Snowshoeing & Northern Lights

8 days
from
£1,149
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Trip code: 
CFR
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Winter
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–12

Discover the Finnish Taiga by day and hunt for the Northern Lights by night. 

Escape to the Finnish wilderness. Spend the week snowshoeing through the Oulanka National Park. Your local guide will lead you through this beautiful landscape allowing you to explore the amazing Finnish Taiga. For the most part, you will stay in a traditional old logging lodge in the middle of nowhere next to the Oulanka River. Away from the hustle and bustle and with no light pollution it is the perfect spot to look out for the Aurora Borealis in the evenings. Two of the nights will be spent near the Russian Border in a remote former hunting cabin. In the evenings you will enjoy authentic local cuisine and will have time to relax in the sauna, a must when visiting Finland!

Highlights

• Search for the Northern Lights on snowshoes
• Follow trails in the wilderness to the Russian border
• Enjoy traditional Finnish cuisine and relax in the sauna

Key information

  • 5 nights wilderness lodge, 2 nights simple lodge with shared facilities
  • 5 days guided snowshoeing
  • Group normally 8‐12, plus leader. Min age 16 years
  • Snowshoes and poles included

What's included

  • Return flight from either Gatwick or Heathrow to Kuusamo, airport transfers (for group flight only)
  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners
  • All Arctic winter clothing and equipment

What's not included

  • Travel Insurance
  • Single Accommodation
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

5

Days of Winter
Day by day breakdown
Day 23.0km/2.0miles
Day 311.0km/9.0miles
Day 49.0km/6.0miles
Day 514.0km/9.0miles
Day 78.0km/5.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Logging Basecamp Oulanka.

    Start at Basecamp Oulanka, our main base in Oulanka National Park, for the first briefing and to visit the kit room to collect all the clothing needed for a week of snowshoeing in arctic conditions. Depending on the arrival time we may have dinner or a light snack here or later when we arrive at the Logging Lodge in Oulanka National Park.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Morning introduction to snowshoeing. Afternoon wilderness skills session

    Our first morning is spent with an introduction to snowshoeing. You will be taught the technique of snowshoeing and how to use the poles appropriately. We spend the day not far from the Logging Lodge and the River Oulanka as we get a feel for snowshoeing. Lunch today is taken back at the Logging Lodge. In the afternoon we get an introduction from the leader about bushcraft skills and an insight into the skills needed to survive the arctic wilderness. This is an interesting look at the knowledge the locals take for granted. We will also learn how to heat the sauna where we will be able to relax in each evening. This evening we will venture out for a short snowshoeing walk in search of the Northern Lights.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Snowshoe east to the Russian border.

    Today we set off east towards the Russian border zone. The goal is to reach the log cabin known as the ‘Russian End’, on the banks of the Oulanka River, close to the border. After the morning briefing, we are given dry sacks to fill with the belongings we’ll need for the next two nights. These are then packed onto the trailer and taken by snowscooter to our destination. We follow the Oulanka river through the forest enjoying the tranquillity of the Finnish winter landscape.
    On the way, we stop for a snack and a warm drink. Eventually, we come to the edge of the Border Zone with Russia, often a nice photo stop, before heading on to our cosy home for the next two nights. Once the camp is all set up there is the opportunity to go on some self-guided snowshoe walks.
    The total distance is around 11km and we aim to arrive by mid afternoon depending on conditions. Those that wish can accompany our leader down to the river to collect some ice which we’ll use for a well deserved sauna or undertake further snowshoeing if there is time.
    This location has no light pollution so there is a fantastic chance in the evening of seeing the Northern Lights in all their glory if the conditions are right.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Return trip to a wonderful viewpoint at Saunavaara.

    After a night in splendid isolation, we awake to a warm breakfast and prepare for our day tour. Snowshoeing south the route takes us first across the river and uses some forest roads. Skirting the border the trail leads us to the beautiful viewpoint which overlooks Lake Paanajärvi on the Russian side, a wonderful spot from which to admire the natural surroundings. The forested area is inhabited by Elk so there is a high chance of seeing one. In the evening we can relax in the traditional Finnish sauna and head out to the frozen river for an amazing view of the night sky.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Snowshoe back through the forest to the Logging Lodge.

    Today we pack up our kit for the return journey to the Logging Lodge then head out on our snowshoes. We pass a reindeer herder's farm where we will stop and look for the reindeer which wander freely in the area before stopping for a hot drink and snack break. Once back at the Logging Lodge there is a free afternoon for relaxing in the sauna. Extra snowshoeing opportunities may be available if we arrive ahead of schedule. The total time this route takes can vary greatly according to conditions and group proficiency.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Free day for optional activities.

    Free day. There are a variety of optional activities on offer today (subject to minimum numbers and availability) including the new and increasingly popular winter activity – fat biking; explore the winter wonderland with specially made bicycles with ultrawide tires that can run easily on the snow at very low pressure. Alternatively, you could visit the Karhunkierros visitor center in the Arctic Circle and embark on 10Km husky adventure. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Final day snowshoeing along River Oulanka. Farewell dinner by open fire.

    Today is our last day of snowshoeing as we head north along the Oulanka River. As we go we will admire this beautiful landscape where we can see landforms created during the Glacial Period, 10,000 years ago. We have lunch along the way as we spend the day exploring the Finnish Taiga. We then head back to the Logging Lodge in time for a final sauna. Dinner tonight is taken outside around an open fire.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    End Logging Lodge

    The trip will end at the Logging Lodge. 

    Lunch is included for clients booked on the group flights on weeks where the inbound flight time is later.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Finland

No visa required for UK passport holders visiting Finland.

Vaccinations

Finland

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches (depending on flight times) and 7 dinners included. 

The food provided covers a variety of traditional Finnish dishes going back 50 years using recipes from forestry camps. Breakfast will be continental, with bread, cheese, cold meats, porridge, muesli and yoghurt available. Lunch will consist of warm soup, bread, cheeses, sausages, hot tea and biscuits. In the evening dinner will consist of traditional meat and fish dishes with vegetables and dessert. A vegetarian option also available, though there may be less variety. 

Weather

In the regions close to the Arctic Circle temperatures during the season range from -30ºC to +5ºC. Christmas will normally be the coldest (usually below -20ºC), but the temperatures rise as the days lengthen, and early April can see temperatures around -10ºC to +5ºC. Recent years have seen massive fluctuations in the space of a few weeks with lows of -40ºC and highs of +7ºC just a few days apart.
If the thought of such temperatures scares you, then think again. When dressed in the correct clothing (such as described in the layering system example in the packing section), -20ºC can actually feel very pleasant. The Arctic cold is a dry cold, there is usually no wind, and remember, we will keep you active.


Daylight hours
Remember that at extreme latitudes the days shorten and lengthen much faster. So while in mid-winter (December/January) the sun remains just below the horizon, by April there are more daylight hours than in the UK, and the midnight sun is only a matter of weeks away. Even in midwinter it is not dark, as the sun is just above the horizon and there is plenty of light reflected off the snow.


Northern Lights
The breathtaking Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are visible from September to late April on most clear nights at latitudes close to, and above the Arctic Circle. They can be seen further south, but will be less spectacular and less frequent. Solar activity is greater around the equinoxes (September and March), and at lower latitudes this can be the best time to see them. On our trip we will have little light pollution so if there is sufficient solar activity and no cloud cover, we will be well placed to see them.

Is this trip for you?

Level 2 - Leisurely/Moderate

This trip involves snowshoeing over flat or undulating terrain. There are no big-drops and very steep terrain is rare. No snowshoeing experience is necessary however a good level of fitness is required as we do climb to viewpoints and you can expect to be snowshoeing between 3 and 6 hours a day at a moderate pace. Variables such as depth of snow can and do affect this. 

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Logging Lodge

The Logging Lodge, on the edge of the Oulanka National Park, was originally built in the 1950s and has been renovated to provide more modern accommodation for our groups.

Twin rooms actually have two bunks on opposite walls though we use these as twin share.
Facilities are shared. There are two bathrooms, a shower room, sauna, drying room and a lounge/dining area. There is wifi throughout.

Meals are taken in the main lounge/dining area where there is also a small bar of sorts.

Russian End Wilderness Cabin

The Russian End cabin is a traditional elk hunting camp. There is no running water and no electricity and our two nights here give a real taste of life in the wilderness. There is one small room with a twin and a single bed, a small kitchen area where our leaders will prepare the food, and the main living area.

The main living area, is quite simply one big room, with a large table down the middle and one long bunk along the wall. Due to the nature of the accommodation it is not possible to have a single here, and we do our best to accommodate people as best we can within these sleeping arrangements, however it is not possible to pre allocate berths. Warmth is never an issue, with a roaring fire and warm sleeping bags and candles to provide light. 


We may also make use of a second sleeping area in the same cabin as the sauna. The sauna is in a separate building close to the river. Using water cut from the river ice we fire this upon arrival. This space also doubles as a washing area. There is no shower, instead, we use the hot and cold water provided to wash – pouring a mix of these over your head constitutes a real ‘Finnish’ shower and is certainly effective!
The toilet here is in a separate hut about 50m from the cabin.
The location is unforgettable, a stone’s throw from the river and not far from the Russian border, this is a long way off the grid and all the better for it. With zero light pollution, Northern Lights displays, whilst never guaranteed, can be spectacular.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 020 8772 3936