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5 days - Aurora Glass Cabin | Snow Hotel | Northern Lights - Ivalo to Kirkenes
Visit one of the northernmost inhabited areas in the world and experience a unique Sami culture, amazing scenery and exhilarating winter activities with this short highlights tour. Spend a night in the magical Kirkenes Snow Hotel,and try your hand at dog-sledding, arctic king crab fishing and reindeer sledding. If conditions are right — be dazzled by the northern lights, preferably on the night you are sleeping in an Aurora Glass Cabin in Northern Finland.
This tour can also be done in reverse, starting in Kirkenes.
- Catch some Arctic King Crab and sit with others to enjoy the feast afterwards by the fire
- Dress warmly and go Aurora Borealis hunting by Reindeer Sled
- Stay in two unique Northern hotels, Aurora Village and the Gamme Cabins or a snow room in Kirkenes
- Opportunity for spotting the Northern Lights
- Day 1
- Arrive in Ivalo and settle into your Aurora Glass Cabin
- Day 2
- Husky Safari and then Aurora Hunting by car in the evening
- Day 3
- Snowmobile adventure, then a Reindeer Safari with local farm visit
- Day 4
- Transfer to Kirkenes and explore the Snowhotel
- Day 5
- Arctic King Crab Safari and depart
- Start Place
- Ivalo, Finland tours
- End Place
- Kirkenes, Norway tours
- Destinations Visited
- Finland tours
- Norway tours
- 5 Days
- Easy independent holiday suitable for singles, couples & families
- All hotel accommodation in shared double/twin room with private facilities, single supplement available
- 3 nights in an Aurora Glass Cabin, breakfast and dinner included
- Kirkenes Stay: Gamme cabins or a snow room option available 20DEC to 20APR, dinner included
- Daily breakfast
- Bus transfers between Kirkenes and Ivalo
- Included Activities: Arctic King Crab Safari, Husky safari (2 hrs), Snow mobile safari, Reindeer Farm Visit and Aurora Hunting by snowmobile
- Outdoor clothing for winter activities/safaris (winter boots, balaclavas, woolen socks, mittens, overalls, tube scarf) at the Aurora Cabins
- Sparkling piccolo bottle, water bottle, tea, coffee and sweets as complimentary arrival treats in your room at Aurora Cabins
- Toboggans, sleds, sliders, ice-skates, cross-country skis, kick-sledges and outdoor games are available complimentary at the Aurora Glass Cabin.
- 24-hour emergency service
- Taxes and service fees
Flights, meals other than specified, winter clothing (thermal overall & boots) for the entire stay, items of personal nature, beverages, additional activities such as icefishing, horse riding or overnight safaris.
Please note that additional nights can be added either in Kirkenes or Ivalo.
If you would prefer a private transfer between Kirkenes and Ivalo, we can do this for an additional cost.
A Norwegian coastal cruise between Kirkenes and Tromsø can be added where possible.
Day 1 - Arrive in Ivalo and settle into your Aurora Glass Cabin
Transfer to your hotel and check in to your Aurora Glass Cabin where you will be spending the next three nights!
Dinner at the hotel then get ready for your night in under the stars - and hopefully the Northern Lights.
Finnish Aurora Glass Cabins provides 'one-of-a kind' opportunities to admire the Northern Lights and millions of stars in the crystal clear sky while enjoying a comfortable room temperature. Built with a massive special thermal glass window facing sky wards, the temperature inside the cabin always stays at a normal level. It also prevents the glass from not getting white frosted, hence keeping the view clear even when the temperature outside drops to under -30°C.
Day 2 - Husky Safari and then Aurora Hunting by car in the evening
After breakfast, get ready for today's husky safari - an unforgettable journey through breathtaking winter scenery.
On arrival to the husky farm we will provide you with a warm outer thermal suit, gloves and hat and then we will present your very own husky team. You will be given a lesson on how to drive the sledge and how to observe important hand signals given by your leader.
Each team consists of about six dogs, you, the driver, and your passenger, who is comfortably seated in the wooden sledge. The driver and the passenger can change places during the safari.
In the evening, join a Northern Lights search. After some research on the weather forecast, your guides will take a car and drive it to places where the sky is most clear and the probability of seeing the Northern Lights is highest. Your experienced guide, a professional Aurora Hunter has some interesting stories to tell as you drink hot drinks and snacks along the way.
AccommodationAurora Double Cabin
Day 3 - Snowmobile adventure, then a Reindeer Safari with local farm visit
Rise and shine - get ready for adventures after breakfast. Driving through the arctic winter forests across the frozen river while admiring the beauty of the Lappish nature your guide leads your way on an exciting snowmobile safari. Keep your camera with you! There are a couple of stops for taking amazing photos and chatting with your guide about life in Lapland.
This afternoon, you will drive to a reindeer farm in the fell region of Saariselkä to enjoy a calm 45-minute ride in a sleigh pulled by a reindeer, followed by hot drinks and stories about reindeer herding.
AccommodationAurora Double Cabin
Day 4 - Transfer to Kirkenes and explore the Snowhotel
Transfer by shuttle bus door to door from Ivalo to Kirkenes (3.4 - 4 hrs). Along the way, stop in Inari for lunch and a guided tour at Sami Siida Museum - the national museum of the Sámi and a national special museum in Finland. The guide will help you to have an in-depth view of Siida’s permanent exhibitions. Siida’s exhibition tours cover the permanent exhibitions of the house.
Every room in Kirkenes Snowhotel is like a small treasure. The rooms are equipped with everything needed for a comfortable night in the somewhat extreme conditions. The pictures look like you are sleeping on ice, but that would be too cold and too hard for your back. The beds are framed with ice blocks and the beds have comfortable mattresses with thermal insulation on top. You sleep inside a sleeping bag graded for -35 degrees celcius. However, snow is a very good insulator, so even when it's -35 degrees outside, the Snowhotel remains a stable -4 degrees.
Upon entering the gates of the Snowhotel, you will receive a welcome drink at the snowbar, made from berries collected from surrounding hills. It will then be time to make the ‘coolest’ hotel check-in around!
Your evening will then progress to a delicious 3 course dinner. The food served is charmingly traditional and locally sourced. Your guide will be available to help you prepare for the evening ahead, making sure you are as comfortable as possible. After dinner you will have the opportunity to walk around the snowhotel and say hello to our resident reindeers, and with any luck, catch a glimpse of the northern lights.
There are two options for your accommodation - either a snowroom or a gamme cabin.
TransportationTransfer by mini-coach
Day 5 - Arctic King Crab Safari and depart
Today you will join an Arctic King Crab Safari - a very popular highlight for our travellers north. *Note - this tour can be either Day 4 or Day 5 depending on availability.
The Arctic King Crab is a sought after delicacy and you will learn how to catch, prepare and eat them. Your guide takes you out and you can lend a hand in sawing through the ice before your guide attempts to land you a few of these massive crustaceans. Enjoy the day's catch for lunch seated by a cosy fire in a small local farmhouse by the lake. You will travel to the lake by snowmobile sleigh.
Price per person, twin share.
18 Dec 2022
18 Dec 2022
6 Jan 2023
6 Jan 2023
31 Mar 2023
31 Mar 2023
Please note that this tour can also be run in reserve, starting in Kirkenes.
Your glass igloo hosts in Ivalo were the first accommodation in Northern Lapland to receive the Green Key award, the leading standard for excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry. This prestigious eco-label represents a commitment by businesses that their premises adhere to the strict criteria set by the Foundation for Environmental Education. Some examples of how they carry this out include offering recycling facilities in all cabins and no longer offering plastic bottles in accommodations, along with protecting the diversity of the surrounding nature, i.e., bird house and insect hotels. Hiking, biking, and skiing tracks are direct from the hotel and as such they encourage low carbon activities such as snowshoeing and toboggans.
Interactive Tour Map
Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours with 50 Degrees North. Please ensure that you have this organised as we will need to see proof of this upon issuing your tour documentation. Please contact us for a quote or visit http://www.suresave.net.au/
Practical information about Scandinavian Hotels
- Hotel rooms in Scandinavia are normally furnished with twin beds, which can be moved together to form a double bed or placed separately. Please note that single rooms are generally smaller than doubles, and are often equipped with a shower instead of a bath. Purpose-built triple or family rooms are likewise unusual in Scandinavian hotels. Whilst it is possible for 3 persons to share a room, this will normally be a double room with an extra bed, with correspondingly less space to move about in.
- It is also unusual to have a porter at hotels to carry your luggage.
- There is free wi-fi in many hotels in Scandinavia.
- Unexpectedly, all forms of Scandinavian accommodation rarely provide tea and coffee facilities in their rooms. If you are lucky, a kettle will be supplied but nothing else. Please ask at reception for some provisions when you arrive or just carry a small selection from home.
- Please also note that in Scandinavia - in particular, during winter - the included lunch will often be a hearty warm soup with bread.
- More remote hotels in Lapland will offer dinner at an additional cost. In some spots, there will be limited choices else where. Generally, you get a very nice home-cooked Scandinavian dinner. However, you may sometimes find only one or two choices only for your main course.
- In Scandinavia, it is normal for washing and laundry facilities to be in the basement. If you are staying in apartment type accommodation, check downstairs or ask for assistance.
Practical budgeting information before your departure to Norway
Norway has a few items that typically surprise travellers when visiting Norway for the first time. Alcohol and luxury items are heavily taxed and therefore prices are higher than you would expect. On the other hand, necessities such as bread and milk, are taxed low and therefore are great value.
We recommend that you bring all the alcohol you’re allowed to bring into the country when you arrive. There are many lovely parks and balconies where you can enjoy your duty free. However, be sure not to bring more than you’re allowed!
As of May 2014, the allowances according to Visit Norway are:
Minimum age: 18/ 20*
1 litre of beverages with more than 22% up to and including 60% alcohol per volume as well as 1½ litre with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume or three litres with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume
2 litres of beer with more than 2.5 % or other beverages with more than 2.5% up to and including 4.7% alcohol per volume.
This means that you may for example bring with you five litres of beer provided you do not have any other alcoholic beverages with you.
*For importing alcoholic beverages with more than 22% alcohol per volume the minimum age is 20.
It’s illegal to bring extra alcohol into Norway and can end up costing you. Another thing you should bring and not buy in Norway is razor blades. Good razor blades in Norway are expensive.
Practical Information for travelling and packing for Scandinavian Winter
- Warm wind and water proof jacket and trousers large enough to fit thick woollen jumper/clothing underneath
- Rain trousers – waterproof and breathable material
- Warm windproof cap/hat
- Warm gloves or mittens. Mittens where all fingers except the thumb are together are often warmer than gloves.
- Windproof gloves or mittens, which you can pull over the warm gloves
- Warm scarf
- 2 pairs of long woollen underwear (Merino wool in a few different thicknesses is perfect)
- 1-2 warm woollen jumper(s), or one jumper and a warm fleece
- Woollen or fleece trousers
- 2-3 pairs of warm woollen socks
- Warm & sturdy footwear with good grip
- Clothes for indoors, i.e. a shirt, T-shirts and jeans or cotton trousers
- Back pack for day trips (approx. 30 litre)
- Light footwear/trainers (mainly for indoors)
- Sun screen & Lip salve (the sun reflects off the snow and the air is dry)
- Hand warmers
- Nordic Grip anti-slip soles for walking on ice
- Personal medication
- Water bottle - thermo, or include a cover to keep warm (or you can stick it into a warm sock)
- Travel documents (including insurance)
- Photo ID
- Note book and pencil
- Camera, memory cards and charger
- Chargers for other gadgets
- Extra batteries for your cameras as they are used fast in cold conditions.
General information about staying at the Kirkenes Snowhotel
First the Kirkenes Snowhotel engineers produce a lot of snow with water, cold air and snow-machines. Then they inflate a large balloon and cover this with snow. When this balloon is totally compacted with 2 metres of snow, they then deflate the balloon and remove it, leaving a circular room. For the corridors, they construct wooden frames and also cover them in snow before removing them.
Kirkenes Showhotel opens each year around 20 December and closes on the 20 April.
The temperature inside is a constant minus 4 degrees Celsius.
There are 20 bedrooms with normal mattresses. On top of the mattress is an extra thermal insulation layer. You are also provided a sleeping bag made for extreme expeditions, rated for minus 30 degrees celsius. Most guests however, find that it can get too hot inside the sleeping bag.
In the marketing pictures, it looks like the beds are made of ice! However, they have cleverly placed ice-blocks around the beds to create the illusion of an ice-bed! Sleeping directly on ice would be a bit drastic and not very comfortable.
Every room is decorated differently which is why there is also different lighting used to create a different atmosphere. The lights are LED which gives off very little heat. For security reasons the lights are not switched off. We advise using eye covers to sleep if a small amount of light bothers you.
There have nice bathrooms, showers and a sauna in the building next to the Snowhotel. So you have to leave your sleeping bag for a few minutes. Brrr....
It is usually couples. Average age is around 45, however their oldest guest has been 92 years old! Each year, the Kirkenes Snowhotel sees marriage proposals being made and of course, in such a beautiful place, weddings for many happy couples take place.
Yes. The Snowhotel is constructed to the calculations and standards made by a Finnish professor of snow building. The Snowhotel is still standing a month after they close for the season, even with the warmer weather!
People with claustrophobia have had trouble sleeping in the Snowhotel. There is also a minimum age of 7 years to stay in the snowhotel. There is a warm lobby available in case people may feel uncomfortable during their night’s stay.