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Nordic Winter Bucket List

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See the Northern Lights

Having enthralled people for thousands of years, the Northern Lights are high up on everyone’s bucket list. Located deep in the auroral zone, our many wilderness destinations take you far away from areas of light pollution, where pitch black skies provide the perfect canvas for glowing displays.

Imagine hunting for the Lights on snowmobiles as you speed through the empty expanses of Kirkenes, in Norway’s northeastern corner. At Harriniva in the west of Finland, you can snowshoe in search of the Aurora, which will hopefully appear to light your way through the snowy white forests.

Further south in the small Finnish village of Luosto, you might even get to see the Northern Lights from the window of your cosy log cabin.

If that isn’t enough to tempt you, our sister company the Aurora Zone offers a wider selection of specialist Northern Lights holidays.

Go on a husky safari

Whether for sport or transport, dog sledding is a thrilling way of life in the Nordic lands and the top of North America, and is easily one of the most popular activities on our holidays.

Picture fast paws driving your sled over Norway’s Finnmark Plateau as you take part in a three-day husky safari organised by one of Scandinavia’s greatest mushers, Sven Engholm. Perhaps you see yourself being carried over frozen Finnish lakes by a bounding pack of dogs on a seven-night trip to Saija.

Not that you have to go for one of our specific husky trips to appreciate this classic snow-based activity. We include shorter dogsledding safaris in almost all of our Nordic Winter Collection itineraries. You can even get a short taste of the longer dogsledding holidays by trying out an overnight husky safari, as on our bestselling ‘Jeris Winter Adventure’ getaway.

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If you are looking for the husky experience of champions, Alaska hosts the spectacular Iditarod, a 1000-mile dogsledding event which goes through some of the most sublime wilderness locations on the planet. Feel the atmosphere for yourself on our ‘Spirit of Alaska’ holiday and you will quickly see why the competition is also known as the ‘Last Great Race on Earth’.

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Visit a hotel made of snow and ice

Like something out of Narnia brought to life, a snow and ice hotel is an extraordinary feat of art and architecture. Many of the hotels featured on our holidays melt away in the summer and are rebuilt to a new theme the following winter, giving them a unique touch for your bucket list visit. If you really want to make your winter stay complete, you can also choose to spend the night in an ice room or suite!

Sweden’s ICEHOTEL® holds the honour of being the very first building of its kind in the world, constructed from enough snow and ice to make some 700 million snowballs.

Over the border in Finland is the incredible Torassieppi Winter Village, with its wonderful ice bar and restaurant. Design your own holiday here with our tailor-made trip and you can go to see the beautiful Winter Village with its glowing rooms.

Northern Norway has the magnificent Kirkenes Snowhotel, created using over 15 tonnes of ice. Travellers to Alaska don’t have to miss out – check out the Chena Hot Springs and its Aurora Ice Museum, which is the world’s largest ice environment to be maintained all throughout the year.

Experience snowmobiling

Snowmobiling is a must-try activity for all adrenaline lovers, and there are plenty of opportunities to take part on the trips in our Nordic Winter Collection.

At Harriniva, by Finland’s border with Sweden, you can do everything from a five-hour snowmobile safari through the surrounding whiteness, to a multi-day snowmobile holiday covering 100 to 200 kilometres on certain days.

The speed of a snowmobile provides fantastic mobility, allowing you to move between different areas of natural beauty in no time.

This is especially convenient when hunting by snowmobile for the Northern Lights, as it sometimes enables you to escape cloud cover – with luck, you will be able to cross off two bucket list items in one go!

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Sleep in the Treehotel

Swedish Lapland offers a very creative and unconventional place to visit. Ever slept in a luxury room that sits among the branches of snow-covered trees? You can at the remarkable Treehotel, which consists of seven innovative rooms suspended in the forest near the Luleo River.

One is shaped like a futuristic UFO, while another hangs disguised as a bird’s nest. You can stay in the stylish ‘Mirrorcube’, which reflects its surroundings on all sides or, you might prefer the simplicity of the ‘Blue Cone’, built to showcase simple wooden design.

The ‘Dragonfly’ is largest of them all, with rooms spread out like panoramic wings and the '7th Room' is a Scandinavian log cabin suspended 10 metres high in the trees.

Try cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiing is very different from skiing on pistes and happens to be a bit of an obsession in the Nordic Countries. Taking you through the outdoors on picturesque trails, it is a fantastic contrast if you are used to powering away on the slopes. You do not need to be a seasoned skier to try this activity on our holidays however, because our guides will help people of all abilities!

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Take to the cross-country ski trails in beautiful Karasjok in the north of Norway, or make your way through the wild winter terrain of Utsjoki at the top of Finland. One of the most famous cross-country skiing locations in all of Finland is Luosto, where you can take advantage of a large assortment of well managed trails.

Meet reindeer and have a sleigh ride

Meeting a reindeer at a Christmas Fair back home is nothing compared to visiting a whole reindeer herd and having a sleigh ride in Lapland itself. In the Nordic Countries, reindeer herding is the traditional practice of the indigenous Sami people and has kept communities going for generations. Get face to face with everyone’s favourite Christmas animals and support a valuable local industry at the same time.

Dating back to 1847, the Torassieppi Reindeer Farm in Finland not only adds a seasonal touch to your holiday but also gives you a real sense of the history and culture surrounding reindeer herding.

Meet an authentic reindeer herder and look around the on-site museum before being taken on a magical sleigh ride through the forest. You can also book a Northern Lights reindeer safari on our Torassieppi tailor-made holiday, adding a Christmassy sparkle to your Aurora hunting.

Stay in a log cabin or winter cottage

The words ‘log cabin’ and ‘winter cottage’ conjure up images of homely comfort and cosy warmth, making for a wonderful alternative to the more common option of hotel room accommodation.

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With many coming with their own fireplace and private sauna, where could be better to head back to after a day exploring in the snow?

At Jeris in the west of Finland, you can choose from an assortment of lovely winter cottages, with options for couples and larger groups – a perfect place to celebrate any occasion with loved ones! Why not tailor a holiday based at a Luosto log cabin and return to its welcoming space after enjoying your favourite activities?

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