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First trip to Lapland 2013 - much help needed!!!

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First trip to Lapland 2013 - much help needed!!!

My fiance and I are looking to spend a week in Lapland at the beginning of 2013 for my 30th. We are a young(ish) couple who are looking to snowboard/ski (both beginners), do the usual excursions, eat out and of course chase the Aurora Borealis. We've wanted to do this for so long (it's at the top of our bucket lists!) and have decided to bite the bullet as 2012 going into 2013 is meant to be the max of the 11 year solar cycle for light viewing. This is my first time booking a winter holiday so want to get it right. I have a few questions below:

DESTINATION: Saariselka, Yllas or Levi??

Which area do you think is most suited to us based on the before mentioned info? We would like somewhere that's quite busy and has lots to do seeing as we will be there for a week. Am I right in saying Saariselka is a lot more quieter than Yllas and Levi?

TIME: is there a better time of year to go?

Our options are January, February or March - comparing the 3 what are the main differences? Are there months that are cheaper than the other? Is there a lot more daylight and sunlight in March? What month do you think would be better for seeing the Northern Lights?

AGENCY: which tour operator do you recommend?

I have been basing all of my research on Google and the only operator that seems to accommodate what we want is Inghams. Are they good? Or are there others we should try?

ACCOMMODATION: cabins or hotel?

Staying in a log cabin would seem the obvious choice (when in Rome and all that) but price wise doesn't seem very viable for a couple. It seems that it would be cheaper for us to stay in a hotel by the time they charge us for under occupancy (as most cabins sleep at least 4). Is the hotel a better option for us for our first trip seeing as we haven't been before and it's only the 2 of us?

AIRPORT: how long does it take to get to 3 different destinations from Kitilla airport (the closer the better!)

COSTS: how much should we expect to pay?

Accommodation? Eating out? Drinks? Excursions?

PACKAGES/EXCURSIONS: when should we book? On the Inghams website there is an option to book packages for skiing, is it worth booking them now or cheaper to book with other operators when we get there? Inghams prices are below:

Ski Pass for 1wk = £120pp

Ski Equipment and Boots for 1wk = £70-£100pp

Thermals for 1wk = £50

Lessons for 3 days = £77

Snow Mobile Safaris = £65

Ski Package inc Tuition = £231 - £274

FLIGHTS: there seems to be very limited flights! The nearest flight Ingham offers is from Manchester (4 hours from us). Does anyone know of any decently priced direct flights from any Scottish airports or Newcastle? Also, Inghmas have stated Jet2 as their flight supplier but after phoning Jet2 they said they don't fly to Finland??? Does anyone have any insight into this?

Sorry for all the questions but thank you for taking the time to read them. If you have any advice at all from your own experiences we would greatly appreciate it as this is a once in a lifetime trip for us and we'd like to do it right :)

Oulu, Finland
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21. Re: First trip to Lapland 2013 - much help needed!!!

Why didn't you order a taxi to take you to the Snow Village? (I presume you meant Snow Village as it is nearby, the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi is a daytrip distance away (ca 280 km oneway)).

Rovaniemi, Finland
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22. Re: First trip to Lapland 2013 - much help needed!!!

It's 45 km from Levi so a round trip with a taxi would be ca. 150 euros for 1-2 persons or 170 euros for 3-4 euros.

And good luck trying to bargain with Finnish taxis. Even if you manage to make a deal and book taxi beforehand, it doesn't mean discount, but they charge you extra... :)

Oulu, Finland
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23. Re: First trip to Lapland 2013 - much help needed!!!

Yep, a taxi from Levi to the Snow Village is ca 150 - 200 EUR/return depending on the number of passengers, driven distance and time of day. If you asked the taxi to wait you, they'd charge you 42.10 EUR/h, but you can of course order a new taxi to pick you up from the Snow Village once your done the tour. Taxis can also charge 6.80 EUR for an advance reservation if you order the taxi at least 30 min or more before the transport is needed.

There are also arranged excursions to the Snow Village on certain days (include transfers, one night in the Snow Village and in some packages also a dinner): http://www.snowvillage.fi/weekprogramme.htm .

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24. Re: First trip to Lapland 2013 - much help needed!!!

Hi guys,

Thank you all so much for your input. We're just back from our week in Levi and absolutely LOVED it. Honestly, it completely surpassed both of our expectations. Like many of you have already said it was a once in a lifetime trip but we'll definitely be going back!!

So, we booked through Inghams and stayed in the Levitunturi Spa Hotel. Hotel was great, food more 3 star than 4 star, but overall facilities and staff were great. Inghams were also brilliant. Everything was well organized and on time, excursions were fairly priced and reps were always there if you needed.

We did most of the excursions: husky safari at sunrise, snow mobile night safari, ice karting and the snow village (though should really be called Ice Hotel!). We also booked lessons and hired equipment at the Levi Ski Resort. Staff were fantastic and equipment was really good quality. I went over a complete novice and am now a low intermediate snowboarder with my wee certificate woohoo.

To top it off we even caught the Northern Lights one night for 30 minutes. What an experience. Everyone was gathered on the frozen lake in the pitch black of night and lay in the snow for hours waiting for them and they showed!! There was such a buzz in the air. To be fair we were out every night hunting for them and were so lucky to catch them as a lot of people had given up and went home by the time they appeared (about 12 midnight).

So all in all had the most amazing time for our first winter holiday and even my fiance (who isn't over enthusiastic about much) was in love with the place.

Thanks for all your advice and information and stories :)

Moraira, Spain
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25. Re: First trip to Lapland 2013 - much help needed!!!

Glad you had such a great time. Like you said it does surpass all expectations and is somewhere you go thinking its a once in a lifetime trip but it sucks you into its spell and makes you want to go back again. We will do for sure!

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26. Re: First trip to Lapland 2013 - much help needed!!!

Myself my husband and my 18 year old son have been to levi twice both in January and had a fantastic time. And although very cold and few hours of day light it was fantastic and All slopes are alight with lamp posts so you can still ski unt around 6pm. We have been very lucky and saw light numerous times on each visit best place is back of sirrkhentatti hotel path runs In Front of it and takes you on frozen lake but you need to be prepared for a long wait so very warm clothing needed most times we saw it was after 12am. We are again returning march 2014 and not sure how busy this time is as January is quiet with no queing and slopes mainly to ourselves so if anyone any knowledge this would be helpful.

We live next to Glasgow airport and are flying from Manchester which is easier to get to than London so maybe worth trying

Oulu, Finland
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27. Re: First trip to Lapland 2013 - much help needed!!!

Finnish school holidays are on weeks #8, 9 and 10 (i.e. until the first whole week in March). After that it will be quiet again, although a bit busier than January (due to the weather conditions being more favourable for skiing). After the ski holidays the next (and last) peak season is the Easter. However, Finnish ski resorts are never as buy as e.g. those in the Alps. The slopes are usually open until May.

Northampton
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28. Re: First trip to Lapland 2013 - much help needed!!!

I think anyone who goes for the first time to Lapland is blown away. Agree with other posts, the runs are so much better than some European resorts. Went to St Anton this year and moguls were horrendous and the volume of people on the slopes was in fact dangerous at times, so I'm going back to Levi in Jan 2014 for my Eight visit.

There's no rush there, you can do a trip and still have plenty of time for skiing each day plus time for a dip in the Levitunturi Spa complex which is brilliant.

29. Re: First trip to Lapland 2013 - much help needed!!!

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