There are some places on earth that you know you really need to visit but you never get round to it or there's always an excuse or another beach holiday that gets in the way. But when we say that the Arctic Circle is somewhere you really need to visit, we mean it.
We have just spent four days in Lapland, in northern Finland, immersing ourselves in the natural beauty and stunning scenery it has to offer.
Staying at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, we visited during the height of summer which meant that we were there to enjoy the midnight sun being so far north that the sun never sets. In winter, the opposite is true with darkness being prevalent the whole time but the light being provided by the inches of snow on the ground.
From London, we flew to Helsinki where we took a short flight to Ivalo which takes you deep into the Arctic Circle. A short transfer takes you to the resort which is in the middle of nowhere. The founder, now in his 70s but very much still hands on with the resort and its development plans, greeted us personally. You could be forgiven for thinking that Jussi Eiramo is Santa Claus himself, with a grey beard and jolly personality. He was on a trip over 40 years ago when he broke down at the side of the road in Kakslauttanen and fell in love with the place and its natural beauty and decided to move his family there and start a business which he has built into one of the most iconic resorts in the world.
In terms of the options of where to stay there are many. You can choose from log cabins to glass igloos or you can opt for a kelo glass igloo which combines the two and offers you its own private sauna, kitchenette and a bed under the glass igloo which allows you in winter to look up and sleep under the northern lights.
Here is our tour of the stunning kelo glass igloos.
But the beauty of Kakslauttanen is that although it is a popular tourist destination it retains its original appeal and even in peak season you can still feel like you are escaping the world to a place far far away.
Our first evening saw us experience a husky safari which involved climbing a moutain ably assisted by beautiful dogs who have more energy than a human on the best of days. Even when the ascent got tricky, the dogs helped you on.
Later in the day, we visited a viewing point to watch the midnight sun. It may sound no different from watching the sunset at any other place on earth but there is something truly magical about knowing that it is midnight and it is still fully light.
The following day we travelled to the Lemmenjoki National Park by boat. In the heart of the forest we found waterfalls, hiking trails and log cabins (which you are able to stay in for a night free of charge). We were taken into the park by one of the Sami people, an indigenous group of people who remain traditional to this day.
We enjoyed reindeer soup whilst our guide (who also happens to be a reindeer herder) sang a yoik, which is a traditional Sami song.
In terms of a destination, Finnish Lapland is one of the best for viewing the Northern Lights. Imagine sleeping under the aurora borealis at the world famous igloo hotel. Whilst there you can enjoy a trip to meet Santa (Team OOO met the big boss and he gave us presents!) or whole host of outdoor activities from quad biking, husky riding, white water rafting, horseback riding, reindeer safari, ice fishing, gold panning, hiking and canoeing.
This trip to Lapland is ideal for couples looking for romance or those with kids looking to experience Santa's magic. Give us a call now to speak to one of our expert team or enquire on our Lapland igloo hotel page.