Explore two fascinating Baltic Sea capitals—Helsinki and Tallinn—and experience Finland’s sauna tradition before settling into a cozy glass-roofed cabin in Lapland to learn about Sami culture and behold the breathtaking aurora borealis.   

Starting at: $6,390 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Northern lights in Finland
 Helsinki's old port
 Woman in traditional Sami dress with reindeer. Credit: Norway Tourism Bureau
 Historic port of Helsinki
 View of Finland's Helsinki from the water
 Helsinki's famous Temppeliaukion rock church
 Cutting-edge architecture of Helsinki's Oodi Library
 Noted architecture of Helsinki's train station
 The northern lights in Tallinn
 Historic area of Tallinn
 A traditional Finnish sauna
 Accommodations with panoramic windows for viewing the northern lights
 The aurora borealis in Finland
 Interpreter at the Sami Museum in Siida
 The exhilaration of snow shoeing
 On a snow shoeing excursion
 Traditional sledge with reindeer in Finland
 Ice fishing in Finland

Northern Lights Over Finland: Helsinki and Lapland

9 days from $6,390

Explore two fascinating Baltic Sea capitals—Helsinki and Tallinn—and experience Finland’s sauna tradition before settling into a cozy glass-roofed cabin in Lapland to learn about Sami culture and behold the breathtaking aurora borealis.   

or Call 855-330-1542

SPECIAL OFFER

Save $250 per person when you book by April 5, 2024!

Overview

Experience the enchantment of Finland in winter on a journey that combines the design capital of Helsinki with the Arctic traditions of Lapland, where the aurora borealis lights up the long nights. Encounter historic sites and world-renowned architecture in Helsinki, and discover the integral role of the sauna in Finnish culture.  Sail across the Baltic Sea on a day trip to Estonia and explore of Tallinn’s medieval Old Town, a World Heritage site. Then head north of the Arctic Circle to a deluxe resort designed for sky-gazing. Get acquainted with Sami culture and take part in Arctic pastimes, and set out by snowshoe to view the extraordinary northern lights.

Highlights:

  • Helsinki: Stay in the center of this exciting design capital, and encounter a range of breathtaking architecture —from a famous church built into the bedrock to the futuristic Oodi library.   
  • Tallinn, Estonia:  Ride the ferry across the Baltic Sea to Tallinn, Estonia, and take a guided walk through its medieval Old Town, a World Heritage site. Enjoy time on your own to discover historic landmarks and charming cafés among its winding, cobbled lanes.
  • Lapland: Stay in cozy glass-roofed cabins north of the Arctic Circle and watch for the magical aurora borealis on a nighttime snowshoe outing with a local expert. Set out on an ice-fishing excursion or partake in a wilderness cooking experience, using locally foraged ingredients to make a delicious meal. Take advantage of a full free day in Lapland to go cross-country skiing, visit the nearby village, or opt for one of the many excursions offered by your resort.
  • Finnish Culture: Try out several varieties of sauna at an authentic Finnish sauna in Helsinki, and learn about the cultural importance of the ritual from a local expert. In Lapland, get acquainted with the traditions and everyday life of the Sami people and visit a Sami-owned reindeer farm.

Itinerary

Day 1 & Day 2 – Depart the U.S. and arrive in Helsinki, Finland

Depart the U.S. on your transatlantic flight to Helsinki and transfer to your hotel in the city center upon arrival . After time at leisure to settle in and explore the area, meet your fellow Smithsonian Journeys travelers at a festive welcome reception and dinner. (R,D)

Day 3 - Helsinki

Begin your day with breakfast at the hotel. Then embark on a guided tour of this vibrant capital of architecture and design. Visit Helsinki CathedralTemppeliaukion, or Rock Church, famously carved into the bedrock; and the astonishing Oodi, an innovative library and public space built to commemorate the centennial of Finland’s independence in 2018. Have lunch on your own in town before attending a talk by a local expert on the history of saunas and their important role in Finnish culture. Then experience this unique wellness tradition for yourself on a visit to an authentic Finnish sauna. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to try out both traditional and modern saunas and, if you dare, take a dip in the Baltic Sea! Enjoy a relaxing evening on your own tonight. (B)

Day 4 - Helsinki/Tallinn, Estonia

Board a morning ferry to Tallinn, Estonia, a two-hour sail across the Baltic Sea. After free time for lunch, set off on a walking tour of Tallinn’s beautifully preserved medieval Old Town, a World Heritage site. See the Viru Gate and the 700-year-old Town Hall,  and learn about the city’s role as an important trading center in the Hanseatic League. You’ll have time to explore the narrow streets at your own pace, discovering shops, cafes, and historic landmarks.  This evening, take the ferry back to Helsinki, enjoying dinner on board.  Back at the hotel, meet in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for an informal discussion with your expert about Finnish and Estonian history and culture. (B,D)

Day 5 - Helsinki/Saariselkä

After breakfast, head to the airport for your flight north to Finnish Lapland. Check into your resort near the village of Saariselkä, located 155 miles above the Arctic Circle.  Meet for an orientation and get fitted with the winter gear you’ll use for the duration of your stay. Then enjoy free time to settle into your cozy, glass-roofed cabin and discover this winter wonderland.

Gather for dinner and a lecture before heading into the night to hunt the aurora borealis on a guided snowshoe excursion.  Walk through forests and fells to prime sky-watching spots, and warm up with hot drinks and local lore by a bonfire.  (B,D)

Day 6 - Saariselkä

Greet the morning with a hearty breakfast at the lodge. Today, you can customize your Arctic experience with a your choice of one of the following activities.

Ice Fishing and Wilderness Cooking: Embark on a winter fishing adventure at Rahajärvi Lake in Ivalo. Experienced guides will introduce you to authentic Sami fishing practices, such as ice drilling and ice fishing as well as under-ice net fishing. Later, gather around a fire and use traditional techniques to prepare your fresh catch and other local ingredients such as reindeer, berries, and forest mushrooms—for lunch.

Wilderness Cooking: Venture out into the elements to experience “wilderness” cooking at its finest. Gather around a blazing fire to prepare lunch using locally caught and foraged ingredients, including freshly caught fish, reindeer, berries, and forest mushrooms.

Later, join a local expert for an engaging lecture on the Finnish way of life—and find out what makes Finland the “happiest country in the world.”  Then head into thick conifer stands for a “forest bath,” savoring the time and silence to connect with nature and open all your senses. You’ll need your snowsuits, mittens, warm socks and boots for this forest experience. Tonight, gather for a festive group dinner at the resort. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Saariselkä/Inari

Travel to the town of Inari in the homeland of the Sami people. On a guided tour of the Sami Museum and Nature Center at Siida, see traditional buildings and learn about the cultural and architectural heritage of Lapland’s three Sami cultures. Sit down to a lunch of regional specialties, then visit a reindeer farm owned and operated by a Sami family. Ride through the forest on a sledge to spot wild reindeer in their natural habitat. Enjoy a warm welcome at the family home and hear about everyday life far above the Arctic Circle. (B,L,D)

Day 8 - Saariselkä

On your final day in Lapland, take advantage of the activities and amenities offered by the Northern Lights Village. Borrow complimentary cross-country skis or snowshoes for an outing in the snow, walk into the village of Saariselkä to do some exploring on your own, or sign up for one of the resort’s many optional excursions. Meet in the evening for a special farewell reception and dinner in a kota, a traditional tent used by Sámi reindeer herders during the Arctic winters. Feast on salmon prepared in the Sami way and celebrate your Nordic adventure. (B,R,D)

Day 9 - Saariselkä /Helsinki/Connection to the U.S.

Depart for the airport for your return flight to Helsinki and connect to your flight home. (B)

Please note that the order of this itinerary may change due to operational considerations. Return flight schedules may require an overnight stay in Helsinki which is not included in the tour price and is at the traveler’s own expense. All flight schedules will be advised well in advance of your departure date.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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