6 of our Favourite Experiences to have in Arctic Europe

Monday, 31st August 2020

Doug Kington

nellim aurora bubble view

To visit Arctic Europe is to stand on the edge of a towering cliff at the northernmost point on mainland Europe. It’s about sleeping on a bed of ice or navigating frozen lakes with reigns between your fingers. Here are 6 of our favourite one-and-only Arctic experiences you can have in this unique place…

1. Husky Sledding through the Arctic

finnish lapland husky safari from beana laponia

Energetic Huskies, a sled, pine trees, fresh water, and plenty of snow and cold air to kick your body into gear — really, that’s all you need. A camera is optional, but recommended. After all, when’s the next time you’ll be caught sitting on a reindeer hide behind four extra-fluffy dogs running through the winter wilderness?

At places like Alta, Malagen Resort or Nellim in Finland, along with other spots around the region, you can arrange multi-day expeditions. You’ll cross lakes and rivers and will experience a true adventure in a true winter wonderland.

2. Stay in an aurora bubble

nellim aurora bubble

Up in the northern reaches of Finnish Lapland, the Nellim Wilderness Hotel has a handful of glass-domed cabins where guests can watch the Northern Lights—visible almost 200 nights a year—while sheltered from the -22°F winds outside. Feast on traditional Lappish cuisine like reindeer meat and smoked fish at the on-site restaurant, then retire to your igloo-like room, with decor inspired by indigenous Sami culture. Whilst there’s no guarantee you’ll see the aurora, but with the Murmansk border just eight miles away, you can almost see Russia.

3. Watch out for the northern lights at wilderness Camp Nikka

malangen resort nikka camp people watching aurora

Situated on the shores of picturesque Lake Nikka, Camp Nikka is Malangen Resort’s very own wilderness camp. Neither of the camp’s lavvus have electricity, making it the perfect place from which to view the aurora, unobstructed by artificial light. Wrap up warm beneath reindeer skin rugs and sip coffee brewed on an open fire while you wait for the Northern Lights to make their riotous appearance.

4. Sleep in an igloo

sorrisniva igloo hotel ice chapel

A normal hotel is where you sleep and nothing more…but this is no normal hotel. You’ll lie in bed staring at the ice ceiling, snuggled deep into your sleeping bag (that can handle temps down to -15°F), spending ages totally transfixed by the steam coming out of your mouth. You’re not dreaming — this is the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel (27,000 square feet of ice and snow), and it’s the northernmost ice hotel in the world.

5. Journey to the North Cape in Norway

northern norway midnight sun north cape vnor

Breathe in the Arctic wind as you stand on a cliff 1,007 feet above the sea at North Cape, where the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans meet. Situated on the island of Magerøya, this is the northernmost point in mainland Europe. Visit around the summer solstice to watch the sun (never) go down.

“Excitement bubbles start in your belly as you walk up to the globe that marks the most northerly point of mainland Europe. Looking out across the cliff top, the panoramic views are breath taking. If you can resist the urge, however, walk through the visitor centre first, watch the 20-minute film about the history of the North Cape, and then stroll outside to the globe. it will be much quieter and you will get some fantastic photos with less people in them.”

 

6. Sleep in a room made entirely of ice

swedish lapland icehotel29 art suite haven ak
Haven Art Suite by Jonas Johansson, Jordi Claramunt & Lukas Petko

Bring your warmest long underwear, lie down on the reindeer hide, and zip up the sleeping bag… Spending the night in a room at Icehotel 365 (the world’s first hotel made of ice and snow, where the temperature’s always 17-23°F) means you’ll be falling asleep while watching the steam of your own breath. The Art Suites in Icehotel 365 are uniquely designed and built entirely of ice and snow according to the same concept as the classic, vinter hotel.

This solar-run hotel is situated in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, about 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Best of all, you don’t have to wait till the middle of winter to feel like Elsa — the hotel’s open throughout the year.

“The very first Icehotel was the result of friends Par Granlund and Yngve Bergqvist’s vision to build an igloo that would be a meeting place which would cross cultural boundaries and symbolise local traditions, nature, history and the environment. The little town of Jukkasjarvi, which actually means ‘meeting place by the lake’, has been a centre for trade and commerce amongst the native Sami for around 400 years – now it would attract ice artists and visitors from around the globe. Their vision has been brought to life, year after year, on the banks of the frozen River Torne. The first igloo, a simple art gallery, had just 50 square meters of floor space, visited mainly by curious locals. Growing in size annually in a never-to-be-repeated design, ice rooms were included in the late nineties and the Icehotel remains one of the most spectacular art galleries in the world.”  

Feeling Inspired?

If you have any questions about any of our Arctic Experiences or want to get your own holiday underway, call us on 01737 886 243 or you can email our travel specialists to start discussing your options.

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