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Highlights
  • Aboard a 1960 Finnish icebreaker, don a waterproof neoprene suit and slip into the Gulf of Bothnia to comfortably float with fellow adventurers among small blocks of ice.
  • Meet the nomadic Sami people, who say “we don’t herd reindeer, the reindeer herd us,” and experience a night search of the Northern Lights on sleighs pulled by reindeer.
  • Learn the ins and outs of mushing before driving a dog team on your sleigh through a frozen forest.

This trip has been discontinued. Instead see

Snowshoeing in Finland

Cycle Finland - Turku Archipelago

Best of Finland Russia and The Baltic States







Channel your inner Arctic explorer on a once-in-a-lifetime winter adventure in Finland’s Lapland, where reindeer outnumber the indigenous Sami people, 10-1. From metropolitan Helsinki, fly to Rovaniemi at the Artic Circle and embrace an invigorating educational experience. Drive your own sled-dog team. Spend a night in a glass igloo marveling at twinkling stars and the dancing green ribbons of the aurora borealis. Journey aboard the mammoth icebreaker Sampo and swim in the icy gulf like a polar bear. Snowshoeing, reindeer sleigh rides — do it all in a magical white coat of powder snow. Just remember to zip your parka.

Travelers Also Viewed All similar trips
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28
Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings
93% Recommend

4.7 out of 5
Excellent 23 Great 3 Average 1 Disappointing 1 Terrible 0
Value
4.7 Guide
4.7 Activities
4.8 Lodging
4.5 Transportation
4.6 Meals
4.5
66.5 Degrees North: Exploring Finnish Lapland at the Arctic Circle by Dog Sled, Snowshoes and More

No reviews yet for this trip. Browse other reviews below for Road Scholar .

S

Does Not Recommend

A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT August 2017

3.0
  • Value 3.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 3.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 2.0
  • Meals 3.0
I would have enjoyed this trip much more if I felt I was being treated as an adult, the educated, enthusiastic traveler that I am.
Unfortunately, I took a fall and broke my arm near the end of the trip. I was shocked at the very insolent, uncaring attitude of Road Scholar. I received two calls from the insurance program my husband was encouraged to pay for for the trip (we usually use Travel Guard who is great). Both calls were very negative. Neither expressed concern about my condition and both apparently had called to state that ROAD SCHOLAR
WOULD NOT PAY FOR ANYTHING! WOW! A WAKEUP CALL FROM HELL. I WILL BE SHOUTING THIS FROM THE ROOFTOPS SO NO ONE ELSE
HAS THIS EXPERIENCE. DO NOT PURCHASE ROAD SCHOLAR INSURANCE -- IT IS A BOONDOGGLE!
Read more

Operator Road Scholar

LG

Does Not Recommend

Don't go! March 2017

2.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
  • Value 2.0
  • Transportation 2.0
I took a four day bridge class at Jekyll Island Club Hotel. The class was mediocre. And I came home with over 50 BED BUG BITES! Please beware.

Operator Road Scholar

TCtssvawmc

Recommends

Excellent coverage of major cities and Guizhou Province January 2017

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Road Scholar (also known as Elderhostel) offers hundreds of tours worldwide, using local tour companies, sometimes universities. I have taken RS tours to Africa, China, and France and look forward to more. This was my first "tour" of China, but my 20th visit, with the rest on business. Our guide, Mei Mei, was one of the finest I've seen on tours. We started with Beijing and continued to Xian and then to Guizhou Province for a week in this fascinating area, which was new to me. We were able to meet the people in the villages, thanks to our guide, and enjoyed the chance to see and photograph such a variety of places in China. Hotels were excellent and appropriate to this type of tour (usually centrally located and very fine). Meals were family style and always good. Road Scholar makes its tours educational and doesn't push shopping as so many commercial ones do. Touring in China is very safe. You do have a lot of walking and RS tells you this in the tour, but it seems that a great deal of the walking is in those huge airports! I recommend Road Scholar and always turn to their catalogs to choose my next trip.
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Operator Road Scholar

WE

Recommends

A peaceful and green country with lots of history revealed by motor coach travel. January 2017

4.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 3.0
  • Meals 3.0
The trip was a good overview of the country. The Road Scholar guide was very knowledgeable. The motorcoach was very comfortable. The accommodations and meals were fine. Couldn't ask for a better overview of the place.
Read more

Operator Road Scholar

S

Recommends

Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism. January 2017

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
https://vimeo.com/41612444

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
https://vimeo.com/43273083

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Operator Road Scholar

Itinerary

Day 1: In transit 

In Transit: Depart on international flight to Helsinki, Finland.

Day 2: Helsinki / Orientation  

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna

Afternoon: Arrive at the Helsinki Airport and meet your group. Transfer to the hotel for check-in. At 5:00 PM meet the group in the hotel lobby for the Welcome Orientation.

Dinner: Welcome Dinner at the hotel.

Day 3: Helsinki

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna

Note: The walking excursion in Helsinki is composed of 4 short walks which will take 15 minutes to cover 1/2 miles on snow or wet concrete.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: This morning, enjoy a guided excursion of Helsinki focusing on the most interesting parts of this Baltic capital. Take in the historical center, the Presidential Palace, City Hall, the Parliament building, Finlandia Hall, the Opera House, Sibelius Monument, and the unique Temppeliaukio Kirkko (Church in the Rock). We will explore by bus and on foot.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon to explore on your own.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Day 4: Flight to Rovaniemi / Arktikum Science Museum       

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Santa's Hotel Santa Claus

Note: You will walk and stand for approximately two hours at the Arktikum museum.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: This morning, transfer to the Helsinki airport for your flight to Rovaniemi, the gateway to the Finnish Lapland. Upon arrival in Rovaniemi, transfer to the hotel for check-in.

Lunch: Lunch at the museum.

Afternoon: This afternoon explore the Arkticum science museum to learn about the nature and people of the Arctic regions. Take in a lecture about Lapland.

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 5: Kemi / Ice Breaker Ship / Swim in the Gulf of Bot...         

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Santa's Hotel Santa Claus

Note: Although there is indoor seating on Sampo, we recommend standing outdoors to fully enjoy this experience. At Luma Linna, you will walk for one hour over hard snow.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: This morning, transfer by coach to Kemi to board the ice breaker ship, Sampo. Enjoy this four hour experience while the ship makes its way through ice up to six feet thick! Swim, like polar bears, in the Gulf of Bothnia. Learn about the ship during a lecture.

Lunch: Lunch onboard.

Afternoon: Before returning to Rovaniemi, enjoy a field trip to the "Luma Linna" ice village and the Gemstone Gallery, which has over 3,000 gemstones and copies of some of Europe's most famous crown jewels. Take in a lecture about the Arctic Climate.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Day 6: Crossing the Arctic Circle / Napapiiri / Kakslaut...      

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Crossing the Arctic Circle / Napapiiri / Kakslauttanen / Glass Igloo Overnight

Note: Please note that it is a 10 minute walk between each private igloo and the main building. Therefore participants are advised to leave their luggage at the main building and take a smaller bag to their igloo for the night.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: This morning, drive to the Great North! En route, stop at Napapiiri (Santa's Village) at the edge of the Arctic Circle. Learn about the history of Finland during a lecture.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant, en route.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Kakslauttanen, check in to your glass igloo. Learn about the Northern Lights during a lecture. Enjoy the warmth of your personal igloo and, weather permitting, marvel at the amazing Northern Lights and stars from your bed.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Day 7: Dog Sled Ride / Transfer to Saariselka

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Santa's Hotel Tunturi

Note: Extra warm clothing for the dog-sled adventure will be provided. Each dog-sled will have two participants, one sitting and one driving, exchanging positions at a halfway point. The driver must be fit enough to stay stable on the sleigh, hold tight, equilibrating in the turns, and sometimes help the dogs by pushing during the uphills.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: After breakfast, take a short bus transfer to a Husky farm. Take in a lecture about Husky dogs. Set out on a four hour dog sled adventure, experiencing the beautiful frozen forest and awe-inspiring teamwork and power of the sled teams.

Lunch: Lunch in a wooden hut during the dog sledding expedition.

Afternoon: A short drive via coach takes us to the hotel in Saariselka for check-in. Take a stroll around the village.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Day 8: Snow Shoeing in Urho Kekkonen National Park  

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Santa's Hotel Tunturi

Note: Snow shoeing for two hours, approximately 2 miles. This excursion is best suited for participants capable of hiking at least 6 miles in normal terrain.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Spend this morning snow shoeing through Urho Kekkonen National Park, one of the most important protected areas in Finland. This morning's adventure will be led by a local wilderness guide.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Gather for a presentation on the National Park and Inari Lake.

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 9: Saariselka / Independent Activities        

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Santa's Hotel Tunturi

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a full day of independent exploration, on your own. You may want to go cross country skiing, or snowmobiling. Your program staff can assist you with independent activities on the program.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Independent exploration.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Day 10: Inari / Sami Culture / Reindeer Farm         

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Santa's Hotel Tunturi

Note: At the Siida museum, you will walk and stand for approximately two hours. At the Reindeer museum, you will stand outside on snow, for approximately one hour.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Spend a full day exploring Inari, an ancient and vital crossroads for the Sami people, located north of Saariselka. Discover the Siida Museum, a museum focused on Sami culture and Arctic nature. Learn about the Sami people during a presentation.

Lunch: Lunch at the museum.

Afternoon: Visit a reindeer farm for a close look and lecture aboutreindeer herding and Sami traditions. Drive back to Saariselka.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: This evening, enjoy an incredible night ride on reindeer pulled sleighs, looking for northern lights.

Day 11: Transfer to Helsinkih

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the Ivalo airport for a flight to Helsinki.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore on your own or prepare for your flight home.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Day 12: Departures   

Meals: Breakfast

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the airport for departures.

h
Dates & Pricing

Price From

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Price Per Day:

NA per person
 
Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Details
Trip Includes
  • 10 nights of accommodations
  • 22 meals: 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners
  • 10 Expert-led lectures
  • 9 Field trips
  • 2 Flights during the program
  • Learning led by expert instructors who are authorities in the field of study.
  • An experienced Group Leader attuned to the needs of Road Scholar participants.
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program that you would normally pay yourself.
  • The Road Scholar Travel Assistance Plan, which is purchased on behalf of every participant and provides 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance services coverage.
  • Taxes
  • State-of-the-art QUIETVOX listening devices
Trip Excludes
  • International flights
  • Passport expenses
  • Insurance
  • Personal expenses
Meals Included:

10 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches and  7 Dinners

Flights & Transport
Internal airfare and ground transport
Group Size:
Standard Group
Start City
Helsinki
End City
Helsinki

Trip ID#: DegNorRoa

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