Peter had wanted to experience the sight of the Northern Lights for many years. This long-awaited family trip was to enjoy the snow activities and the wonders of Finnish Lapland…
When we booked in early 2020 for a family Lapland Christmas adventure together, we couldn’t have imagined that it would be almost two years later that we would finally get there. I am pleased to report that it was well worth the wait.
The municipality of Enontekiö is in the Finnish part of Lapland, situated in the outermost northwest of the country, occupying a large and sparsely populated area between the Swedish and Norwegian border.
We arrived after a good flight out and the Hotel Jussantupa was only a 15-minute drive from the airport, although we stopped en route to get fitted with snowsuits and boots, which we lived in the entire time when not in the hotel.
Incredibly, the Northern Lights were clearly visible on our very first night, we just had to walk down a track opposite the hotel and out onto the frozen lake for a wonderful view. Unfortunately, because of the thick cloud over the following days, they didn’t appear again, so we were fortunate and mighty happy to have experienced that.
The original hotel we had booked was in Sweden but, due to Covid, we found ourselves relocated to Finnish Lapland. The facilities were good, if a little basic, and they kindly moved an extra bed into my daughter’s room to accommodate both her boys.
The rooms had two single beds which could be linked if desired. All had en-suite wet rooms with excellent showers and the only thing lacking was tea/ coffee making facilities, which I have become used to in the UK.
The hotel was very warm and there was a sauna although it was only open from 5-8pm. We were part of a group of around 30 and although it could house significantly more, there was no one else in the hotel. I believe there were something like 180 in another hotel just an hour away.
The staff were very helpful, all spoke some English and although food was "basic", it was tasty. All meals were buffet style and though there wasn’t a huge choice, they happily provided a vegetarian dish for my grandson, who hadn’t been so when we had originally booked.
It was dark pretty much most of the day. The sun doesn’t rise but what they call daylight is from about 10am until about 3pm. The air temperature was down to minus 20 but it did warm up to only minus 8 on our last day, which is apparently unusually warm! Thankfully our snowsuits and boots kept the cold out most of the time.
The excursions were fabulous and ran like clockwork. We drove the dog sleds, snow mobiles and reindeer sleighs, and thoroughly enjoyed the trip to the reindeer farm.
My daughter, Rebekah, went snowshoeing with Matthew, my youngest grandson, who was able to ride on everything though his age prohibited him from driving, but he loved it, nonetheless.
We did pay a visit to the fascinating church at Hetta, the nearby village, only 300 metres from the hotel.
Although there wasn't much to do aside from the excursions, we could have happily stayed longer and if we return, we would spend more time snowmobiling and dog sledding (one of the boys fell in love with the huskies).
I think our tour operator, Transun, has an involvement with the kennels. They are run by an Englishman who had four UK-based dogs who moved to Finland with him a few years ago, one of which is still there along with around 90 dogs in total.
Our return flight to Bristol was sadly delayed by three hours and as the only flight that day out of the local Finnish airport, there wasn’t much to do but reflect.
The Finnish part of Lapland is well worth visiting and Transun appear to do it as well as anybody can in the present circumstances and for a reasonable price too.
Ruth, thanks for all your help in making this lovely trip happen.