with not a cloud to obscure the azure blue skies.
The other thing that struck me about this pristine setting was just how calm and unspoiled it is. Lapland must be as close to purity as anywhere in the world and the air is said to be the cleanest anywhere in Europe (and very probably further afield too).
I defy anybody about to embark on their first ever dog sledding adventure not to feel the slightest hint of trepidation, I know I certainly did. It's the cacophony of sound emanating from the feverishly excited dogs that really sets the butterflies a-flapping in the stomach, there's something almost primeval about that wolf-like howling.
The first time I went dog sledding and on the numerous subsequent occasions, I found myself imagining how early trappers must have felt when they heard that long, deep, lupine "haa....rooooo!" echoing across an untamed wilderness. It's enough to send shivers down the spine.