With Scandinavia firmly recognised as a year-round destination, there’s something different to be discovered in every season. Specialist tour operator Best Served Scandinavia has the inside track on the best the region has to offer across the year with a superb range of itineraries and experiences. New for 2018 are the pleasures of the Autumn Auroras – a top tip from Best Served Scandinavia as a great time of year to spot the magnificent Northern Lights; the incredible new Loen Skylift in Norway, which transports passengers from fjord to 1,000 metres offering magnificent views as well as new fabulous glass cabins and igloos for winter adventures in Finland and a new floating spa in Swedish Lapland.
A Spring Time Sleepover on Ice
Spring is the perfect season for a Scandi adventure, with lower travel prices before the peak summer season, warmer temperatures and a wide choice of itineraries to suit all interests. Spend a night sleeping on ice in a handcrafted ice room at Sweden’s ICEHOTEL 365 and enjoy the best of both worlds. Created in summer 2017, ICEHOTEL 365 is one of the most unique places to stay in the world. Located 200km north of the Arctic Circle, and traditionally associated with the winter months, it now offers the world’s first year-round ice hotel experience using solar powered technology to keep the indoor temperature at -5°C. Rooms are built entirely of ice – and there is also an ice bar, ice art gallery and 20 ‘warm’ suites. As the ice melts in the surrounding landscape, and the green shoots of spring start to appear, there is also a whole new choice of activities on offer, including cycling, river rafting, stand up paddle boarding, ice sculpting and fishing.
A four day tailor made ICEHOTEL 365 break with Best Served Scandinavia starts from £795 per person including flights, transfers, one night in an Art Suite (ice room), two nights in a warm chalet room, a tour of ICEHOTEL 365, thermal clothing and a morning sauna.
Summer Soaring to the Summit on the Loen Skylift
For a summer holiday with a difference, Scandinavia ticks all the boxes. Replace crowded Mediterranean beaches with the natural beauty of quiet lakes or deserted remote beaches and marvel at the mountains and fjords offering a dazzling sight again the backdrop of the green of summer.
Showcasing fjord Norway at its very best is Best Served Scandinavia’s new Sognefjord, Nordfjord and Geirangerfjord itinerary, taking in three of the country’s most spectacular icons, as well as a ride on the new Loen Skylift – which takes guests from sea level to 1011m to the summit of Mt Hoven – described as the roof of Norway.
Enjoy the incredible natural beauty of fjord Norway with plenty of time en route for hiking and bike rides. After a night in historic Bergen, with its colourful timber buildings and meandering alleyways, travel to Sogndal on a scenic cruise before turning inland along the mighty Sognefjord. The journey continues through the region’s UNESCO listed scenery before arriving at Loen for a ride on the newly opened Loen Skylift. This spectacular cable car climbs 1,000 metres to the summit of Mt. Hoven, offering truly dramatic views over glaciers and forested fjords. Accommodation is at the fjordside Hotel Alexandra with its superb spa, pools and massage rooms. From Loen onto Geiranger – home to what is often considered the jewel of Norway’s fjords, with deep blue waters, lush green vegetation and clifftops etched with waterfalls. Travel along this magnificent fjord with Hurtigruten, for a final night in the art nouveau port town of Alesund.
Best Served Scandinavia offers this six day holiday from £1,155 per person including flights, transfers, cruises, all accommodation and a ticket on the Loen Skylift.
Autumnal Aurora Viewing
Whilst aurora viewing is usually associated with snowy landscapes and cold wintry nights, few people are aware of the opportunities to view the Northern Lights in autumn. In fact, the Northern Lights are at their most active in the colourful months before winter, with the Earth’s orientation maximising the probability of solar flares.
New for 2018 and unique to Best Served Scandinavia is a choice of autumn itineraries offering guests the chance to spot the Northern Lights, combined with seasonal activities such as foraging for cloudberries and wild mushrooms. Perfect for those who want to enjoy this magnificent sight in slightly warmer surroundings, the suggested itineraries range from stays in log cabins to treetop hotels and glass-domed igloos. Viewing the lights is a different experience in autumn, with options to enjoy evenings on pretty lake shores, hunt the Northern Lights by mountain bike and take walks through wildlife filled forests.
There’s a new five day tailor made itinerary – Autumn Adventure at Brändön Lodge and the Treehotel, which combines a stay in a treehouse with a log cabin by the sea – a perfect autumn adventure. This new itinerary includes 3 nights in idyllic log cabins at Brandon Lodge on the shore overlooking an archipelago of 1,300 islands where the remote beauty of Swedish Lapland can be explored with an included wilderness skills session. A local guide teaches Arctic survival skills in the forest with lessons on fire-making, cooking and the local wildlife followed by lunch around the campfire. There’s also a Northern Lights walk one evening which heads for a clearing away from light pollution on a hunt for these natural wonders. The final night is spent away from the coast at the Treehotel deep into Swedish Lapland’s forests offering truly unique, treetop accommodation. Choose from rooms ranging from a mirrored cube and floating UFO to a bird’s nest and an entire cabin strung up at canopy level. There’s also a full range of activities available, including zip lines, river kayaking, forest hikes and moose safaris.
This five day tailor made tour with Best Served Scandinavia tarts from £1,695 per person including flights, transfers, 3 nights at Brändön Lodge on a half-board basis, a Nordic Wilderness Skills excursion, a guided Northern Lights walk with dinner, 1 night in a tree room at the Treehotel (including lunch on arrival, dinner and breakfast).
Luxurious New Igloos and Rooms with a View for Winter
Finland continues to expand its choice of luxury winter experiences, with innovative accommodation offering spectacular views. 2018 will see a host of new properties open their doors to guests, with the glass covered domes and igloos – currently unique to Finland, taking centre stage.
Opening at the end of December 2017 is the Wilderness Hotel Inari which can be found deep in the wilds of Finnish Lapland with thermal glass domes and wilderness log cabins overlooking the beautiful Lake Inari. Guests can lie in bed and watch the Northern Lights from a glass roofed cabin or simply admire the lakeside surroundings. Adventures range from husky-sled rides, snowmobile adventures and reindeer farm visits to ice-fishing trips and nighttime snowshoeing trips to remote aurora camps offering another chance to see the Northern Lights. Prices from £1,555pp for a four day Northern Lights Break at the Wilderness Hotel, including flights and transfers, three nights full board accommodation, a full activity programme and winter clothing.
Also opening in December 2017 is Wilderness Boutique Hotel Nangu with an adult only offering for the winter. Offering a touch of chic to traditional log cabins and with superior rooms providing wonderful views from their glass fronts over Lake Inari, it’s a great location for northern lights viewing. This intimate resort offers a wide range of activities including snowshoeing, sledge rides, husky sledding, ice-fishing and cross-country skiing. The cosy restaurant serves exquisite Lappish delicacies made from local seasonal ingredients. Prices from £1,895pp for a four-night Arctic Escape to the Wilderness Boutique Hotel Nangu including flights, return transfers, full board accommodation in a wilderness room, snow mobiling, husky sledding, a visit to a reindeer farm, snow shoeing and an Aurora Camp experience.
Discover the new Northern Lights Ranch in Finnish Lapland on the outskirts of Levi, some 200 km within the Arctic Circle. In December, the Northern Lights Ranch will be unveiling six new Sky View Cabins with huge heated windows, a glass ceiling and a motorised bed which tilts to offer the perfect view. Guests can make the most of the wilderness surroundings with snowmobiling and husky sledding. Away from any light pollution there’s a clear view of the sky and a great chance of enjoying the aurora borealis. Guests can dine on local seasonal produce and warm up by the roaring log fire at the stunning restaurant, meet and feed reindeer in their enclosure or enjoy the stunning winter landscape from an outdoor hot tub. Prices for a four day Levi and the Northern Lights Ranch itinerary from £1,235pp, including flights, transfers, one night accommodation in a Levi Panorama room, shuttle transfer from Levi to the Northern Lights Ranch, two nights half board accommodation in a Standard Skyview Cabin at the Northern Lights Ranch.
Another innovation can be discovered at the new Apukka Resort on the outskirts of Rovaniemi which offers a night in a mobile aurora wagon which is towed out to a remote spot for Northern Lights spotting. Glass-domed rooms and ice cabins as well as a sauna on skis ensure the resort makes the most of its location tucked away in the wilderness. Prices from £1,195pp for a four-day Northern Lights Break at Apukka Resort, including flights and transfers, two nights in an Aurora cabin on a b&b basis and one night in an Aurora Wagon including winter clothing, hot drinks and evening snacks and breakfast.
Finally, the winter of 2018 will see the opening of the Arctic Bath, a floating spa in the middle of the Lule River in Swedish Lapland from the team behind the famous Treehotel. The spa will operate all year round and will either be surrounded by ice in the winter or the flowing currents of the river during summer. The design and shape of the spa is inspired by floating timber and will feature the spa building will ring a central cold bath, and contain saunas, treatment rooms and relaxation rooms, a restaurant, bar and lounge. Six guest rooms will also be created nearby which will also float or be frozen into the ice offering the ideal romantic and relaxing getaway. Reservations for this new floating hotel and spa will open in June 2018 for its opening later in the year.
These new stunning experiences are all available with Best Served Scandinavia (0207 664 2241, best-served.co.uk) for a magical winter trip.