Finland: Winter Expedition

Saunas, snow and the Northern Lights await on this gay Finland tour.

DESCRIPTION

Our first foray into Finland makes the most of winter: skiing, snowmobiling, dog-sledding, sleeping in glass-roofed cabins to admire the Northern Lights, and warming up to the culture and gay scene in Helsinki. We veer into Norway for a night, and if you’ve never swam in the Arctic Ocean – in the middle of winter no less – you can even scratch that off your list.

QUICK FACTS

Duration: 8 Days/7 Nights
Starts In : Helsinki, Finland
Group Size: Min 4, Max 20
Ends In: Helsinki, Finland
Accommodation: 3+ Star Hotels & Lodges
Deposit: $750
Physical Rating: 3/5

DEPARTURES & PRICES:

March 22, 2020 to March 29, 2020 - 5595.00 USD

HIGHLIGHTS

• Cross-Country ski through snow covered forests
• Slumber under the stars at Aurora Cabin, a luxury glass-roofed cabin in the wintry woods
• Take the reigns on a Husky safari and learn to steer your own dog-sled
• Dine at not one, but TWO acclaimed Michelin-starred Nordic restaurants
• Ride snowmobiles into Finnish forests in search of Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights
• Find out if you're on the Naughty or Nice list at Santa Claus Village
• Ferry through Norway's epic fjords and learn about the region's most succulent crustacean: King crab
• Let off steam in a traditional Finnish sauna
• Take your first frosty steps into the Arctic Circle
• Enjoy our most unique walking tour entirely dedicated to famed homoerotic artist, Tom of Finland

Hei siellä – welcome to Finland! Our trip kicks off with a Group Meeting in the early afternoon. If you aren’t able to arrive in the morning, we recommend flying in a day early to settle in. Today we’ll explore the capital city, including a visit to Temppeliaukion, the Lutheran church that’s impressively built into solid rock. Our Welcome Dinner will be an exquisite three-course experience at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

This morning we fly to Saariselkä. NOTE: The cost of today's flight isn't covered by your departure fee, however, our team will advise you which flights to book. A late afternoon buffet lunch awaits, followed by cross-country skiing at 4PM. Perfect for beginners, the experience includes a private coach for two hours. Tonight’s traditional Lappish dinner features reindeer/elk as the main course.

Kick off the day with a Husky Safari! Alaskan Huskies are cheerful, strong dogs who love to pull the sled through snowy landscapes. Working with a partner, you’ll lead the dogs on a 5-kilometre/3-mile trek. After the safari, enjoy a warm snack and hot tea before the afternoon heats up with a traditional Finnish Smoke Sauna, an Ice Swim, and a three-course dinner. Later this evening we’ll buddy-up and hop on snowmobiles for a 3-hour excursion in search of the Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights.

Today we cross an international border into Norway and visit the town of Bugøynes. We are, quite simply, on the upper edge of the world here. During a traditional fish soup lunch, local fishermen will share their tales. This afternoon we’ll visit an Arctic Sauna, where you can enjoy a dip in the Arctic Ocean...or not. Tonight we stay in Kirkenes, with dinner served at the hotel.

Today is devoted to a King Crab safari. We’ll board a boat and explore a gorgeous, grand fjord right on the Arctic Ocean. Our guide will help us spot birds, seals and even whales. They'll also fill us in on the delicious King Crab before pulling up live traps we can select our own crabs from. Afterwards we’ll prepare said crustaceans for lunch before returning to Saariselkä for dinner. Tonight we'll enjoy one of the tours most exciting experiences: slumbering in glass-roofed cabins in the wintry woods. If we're lucky, the Northern Lights will shimmer above us as we doze off.

After checking out of our hotel, we’re off to Rovaniemi, the land of Christmas and the capital of Lapland. After lunch we’ll visit Santa Claus’ Village, where you can cross the Arctic Circle and revel in the holiday spirit. Tonight we have an evening flight to Helsinki where we’ll have a free evening and an optional dinner. NOTE: The cost of today's flight isn't covered by your departure fee, however, our team will advise you which flights to book.

Rise and shine for the most homoerotic morning of any Out Adventure...ever! We have a three-hour tour devoted to artist Touko Valio Laaksonen, aka Tom of Finland. His work is famously tantilizing and defined by men sporting denim, leather, moustaches and bulging crotches. Lunch will be served in a Russian-themed restaurant, before a special LGBT activity. To end this journey in style, our Farewell Dinner will have us feasting at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to explore the city and depart at your leisure.

• Arrival & departure transfers to/from the Out Adventures Joining/Finishing Point Hotels
• Accommodation
• All meals daily (full board)
• Transportation by private coach


• Expert local English-speaking Tour Leader and Host
• Hotel porterage
• Gratuities to guides and drivers


• International airfare and airfare between Helsinki and Ivalo.
• Travel insurance – mandatory for all travellers. Visit www.outadventures.com/insurance for more details.



• Items of a personal nature
• Visa fees


OUT Adventures is all about good times with likeminded guys. Whatever's on the itinerary - from fireside camping to five-star decadence - our goal is to make the experience magical. We're also committed to supporting the communities we visit by hiring local guides, staying at locally-owned accommodations when possible, and celebrating local cuisine. It all adds up to a great way to immerse yourself in the culture.

VISAS: If your passport is from the USA, Canada, or Europe you can stay up to 90 days without a visa. There may be exceptions. Click here for more info.

CULTURE SHOCK: Finland is one of the safest countries in the world to visit, and it comes with all the comforts of home. However, the Finns are famously reserved (unless they’re at the sauna), so don’t be taken aback by awkward silence.

LOCAL LGBT SCENE: Finland, like all of Scandinavia, is easy to visit as a gay traveller. Sexuality is virtually a non-issue, but Finland could be considered one of Scandinavia’s more conservative countries (and it’s still rather liberal). 

WEATHER: We’ll be near the Arctic Circle in the middle of winter, so pack accordingly. It will easily be freezing, with temperatures dipping as low as -15C/5F. 

REQUIRED VACCINATIONS: The WHO suggests immunization against Hepatitis A and B before visiting Finland. To determine if you should take preventative measures, talk to your doctor or a travel medical clinic.

ELECTRICITY: You will need an international travel plug/adapter for F-type sockets. Visit power-plugs-sockets.com/finland for more info.

CONNECTIVITY: We’ll be venturing through some remote parts of the country, with cellular signals to match. Most of our accommodations will have, at the very least, Wi-Fi service. Feel free to tweet, post and pin. 


For everybody's peace of mind, medical travel insurance is required on all Out Adventures tours. At a minimum, your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability, with a minimum medical coverage of US $50,000.

For more details, visit www.outadventures.com/insurance.

All OUT Adventures are led by a gay (or gay-welcoming) guide. Whenever possible, we hire destination locals. And we can also connect you with the right people if you'd like to delve deeper into the local culture. If you're pleased with your guide, we recommend a tip of US $5-10 per person, per day...they'll certainly appreciate it!

OUT Adventures are a great way to meet people from around the world and all walks of life. Bear in mind that everybody's there for a good time, so mutual respect will go a long way. Please be on time for any meet ups, empathetic to the needs of others, and ready to roll with whatever the adventure brings.

Although we can't tell you who your fellow travellers will be for privacy reasons, we can tell you many great friendships began with an OUT Adventure. And just because we're a gay tour operator doesn't mean we're exclusive: friends and family are always welcome to join the fun.

If you've never travelled on your own, it's an amazing way to get to know yourself while making new friends along the way. We can arrange for you to share a room with people in your age range at no charge, or you can pay a supplement for your own room. And if there's an odd number of solos, we'll rotate a single room on a random basis.

The itinerary is correct at time of publishing. If anything, it will only get better based on feedback from prior travellers and our own research. It's best to reference your final trip documents rather than our website in case there have been any changes that affect your departure.

Every OUT Adventure offers optional excursions that are not included in price of this trip. Please see your daily itinerary in your final pre-trip packet to see what's available.

To keep things flexible, not all meals are included in the trip price. Although we typically dine together so that everybody can get a taste of everything, feel free to explore on your own...your guide will always have some restaurant recommendations.

Klaus K Hotel
Bulevardi 2-4
00120 Helsinki
Finland
T +358 20 770 4701

Standard check-in time is after 3PM. We are unable to arrange early check-ins, however you may store your luggage if you want to get out and explore the area while you wait, or if you are arriving the morning the tour begins. If you want to guarantee an early check-in, you’ll need to reserve an extra night of accommodation.

We’ve covered the gratuities for included activities, meals, and our local Tour Guide. You’ll only need to offer a tip on any extra drinks or services you buy on the trip.

The local currency is the European Euro (EUR). Finland is also among the world’s first cashless societies, meaning credit cards and electronic payment methods are widely accepted. However we recommend you bring about $400 USD in case of an emergency, or if your credit/ATM cards are placed on hold.

Most Out Adventures entail carrying your own luggage on occasion. And while you'll never schlep far, things can quickly get costlier than a celebrity breakup if you don't keep your baggage under 20kg/44lb thanks to costly surcharges on domestic flights. You should also bring something smaller for day trips to carry water, your camera, and any souvenirs you find along the way.

The following packing list is a guideline, not gospel. Our Out Adventure Specialists are happy to answer any specific questions about how much or little to bring.

Travel Documents:

  • Passport/Visas/Flight Itineraries/Travel Insurance
  • Pre-trip packet
  • Credit/ATM card

General Personal Items:

  • Eye mask/ear plugs
  • Smartphone/camera/tablet/charging cords/International travel plug.
  • Daypack
  • Luggage lock
  • Personal Wipes
  • Guidebook/Phrase book/Reading material
  • Protection for your devices from water
  • Travel-size towel

Shoes:

  • Socks
  • Walking shoes
  • Winter boots
  • Sandals (for saunas)
  • 'Nice' shoes for dinners

Bottoms:

  • Underwear (Normal and Thermal)
  • Pants/Jeans
  • Shorts
  • Swimwear
  • 'Nice' pants for dinners

Tops:

  • Short-sleeved shirts
  • Thermal long-sleeved shirts
  • Sweaters
  • 'Nice' shirts for dinners

Jackets:

  • Fleece sweater/jacket
  • Waterproof jacket/poncho
  • Winter jacket

Other:

  • Winter accessories: warm hat, gloves, scarf etc.
  • Sunglasses/Hat
  • Refillable water bottle(s)

Health-related Items:

  • Small First aid kit including ibuprofen, acetaminophen, zinc oxide tape and small scissors, blister pads, diarrhea tablets, dioralyte rehydration packs
  • Personal Medication
  • Sunscreen/lip balm 
  • Antibacterial gel/wipes
  • Toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste & deodorant

We love when groups of friends join us on an OUT Adventure, whether you're celebrating a major milestone, or you just love to travel together. However, since we have travellers that will be flying solo, or as a couple, we would love your help ensuring everybody feels welcome and has an epic time. Here are some ways you can give us a hand, while also getting to know and befriending your fellow travellers:

  • Sit with (and get to know) different people at different meals
  • Mix up walking partners on excursions
  • Invite solo travellers to join you for an optional excursion or meal
  • Enjoy inside jokes in privacy, or let the group in on the secret ;)

If you'd rather relish an exclusive escape with just your own party, we also offer private departures. This is a great way to create and manage your own holiday guest list, while possibly saving money as well. Please contact one of our Adventure Specialists if you're interested in a customized quote.

All Out Adventures guests must have a good level of health. All tours, regardless of activity level, involve uneven steps, stairs, walking tours, and you will be required to carry your own luggage from time to time. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate individuals with limited mobility unless they are willing to absorb the cost of a private guide/assistant which varies by country and is only possible on a case by case basis. It is also your responsibility to advise Out Adventures of any pre-existing medical conditions that may increase the risk of you requiring medical attention, or that may affect the normal conduct of the tour and the enjoyment of the tour by other participants.

Below is a breakdown of our Physical Rating guide.

1 - Relaxing

  • Very little or no hiking
  • Light activities such as walking, bike tours, paddling or swimming are completely optional
  • Low altitude
  • Suitable for all fitness levels

2 - Light

  • Light walking and hiking (2 hours or less per day and at low altitude)
  • Light activities such as bike tours, paddling or swimming are completely optional
  • Suitable for most fitness levels

3 - Average

  • Light walking and hiking (3 hours or less per day, rarely at high altitude)
  • Some activities such as biking, paddling or swimming. Active days are mixed with relaxed days
  • Suitable for an average fitness level

4 - Demanding

  • Walking, hiking is a component of the tour (can range from 2 hours to 6 hours per day, at various altitudes)
  • Activities such as biking, paddling or swimming may be mixed in
  • Suitable for a good fitness level

5 - Challenging

  • Walking, hiking, biking, paddling or kayaking are the vast majority of the trip (can range from 2 hours to 8 hours per day, generally at high altitude)
  • Activities will likely happen day after day with limited rest days
  • Suitable for above average fitness level