The capital of the north and a hub for creativity and design, Helsinki kick-starts your hunt for the mystical Northern Lights. On arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel. There's time to freshen up in the typical Finnish sauna or rooftop pool before joining your Local Specialist for a city sightseeing tour before your Welcome Reception to set the tone for your epic Scandinavian adventure.
A morning flight sees us travel north of the Arctic Circle to Ivalo before a short drive to the enchanting snowy escape of Saariselkä. Admire Finland's forest-filled winterscape before our visit to a reindeer farm. Be sure to bundle up when we embrace the Sámi way of life and Dive Into Culture on an unforgettable experience - board a sleigh for a ride through the snowy forest to earn your international reindeer driving licence. Tonight, if the sky is clear, you will have your first opportunity to marvel at the 'dancing lights' of the Aurora Borealis after dinner at our hotel.
Delve into the centuries-old traditions and heritage of the Sámi people when you Dive Into Culture and visit the Siida Sámi Museum, located on the shores of Lake Inari. Explore the museum's permanent collections reflecting the spirit and history of Sámi culture spanning centuries, as well as the evolution of the Sámi languages, Northern Lapland's unique natural environment and how this community has survived and indeed thrived in the Arctic's extremes. This afternoon, you'll want to join an Optional Experience you'll never forget. Navigate the snowy forests and fells on a husky safari. Watch in wonder as these eager dogs race across the white landscape with you in tow. After an exhilarating encounter with your new furry friends, you'll savour a warming drink around a fire and learn about this special canine breed.
Leave Saariselkä behind, travelling south to Rovaniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus. Celebrate the magic of Christmas when you Dive Into Culture and share yuletide greetings with Santa at his post office. You could choose to send a letter to your loved ones and snap a selfie at the edge of the Arctic Circle which runs through this Santa Claus Village, before bidding farewell to Rudolph for the next leg of your adventure. Arriving in Kemi, embrace Finnish tradition and relax in the hotel sauna keeping your ears open for the Northern Lights wake-up call. Tonight, we stay at one of Trafalgar's Stays With Stories where we have another opportunity to view the Northern Lights through our hotel's iconic glass roofs, so lie back and watch the night sky come to life.
Bid farewell to Finland, bound for Sweden. Your first stop is in the church village of Gammelstad, UNESCO-listed for its 424 wooden houses built around an early 15th-century stone church, providing visitors with a view of what such a village would have looked like in northern Scandinavia several centuries ago. Continue to Luleå, the largest city in Swedish Lapland. You'll have the afternoon at leisure to relax or visit the brick neo-Gothic Luleå Cathedral that dominates the city skyline.
This morning we venture north to Jokkmokk, a historic meeting place for trade and festivals alike. For over 400 years this important locality has been the home to an annual Winter Market and we can relish the region's natural produce for lunch. Later, enjoy a guided tour through the Ájtte museum learning the story of life and survival in the demanding northern climate. Tonight, we Connect With Locals over a truly unique Be My Guest dinner experience in Kiruna when we join a Sámi reindeer herder family for a traditional meal in their Sámi lavvu.
Today, you'll learn how Kiruna is a town on the move. In just a few years, this Swedish Lapland mining centre, including its heritage buildings, will be relocated just a few miles away due to the unstable land on which it currently sits as a result of the iron mining beneath its surface. Spend the day exploring Kiruna at your own pace or take the option to delve into this unusual feat of engineering and embark on an underground mine tour. This afternoon, stay above ground and visit the Icehotel - an Optional Experience which includes a drink at the ice bar and an ice sculpting experience. Tonight is your last chance to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, made even more special by the fact that in just a few years the vantage point of this hotel will be moved along with the entire town of Kiruna.
Leave the Arctic behind and fly to Stockholm, Sweden's sophisticated capital. Join your Local Specialist for a city sightseeing tour exploring 'beauty on water' as the locals refer to their beloved capital. Visit the City Hall, where Nobel prize banquets are held and embark on an Optional Experience to the Vasa Museum to view the world's best preserved 17th-century warship. Tonight, your journey across Lapland in search of the mystical Northern Lights comes to an end with a memorable Farewell Dinner with new friends.
As our journey to see the Northern Lights comes to an end, bid a fond farewell to Scandinavia and newfound friends. Find out more about your free airport transfer at trafalgar.com/freetransfers.