1. Day 1: Friday Arrival to Helsinki

    Arrival in Helsinki. You will be met at Helsinki airport and transferred to your hotel. Check into your hotel room from 14:00 onwards and spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

    Helsinki is situated along several peninsulas and islands along the Gulf of Finland. Nowadays, the greater Helsinki area has a total population of over 1 million, with hyper modern suburbs spread over 764 square km.

    Most of the city’s main attractions are in a compact central area, the historical centre of the city, easily accessible by walking from your centrally located hotel.

  2. Day 2: Saturday Helsinki: Sightseeing of the capital of Finland

    During a comprehensive guided sightseeing tour, you see the marvel-white neoclassical Helsinki Cathedral, topped with its iconic green dome, the nearby Senate Square, and only few hundred meters away the Finnish Orthodox cathedral with an ornate exterior & lavish interior decoration. A contrast is the modern Rock Church, 1969 built into solid rock, and fascinating by its simple Nordic design. In the afternoon we take a tram to the Design Museum which showcases the development of the legendary Nordic design.

    In the evening, you board the Santa Claus Express night train of Finish Railways northbound for Rovaniemi in Lapland (900 km). On the way to the north, the train passes endless numbers of lakes and forests.

  3. Day 3: Sunday Rovaniemi: City at the Arctic Circle and Santa Claus’ Home

    After a 12-hour overnight train journey, we arrive in the morning in Rovaniemi, the informal capital of Finnish Lapland, which is the Arctic part of the country, situated at the Arctic Circle.

    Rovaniemi nowadays is the gateway to Lapland. The city was all but razed by the retreating German army in 1944. The famous Finish architect Alvar Aalto directed its rebuilding, introducing an unusual street layout. From the air, the layout was designed to mimic the shape of reindeer antlers.

    We start exploring Lapland with a visit to the stylish Arktikum Museum which showcases all aspects of the life in the Arctic region – the people, the culture, the nature, the wildlife. In the afternoon, we visit the legendary Santa Claus village, located just a few km outside the city, exactly at the Arctic Circle. Here Santa Claus has its official residence – visited by tourists from all over the world every winter. There are many attractions like reindeers, huskies – you will have the entire afternoon for exploring the area.

    Finland’s and Sweden’s northernmost regions are called Lapland. This Arctic region is well known for its polar phenomena such as the midnight sun and polar night, but also for its cold and wintry climate, coupled with its relative abundance of conifer trees such as pines and spruces. Lapland has become associated with Christmas in some countries since 1927, when Finnish radio host Markus Rautio said that Santa Clause lived on Korvatunturi, a mountain in the region. Later, Rovaniemi staked a claim as Santa's "official hometown" and developed the Santa Claus Village attraction to encourage tourism.

    In the evening, we go outside the city to chase the Northern Lights together with a professional photographer.

  4. Day 4: Monday Rovaniemi

    A one-hour drive takes you to Ranua Arctic Wildlife Park which specializes in arctic and northern animal species, with a history of almost 40 years. The animals’ spacious enclosures are in the middle of the northern coniferous forest, which is also the natural environment for most of the species living in the park.

    Ranua Wildlife Park is home to Finland’s only polar bear and 50 other arctic and northern animal species, a total of about 150 individual animals. A guided tour will show you polar bear, brown bear, wolf, lynx, wolverine, reindeer, moose, arctic fox, eagle, owl, beaver and much more.

    In the afternoon, we visit a husky farm where you can enjoy a short husky sledge ride and learn about these wonderful animals which prefer to live in the cold Arctic region and like to run.

    In the evening, we have a 2nd chance watching the Northern Lights.

  5. Day 5: Tuesday Rovaniemi – Kiruna: Driving from Finland to Sweden through the snow-covered winter wonderland (345 km)

    On a five-hour drive by bus with a lunch stop on the way through Lapland, we pass through a scenery of an endless winter miracle. Trees overloaded with snow, offer a fascinating scenery in the wilderness of Lapland’s Tundra.

    Tonight, we will have the 3rd chance watching the Northern Lights, this time in the outskirts of Kiruna where our hotel is located.

  6. Day 6: Wednesday Kiruna: Excursion to Jukkasjärvi

    Kiruna is the northernmost town in Sweden. The city was originally built in the 1890s to serve the Kiruna Iron Mine. Now it is home of LKAB, a state-owned mining company, one of the pillars of Sweden’s Industry.

    In the Morning, we visit the stunning wooden church in the city centre and continue to the open-air Sami Museum in nearby village Jukkasjärvi where we are introduced by local Sami people to their culture and history.

    Lapland is the home of the indigenous people named Sami. The Sami used to live as nomads and reindeer herders. The Sami are Finno-Ugric-speaking people inhabiting the northern region of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and of the Murmansk Oblast, Russia. Traditionally, the Sami have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding. Their best-known means of livelihood is seminomadic reindeer herding. For traditional, environmental, cultural, and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved for only Sámi in some regions of the Nordic countries.

    In the afternoon, we visit the Snow Hotel which was the first and largest hotel made of ice and snow. A guided tour to the spectacular frozen structure ends in the ice bar, where even the glasses are made of ice.

    Tonight, we will have the th chance watching the Northern Lights, again in the outskirts of Kiruna where our hotel is located.

  7. Day 7 : Thursday Kiruna – Narvik: Iron Ore Railway along the Ofot-Fjord (169 km)

    For transportation of the iron ore to the harbours of Lulea and Narvik, the “Malmbanan” (Iron Ore Railway) was constructed. By 1899, the line to Lulea was inaugurated, and from 1903, all the way to Narvik in Norway (called “Ofoten Railway” from the border to Narvik) was operating as well.

    In the Morning, you will take a train on the 169 km long section from Kiruna to Narvik. The journey takes 3 hours, passing Abisko at Lake Torneträsk and Rombaksfjord, with gorgeous views on the Fjord while the train meanders along the fjord to down to Narvik, which is a harbour city at the Atlantic coast.

    Narvik was developed as an all-year ice-free port for the Swedish Kiruna and Gällivare iron mines. The history of modern Narvik begins in the 1870s, when the Swedish government began to understand the potential of the iron ore mines in Kiruna, Sweden. Obtaining iron ore from Kiruna had one significant problem in that there was no suitable Swedish port. The nearest Swedish port, Luleå, had limitations. It was covered with ice all winter, it is far from Kiruna, and it allows only medium-sized bulk freight vessels. Narvik offered a port which is ice-free thanks to the warm Gulf Stream. During WW2 Narvik was heavily bombed by the German
    army. Still today you can see a parts of the sunken German submarine in the Fjord when traveling by train to Narvik.

    The afternoon is time at leisure. As the city is small, the centre can easily be explored by walking.

    In the evening, a cable car takes us up to Narvikfjellet Mountain from where a great view on the city and the fjord is – and hopefully we will have the 5th chance watching the Northern Lights. Let’s cross fingers!

  8. Day 8: Friday Narvik – Oslo: Flight to Norways’s capital

    Enjoy a leisurely morning with a visit to the Narvik Museum showcasing the local history, before continuing the journey in the afternoon on a 2-hour flight northbound to Norways’s capital Oslo.

  9. Day 9: Saturday Oslo: Sightseeing of the capital of Norway, and departure home

    Oslo, Norway's vibrant capital, is situated between scenic fjords. In a 3-hour morning city sightseeing walking tour we discover the sightseeing highlights of the city centre: the ultra-modern Opera house near the railway station, Akers Fort, City Hall, Nobel Peace Centre, Royal Palace.

    With check-out of the hotel at 12:00 our tour through the 3 Northern European countries will come to end.

    We wish you a happy flight back home!

Next departures
Dates Price  
Feb 7, 2025 - Feb 15, 2025

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