The heart of winter
The heart of winter and the beautiful colours of the polar night
The Finnish winter at its most authentic is soft and varied winter darkness, the Northern Lights and snow. Winter can be dark and chilly, but is also incredibly atmospheric and beautiful. The frost and snow create a wonderfully beautiful exhibition of nature’s own art for us, where the sunlight lingering on the horizon is a spectacular sight, and a little different every day. The ‘blue moment’ of the early evening has to be experienced and seen. The beautiful starry sky of a freezing-cold evening is stunning, and if we can also see the magnificent Northern Lights it will be an unforgettable experience. Experience the uniqueness of Finland’s winter! Enjoy the great local food culture and unhurried winter activities for all.
Highlights of the trip:
• Different shades of darkness
• The easygoing local culture
• The local food culture
• Interesting winter programmes and places to visit
• Personalised accommodation
A full-service travel package including transportation. Departure point Kuopio airport or railway station.
Group size: 6 to 14 persons
28.12.2023 - 4.1.2024
30.1. - 6.2. 2024
Day 1 | Jokiniemi Matkailu
Welcome to Jokiniemi Matkailu in Alapitkä
Jokiniemen Matkailu is a family-owned rural tourism company far from the hustle and bustle. Jokiniemi is in a great lakeside location close to nature. Accommodation: In the personalised Lomatalo Haavi holiday home.
Day 2 | Jokiniemi Matkailu
Time in the forest
- The programme includes a short walk in the forest, a nap in a hammock and enjoying a snack by an open fire in a Sámi hut. In the hammock, you can relax, listen to the sounds of nature and just be in the moment. The hammocks have underblankets to protect from the cold and breeze below. Outdoor clothes are worn when using the hammocks, but shoes are not worn. Wool socks and a warm blanket are provided. Everyone is eased into a relaxed state by the sound of wind chimes. After about an hour, gentle shamanic drumming sounds the wakeup call. A fire will be lit in advance in the hut. The picnic lunch includes soup made from local ingredients, bread, and dessert of sweet bread sticks or other sweet treats and coffee.
Sauna and outdoor jacuzzi
Day 3 | Ruukin Tupa
Breakfast in Jokiniemi
Transport to Ruukin Tupa
- On the way, visits to Hietaniemi Ranch and Anna’s Darling jewellery shop. You will be hosted by Henri Jauhiainen. Hietaniemi farm is an organic farm in Sonkajärvi, North Savo, that raises highland cattle. During the farm visit, you will get to see an authentic rural environment and a working farm. Highland cattle are an outdoor breed, and they are outdoors literally all year round here. There are also chickens, dogs and horses on the farm, which you can visit to pet. And speaking of horses, the farm is home to Melody, an American miniature horse, one of the smallest breeds in the world. Melody is about 85 cm high.
- After the farm visit, on the way to Jyrkkä we stop at Anna’s Darling jewellery shop and boutique.
“The Finnish word for gold, kulta, also means ‘darling’. Darling is a Finnish jewellery brand founded in 2012 with a mission to convey emotion through jewellery. We make life a little more meaningful and soulful. We create more than jewellery.” Anna’s Darling jewellery is designed and made in Sonkajärvi from recycled precious metals. The jewellery has won international design awards.
The journey continues to Ruukin Tupa
Accommodation in holiday cottages
- Evening walk (blast furnace lighting)
We secretly visit the museum, which is closed in winter. The museum’s courtyard is sparsely lit, but the museum itself is pitch black and it’s freezing inside too. Just a few metres away are the roaring Jyrkänkoski rapids, which do not freeze over even on the coldest days of winter. The roar of the rapids almost completely drowns out the sound of the small amount of passing traffic.
The village of Jyrkkä was built around an iron foundry from the 1830s onwards. Now you can see the blast furnace, built in the 1870s and still in its full glory, inside a museum building built around it in the 1990s. The building resembles the original blast furnace shelter.
We will go together to the closed museum and I will take you to the foot of the massive blast furnace. Soon there is a light click, and the big spotlights flash on and illuminate the furnace. Next, we climb up the steep steps until we are on top of the blast furnace chimney. Here is the museum itself, where we can get a sense of the history of the village of Jyrkkä from the 19th century to the 21st century through pictures.
Dinner at the cottage from Hietaniemi Ranch’s highland herd
Day 4 | Ruukin Tupa
Free time to independent outdoor activities
Soup for lunch
- Walking in the heart of winter
A wonderful way to relax and enjoy nature, which although it never sleeps can be astoundingly quiet in winter. Most of nature is practically hibernating.On a winter moonlit night, we can enjoy a bright starry sky and be enchanted by the Northern Lights, or even hear the howling of a wolf. As the eye gets used to the apparent darkness, we realise that it is not really dark in the forest.
When the sky is cloudy, walking in the forest has its own charm in an area where there is no light pollution at all. We take headlamps with us just in case, however, so that we can see our way around the forest “in all weathers”. How much light nature gives is out of our hands.
We listen to the sound of the water in a place where the rapids don’t freeze even in the coldest weather, and we go deeper into the forest to listen to the silence, until we gather materials from nature to light a fire and enjoy the pleasing crackle of it. Somewhere a stream flows and a bird takes flight, but for the most part it’s the sound of our own breathing and the sound of silence.
Does the forest give us a pristine snowdrift? Is that a lynx following a hare? And are those the tracks of a deer in the snow? We’ll find all this out when we go for a walk in the dark. Depending on snow conditions, we will use snowshoes if necessary.
Sauna (independently in the accommodation)
Dinner at the cottage
Day 5 | Ruukin Tupa
- Winter fishing
Winter fishing is an experience all its own, but as always with fishing, there are no guarantees of a catch. During this winter activity, you’ll get to try your hand with nets, fish traps and stick fishing. Adding to the excitement of the day is the weather, which in the Finnish winter can be fierce, windy and blustery, freezing cold or calm, with the January sun barely showing.
Finnish wilderness tradition is that wilderness fires are made in all weathers, and a picnic lunch and hot drink by an open fire is one of the highlights of the day. And if there is a catch, it’s great to be able to watch the fish going from under the ice to an open fire as part of the dinner.
Lunch in the wilderness
- Farewell evening at Jyrkkä
You’re sure to have a memorable meal and evening, coupled with a generous amount of Finnish sauna culture in the midst of winter. Not forgetting the most important thing of course – being together.There is one thing that always makes time stand still: staring at a campfire and just listening. Add to this the preparation of a meal over an open fire, and the evening gets off to a splendid start. After the meal at the open fire, you can enjoy the warmth of a wood-fired lakeside sauna and try out some authentic Finnish madness – swimming in a hole in the ice!
The most fun and exciting moment of the meal is probably when you get to cook pancakes over the campfire yourself. Who gets to enjoy dessert and who misses out? That adds to the excitement of the early evening. What is certain, however, is that you will all be able to enjoy a cup of coffee cooked over an open fire. This is an important part of Finnish wilderness culture, too.
The evening is made even more fun with a heated outdoor hot tub. With the combination of a lakeside sauna, an open fire and a hot tub, you can enjoy to the fullest the real Finnish experience of dramatic temperature changes. The bravest among you might even decide to throw themselves in the snow to make a “snow angel”.
Open fire menu
Lakeside sauna – swimming in a hole in the ice – outdoor hot tub
Day 6 | Metsäkartano
Transport to Metsäkartano
Metsäkartano is a Wilderness Resort in Rautavaara, located in Finland's Lakeland district where the pure and quiet Finnish nature surrounds you. You can safely explore the peaceful forests and silent lakes, breath clean air and really hear the silence. The spirit of Metsäkartano warmly welcomes you to enjoy and experience the wilderness.
The natural wonders are only a step outside the front door, from the historic trees to the endless horizon beyond the lake. Choose your perfect experience, from peaceful to adventurous, individually or with friends, and ski your way to unforgettable memories!
Accommodation in Metsäkartano’s holiday rooms
- Sauna culture and how to enjoy Finnish sauna
After all the fun, warm up with an authentic Finnish sauna and cool down with a dip in the lake... or even making angels in the snow!
Day 7 | Metsäkartano
- Snow shoe trip, getting to know forest types and animal prints
- A memorable snack lunch around an open fire
Day 8 | Metsäkartano
Breakfast and departure from Metsäkartano
Price: from 2590€ /person / 7 night, 8 days
Price incl. Accommodation in double room, full board, all programs and equipments in a package, transports.