Everything about the Lapland & the Arctic north is incredible! And what if it offers one but a plenty of once in a lifetime experience? You’d simply go for it, right? And that’s what we did! Although both us had travelled alone to some of these Nordic countries before, we decided yet to go there again & relive some mesmerizing experiences together. We slept in a glass igloo under the northern lights, rode on snowmobiles, went for a spin with the huskies, tobogganed down ice slides, spent a night at the Ice hotel & of course met the original Santa Claus! So, here’s more we would like to share to inspire to take this trip😊
We flew into Ivalo airport from Stockholm. (If you fly from Helsinki, there is a direct flight). Upon arrival, we get to know that my (Yesha) baggage didn’t arrive. And what a nightmare as all my winter gear was in it. Luckily, I was wearing most of the essential so we could manage but I would certainly recommend keeping some extra warm wears in your carry on. We arrived at the Kakslauttanen Arctic resort by afternoon which is also their check in time.
This resort is right in between the Arctic Forest, you just cannot find a man or vehicle outside the hotel. In the evening it was so peaceful with thousands of stars shining above you. A memory that you just cannot forget. And guess what, they appeared, yes the Aurora Borealis! It was so beautiful that we just stood there and kept staring without moving an inch. They have an alarm set in the room so as & when the lights appear it will beep. We could hear it several times in the night and would just lie on our bed and watch them without having so many layers on.
The next day we enjoyed our breakfast & left for the Official hometown of the Santa Claus. We took a public bus to Rovaniemi & then checked into Arctic City hotel. This hotel is quite decently priced for the rooms and location. Its in the city center and very easy access to restaurants and public transport.
Later in the afternoon, we headed to Santa Claus village. This place is usually very lively and it was my third time here and I was surprised to see how fast they’ve grown. It is always charming to meet the Santa Claus in his office. The post office in the village is extremely cute to send postcards to your loved one from the Arctic circle. We can’t imagine how this place would look like in Christmas when everyday feels so festive here. Rovaniemi has some really nice places to eat & since I have been here before I exactly knew where to take Shobhit. And none other than Café 21 was topping the chat. Amazing place for sweet & savoury waffles and some best cocktails & coffee in town. I know it sounds funny how the same place serves great coffee & cocktails!
Shobhit is in general fond of animals and he was super excited to make a visit to the Arctic Ranua zoo with many species of arctic animals including the Polar bear! We just loved this place since its an open air zoo with some very beautiful landscapes to admire. Unfortunately, Shobhit had to get back to work so he left after spending 4 days in the arctic. And I love this place, so I decided to hang around and visit my friends around.
A very surreal experience that I signed myself was for the Arctic ice floating. You take a dip into an icy cold lake with a dry suit, floating over and gasping in some beautiful scenery! And then of course not missing out on my favourite activity- Snowmobiling in the Arctic forest!
After spending 4 days in Rovaniemi with Shobhit, I headed to the world famous Icehotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden. In my last visit, I had visited the Arctic Snowhotel around Rovaniemi, but I must say the Sweden one was simply mind blowing. The views in the evening looked like right out of a fairy-tale.
There is a 45 mins guided tour in English conducted twice a day so make sure you arrive by that time where they will explain you about the whole place. It’s quite interesting to know that every year the whole structure melts and new artists participate in a contest by submitting their designs. There is also Icehotel 365 which is open year round.
This is hotel is fully made of ice- everything- the bedroom, bar, the entrance.. It was just an unreal moment. All the cold rooms are different every year. Just so fascinating!
I booked a Northern Lights Photography tour. When I visited first in 2015 with my parents, we stayed 3 nights in Abisko considering it being one of the best places to view the lights but to my disappointment we didn’t see anything spectacular! And this time too I had no hopes to see anything as it kept on snowing all the time since the time, I arrived to the Icehotel. But our guide didn’t cancel the tour & she was very positive. We drove all the way to Abisko to find some clear sky & no snowfall. We got to a dark spot right outside the village and waited couple of hours for clouds to clear and could see some stars. Yet nothing showed up & we packed all our cameras & were ready to leave. And then, the lady shows up. It goes so much better every minute that all of us were dumbstruck. Didn’t want to set our cameras again and just wanted to admire the beauty.
It was the best show of the entire month and everyone would talk about it! We could see so many different formations and see them dance over our heads. That night we got back to the hotel at 3 am. It was so far the best evening & I really missed Shobhit as both of us have seen the Aurora many times but always waited to watch it together when they were so strong.
The next morning my friend from Norway came all the way to Icehotel to drive to his beautiful city- Tromso- The Paris of North! It was a long drive with scenic views of the Fjords. We stopped at Polar Park quickly to grab some food & of course see the Wolves. Interacting with the wolves has been high on my list but want to experience with Shobhit 😊. I was lucky to also get a chance to visit the Wolf Lodge which is the most expensive Lodges to stay in the world. A chalet where you wake up to the wolves. A pack of 5 wolves surrounded by your lodge & you get to learn more & interact with them.
I planned to spend 4 days in my favourite Norwegian town Tromso before I headed to Czech Republic to meet Shobhit again. Spent 3 evenings chasing the lights and got to witness them each day. We love going out with dogs & the Alaskan huskies here love to take you out for a spin too. They are always to happy & excited to ride. These aethletic robust huskies need at least a 5 km run each day for them to be fit. You can go sledding in the beautiful alps and watch the sun go down if you’re lucky!
Again, this town has some really good places to eat & drink. And surprisingly we saw an upscale Indian restaurant called Indie so we decided to try since I had been craving Indian food for quite some days now! And not to forget the town has great views from the fjellheisen cable car to not miss.