Imagine lying in bed at night and being able to look up at the stars with the amazing bonus of a full view of the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora.
This is exactly what you could be doing if you take a trip to the kakslauttanen igloo village in Finland.
For the adventurous, outdoor minded among us, here is a destination worth considering.
Lapland in winter.
Cold, fresh air with the silence that snow covered fir trees provide. Catch a flight to Helsinki and connection flight 930 km north to Ivalo followed by a 30min coach trip to the Kakslauttanen Igloo village.
The resort is made up of the eastern and western villages where you will find accommodation involving state of the art glass igloos and luxury log chalets. These are set in the grounds surrounding the central reception building with the restaurant and main facilities.
On arriving and checking in you will receive a map of the area showing your selected accommodation, a key, and, because it’s likely to be dark, a torch. It’s wise to take a torch of your own as, in this part of the world in winter, there is little more than 4 hours of light in the day. You then set off to find your igloo pulling a hand sledge with your luggage, this glides over the snow provided you don’t overload it.
There is a range of accommodation available.
The small, heated glass igloos cosily take two people but there is an option of an extra bed. There is very little room, if any, for luggage. There is no shower facility but there is a toilet. There are shower facilities at the reception building.
The igloo provides a night-under-the-stars experience and, if you are lucky, a front row view of the northern lights. You have to be aware that if you can see out, others can look in from outside but the outside temperature regularly dips to between -10° to -20°C so it’s unlikely that people will be standing around.
The large, heated glass igloo for 4 people has a shower room and toilet. It also offers a little more privacy.
Then there is the option known as the Kelo igloo. This is a combination of a heated log chalet with an igloo extension. These can sleep up to 6 people and has it’s own sauna, fireplace, kitchenette plus a bedroom under a glass dome.
Then there is the log chalet, made from impressively large pine trees. With room for up to 10 people, these chalet retreats are for those who want to get away from the gadgets of the modern world eg. TV and, instead, savour the tranquillity that a fire-place and sauna can provide. The ideal get-a-way.
To enjoy the best experience, it may be practical to split the choice of accommodation by spending, maybe, 2 nights in a small igloo and the rest of the time in a log chalet for more comfort.
In addition there’s the luxury options of:
The Queen’s suite
For those very special occasions. There is ample space and a terrace with a jacuzzi.
The earth lodge
With a turf roof it’s concealed in the landscape, complete with bathroom and sauna.
The traditional house
This sleeps 2 people and is complete with a sauna.
The largest chalet taking up to 10 people. Ideal for a large family or a team of work colleagues. It features a large living room, 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, a separate fire-place room and a sauna.
If you feel brave enough there is the traditional snow igloo where the inside temperature varies from -3 to -6. A down sleeping bag is provide, you’re going to need it.
The food is good quality and, largely, locally sourced, some may say basic.
Breakfast is buffet style and goes on until 11am.
An activity board is updated every morning listing the activities and timetable for the day.
There are English speaking guides to help out on the excursions which include:
The husky sleigh rides
You need to dress up warm for this and be prepared to muck in when the dogs need help up the hills.
The reindeer northern light hunt
You need to wear warm cloths for this but it’s very relaxing with a stop for hot juice around a fire before continuing the journey.
With this you get to see breathtaking views and a stop on the journey for hot juice and cake.
All of this and more, including skiing, Ice fishing, horse riding and the snow-tank safaris.
It must be understood, this resort is off the beaten track, it‘s essentially an outdoor activity theme and can’t be the Hilton. If you have the choice, aim to stay in the newer ‘west village’.
The best time to visit for the Northern lights is between the beginning of November and mid March.
Images sourced: Kakslauttanen ogloo village in Finland