Woohoo we´re counting the hours! I have to admit, this week we caught ourselves thinking how nice it would have been flying some place warm right now and we could be packing flip-flops and snorkelling masks instead of winter jackets and long pants, but well – we have to go through with it now! We will dress up warm and throw some wine in the bag, since it´s going to be very expensive there ;). In the past days we managed to book one last important thing – the car! The original plan was to travel around with buses, but we realised now they are quite expensive (kids older than 4 years have a 50% discount) and the connections are not available for the routes we want to take. Renting a car for 6 days makes more sense right now, it´s also a good price for the 3 of us, might even be cheaper than taking the bus + we´re more flexible with a car!
Accommodation is all booked by now, because we will often sleep in places where there are not so many capacities, so we wanted to be on the safe side. We hope to experience the real northern winter in the 10 days that we are there and do some skiing, cross country skiing and throw ourselves in the fresh snow at least once a day! We might be changing the plan as we go, but for now it´s like this:
HELSINKI: the first two days we plan to eat some local specialities at one of the famous food markets, walk through some parks, visit a few churches and warm up our feet in museums and shops! The weather report shows minus degrees so we will just see how it goes ;).
ROVANIEMI – after a full day on the train we arrive in the evening and I guess we will go straight to bed. The next day – who knows. Probably a museum or two and just aimlessly walking around searching for some interesting food to try.
SAARISELKÄ – we pick up the car! It will be our transport for the next 6 days. We visit Santa at his home, cross the Arctic circle line and make a stop in Tankavaara Gold Village later on. In Saariselkä we sleep in a wooden cottage for the next 3 nights, where we will be cooking and chopping wood all by ourselves, enjoying the winter and starring at the sky hoping we see some polar lights. Unfortunately the weather prediction doesn´t look too good, it´s supposed to be cloudy and snowy the whole time we are there – we still have a week time, maybe something changes! We will definitely drive up to Inari lake, which will be covered with ice, but therefore there will be no mosquitos 😉
LEVI – if the weather is good we intend to drive on the remote Road 955 which goes from Inari to Levi, basically in the middle of nowhere, through the woods. Along the road are just a few villages, the most famous of them all is Pokka which is one of the coldest places in Europe with temperatures lower than -50C! If the weather conditions will not be good, we will take the longer but better road. We stay 2 nights in Levi… and we ski! Our hotel is located directly on the ski slope ;).
ROVANIEMI – no plan here, we just need to be back in Rovaniemi by the evening to return the car and catch our night train to Helsinki. We might drive a bit around on the way from Levi, depends on the weather and our mood.
HELSINKI – our train will arrive in the early hours and then all that´s left is the way to the airport and the flight to Frankfurt. And then approximately 3 more hours car driving and we´re back home.
WHAT ABOUT THE COSTS?
Well, it´s not going to be cheap, but we might have saved some euros at the reasonable prized plane tickets if nothing else 😉
PLANE tickets: 405€ for us 3 together (Lufthansa, Frankfurt – Helsinki)
airport GARAGE: 88€ for 10 days (reserved online, 1 month in advance)
day TRAIN HEL-ROV, 850km distance: 110€ for us two (kids up to 6 years travel for free!)
CAR rental: 350€ for 6 days (including a booster child seat)
night TRAIN ROV-HEL: 230€ for a sleeping berth for the 3 of us
ACCOMMODATION: around 800€ for 10 days for us 3
To this there will be additional costs for the gas and the food, some entry fees and ski passes.
We will post some pictures and impressions every now and then on our Facebook page while we are in Finland. Once we are back a longer report will follow here!