Located just 250km north of the Arctic Circle, I had no idea what to except when I was told we would be staying in an igloo, in the middle of winter. Now coming from Canada, I’ve felt cold before, but in Lapland, Finland, this is a whole new level of bitter cold weather!
Getting here isn’t a simple task either. With 4 flights (Melbourne – Dubai, Dubai – London, London – Helsinki, Helsinki – Lapland) plus a long bus ride, we finally arrived at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. This family owned and operated resort has been running since 1974, offering year round experiences in the great outdoors. Since we were traveling during the winter months, we also experienced the ‘Kaamos’ which means the sun doesn’t fully rise, with only a few hours of twilight around noon.
By the time we arrived at the hotel, it was quite late, which meant we quickly checked in and were given a map on where to find our Glass Igloo. Part of the whole ‘winter in the north pole experience’ is the fun of sleighing your luggage to your Igloo in -30 degree weather (I’m not going to lie, it was a bit entertaining to watch!).
Luckily we were Igloo #1, which meant we only had to walk about 10 minutes to get to our room. We opened our tiny door to a well heated glass domed Igloo with two small beds and a toilet. Keep in mind, you are here for the experience, not the luxury!
The whole purpose of this stay was to hopefully witness the Northern Lights. Best seen between September – March, we visited during prime time to witness this natural phenomenon. We tucked ourselves into our tiny beds and waited patiently in hopes we would be mesmerised by a glow in the sky.
Keep in mind, your camera will capture more of the Aurora than seen with the naked eye, but this was definitely one of the most amazing things I’ve ever been able to witness.
Since there is only a bed and toilet in your room, showers and saunas are available in a separate building (with separate facilities for men and women).
Other than the popular Glass Igloos, there are so many other rooms and chalets to choose from. Everything from traditional log chalets to larger queen suites, all with glass ceilings for viewing the nights sky.
While staying in Kakslauttanen, dining is quite limited to only what is available at the hotel. There is the option to get your own transportation into town, however it is a bit of a hike to get to. Your breakfast and dinner is included with your stay, which means you are only required to pay for your lunch (should you wish to eat at the hotel).
There are two restaurants on site, which you can dine at depending on which part of the resort you are staying at.
- Kelo Restaurant – traditional Lappish cuisine with a à la carte style menu
- West Village Aurora Restaurant – offers their famous glass igloo bar, buffet breakfast and à la carte dining.
There are so many amazing activities available, with most being right on the Kakslauttanen property. Bookings are made with the friendly hotel staff, where they will meet you at the designated time for departure. Activities do change from season to season, however below is a list of what was available during our stay.
- Husky Sledding/Safari
- Reindeer Safari
- Snowmobile Safari
- Snow Tank Safari
- Horse Riding & Sleigh Rides
- Aurora Hunting
- Ice-fishing on Lake Inarinjarvi
- Skiing & Ski School
- Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding
- Icebreaker Sampo
Since there isn’t too much to do on the property throughout the day, we decided to book two different activities that we were able to enjoy with the limited amount of sunlight provided.
The first was the Husky Safari, which I was very excited about! Located right next to Kakslauttanen are two large husky farms, where the team raise these gorgeous animals year round.
We were picked up early morning at the hotel and took a short 5 minute drive to the farm where we met our husky team that would be pulling us through the snow filled woods. We took turns learning to drive the sleigh, while the other sat comfortably and enjoyed the stunning views.
The second activity was the Snowmobile Safari, which took place at night, in hopes of seeing the Aurora. We met in the lobby at 7pm, and took a short bus ride to a small hut where all the snowmobiles and clothing were waiting for us.
It was a bitterly chilly night, -35 degrees (without the wind chill), so it was imperative to wear multiple layers before heading out. All of your snow equipment is included, which means appropriate clothing is provided for the freezing cold weather!
Once we were all dressed, we made our way outside and drove into the forest enjoying the stunning views of the snow covered trees. About half way through, you end up on the top of a hill with no trees or lights around, which is the prime location to view the Aurora. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy for us to see anything, and way to cold to stay out any longer, so made our way back to the snowmobile hub.
FEATURES & AMENITIES
Although Kakslauttanen may be situated in the wilderness, there are some amazing amenities included that help make your stay as enjoyable as possible.
- Complimentary transfer to and from the airport
- Complimentary WiFi in main building
- Sauna & shower facilities
- Smoke Saunas & Ice Swimming
- Equipment rentals – winter or rain clothing is available
- Gift Shop
It was an absolute dream come true and a massive check off my bucket list to have had the opportunity to visit Kakslauttanen. The experience was unforgettable; the Northern Lights were magical and staying in an Igloo in -35 degree weather was an experience in itself.