Lapland adventure vacation, Northern Lights & Icehotel


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Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Lapland adventure vacation, Northern Lights & Icehotel


Accommodation and Meals:
We spend four nights in a lodge, one in a wilderness camp and the final night is spent in the Icehotel in Jukkasjarvi. The Lappis Lodge is located between Kiruna and Gällivare and is run from a small, family like team. The guests stay in newly built rooms which are geothermally heated and we use energy saving bulbs and separate all waste. The lodge is the only restaurant in the vicinity and so this is an important contributor to employment opportunities and meeting facilities for local communities. Throughout the week there will be plenty of locally sourced, traditional food on offer such as meatballs, reindeer stew, salmon, Swedish hash, and cooked vegetables. There is even the option to eat in a traditional homestead on the last night.

Our selection of alternative winter activities seeks to make the most of the natural environment in its pristine state, rather than changing it. Snowshoeing, ice fishing, cross-country skiing and dogsledding are best suited to remote wilderness areas and the development of these alternatives is key to the long-term survival of many mountain communities. We reduce our carbon footprint through these neutral activities and the very limited use of cars for transfers helps to sustain the surrounding environment. The dogs themselves are cared for in accordance with Swedish laws, with their housing even containing fibre-glass insulation in the roofs.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.


The popularity of the Ice Hotel has given a boost to winter tourism all over Lapland. Previously areas that relied on their own nationals for winter income are now getting more visits from overseas clients, who stay for longer and spend more money. However, where most visits to the region are just for a couple of nights over a long weekend, on this trip you stay for a full week helping to provide weekly income from December to April.

Local Crafts and Culture:
On this tour, we try to engage with locals as much as possible and even include a visit to a reindeer farm so that clients have the opportunity to understand something more about culture and lifestyles in Lapland. The small souvenir shop at the lodge sells a range of arts and crafts products made by local people, such as Sami jewellery and reindeer hides. By stocking these products, we are encouraging local and traditional methods of production and supporting the economy in the area.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

Reviews of Lapland adventure vacation, Northern Lights & Icehotel

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 17 Feb 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The Icehotel

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Dont just take warm clothes for outdoor stuff, but take things to wear to dinner too

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A 10

Reviewed on 15 Jan 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Every day brought a new and exciting experience but top of the list was the husky safari. It was exhilarating. The dogs are so powerful and go so fast. Driving the sled was just such an amazing experience. The snow shoeing and cross country skiing on site were great fun as was the day in Ruka where we did snowmobiling and down hill skiing. There were also hours of fun just sledging down the hill.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

The outdoor clothing provided is excellent but take your own base layer and a neck warmer/buff. For evenings just take normal indoor clothing. The food is excellent but you may want to take some snacks if you don't want lunch everyday.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The basecamp site is an environmentally friendly site and is used by day visitors as well as groups. It is a great outdoor centre for the area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It was fantastic. All the staff on site were friendly and helpful. The accommodation was really comfortable and the food was excellent. The equipment store had everything we needed in every size. The adults and kids enjoyed everything -the nightly sauna, the outdoor dinner, the igloo building and the activity instruction. Just a great place to go!

Reviewed on 28 Jan 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The whole trip was a combination of uplifting, exciting, experiences which left us feeling invigorated even after our return home. I particularly enjoyed the dog sledding, whilst it was a challenging at times, the dogs were so incredibly obedient I never felt unsafe. Our guide was superb, he made an already excellent trip even better - thanks Jan!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Pack plenty of warm thin layers to help you adapt to the constant changes in temperature (it varied between -2 and -35 degrees during the week we were there) and take some ski goggles for the snow-mobiling they really helped us!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, I believe that some of the local people benefited from our trip and our impact on the environment was minimal just by using common sense - how very refreshing!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It was excellent, we were a bit dubious about booking a predefined tour as we tend to book and plan our own trips so we are not governed by a rigid itinerary. Whilst there were activities arranged for each day, we never felt it was over regimented and there was always some flexibility.

Reviewed on 31 Dec 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The whole trip. Being out in the wilderness, away from cities in a small town. Nothing about the trip was commercialised and it was a refreshing change from other destinations/trips.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Pack thermals - they work! Your own, good quality lined boots are probably warmer than those supplied, however wearing several pairs of socks might also work. Note that there are other guests at the hotel, so whilst the group is adults only, there are invariably children running around too, so it's not an entirely adult-only experience!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes - hotel staff were all locals, as were the guides. This was great as you got to hear from and interact with the people who know their country. Don't know if snowmobiles are environmentally friendly, but they are great fun & we shared 2 to a machine.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent. Disappointed that it was the warmest Christmas they'd had in 37 years, thus snow was minimal, but that's the luck of weather and no one's fault!

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