Aurora Adventure Short Break in Finnish Lapland « Baltic Travel Company

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Baltic Travel Blog

Aurora Adventure Short Break in Finnish Lapland

Posted on June 25th, 2019.

Northern lights are on many people’s bucket list, also mine. Even though I am born and raised in Finland, I have never had the chance to visit Lapland before. Saariselkä is located approximately 250 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle and is therefore Europe’s Northernmost holiday resort.

I stayed at Muotka Wilderness Hotel near Saariselkä and I joined the Aurora Adventure Short Break. We arrived Thursday evening and were taken to the hotel by a minivan. The drive took approximately 40 minutes and we saw beautiful fells, reindeer and snow-covered landscape as far as the eye could see.

Finally, we arrived to Muotka after driving through deep forest and we were welcomed by friendly hotel staff. The hotel manager personally all new arrivals and told us everything about the hotel and its facilities. We also received our activity schedule for our stay. Before dinner our first activity was the winter clothing! One of the wilderness guides brought us warm all-overs, gloves and snow boots. She was also giving us tips how to dress under the outer layers.

We arrived at the hotel at dinner time, and we enjoyed a delicious salmon meal with potatoes, salads and home-made bread. Later we learned that each night the at the dinner you would have a choice of meat, fish and vegetarian options. Free coffee and tea were served in the lobby throughout the day.

The Aurora Adventure Short Break kicks off with an Aurora activity on the first night. We had Aurora Snowshoeing booked for us and we couldn’t have been more excited! We snowshoed in the nearby forest with a very knowledgeable wilderness guide who told us surviving tips and also taught us to recognize different footprints in the snow that the wildlife in the area had left. The group sizes on each activity were between 7 – 12 people, which creates more personal atmosphere as everyone has the chance to get to know each other and the guide as well. We were also told that the groups are often bigger on high seasons, especially Christmas time.

We arrived at a small tepee in the middle of the forest and while we were looking up the sky full of hope to see the northern lights, our guide prepared fire for us for hot drinks and marshmallows! Unfortunately, we were unlucky, and the sky was covered in cloud all evening, so after a couple of hours we decided to head back to the hotel. Nevertheless, we had amazing snowshoe adventure!

Our room for the first 2 nights was a Wilderness Room in the main building. The room is a standard hotel room with a double bed, seating area and desk as well as private bathroom. The rooms had big wardrobes for your winter clothing so you could put it away after your activities. I also had the opportunity to go see the Superior Sauna Rooms and Panorama Log Cabins. The Superior Sauna Rooms are more spacious than the Wilderness Room and they also have a private sauna. The Panorama Log Cabins have a large window facing the riverside. The cabins also have a log burner, a small kitchenette with all the necessary kitchen utensils as well as spacious private sauna. All the accommodation is closely located to the main building. As the resort is surrounded by forest, there are walking routes and cross-country trails right from your door step.

On our next day we hopped on snowmobiles and drove to a local reindeer herder’s farm. We had a proper instruction lesson before setting off. We drove through forests, white snow and beautiful scenery. We also had a couple of stops just to enjoy the surroundings and enjoy the beautiful weather. After an hour’s drive, we stopped to have lunch at small local restaurant where we were served reindeer and vegetable soups. The restaurant was also a museum and had many interesting tools and pictures on the walls. After our lunch, we switched drivers on the snowmobiles and continued our journey through beautiful scenery to the reindeer farm. We had a short reindeer sledge ride after which we learnt about the Sámi culture and history.

Each day there is few hours between the day time and evening activities, depending which activity you have had in the morning. The time allowed us to freshen up, have dinner as well as relax and explore the area in day light. In the evening we joined Aurora Hunt by Car. The start was promising as we left the resort and the sky was clear. We drove through deep forest to an area that was far away from any light pollution. We were surrounded by complete darkness. Unfortunately, once we arrived to our destination, the sky was again full of clouds! After an interesting chat about the Finnish wildlife and hot drinks, we drove back to the resort.

Next morning it was snowing as we departed for Husky Sledding! The dog sledding takes place in a farm located approximately a 20 minutes’ drive from the Wilderness Hotel. On the spot we were greeted by many eager huskies who were barking and howling about excitement. The huskies love to pull the sled and often are very loud before a sledge ride. We got to mush the dogs in pairs while the other one was sitting on the sledge. As soon as the dogs got the permission to run, they went completely silent and clearly enjoyed what they were doing. We went through snowy forest with hills and tight turns. As the fresh snow was falling to the ground and the temperature was warm -1 Celsius, the mushing was a hard job!

The snow was soft which is why the musher had to help the dogs with pulling especially on the hills. I had to push the sledge as the dogs were looking back at me almost saying “C’mon girl, we need a little help here!”. That was hilarious but also very rewarding! Half way through we got to change the musher and the other person got to relax by sitting in the sledge. I enjoyed both parts very much, but the mushing was an experience that I have never had before, and I loved it. After the ride, we got to pet the dogs and we even saw some young husky puppies. While one of the employees was telling us about the dogs, the farm and competitions, we enjoyed home-made fish soup in a hut. The dogs were well behaved and looked after. The lady told us that she remembered the name for each of the 140 dogs. How impressive is that!

Tonight, was the night that everyone had been waiting for since we arrived. Tonight, the forecast for Northern lights was the highest on the season and it was almost guaranteed that we would see the Northern Lights. We were also lucky as our last Northern Lights activity was the beautiful Aurora Camp in the middle of the forest. We all left the resort full of hope. We were in a snowmobile sledge and our wilderness guide drove us to the hut in the forest. The sky was clear, and you could feel the anticipation! We were also told that the Northern Lights often appeared in cycles every year. For the last 2 years there had been very impressive Northern Lights on the sky on this exact date. We waited and laid on the snow on reindeer skins and admired the sky. I have never seen so many stars! The hours went by and the Northern Lights still had not arrived. We were told that the Northern Lights are referred as a female as they act like women; they keep you waiting and as you’re ready to give up, they will appear. As the night got colder, we had marshmallows and hot drinks in the hut while our guide was telling legends and facts about the Northern Lights.

Again, we were unlucky and the Northern Lights did not appear! We left the camp a bit disappointed, but we had had a good evening regardless. Tonight we stayed in an Aurora Cabin, so our plan was to stay up as late as possible, lay on the bed and keep watch on the sky. We arrived back to the resort and went straight to our Aurora Cabin. We put our small private sauna on and warmed up. We stayed up for a couple of hours, but we didn’t get lucky. This natural phenomenon really is unpredictable which also makes it so interesting and exciting!

The next morning, we woke up early as the sun light was bringing light to the whole cabin through the glass ceiling. We still had time to explore the area before our return flight to London. Even though we didn’t see the Northern Lights, I can safely say that this holiday was the best I’ve ever been on! So many new experiences, beautiful scenery, amazing people and atmosphere. I think end of March was very good time to visit as we still had plenty of snow, but we also had a lot of daylight and temperatures were decent. The winter season begins in November and ends in April.

I can recommend Muotka and the other Wilderness hotels warmly and hope to be back there someday! If you would like to hear more about the Aurora Adventure Short Break -package or the other holiday packages we can offer in the area, please give us a ring or get in touch by email!

By Laura Halmela

for Baltic Travel Company ( all rights reserved )


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