Tromsø (NO) - kilpisjärvi (FI) - Tromsø (NO) (February 12-20, 2017)
Sunday 12 February – Monday 13 February: We left early in the morning with KLM and flew in 1.5 hours to Bergen. From Bergen to Tromsø took 2.5 hours. The flight was operated by a Norwegian low-cost airline Widerøe. It was a very turbulent flight, especially at the landing. There was a lot of wind and pouring rain. Fortunately, we were safely back on the ground quickly. After collecting car and luggage, we were able to travel reasonably quickly to our night-stop: the Radisson Sas hotel. The airport is close to the city.
Monday February 13 – Saturday February 18 The drive from Tromsø in the province of Troms (Northern Norway) to Kilpisjärvi in the province of Enontekiö (in the “arm” of Finland) takes between 3 and 3.5 hours.
Unfortunately the crossing, with a lot of rain and temperatures a few degrees above freezing, was not as nice as usual. Our destination, the Tundrea resort in Kilpisjärvi, is located at a bit higher elevation, and thus colder. There was still some snow. We liked this because it gives us more the “polar feeling”.
Our cabin was suitable for 6 people. There are 3 bedrooms, a living room with adjoining kitchen, a veranda with table and chairs, and furthermore sanitary facilities and a private sauna. We usually do our own cooking, and get all the supplies in the supermarket around the corner. Sometimes finding the food is a bit of a challenge. Finnish is a language is not intuitive to understand. Luckily, the staff is very happy to help you choose the right products.
In Kilpisjärvi this year we have limited ourselves to taking walks in the snow, around Mount Saana, Lake Kilpisjärvi and to a lake near the village. All the walks we made started and ended at the resort.
In principle, it is also possible to rent a snowmobile or go on a dog sledding trip (at Kilpissafarit), but we didn’t feel like it this time.
In the evening we naturally try to see northern lights, by going to a good viewpoint by car or from the resort. On the last night, between 1 and 3 a.m., we had great activity. In the afternoon and evening of the previous day, 20-30 centimeters of snow had fallen, and at night the sky suddenly opened. Bingo!
Saturday, February 18 – Monday, February 20: After 5 days it was already time to leave for Tromsø, where we stayed another 2 nights at the Radisson Sas hotel in the center of the city.
Parking the rental car is always a bit of a hassle. The hotel no longer has parking facilities. The best option is parking in Fjellet, the parking garage built in the mountain. This is a 5-10 minute walk from the Radisson.
In Tromsø we have enjoyed ourselves with watching the reindeer and northern lights near the city.
On Monday afternoon we left Tromsø with heavy snow showers.
12-20 February 2017
Kiruna (SW) - Kilpisjärvi (FI) - Kiruna (SW) (Februay 28-March 9, 2009)
Day 1: Saturday, February 28, 2009: After a successful flight we arrived in Kiruna in the north of Sweden. Kiruna is a small town and everything is very close together. We had a nice room in Camp Ripan. In the afternoon went to the ice hotel.The weather was clear and there was also beautiful northern light. We are currently in the solar minimum, but luckily there was still something to see.
Day 2: Sunday, March 1, 2009: After the overnight stay and a very good and extensive breakfast at Camp Ripan, we moved to Kilpisjärvi in the north of Finland. It was a nice sunny trip, although it was -26 degrees. We saw a number of reindeer along the way. Soon we were checked into our bungalow. We immediately borrowed the snowshoes from the owner for the entire period, so that we could optimally enjoy the outdoor activities. Of course we immediately tried the snowshoes on, and set of for the Kilpisjärvi lake. Towards the end of the afternoon it was cloudy, so it was no use going out to see the northern lights.
Day 3: Monday, March 2, 2009: Snow! We had a slow start and some shopping in the supermarket. In the afternoon we hiked up the mountain at the visitor center with the snowshoes. The route took us to a small lake. An icy wind blew over the lake, which was a reason to return quickly! On the wholw it was a very nice trip.
Day 4: Tuesday, March 3, 2009: We started with a walk around the peninsula. Since it is vacation you naturally take it easy. As a result, you actually start the walk when it is almost lunch time. Stupid!
In the afternoon, we made a trip by car to Norway. We have found a parking space that would be nice for northern lights. Too bad the weather is cloudy!
Day 5: Wednesday March 4, 2009: Today the weather is beautiful: clear blue sky, and actually not cold. A good day to rent a snowmobile. At Kilpis Safarit: we rented one for the whole day for 120 Euris. Our first goal was the three-country point. After that we crossed the lake and made fun in other places. At night: no clouds and even northern light activity. In the parking lot we have seen a great burst of northern lights.
Day 6: Thursday, March 5, 2009: On the map of the area we have discovered a hiking rout that runs along the slope of Mount Saana. We want to try this one out with the snowshoes. It was completely cloudy, the trees were beautifully frosted. We have made a beautiful walk. The parts in the wood resembled a very beautiful white fairy tale landscape.
In the evening Kilpisjärvi was completely clouded over. Howver, on the Internet we found out that Skibotn on the coast would be clear. Skibotn is no more than 50 kilometers away. On the coast it was indeed clear, we were in the shelter of a hill, the temperature was not too bad, around -8. Unfortunately there was very little activity this time. You could see 1 line of green that disappeared after 15 minutes.
Day 7: Friday, March 6, 2009 On Friday it was time to leave Kilpisjärvi and drive back to Kiruna. After a few hours we arrived in Camp Ripan again. Our room was, at our request, in the same block as where we had been at the start of the trip, a little isolated on the farthest side of the hotel overlooking the wilderness.
Of course our first priority was to drive around looking for a parking space with an unobstructed view to the north. We found it on the way to Abisko.
In Kiruna we unfortunately had no Internet in our room, which made it difficult to a weather assessment. We were lucky to drive to clearer skies. Unfortunately, the trick did not completely succeed because there was no activity. After a few hours we returned to the hotel.
Day 8: Saturday, March 7, 2009: We have rented new snowshoes from Camp Ripan. High tech snowshoes this time. They are doing just as well. We drove in the direction of Abisko and Lapporten to walk there. It was beautiful! The weather was nice again: the sun was shining and it was not cold.
In the evening a repeat of Friday, and again no northern lights.
Day 9: Sunday, March 8, 2009 The Kebnekaise is close to Kiruna. The Kebnekaise is the highest mountain in Sweden (2114 meters). Popular activities are: snow-scooters, cross-country skiing and of course walking with snowshoes. It was overcast, occasionally it snowed, but again we enjoyed it. We of course hoped to see moose. We had come across places in the forest where it was clear to see that there had been moose. We just called it “a moose hotel”. In the evening the weather was again lousy. That’s why we stopped hunting for northern lights for this trip.
Day 10: Monday March 9: Packing up again and go home.
Tromsø (NO) - kilpisjärvi (FI) - Tromsø (NO) (March 1-9, 2008)
Day 1 & 2: Saturday 1 March and Sunday 2 March: After an overnight stay in the Radisson in Oslo and a delicious breakfast we leave with SAS-airlines to our final destination: Tromsø. We arrived in the afternoon, at half past one. Our Hertz-car was already ready: a Suzuki 4×4. Immediately we set off to Kilpisjärvi, where we arrived after about 2.5 hours. They were already waiting for us, so check-in was quick. Number 16! An amazing log cabin! The cottage exceeded our wildest expectations, it was cozy, well heated, well lit, good furniture, fully equipped. In short, evrything we could have wished for. It turned out to be a clear evening. That is why we immediately went out to look northern lights. It was -22 degrees. After a few hours of waiting we gave up, there was no activity.
Day 3: Monday, March 3: The weather was a bit disappointing. It was overcast. First we did some shopping in the supermarket of Kilpisjärvi. Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. As a store, you can only afford these kind of opening times if you are the only one.
After “shopping” it was time for a trip. We decided to drive the road south-east, towards Karesuando. This is the border town between Finland and Sweden. On the map it looked like an entire city, but in reality it is a hole!, there is nothing to do, nothing to see. The ride, however, was beautiful, just a pity that the weather was gloomy, In the evening: no need to go out again.
Day 4: Tuesday, March 4: We woke up and yes, a beautiful day !!! The temperature: -25 degrees. Brrr! We decided to rent a snow-scooter despite the cold. Kilpis Safarit was our destination as they rent the things.
However, the owner thought it would be better if we return in the afternoon, because then it would probably be warmer again. Given the cold, we thought that 2 hours scootering would be enough.
We made a trip to the three-nations border of Norway, Sweden and Finland. This tour goes over the lake and is fairly flat, very suitable for beginners like us.
At 2 pm we were returned to the rental company.
Here we were hoisted into suits in a shack with sauna temperatures. What did we have on? Clothes, our jacket and ski pants, this was topped of with a kind of polar-suit. We received padded boots with an extra pair of woolen socks. Finally outside, Theo was extensively instructed how the snow scooter worked, We were on our own after that. After a difficult start on somewhat rough snow, we gained a little more confidence. The rest of the journey was easy going. We have found the three-nations border.. The monument is a huge concrete yellow block.
There was no northern lights activity in the evening.
Day 5: Wednesday, March 5: A new day, and again beautiful weather.
Because we had already covered the road to Karesuando in the snow, we thought it would be nice to take a look at it in sunny weather. The road was clean, almost snow-free, but shimmering with ice. Good that rental cars have studded tires.
In the afternoon we went for a walk around a small part of the lake. On the way back we crossed the lake and we ended up on a small island. Good and bad! Bad: loose snow was up to our knees. Good: Views were so beautiful, we even went back to get the camera and take some pictures. We stayed outside all afternoon.
In the evening there was wonderful activity from the northern lights. We have visited a number of our pre-selected viewpoints. When we were too cold, we returned to our cabin and it turned out that we could see the northern lights perfectly from there. At about half past eleven it was completely cloudy and the fun was over.
Day 6: Thursday, March 6 What would we do today? It was cloudy and snowing. It was a lot warmer: -11 degrees.
Because it looked so beautiful outside, we decided to go for a walk through the snow. Near the visitor center there is a trail that runs into the wilderness, we went to explore this trail.
We walked a cross-country ski-route. The route was prepared .
In the afternoon we chose the route to Skibotn for a change. Skibotn is located on the shore, it was 10 degrees warmer, but due to the strong wind it was actually much more unpleasant than in Kilpisjärvi.
In the evening it had not cleared up, so it did not make sense to stay up late and go outside.
Day 7: Friday, March 7: It is our last day in Kilpisjärvi. Snow-scootering again? We decided to go for a walk . We have made a long walk of about 8 kilometers on a cross-country ski-route on the lake, the route went around the peninsula near Kilpisjärvi. It took us almost 3 hours to complete the trip in the snow. It was amazing! Everywhere we had a view of the mountains: Saana and the snowy peaks at the three-nations border.
In the evening it was still clear. We had found a nice northern light spot on a dark road near the village. There was wonderful activity. We have gone to several of our favorite places and ended up again at our cabin. With a cup of tea in our hands, we looked outside and inside until it was cloudy again.
Day 8: Saturday, March 8: It is already time to leave, what a pity! One thing we know for sure, we will definitely go back to these cabins.
At around eleven we got in the car and headed for Tromsø again. We had booked the Radisson SAS for the last 2 nights. We mainly spent the Saturday on the trip and a walk in Tromsø. We had a nice dinner at restaurant Steakers on the harbor. In the evening we saw that there was northern lights activity, but the activity was limited and city lights were too bright.
Day 9: Sunday, March 9: Strong wind, clear weather. First we had an idea to go up the mountain with the cable car. In retrospect, we were lucky that we changed plans. It was much too windy to go up a mountain without any shelter.
We therefore started touring with the car and arrived on a road to the town of Mikkelvik. Until now we had never driven this road. We always had to turn around because there was too much snow and we had no snow chains. This time the road was clean. The road let to a frozen fjord which was covered with broken up ice. It was really beautiful. During the day it unfortunately became heavily cloudy again.
On the way back from our dinner: look! The moon. So …… we put on warm clothing and went outside. There were some northern lights, but it was also cloudy.