Northern Lights in Utsjoki, Finnish Lapland!

AE
Annie Emanuelli
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24 reviews
Nov 21 - 26, 2023
Group size: 4 - 16
Northern Lights in Utsjoki, Finnish Lapland!
Finland

Annie Emanuelli
  • Email address verified
  • Facebook verified
  • LinkedIn verified
24 reviews

Nov 21 - 26, 2023
Group size: 4 - 16

About this trip

Bucket List Travel is thrilled to announce a five-night trip to Utsjoki, Finnish Lapland to see the spectacular Aurora Borealis - the Northern Lights!

We will be staying in cozy private cabins at the charming Aurora Holidays resort, 280 miles above the Arctic Circle. It is  one of the best places on Earth to experience the lights! 

ALL of the guests who have stayed here since 2017 - every single one - have seen the lights here!!

Group size is limited to under 16 guests.

Seeing the Northern Lights is on everyone's bucket list - so make 2023 the year you stop dreaming, and start packing!

Where Can You See the Northern Lights?

The Aurora Borealis is the most amazing natural phenomena in the world! But most people never get the thrill of seeing it. (I made three winter trips to Iceland hoping to see the Northern Lights and never saw them!) The Lights are usually only visible on Earth during four winter months from a 700-mile-wide band near the North Pole, known as the “Aurora Zone.” Our destination is located smack-dab in the middle of the Aurora Zone, in the tiny village of Utsjoki in Lapland, northern Finland. ("Lapland" is situated in Scandinavia and often referred to as the northern area of Finland.)

Hunting the Lights

The guides at Aurora Holidays are Northern Lights-hunting professionals, ensuring you always get the best views of the spectacular aurora borealis. We’ll actively hunt the lights three evenings of our tour. The guides search the night skies and analyze conditions, always choosing the best nights, places, and times when you will most likely see the Aurora. (Occasionally the Lights are visible from your cottage!) Our viewing might take place around the resort or on the road in our van - guided by where we predict you will have the best possible chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis. These northern lights tours last between two to three hours, but some nights we are out longer if the lights appear at then end of our tour. 

Keep in mind that there is no guarantee you will see the Northern Lights during your stay. We will do our absolute best to make sure that your bucket list dream comes true, but we are at the mercy of nature and can't make any promises.

We'll Eat Really Well!

Your package includes full board (all 14 meals included) of delicious Finnish, Sami, and Scandinavian cuisine based on local ingredients of the best quality. The restaurant serves local free-range/grass-fed meat, and fish from local rivers, lakes and the Arctic Ocean. The resort's owners are an indigenous Sami reindeer-herding family, so self-raised free range reindeer meat is the star of the menu. They always have vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free meal options. The chef accommodates everyone based on individual dietary preferences, allergies, or restrictions. You'll enjoy five breakfasts; four lunches, either in the dining area or during the activities; five three-course dinners, including non-alcoholic drinks, water, soda or juice; and evening snacks when we are chasing the Northern Lights. In addition, the bar and kitchen are there if you want anything else (at additional cost.) The restaurant consciously works to avoid food waste, support small local businesses, chooses ecological options whenever possible, and uses only the cleanest local water (no bottled water). 

Our Accommodations

You will stay in one of our four cozy wooden Finnish two-bedroom cottages that sleep up to four people each. You can have a cabin all to yourself, or share it with up to three other friends or family members. These high quality Finnish cottages are fresh and clean, because they are quite new, well maintained, and smoke-free. They are equipped with everything you need, including a living room, kitchen, and bathroom. Each cottage has a private sauna where you can warm up after a cold night chasing the lights. The cottages face directly north, so you can check what is happening in the sky any time, and you can watch auroras from your window all night long if you like! 

Aurora Holidays is actively  LGBTQ friendly. It is the first business in Lapland to join the "We Speak Gay" community. 

Costs and Payments

The cost of this trip is $2,199 per person. There is no single supplement. Children under 15 years old are half price.

This does NOT include airfare to and from Finland.

Your space will be secured when we receive a  nonrefundable deposit of $500.

The balance is due two months before your departure (September. 21, 2023.)

Included and Excluded

This tour includes:

  • Five nights accommodation
  • Full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks)
  • Unlimited WIFI in all cottages
  • Three guided Northern Lights chasing tours
  •  Assistance with your photography
  • Village tour of Utsjoki
  • Tour of Northern Norway
  • Polar Plunge
  • King Crab feast
  • Reindeer feeding experience
  • Transfer to and from the airport and all activities 
  • Firewood for your outside fireplaces
  • 24/7 assistance by experienced guides

It does not include:

  • Flights
  • Optional activities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Alcohol
  • Tips for guides

How Do I Get There?

Utsjoki is such a great place to see the Northern Lights because it is in a remote area of Lapland close to the North Pole. Yup, this is Santa country!

We recommend you fly Finnair (through Helsinki) and then to  Ivalo airport, which is a 2.5 hour drive from the resort. Transportation to and from our location is included in the package. 

You should book a flight that arrives Ivalo Tuesday, November  21, 2023 around 1 p.m.  We pick you up from Ivalo airport at 1:30 pm on Tuesday. 

Departure flights should be scheduled on Sunday, Nov 26, 2023 around 1 p.m. We'll drop you off at the airport around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. 

Note that you might be better off arriving to Ivalo already on Monday, depending on your flights. 

If you are unsure about the flights – please contact us before booking your flight so that we can advise you.

Arctic Weather

November marks the arrival of winter in Utsjoki. The daily average temperature is around 26°F with highs of just 34°F. Overnight lows average 25°F.

November Is also the wettest month of the year here, which usually means snowfall. But snow is not guaranteed. There is a small chance that some winter activities (like snowshoeing and dogsledding) may not be possible if there isn’t enough snow. The Polar Night begins at the end of November. (The polar night is a phenomenon that occurs only inside the polar circles where nighttime lasts for more than 24 hours.) The sun won’t rise again until January

What Should I Pack?

When packing. for this trip, follow the Nordic saying: "There's no such thing as bad weather. There's only bad clothing." Weather conditions in Utsjoki, Lapland can change quickly and often, so you should bring many layers of warm, comfortable inner wear such as long johns, long sleeved shirts, and trousers. Here is a suggested packing list for your Lapland winter holiday: 

  • Insulated boots with good grip
  • Insulated jacket (preferably waterproof too)
  • Waterproof or snowproof trousers
  • Thermal underwear and base layers
  • Warm woollen or fleece jacket
  • Warm gloves, scarf and hat
  • Thin thermal gloves (ideal as a base layer under snowmobile gloves)
  • Warm woollen socks
  • Small backpack
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera with extra battery pack
  • Heat pads for hands and feet
  • A swimsuit if you're going to take a polar plunge in the ocean. (Towels and swimming footwear are provided)

Feeding the Family Reindeer!

The owners of Aurora Holidays are a traditional Sami reindeer herder family, and there are some resident reindeer around the resort. During the winter the reindeer are fed every day in their enclosure, and you’ll get to help us feed them!

Reindeer are not fully domesticated animals, and by nature do not like to be touched. But if they are feeling brave, they might eat directly out of your hand!

We respect their natural tendencies and will never force human interaction with them. 

Northern Norway & Polar Plunge

For his full-day trip, we leave the resort around 8:30 a.m., and drive to the picturesque village of Bugeynes, on the coast of the Arctic Ocean in Norway. We'll stop to admire and photograph the spectacular scenery along the way. The unique landscapes of the stunning Arctic coast will take your breath away! This day trip includes an opportunity to plunge into the clear frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean! This quick dip will be followed by a sauna, to warm you and bring calm to your very core.

On the way back, we'll take a boat trip to catch King crab, and then go to a sea-side bistro to feast on the crabs we catch! (Weather permitting). This trip can also be a vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free friendly, and we can work around physical disabilities. On the way back to Utsjoki, we'll look for northern lights along the way of course! 

Disclaimer: All activities are dependent on weather condition and availability. We reserve the right to make modifications for health or safety reasons.

Optional Activities

This package includes three nights of aurora chasing activities, a village tour of Utsjoki, a tour of northern Norway, a polar plunge, King Crab fishing and feast, and a daytime reindeer feeding activity. 

You can opt to spend the rest of your time relaxing in the resort. Or if you want something more active, we offer two optional activities:

* Snowshoeing

* Happy Huskies Dog Sledding

Optional: Snowshoeing

The snowshoeing hike is an ideal activity to enjoy the beautiful winter scenery here. Take a walk through the winter wonderland on snowshoes: it gives you the opportunity to see things you can’t see unless you go off the beaten paths. Our pace is slow and the terrain won’t be too difficult, so this is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. We will have a lunch break at our private hut with fireplace, where you can warm up and enjoy some hot drinks and snacks.  

3½ Hours, $80

Optional: Dogsledding in Arctic Forest

You'll have the option to experience the unique Arctic Taiga forest on a husky dogsledding trip (hiking if there is not enough snow). We partner with a responsible dog owner who started his husky company to rescue just one unwanted sled dog. You’ll feel invigorated and free speeding through the Taiga with these happy huskies! The dogs will shower you with affection by the fire after the sledding/walking,

You'll also explore the interactive Siida museum and nature center where you'll learn about the

indigenous Sami culture. (The Samis are the only indigenous people in Europe.) 

This day tour includes transportation, a guide who will be with you the entire day, the Taiga forest experience with huskies (hiking or sledding), Siida museum and nature center tour, and lunch, snacks and warm drinks.

9 hours, $260 

Travel Insurance

Bucket List Travel recommends travel insurance for all of our guests. Travel insurance provides financial protection for unexpected events that affect a trip, such as a cancellation, illness, or an injury that occurs during the trip, and may include coverage for trip expenses, medical emergencies, travel delays, and luggage.

We have partnered with a company called Travel Insurance Master, which works with 11 of the country’s best travel insurance providers to find the best plan and value for you so you don’t have to figure it out yourself. 

They take into account your age, trip cost, and the features you want, and present you with what they think is your best option, as well as several alternatives. You only pay the premium amount; there is no additional cost to you.

Take a look at Travel Insurance Master, and rest assured they’ll find you the best trip insurance for your needs.  https://travelinsurancemaster.com/a?5cc9488b-808d-4077-a31f-c22a7c47abd2 

Cancellations

If you cancel more than 60 days before arrival, you only lose your deposit.

  • 60 to 45 days before arrival - 50% of the full cost will be refunded
  • 44 to 31 days before arrival, 25% of the full cost will be refunded
  • Less than 30 days before the holiday is scheduled to start: no refunds.

If a person in your group must cancel, someone else can take their place for no extra charge. It is also possible to change the booking to another time, if there is availability.

What’s included

  • Accommodation
    Five nights in a private cottage for 1-4 people
  • Meals
    Full board (all 14 meals included)
  • Tours
    All tours provided by an English-speaking guide
  • Admissions
    Entrance fees to all sights in the itinerary
  • Ground transportation
    All transportation, in modern vehicles
  • Airport transfers
    We'll pick you up at the airport when you arrive, and when it's time for you to leave, we'll bring you back to the airport

What’s not included

  • Airfare
  • Tips
    Tips to guides
  • Specialty beverages
    Alcoholic beverages
  • Trip Insurance
  • Personal expenses

Available Packages

Trip Price
$2,199
Deposit: $500

Available options

Your Organizer


AE
Annie Emanuelli
24 reviews
Hi - I'm Annie, the founder of Bucket List Travel! Travel is my life! I left a 30+ year career as a corporate marketing exec to start my own travel business, taking people to Bucket List locations! I'd like to take you somewhere you've always dreamed of going. Stop dreaming, start packing!

Reviews

VD
Annie is a wonderful agent, met our every need on this amazing adventure in Finland. Hotel arrangements while visiting Helsinki were beyond my expectation, definitely 5 star accomodations. Then off to Ivalo, where again Aurora Holidays treated us like stars! Tina and all her staff, again went above and beyond. Food, accomodations and all our ventures out were amazing. Would highly recommend both if you have plans to see the Northern Lights!
By Valarie D for Northern Lights in Utsjoki, Finnish Lapland! on Dec 05, 2023
Valarie - I'm so happy you enjoyed our trip to Finland! It was a pleasure to meet you, and to travel with you. Oh, the wonders we saw! Hope to travel with you again soon! xoxo
By Annie Emanuelli on Dec 29, 2023
AE
BM
The trip was incredible and unforgettable. Annie has a passion for her work as trip organizer--she's knowledgeable, organized, and focused on each individual within the group that she leads. She makes the right connections with local hosts, in this case Tiina at Aurora Holidays, to make sure that the accommodations and meals were excellent. Daily activities were varied and fun, giving guests the option of taking part or having a day of rest. Highly, highly recommended!
By Bill M for Northern Lights in Utsjoki, Finnish Lapland! on Dec 04, 2023
Bill - it was such a joy to share Lapland with you! It delighted me to watch you discover the unique beauty of this very special place. I hope we can travel together again soon! xoxo
By Annie Emanuelli on Dec 29, 2023
AE
I don't even know where to start! This trip was jam packed with events, either included with the trip or optional, very affordable add-ons, and each was just an excellent, well managed experience! I arrived a few days early because I was coming in from a different direction; I was met at the airport by Mike Smith, who also accompanied me on some optional trips prior to the official trip beginning (Voortrekker Museum, Cullinan Diamond Mine, etc). Mike is an excellent guide and extremely knowledgeable! During the initial days I was based at the Protea Hotel, which is extremely well managed by Louise and her staff, so that too was a fantastic experience. The first phase of the trip was a flight to Zimbabwe, where we were met by Moses. I really enjoyed meeting Moses, especially since it was only a few days after the Zim elections. Our other guides were Profit and Tich, and they were also a joy to meet and hold conversations with. We were based in a lovely "lodge" which was more like a giant Air BnB in a residential neighborhood of "lodges;" it was an extremely safe environment although I'll admit I was a bit surprised as I'm more of a bush girl. We had an individual room which was gorgeous! Following a long walking tour of Victoria Falls (thrilling!), I did the optional helicopter ride of the falls. It was just 15 minutes but gave a brilliant perspective of what we had just walked. I also did the infamous "Devil's Fall," which is right where the Falls go over. It's not for the faint of heart, but I'm SO glad I did it!!! I was truly sorry to leave Zimbabwe, and would have gladly stayed a few more days. We flew out of Zimbabwe and went straight to a true bush lodge called Mziki, and it was true heaven! There were all kinds of events planned and late afternoon/evening safaris with sundowners. Morning safaris included hot coffee and/or tea plus some of the most delicious snacks I've ever had. Definitely did not want to leave Mziki; it was heaven! The staff was primarily Zola and Nathan, with Devon coming in towards the end. It was a very laid back existence, yet it also seemed like we had events planned all day, every day. I thought about planting my feet in cement when it came time to leave! From Mziki, we went to a new lodge called Candlewood, where "wild" animals roam freely. We had individual units which were simply huge, including a second bedroom for storing luggage, as well as a large veranda for sitting out and watching the wildlife. Zebra even roamed up to the guest pool to catch a quick drink of water, to the delight of children who were there! The food was fantastic, with one of the most delicious made to order omelets I've ever had. From Candlewood, we flew to Cape Town, where Amaan met us and because of the weather, reorganized the trip to something more amenable. We did wine tastings, and me, who hates red wine, ended up buying some of the most gorgeous red wine I've ever tasted! The properties we visited were very historic and Amaan was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the areas we toured. We saw two of the three baboon trips in one refuge, which was quite thrilling; another highlight was taking the funicular up to the top of Table Mountain which felt like being on top of the world! We also visited the Apartheid Museum which was very well done in terms of explaining the history of Nelson Mandela and the various political relationships he encountered in his life. I have left out so many things we did on this trip but it's already a very long review! I obviously highly recommend the trip; there was nothing that wasn't well planned and well thought out, and even if there was a hiccup (which is going to happen because "This is Africa," it was immediately correctly, seamlessly. I can't say enough good things about Annie Emmanuelli of Bucket List Travel, as well as Tim and Mike Smith of Wildside Tours and Safaris. Mike Smith was the one we primarily were with on the ground, and he was the most chillaxed person...which was the perfect personality for a trip to Africa!
By Donna M for Sept 3-14, 2023: South Africa! on Sep 24, 2023
This trip was A LIFE CHANGER! I have dreamed of going to Africa for years and thanks to Annie, it became a reality. From start to finish, she answered every question I had and prepped us all for what we needed for this trip. I felt completely safe and taken care of the whole time. Our guides along the trip were amazing and felt like friends by the end! Every day was planned to the fullest experience and you truly get the bang for your buck! The food, culture, animals, lodges were all amazing. Going on game rides is an experience I’ll never forget. Seeing the animals in their natural habitat is a true gift. I 1000% will come back to Africa with Annie and can not recommend this trip enough.
By Ximena G for May 14-25, 2023: South Africa! on Jun 07, 2023
Thank you, Annie for this wonder-filled adventure! From Victoria Falls to Johannesburg and Cape Town, the thrills never stopped. The trip was well-organized, and details managed so we just had to show up and enjoy the safaris and game drives, hikes, boat rides, helicopter and hot air balloon rides, wine-tastings, meals…. It was truly a glorious three weeks that exceeded my expectations and left me with wonderful memories and photos.
By Dena S for May 14-25, 2023: South Africa! on Jun 04, 2023
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References

NG
I just returned from a once in a lifetime trip to Cairo organized by Bucket List Travel. Annie took care of every detail of planning, and it really showed when I got off the plane and was taken care of from start to finish with the greatest care. Our guide Yasser was kind, professional, knowledgeable, and funny! He went above and beyond to ensure every need was met and we got the most out of each day in Egypt. I always felt safe and loved experiencing local life and culture. I plan to grab my friends and book again with Bucket List Travel!
By Noel G on 05 Feb, 2020