A trip to Lapland, Finland to see the Northern lights, stay in a glass igloo and spend the night in an ice hotel should be on everyone’s bucketlist!
I went on a girls getaway to Lapland, Northern Finland with three girlfriends to stay at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Village and the Arctic Snow Hotel and I could not recommend this destination enough for a romantic couples trip, a family vacation or a girls getaway.
After my trip to Finland I wrote an article about what its like to stay in a glass igloo at Kakslauttanen and since then I’ve had so many questions about this trip regarding the costs and how to plan a trip to Lapland, that I put together a 5-day itinerary, plus advice and a detailed price breakdown of the trip to help you plan your own snowy adventure.
Whilst you can always spend more time exploring this beautiful part of the world, it is possible to fit it into a short schedule and still have time to enjoy it, plus save yourself some money, as this trip is not cheap!
Here’s my suggestion on how to do an awesome arctic adventure, stay in a glass igloo and an ice hotel in 4 nights and 5 days.
DAY 1 – FLY TO HELSINKI
To start your adventure to Lapland fly into the capital city Helsinki. From here, if you have more time, you can take a few days to explore this beautiful city. Since we only had a short time in Finland, I flew in late evening from London and booked a night at the Hilton Airport Hotel.
The hotel is a short walk from the arrivals terminal and the perfect place to spend the night if you are planning on following my itinerary and taking the 5.50am flight (or first flight of the day) to Ivalo the next day.
DAY 2 – FLY FROM HELSINKI TO IVALO (the closest airport to Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort)
Norwegian Airlines operates one flight per day, that leaves at either 8.35am or 12.35pm depending on the time of year. And Finnair operates three flights per day at 10.15am, 11.45am and 16.35pm. (Note scheduling changes regularly, so you will need to check for updates).
We visited Finland in February and there was a 5.50am arriving early morning in Ivalo allowing us to make the most of the day. Again the flight price will depend on what time of year you are booking, but the low fare option starts at EUR 29 each way. I suggest booking a round trip and skipping the return flights, as a single fare is far more (around EUR 250 when I was booking).
On arrival in Ivalo, make sure you have arranged an airport pick up with the resort for the 30-minute journey to Kakslauttanen. They will collect you from the airport and whisk you into a snow-filled winter wonderland, where you will begin your adventure spending the night under the stars in a glass igloo!
You will likely arrive at the resort ahead of check-in, but there is a secure storage room for your bags and if need you can get changed into your thermals and winter gear. Don’t worry about rushing to your room immediately or sitting waiting for it to be ready, get your boots and hat on and go on the first of your adventure tours whilst at the resort!
We booked all of the activities on arrival at the resort, however, I would definitely recommend booking these in advance before you check in to ensure you are able to get your first choices as these do fill up fast.
There are a lot of activity options available to you, but this is where your trip will start to get pricey so dependent on your budget you may need to select your favourites. In winter you can take a reindeer or husky safari, drive around the forests on a snowmobile, go horse riding, spend an afternoon ice fishing, get out on an ice breaker and of course spend an evening aurora hunting.
Kakslauttanen is also a summer destination offering an equally extensive activity list for the summer months if you are visiting at a different time of year.
DAY 3 – SECOND NIGHT AT KAKSLAUTTANEN
Hopefully, by your second night at Kakslauttanen, you will already have been lucky enough to see the Northern Lights from the comfort of your igloo, but in case you didn’t it’s worth spending two nights at the resort to increase your chances. Plus the resort has so many activities to keep you busy you will want more time to enjoy these.
Make sure you indulge in an evening at the sauna. And spend time fully exploring and walking around the whole resort which is home to Santa’s house, and of course, take part in sledge racing!
For more information on the resort, rooms and activities please see Sleeping Under The Stars In Finland.
DAY 4 – BUS TO ROVANIEMI TO STAY AT THE ARCTIC SNOW HOTEL
There are three buses per day taking you to Rovaniemi, 7.23am, 13.08pm, 16.08pm. I would suggest taking the 7.23am bus which gets you to Rovaniemi at 11.13am allowing you most of the day to enjoy the Ice Hotel. Inform the hotel of your arrival time at the bus or train station (the bus stops at both) and they will collect you from there.
Note, the buses in Finland run on time and the hotel will advise you to arrive at the bus stop a few minutes before departure (Kakslauttanen does offer a free shuttle service to the bus stop). This is good advice so you don’t have to stand in the cold waiting for the bus as we did!
Onto the exciting bit, arriving at the Arctic Snow Hotel! The resort is much smaller than Kakslauttanen and I would honestly say one night is all you need to fully experience the hotel. On arrival, you can book any activities (or plan these in advance) so you can base how many nights you stay on what activities you plan to do.
Note, there are also glass igloos at the resort so you can stay here for a warmer night if you book more than one night at the resort since you only really need a single night in the ice hotel itself.
On arrival and check-in, you will be given a tour of the Ice Hotel. What I hadn’t realised beforehand is that all of the rooms and suites are open to view all day so there is no need to book one of the fancy suites (unless your budget can afford it!) as you can spend as much time as you want in each of them taking photos.
There are a few dining options at the hotel that you should reserve in advance. The Ice Restaurant, where you dine on ice tables with ice plates for dessert; The Kota restaurant, where you can have a traditional glow fried salmon in a large wooden hut warmed by the central fire and The Lumikartano which is in the main reception.
The Arctic Snow Hotel offers a similar range of activities to Kakslauttanen, but I would highly recommend the snow sauna or snow jacuzzi for a totally unique experience. We grabbed a bottle of champagne and enjoyed the hot tub under the stars.
To help you know what to expect and the procedures for sleeping at the ice hotel here is a quick guide on what will happen when it’s time to turn in for the night!
- During your stay, your main luggage will be held at the reception in an open group area, whilst it is not locked away at any time during the day or night this seemed quite safe.
- After dinner, when you are ready for bed and to start your night in the ice hotel, you will go to a cabin attached to the inside of the ice hotel that has large lockers for your valuables and overnight items (not your large suitcase).
- The guide will show you what you need for the night which is all provided by the hotel – a sleeping bag, an inner fleece bag and pillow. They will also advise you to wear fewer clothes so you do not overheat as the sleeping bag and fleece lining are plenty warm enough.
- Leave all your belongings in the locker and don’t bring anything except your boots that you walk to the room in. There is nowhere really to store anything in the room and you won’t need anything with you anyway!
- There several rows of bunk beds in the locker room, so if you do get too cold during the night you can head there for a warmer nights sleep. The hotel is typically between 0 and -5 degrees, however, we never really felt cold at all with the right attire.
- You will then go to your room and curl up for a cosy night in the ice!
- The rooms do not have doors, just a curtain.
- There are no toilets in the ice hotel itself so you will need to wander back out over to the main reception building if you need this in the night.
- You will be woken in the morning by one of the staff who will bring you hot berry juice in bed
DAY 5 – HEADING HOME
Dependent on your flight times you can check out and leave your bags with reception. I took an afternoon flight from Rovaniemi back to Helsinki and an onward flight to London. If you have a later flight option it will provide some additional time for a morning activity.
LAPLAND 5 DAY ITINERARY COST BREAKDOWN:
Total Accommodation Cost: £550 per person (note we were upgraded to a larger igloo at Kakslauttanen, so the total cost may be more and will also vary depending on the time of year, how far in advance you book, which accommodation option you select).
At Kakslauttanen prices start at EUR 299 for double occupancy small igloo. At the Arctic Snow Hotel start at EUR 130 pp for a room and EUR 350 for a 2 person suite. *Editor Update – prices may have increased since the time of publishing.
Meals at Kakslauttanen: Breakfast and dinner were included in our stay and light lunches were included with any booked activities. The menu looked reasonably priced though and there are some options to dine in town if you prefer.
Meals at the Arctic Snow Hotel: Not included (in our package). Dinner at the Ice Restaurant is listed as EUR 89 on the site, however, we paid around EUR 40 so make sure to discuss this in advance when booking your room to get a discount.
Activities: The activity options range from EUR 25 – EUR 250 at both resorts. There are even some activities that are upwards of EUR 900 per person such as overnight husky safari and full-day ice breaker.
Internal Flights Helsinki – Ivalo: From c. EUR 29 each way Finnair or Norwegian
Internal Flights Rovaniemi – Helsinki: From c. EUR 40 Finnair or Norwegian
Airport Shuttle to Kakslauttanen: EUR 20 Return
Bus Ivalo – Rovaniemi: EUR 53.50. Book online with matkahuolto.fi, this is reliable and you can pre-book your exact seats on the bus.
- If a visit to the Arctic Snow Hotel (or Kakslauttanen) is out of your budget range, you can visit for a guided tour for EUR 40 or visit one of the restaurants for dinner, which will give you the opportunity to view all the rooms and the Ice Bar.
- If availability permits, you can upgrade from your basic room to one of the suites at the Arctic Snow Hotel for EUR 90 on arrival at the resort.
- If you choose to do a husky or reindeer safari, there is no need to do the 4-hour option. 2 hours is plenty of time, and you will honestly be freezing your toes off after about an hour and a half.
- Most activities provide full snowsuits, hats, boots and gloves so you don’t need to bring specific clothing with you for tours. Usual ski / cold-weather gear and thermals is fine. But pack as light as you can as you will be sledging your own cases to your room at Kakslauttanen!
- Alcohol is reasonably priced at the resorts. We expected a high price at the bar and restaurant, given you do not other choices, but a bottle of wine was around EUR 25.
- Husky and reindeer sledging. Please take the time to research these yourselves and make an informed decision about whether you are comfortable to participate in these activities in the location or resort you are visiting. I have not covered the ethics in this post, but based on my experience at Kakslauttanen I found the dogs to be healthy and loved by their owner, who owned 60 of the huskies and was there to talk to, ask questions and learn about this breed of dogs.
I hope this post has been useful in planning this winters arctic adventure. Please ask any questions or share your own tips in the comments below.
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Book Your Stay In Finland
- Find the best price for Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
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- Find other hotels in Rovaniemi
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- Find other hotels in Ivalo
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