Finland: Arctic Magnificence



The many facets of Finland are yours to discover. Watch the ethereal Northern Lights from a glass-domed cabin in northern Lapland; drive a team of huskies on a thrilling ride across the glistening fjells; and discover intriguing facets of Finland’s three Sámi cultures. Soak up the soothing steam of a sauna and learn why it’s an essential experience for Finns. Travel to Estonia and delight in Tallinn’s beautiful old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the stunning mix of historic and contemporary architecture in Helsinki and see reindeer in the wild at a traditional reindeer farm.

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Trip Type
Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
Departure Dates
Feb 27, 2024 - Mar 6, 2024


– 3 nights in Helsinki, Finland, at the first-class Hotel U14
– 4 nights in Saariselkä at the first-class Northern Lights Village


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Finland map


  • day 1

    Depart the U.S.

    AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Helsinki, Finland. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: HEL.

  • day 2

    Arrive in Helsinki and transfer to hotel

    Arrive at Helsinki Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.

    Transfer to Hotel U14, conveniently located in the city center near the harbor. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

    This afternoon, take a short stroll with your Travel Director to familiarize yourself with the area. Then get better acquainted with your fellow travelers at tonight’s Welcome Reception and Dinner in the hotel.

  • day 3


    Helsinki Tour. Settled since the Ice Age, Finland first appears in written sources sometime in the 12th century. Over the subsequent centuries, it was ruled by neighbors Sweden and Russia during different eras until it declared its independence in 1917. It was a Swedish king, Gustav Vasa, who established the city of Helsinki in 1550 on a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland with an eye toward establishing trade along the Baltic Sea.

    On your guided, scenic tour of Finland’s beautiful capital, take in eye-catching architecture that ranges from Neoclassical to contemporary. Along your route, visit green-domed Helsinki Cathedral, or Tuomiokirkko, built in 1852 by architect Carl Ludvig Engel, who designed several of Helsinki’s other grand Neoclassical buildings. Check out the sculptural, light-filled and inviting Oodi Library, popular with Finns since it opened in 2018, and the subterranean Temppeliaukion Church, better known as Rock Church, adorned with rough-hewn walls of natural granite.

    Free Time: Choose a nice spot for lunch on your own before returning to the hotel for this afternoon’s lecture.

    Enrichment: Finnish Sauna Culture. Relaxing in a sauna is a vital part of the Finnish lifestyle, a cherished, rejuvenating ritual enjoyed alone or with family and friends. In this nation of 5.5 million people, it’s estimated that there are roughly 3 million saunas. It’s such a mainstay of everyday life that Finland’s sauna culture has been recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. A local expert will discuss the history and traditions behind this quintessentially Finnish experience.

    Löyly Sauna Experience. With your fresh insights, it’s time to do as the Finns do! Head along Helsinki’s waterfront to Löyly Sauna, a sleek, modern sauna that serves as a tranquil oasis amid the urban landscape. During your visit, try different styles of saunas and soak up the soothing steam. Afterward, cool off outside on the large terrace, and if you’re game, take a bracing plunge into the Baltic Sea! If you plan to enjoy the sauna experience, please pack your swimsuit and a pair of flip flops or suitable footwear. The spa will provide towels and peflets, small cloths to sit on in the sauna.

    Free Time: Get a wonderful taste of Helsinki’s vibrant and inventive food scene this evening. Your Travel Director is a great resource for dining suggestions and assistance with reservations.

  • day 4

    Embark ferry | Tallinn | Helsinki

    After breakfast, board a ferry for the two-hour journey to Tallinn, Estonia, across the Gulf of Finland.

    Tallinn Walking Tour. Founded in the 12th century, Tallinn boasts an enchanting, medieval old town that’s one of the most impressively preserved in northern Europe. Its delightful Gothic and baroque churches, elegant spires and red-tile roofed buildings imbue this Baltic gem with a special romance. On a guided walk through this UNESCO World Heritage site, take in the charming, twin stone towers of Viru Gate that guard the entrance of the imposing, 14th-century town walls. In the bustling Raekoja plats, or Town Hall Square, admire the stately Gothic town hall, the only surviving one of its kind in northern Europe. Learn more about Tallinn’s landmarks and intriguing history from your guide while exploring its picturesque, winding cobblestone lanes.

    Free Time: Afterward, make your own plans for lunch and sightseeing around the old town.

    Rejoin your group and embark the ferry for Helsinki. During your return journey, enjoy dinner on board.

  • day 5

    Fly to Ivalo | Transfer to Saariselkä

    After breakfast, check out of the hotel and head to Helsinki Airport for your flight to Lapland. Land at Ivalo Airport and transfer to Saariselkä, where you’ll check in to the Northern Lights Village.

    Spend some time on your own to get settled in your cozy cabin and check out the lovely, snowy surroundings.

    This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a delicious dinner in the Village’s restaurant.

    Aurora Expedition. Strap on snowshoes and venture off for an invigorating hike under a moonlit sky amid the stillness of the pristine forest and fjells. Follow your professional guide over gentle slopes to special vantage points for your chance to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. During the springtime months, an optimal time of year for viewing, they can be seen approximately every second night in northern Lapland, weather permitting. This amazing natural phenomenon is the result of collisions overhead! When electrically charged particles generated by the sun hit the molecules of the Earth’s upper atmosphere, they become excited. As these particles calm down, they emit the glowing, dancing green and violet lights we see as the Aurora.

    Savor a refreshing break by a fire, complemented by toasty beverages, snacks and tales about the Northern Lights, before returning to the Village. The Village will provide thermal overalls, boots and mittens for the hike.

  • day 6


    After breakfast, depart for Inari. For a more intimate experience, you and your fellow travelers will then be split into two smaller groups. One group will visit the Sámi Museum in the morning and the Reindeer Farm in the afternoon, while the other will do the opposite. You will all meet for today’s lunch.

    Sámi Museum Siida. At this engaging museum, delve into Finland’s three indigenous Sámi cultures, which are deeply intertwined with nature and the Arctic landscape. View exhibits related to the traditional livelihoods of reindeer herding, fishing and gathering as well as Sámi handicrafts, clothing and music. Learn about the three Sámi languages spoken in Finland: North Sámi, Inari Sámi and Skolt Sámi. With your guide, explore the outdoor area that includes more than 50 traditional structures, such as dwellings, dugouts, turf buildings and traps.

    Relish a tasty, authentic Finnish lunch featuring hearty soup at the museum.

    Finnish Reindeer Farm. Reindeer husbandry is an intrinsic part of Sámi culture, a custom that dates to the Middle Ages when the Sámi people first domesticated wild reindeer. Today, Lapland’s reindeer remain semi-wild, roaming the forests and fells while local reindeer herders watch over them. At a farm owned by a Sámi family, ride through the countryside on a sledge to see these beautiful animals, and chat with family members afterward about the herd and daily life over the seasons.

    Head to the Village restaurant for a satisfying dinner tonight.

  • day 7


    Husky Safari. No trip to Lapland would be complete without a dogsled ride! And you’re in charge as you drive a team of eager huskies on a fun, fast-paced journey across the snowy fjells. A professional guide will offer instruction and accompany you on the ride. The Village will provide thermal overalls, boots and mittens for the ride.

    Free Time: Enjoy lunch on your own and the afternoon at leisure. Perhaps you’ll unwind in the resort’s sauna or take advantage of the free cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals for Village guests.

    Enrichment: Happiest People in the World. For the fifth year in a row, Finland tops the World Happiness Report, which measures how people around the world evaluate the quality of their lives. A local expert reveals the contributing factors behind the Finns’ strong sense of well-being.

    Join your fellow travelers at the restaurant this evening for a delectable dinner.

  • day 8


    Free Time: Spend the entire day pursuing your own passions! Delight in more of Lapland’s breathtaking scenery during the Village’s many optional experiences (available at an additional cost). Take a cross-country skiing lesson, zip off on a snowmobile tour or travel by snowmobile to a secluded lake and try ice fishing. You might also choose to stroll through the small village of Saariselkä.

    Celebrate your amazing adventures in Finland with your fellow travelers at tonight’s Farewell Reception and Dinner.

  • day 9

    Depart for Ivalo airport | Fly to Helsinki | Depart for U.S.

    After breakfast, depart for the Ivalo Airport and fly to Helsinki. Connect in Helsinki to your international flights home.

  • day 10

    Arrive home

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