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3/4 day break in February? Should we?

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Ireland
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3/4 day break in February? Should we?

My friend (living in US) and I are planning a 3/4 night "Winter Wonderland" Adventure "Up North" somwhere, with our 2 12 year old boys. I've already exhausted Greenland - just not feasible for us. I'm currently looking into Stockholm with a visit to the Ice Hotel as a possible - it's very expensive though. Helsinki is also an option.. Is it possible to do fun things in Helsinki in February? We'd love to take the boys husky sledging or snowmobiling etc.. Can anyone give me enough reasons to squash the stockholm/ice-hotel trip and go to Helsinki instead? Ideally, we'd like to get out of the city one of the days on a snow safari or something like that? Thanks to anybody who replies.. :)

Well educated biter...
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1. Re: 3/4 day break in February? Should we?

You don't go to "snow safaris" or husky sledging in scandinavian capitals. Forget them. They are not "Winter Wonderlands". It would be like beach holiday at Paris.

Goto Rovaniemi. Your lads will love it. It's "civilized"´enough for first timer, and still quite exotic. Nice modern little town up there, the mystique of Lappland just on your hotels doorstep. All winter activities available, and maybe not so "touristic" than ski resorts.

And about Sweden. Well it's kind of a cheap substitute. You know. Quite nice, but just not the real thing. At least we think so here in Finland. :))

Stanley, Falkland...
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2. Re: 3/4 day break in February? Should we?

Helsinki is good. lapland would be better. Blue1 or Finnair fly to Kittila and its 10 minutes to Levi, where all those activities -snowmobile, huskies, reindeer etc, can be obtained.

Or take the overnight train from Helsinki.

I'm not sure what the attraction of the Ice Hotel would be for kids....

Ireland
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3. Re: 3/4 day break in February? Should we?

Thanks both of you for your suggestions.. Even though Levi looks wonderful, we'd rather avoid ski resorts on this particular trip. Had a look at Rovaniemi and started to get very excited about it until I checked the airfares from the US. My friend would end up paying over 3,000 USD for flights for her and her son.. So that's put paid to that! Also, Finnair don't fly direct from Dublin to Helsinki in wintertime.. :(( We only have 4 days to play with.. So it's back to the drawing board again.. Peter - our boys are both very well travelled and very adventurous (they take after their Mum's). They would love the Ice Hotel.. A city trip to Helsinki is still on the cards - I'll do a bit more researching..

Cork, Ireland
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4. Re: 3/4 day break in February? Should we?

Ryanair has direct flights from from Dublin to Tampere (Southern Finland), if you don't mind flying "no-frills".

Tampere may not exactly be "winter wonderland", but probably more so than Stockholm or Helsinki.

See eg. www.tampere.fi/english/tourism/index.html

Well educated biter...
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5. Re: 3/4 day break in February? Should we?

You can fly KLM from Dublin to Helsinki via Amsterdam for some 320€ return. Your friend should also check KLM fares from US. They actualy fly AA to Amsterdam and connet KLM to Helsinki.

Blue1 (www.blue1.com), a cheapo by SAS, flies Rovaniemi from Helsinki for ~100€ return, if you reserve early enough. The flight time is less than one hour.

The change from international to domestic in Helsinki is a 5 minute walk indoors.

Stanley, Falkland...
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6. Re: 3/4 day break in February? Should we?

Nowhere in Scandinavia will be cheap in winter. Your best bet will probably be to get a package from Inghams or First Choice or a cheap budget flight and make local arrangements. However, the reason I mentioned Levi is because at such a resort everything is laid on for you and you have a great choice. You don't need to even ski (I didn't - and hardly saw the slopes. Its a very small place.)

My comment about the Ice Hotel was that, once you seen round it, and slept a night there, then you need to find other activities to keep you occupied/warm.

Have fun

Ireland
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7. Re: 3/4 day break in February? Should we?

Thanks so much all of you.. I'm not going to give up yet.. :)) Interesting info re flights from KLM, so I'm going to look it up today.. Peter - there's lots to do at the Ice Hotel (all the things we want - e.g. husky sledding, snowmobile, snow show excursions and lots more). Only problem is the cost - it's way over our budget, but sounds wonderful.. Cheers anyway.. :)

Stanley, Falkland...
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8. Re: 3/4 day break in February? Should we?

There are other operators of snow activities around Kiruna. You pay a premium to stay at the Ice Hotel and let them organise it. But other regions provide those activities for less money.

I realise there are activities outside the hotel, but I meant it doesn't have much inside, so no sauna, swimming pool etc. Only a bar and some scultures. Whereas a hotel at Levi has a large spa swimming pool, badminton courts, gym, etc.

Finland
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9. Re: 3/4 day break in February? Should we?

I'd definitely take a look at Rovaniemi once again. Yes, it may be so that the US carriers charge a lot to go from the US to Lapland, but there's allways the option of taking flights to HEL and then other flights to Rovaniemi (or an overnight train with sleep in cabins). Definitely the trip from Helsinki to Lapland is not more expensive than the trip from Stockholm to the ice hotel.

I'd also check what the UK charter companies have to offer, from the UK directly to Lapland.

10. Re: 3/4 day break in February? Should we?

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