November 18, 2014 | Activities Abroad
Activities Abroad has a wonderful range of high-quality Christmas holidays for families – poles apart from overly-commercialised Lapland day trips, where visits to Santa are rushed, and adults are all but ignored.
Instead, all activities are enjoyed together as a family, and carefully designed so that little ones will feel all grown up and properly included in each adventure, while adults will get as giddy as the kids over the brilliantly fun and authentic experiences. There are action-packed itineraries for families who want to be on the go at all times, as well as relaxing programmes for those who would rather slow down and take time to appreciate the total tranquillity of Lapland’s snow-dusted landscapes.
Here are some brand-new trip ideas for this winter, plus some firm family favourites:
This new trip – based in Harriniva, Finnish Lapland – has been designed especially for families with younger children, with numerous activities that little ones can enjoy alongside their parents. The first two days of the trip are free to enjoy as you choose, giving children ample time to wonder, wide-eyed, at wintery scenes straight out of their storybooks, and to muck about in the never-ending snow. Activities include a husky safari and a visit to a working reindeer farm, plus the all-important meeting with Father Christmas himself. Families will travel to Santa’s cabin in a snowmobile-pulled sled, guided by elves carrying lanterns along the way, before their private audience with the man in red.
Departing 20 December 2014, this seven-night trip costs from £1,699 per adult, £1,148 per child aged 4-12 years (based on a family of three sharing) including direct flights (Gatwick), transfers, seven nights’ hotel accommodation, full board, all activities, cold-weather clothing and guides.
A shorter break to Lapland needn’t mean missing out on any of the region’s highlights. Tick off all the family’s Christmas wishes on this action-packed break to Sweden, which includes dog sledding and snowshoeing through the Narnia-style scenery and, of course, a visit to Santa. You’ll stay in lovely wooden cabins on the edge of the frozen seas of the Luleå archipelago. On the first day, guests will be taught a selection of winter wilderness skills – a definite thrill for would-be mini explorers – before striking out on a snowshoe tour. The next day brings the big meeting with Santa in his cosy wooden cabin. It’s an unforgettable experience for children, and parents will love the authenticity and the excitement of the little ones.
Departing 21 December 2014, the three-night trip costs from £1,275 per adult and £745 per child aged 5-14 (based on a family of four sharing) including flights (Gatwick), transfers, full-board accommodation, all activities, cold-weather clothing and guides.
Seeing the Northern Lights is something no member of the family will ever forget, and this Aurora-hunting adventure in Nellim, Finnish Lapland, includes plenty of chances to seek out nature’s own pyrotechnic show. The itinerary is designed for families with teenagers – who have passed the age of squealing over the idea of a visit to Santa, but are still keen to indulge their whimsical winter wonderland fantasies. Start by swotting up at a Northern Lights workshop, before heading out the next evening on a Northern Lights hunt. The guides know just how to pick a route according to weather conditions and solar activity in order to maximise the chances of seeing the dancing wisps of the Aurora. During the day, there’s an array of fun and festive goings-on, including a visit to a local Sámi farm, where adults and children alike will learn about this fascinating culture, before meeting a group of the region’s most iconic creatures: reindeer. You’ll also see the unspoilt wilderness of this area on snowmobile, snowshoe and sleigh-ride excursions.
Departing 21 December 2014, the seven-night trip costs from £1,795 per adult and £1,345 per child aged 10-14 (based on a family of four sharing) including flights (Heathrow), transfers, full-board accommodation, activities, cold-weather clothing and guides.
On this trip to Finland, families will discover the fascinating wildlife that makes its home in the snows of Lapland, as well as trying out a range of other unforgettable Lappish experiences. You’ll be based in apartments close to Ranua Wildlife Park – to which guests have unlimited access – which is home to Arctic fox, lynx, elk, golden eagle, white tail deer and the kings of the Arctic – polar bears. The first visit to the park will be in the company of Jonne the polar bear, the resident mascot, who will introduce wildlife lovers of all ages to the park’s residents. Each family will also enjoy a private meeting with Father Christmas, as well as a visit to a husky farm, husky-sled ride and snowmobile safari, with adults driving and children tucked up cosily in a sledge behind the guide.
Departing 15, 19 & 22 December 2014, the four-night trip costs from £1,845 per adult and £1,295 per child aged 5-13 (based on a family of four sharing) including flights (Heathrow), transfers, full-board accommodation, all activities, cold-weather clothing and guides.
Luosto in Finnish Lapland has plenty to offer both the young and the young at heart. As well as the glorious winter scenery – which offers perfect conditions for husky sled rides and snowmobile trips – there’s the added bonus of a downhill ski slope, so families can try a taster session or hone their existing skills. Luosto is also deep in the heart of The Aurora Zone, in an area with minimal light pollution. On arrival, guests will be issued with an Aurora Alarm. If it sounds, it’s time for Northern Lights hunters to wrap up warm, rush outside, and get twinkly-eyed over an exquisite display. A visit to Santa is always a highlight for younger visitors. As with all Activities Abroad’s Father Christmas experiences, the emphasis is on authenticity, making this a real treat for parents and children alike.
Departing 14 & 22nd December 2014, the five-night trip costs from £1,895 per adult and £1,445 per child aged 5-12 (based on a family of four sharing) including flights (Heathrow), transfers, full-board accommodation, all activities, cold-weather clothing and guides.
For an unharried winter getaway where you choose the pace, this Kirkenes-based break in Norway is just the ticket. Either dive head first into the excellent selection of wintry happenings on offer, or slow right down and just enjoy the Christmas-card-worthy surroundings and unique mix of Scandinavian, Sámi and Russian culture. Begin with a classic Lappish experience: a Northern Lights husky safari, where the excited dogs will take you on a route hand-picked by a knowledgeable guide. The next day, try out the much-beloved Norwegian pastime of ice-fishing. Your patience may be rewarded with a tasty catch or, failing that, the magnificent sight of the frozen lake will be prize enough. You’ll also visit the magical and fully-frozen Snow Hotel – an astonishing structure made entirely from ice and snow. The remainder of your time is then free to fill as you choose, either at leisure or with more exhilarating snow-based activities.
Departing January 2015 to March 2015 the four-night trip costs £1,195 per adult and £795 per child aged 8-12 (based on a family of four sharing) including transfers, accommodation with four breakfasts, one lunch and two dinners, some activities, cold-weather clothing and guides. Flights extra.
To speak to an expert or to book, contact Activities Abroad on 01670 789 991 (www.activitiesabroad.com).
ENDS – 18 NOVEMBER 2014
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Press trips available, subject to a suitable commission with a national paper, magazine or high-circulation regional publication. Press trips are available for families of up to four people.
Notes to editors: Activities Abroad is part of The Artisan Travel Company, which provides unique, hand-crafted holidays which marry expertise and local knowledge to provide unforgettable experiences from an independent and trusted operator.