An independent eight-day itinerary in Finland – Helsinki and the Lapland region in the winter

The trip to Finland was, to me, one of the most special trips I have ever experienced in my life. It was also the most challenging because of the freezing cold there, but I enjoyed it very much despite the cold.

I decided to write a detailed post about our whole trip there because we did it independently and not through an organized trip. It is important to me that whoever wants to fly there on his own will understand the advantages and disadvantages of it and will make the considerations according to what he thinks will be more suitable for him.

I will already say that this is not a cheap trip, both as an organized trip and as an independent trip, and the costs of the trip can also vary by thousands of shekels depending on the attractions and accommodation that you choose for your trip.

We did a combination of cheaper and more expensive things, some of which were through collaborations. I will describe the route according to what we did exactly. At the end of the post I’ve organized all the costs neatly. Of course, the prices of flights fluctuate, which also affects the price.

Information about our trip to Finland

Our trip was in late January and early February 2019.

We had an 8-day itinerary and traveled as a couple, Roman and I.

Our route was Helsinki – Saariselka (Lapland) – Rovaniemi (Lapland) – Helsinki

Methods of transport – internal flights, taxis, trains and buses

Methods of communication – We purchased a Sim card at 7 euros a person per week at the airport in Helsinki (with unlimited internet)

Eight-day trip itinerary in Finland

Helsinki

How did we get to Helsinki?

On a flight from Tel Aviv with a stopover in Amsterdam with KLM

Where we stay in Helsinki?

We slept in a charming Airbnb apartment in a relatively central location (15-minute walk to the train station and the city center). If you do not already have an Airbnb account, here is a discount coupon of Euro 30 for your first booking.

The cost of the apartment was cheaper than a hotel but if you prefer a hotel then I recommend using the price comparison website.

Tip to reduce the cost of accommodation: After booking a hotel via the internet (with a free cancellation option) I recommend you send the invitation you receive to Provo (link to Provo). If the room rate at the hotel you booked with goes down, they will send you an alert which’ll allow you to cancel the order and re-order at a lower price. And what’s cool is that this service is free.

How long were we in Helsinki?

A day and a half at the beginning of the trip and another half day on the way back (I’d recommend spending 2-3 days there, if possible)

What did we do in Helsinki?

We went on a free tour of the city (Tip based), to a local market, to the rock church, an orthodox cathedral, we were in a gourmet restaurant, in a charming cafe, and worked a little at the library. Here is a detailed post about all the things we did in Helsinki.

For transport: We’ve mostly used the Uber app.

Saariselka

How did we get to Saariselka?

On an internal flight from Helsinki to Ivalo airport in Northern Finland’s Lapland region.

Where did we stay in Saariselka?

The reason for our visit was an invitation to stay at the Northern Lights village, how the most unique places I’ve ever seen in my life.

How long were we there for?

Two nights (3 full days)

What did we do in Saariselka?

We received a two-night package, including a pickup at the airport (There and back), full pension, Husky dogs and deer sleds. Additionally, we visited the saunas and got to see the northern lights!!
I’ve written a full post about our experience at the Northern Lights Village.

Rovaniemi

How did we get to Rovaniemi?

By express bus (A three-and-a-half-hour drive from Saariselka). We ordered tickets through the Matkahuolto busses website.

Where did we stay in Rovaniemi?

At an Airbnb apartment in the town center. If you do not already have an Airbnb account, here is a discount coupon of Euro 30 on your first booking.

How long did we stay there?

Three nights

What did we do in Rovaniemi?

On the first day, we arrived in the afternoon and we were just in the mall and shopping at the supermarket, the next day we rode snowmobiles in the mountains, then we went to a good Indian restaurant, Curry Masala, which was close to the snowmobile office. In the evening we planned to do a night tour following the northern glow, but on that day the temperature dropped to minus 30 degrees and we decided to give up. The tour was supposed to be with the Wild about Lapland company.

On the third day we took the train to Kemi to do a cruise on an ice-breaking ship (one of the coolest, most insane attractions we’ve done). I wrote a post with all the information about the icebreaker ship.

There are many other attractions in Rovaniemi such as the Rauna zoo and the Santa Claus village, but due to lack of time, we did not manage to do them as well.

Tip for Rovaniemi: Compared to Helsinki, in Rovaniemi it is very difficult to find taxis and there is no Uber service, so if you need a taxi, make sure to book it in advance. Call the taxi company in advance and tell them where and when to pick you up.

Helsinki

On the last day, in the morning we took a domestic flight to Helsinki. We had a few hours to spend until our flight back to Israel in the evening, so we left our suitcases at item storage (6 euros) at the airport and took a train to the city center.

Trip costs to Finland for an independent trip

Flights

Two-way International flights with KLM from Israel to Helsinki (non-direct flights with stopovers in Amsterdam) Cost of 353 Euros (including one suitcase of 23 kg)

Domestic flights – flight to Saariselka from Helsinki 101 Euros (including one suitcase of 20 kg) with Norwegian Air

Flight from Rovaniemi to Helsinki – 80 Euros (including one suitcase of 20 kg) with Norwegian Air.

Public transportation

A bus from Saariselka to Rovaniemi – 100 Euros

A train from Rovaniemi to Kemi – 52 euros for a two-way ticket

Lodging

Airbnb apartment in Helsinki – Two nights 122 euros

Airbnb apartment in Rovaniemi – Three nights 170 euros

Northern Lights Village – two nights 1500 euros

Attractions

Deer and husky dog sleds – are included in the cost of the Northern Lights Village package

Snowmobiles – 200 Euros

Ice-breaker ship – 720 Euros

Total 3397 euros per couple 

With food and taxis included an estimated cost of 5000 Euro~.

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