There are a range of great outdoor, cultural and sporting activities available here for winter visitors. However, it is sometimes hard for visitors to find all of the information in one place. Hence, we have tried to compile it here, for you, so that you can devise your own activity week in Hetta.
If you would like us to put a suggested week-long itinerary together for you, we are also happy to do this outside of our peak seasons, (December and February). Just let us know the length of time of your stay and the type of group you are in and we will send you a couple of different programme options that will help you maximise your time whilst here and save you time and money.
NB: The prices shown below are the prices which the activity organisers quote. Hence, they not normally include transfers to and from hotels.
Arctic Trails Snowmobile Safaris
No journey to Lapland is complete without the exhilaration of a skidoo safari. Hence, make sure that you bring your driving licence with you, if this is something that you are looking forward to, since you will need one in order to be able to drive. Those who do not wish to drive can ride pillion and children can ride in a snowmobile sleigh on the shorter journeys so that the whole family can enjoy this experience together.
Driving a skidoo on tracks is easier than you might imagine and is accessible to all, whilst driving off-tracks in virgin snow, is best left to the experts. Whilst our guides ensure that safety is paramount at all times, they also select an appropriate degree of terrain challenge for the skill and enjoyment of each group.
When travelling by snowmobile, you can cover quite a lot of terrain in a relatively short time and at this Northerly latitude, that means that you can traverse a number of eco-zones relatively quickly. Enontekio is above the spruce line and at the Northern end of the pine line. North of Hetta, trees disappear almost completely, so you may find yourself driving through a landscape in which there is nothing but whiteness all around you, as far as the eye can see. It is a truly Arctic tundra landscape – an endless desert of snow.
Driving snowmobiles on some of the many thousands of kilometres of snowmobile trails that criss-cross this remote region is an exciting and unforgettable experience. You may even be lucky enough to finish under some Northern Lights.
We run snowmobile tours for small groups on all of our husky trails for the same price as our husky products. ie if you choose a 9km safari, it will cost the same price as the 9km husky safari although you will obviously not be out for as long. Hence, look at our single-day husky route options for more information.
We sometimes offer customised combination products in which the group will spend half of the safari on the dog teams and half on the snowmobiles.
The longest snowmobile product we offer is our Arctic Tundra Safari which goes out to a tiny wilderness cabin on the high treeless fells. This tour takes c. 5 hours and can be quite challenging physically.
Price: As per our husky tours: ie 6km costs €65 etc.
Arctic Tundra Safari (5hrs) €165 / person if two people are sharing a snow mobile.
Price includes: a snowmobile suit and boots upon prior request, a helmet and the snowmobile / snowmobile sleigh as appropriate.
Reindeer Farm Visit
The reindeer farm selected for this visit is one of the largest working farms in Enon-tekio and also one of the most entrepreneurial. They not only have their traditional reindeer herding business in operation, but they also run a small horse-riding and training stables, (primarily for local children) and they also catch, tame and train a number of reindeer each year, to drive sleighs. Hence, during your visit, you will have the opportunity to gain an insight into both the traditional ways of life of the rein-deer-herding Sami community, and the lifestyle of the Sami in the 21st century, as they incorporate modern machinery and opportunities into their ancient lifestyle.
During your tour of the farm, you will be introduced to some of the tame reindeer and taken on a reindeer sleigh ride. There will also be plenty of time for questions about the methods of reindeer husbandry used in this remote Northern Municipality, over a hot drink and snack in a comfortable wooden kota on the farm. You can learn about what reindeer eat in the winter, why they now have to be provided with sup-plemental food in the coldest months, what this supplemental fodder is and how it is transported to them whilst they roam freely.
Learn, too, about how the herders know which reindeer belong to them and how the families work together as in the days of old, during, for instance, the ear-marking season. You may be surprised by some of the things that you will learn; for instance, that the Sami used to insulate their shoes with grass but that they now use newspaper – or why the dreaded mosquito, so much a part of the Arctic land-scape in summer months, is actually much appreciated by the reindeer herders.
Price: €65 for adults and €45 for children under 12 (children under 2, free).
Minimum group size: 2
Price includes: A c. 20 minute reindeer sleigh ride (2 pax / sleigh), a talk about reindeer husbandry and life as a reindeer herder in Lapland, a lasso-throwing demonstration and chance to try throwing the lasso and to feed the reindeer. Hot drinks in a Lappish Kota and a dried or smoked reindeer meat snack.
CAPE's owner, Pasi, is one of Finland's foremost survival instructors - an active member of 'Survival Guild Finland'.
Each year, we run week long survival courses in summer and winter but this small taster course is simply designed to give a small insight into a range of key outdoor survival skills.
One of the most important winter survival skills is the ability to make a fire, both to keep warm and to boil water from snow. Hence, we will spend time teaching the basics of how to prepare firesticks and kindling and laying fires the Finnish way. Navigation through a fairly featureless, white landscape, often in 'white-out' conditions, is also critical so we will challenge you to complete a small orienteeriing course, on snowshoes, around the farm after giving some basic instruction (if needed). Two checkpoints will take you to pre-made forest shelters / snow-shelters so we will also have a chance to talk through the tools which Finns take with them into the wilderness in case they are caught out and need to make an emergency shelter quickly.
Programme Duration: 4 hours
Hetta's Skierri (nature centre) is at the far side of Hetta village from our husky farm but it is well worth a visit. As well as being a nature centre, it hosts one of the biggest Sami exhibitions in Lapland called 'Vuovjjuš / Wanderers', which outlines both the modern-day and historic importance of reindeer in the Sami way of life.
It also hosts a variety of other exhibitions and events through the year and shows a number of audio-visual shows in a number of languages in its large auditorium. The smaller exhibitions profile the diversity of nature in the Arctic regions and the his-tory of tourism in Enontekio. In a children's corner, called Lil' Lemming, children can read nature books, draw, play games or play with toys.
The Skierri is also an important starting point for anyone interested in finding out more about the nearby Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, hiking and skiing trails, (eg, the Nordkalottleden Trail), wilderness hut reservations / keys, fishing and hunting permits and other wilderness services in north-west Finland. Its small gift shop also includes local area maps, maps of nearby areas in Sweden and Norway and nature books.
There are a number of skiing, snowshoeing and hiking routes that start from the Skierri in Hetta - the Sami museum, nature centre and tourist information centre. One ascends c. 130m to the summit of Jyppyra – a hill of ancient importance to the local inhabitants of the area as a site of offerings to pagan gods on an ideal snowshoe trail to the summit shelter which has been built by the Ministry of Forestry and is a great place to take a break, make a fire and enjoy a hot drink and snacks whilst looking down on a panoramic view of the surrounding area.
Behind you, lies the Arctic tundra landscape that stretches out towards Norway and Nordcapp – the most Northerly point of land in Europe. Directly to the West lies Sweden and the longest undammed river in Europe (now frozen over). To the East, a little further away, is the long wilderness border between Russia and Finland and to the South, glorious views of the Northern fell landscape of the Pallas-Yllas National Park, Finland's third largest and, according to many, her most beautiful.
As we warm ourselves by the fire, there will be plenty of time to learn about the changing landscape through the seasons and about the fauna and flora that abound. If lucky, we may even catch a glimpse of the Northern lights, since Jyppyra provides one of the best vantage points around.
Min. participation numbers: 4 people
Programme Duration: c. 2 hours
Price includes: a guided snowshoe excursion to the summit of Jyppria with discussions, en route, about local flora and fauna through the year. Hot drinks and a snack at the summit kota.
People travel from far and wide to visit Hetta's snow castle. Although much smaller than the internationally renowned ice-hotel in Sweden, it still has its own charm. Each year the castle is built from scratch, using specially designed architectural bal-loons that support the weight of the blown snow. Inside, tables and beds are cut from the metre-deep ice of the lake and carved to form.
Recessed lights create different moods for each room and there are plenty of illumi-nated ice sculptures to admire. For those who are particularly keen, we can even arrange for you to spend one night of your stay in the ice castle for an extra fee. Most, however, are satisfied to learn more about the making of the ice castle from the innovative 'owner' over hot drinks and cookies during the tour.
Programme Duration: c. 40 mins
Minimum group size: 5 people or €40
Price Includes: Guided tour of Hetta's Snow Castle, with hot drinks and biscuits served in the ice bar.
No trip to the Arctic would be complete without an opportunity to combine a sauna evening with the chance to try ice-hole swimming. Hence, for those whose appetite for adventure has been undimmed, this is the suggested optional programme for this evening.
Hetta's downhill ski centre has the perfect slopes for beginner to intermediate skiers. Hence, if there is a skill that you haven't yet tried, or if you want to perfect an existing skill, there are a number of ski instructors who will be more than happy to help you to achieve your goals.
Programme Duration: c. 3 hours
Price Includes: half-day lift pass, equipment hire and professional instruction
Lapland is the ideal place either to learn to XC ski or, indeed, to improve your tech-nique. There are thousands of kilometres of maintained tracks here in the height of the skiing season and the season itself is one of the longest in Europe. In addition to the wilderness tracks, Hetta has one 10km-long illuminated ski track which can be used at any time of the day or night. Depending on the level of the group, we will start the ski school either on the illuminated track or on the flat surface of Lake Ounasjarvi.
Within a 2-hour session, most people will be able to learn enough to glide comfortably on their skis on the flat sections and to brave some of the smaller ascents and descents, both in and out of the groomed tracks.
Programme Duration: c. 2 hours
Price Includes: equipment hire and professional instruction
There are many cross-country ski journey possibilities on the wide network of tracks around Hetta. We have guided on everything from short half-day journeys to week-long trails. For many people, being accompanied by a guide gives a degree of confidence when heading out into the Arctic nature. We always talk a lot with our clients ahead of time to ascertain skill levels and interests before agreeing together on the most suitable groomed trails. When overnights are involved in our cross country ski journeys we normally stay in a wilderness hut but we can also opt to camp if that is what is prefered.
Programme Duration: 3 hours to 3 days (4 hour programme costs €40 for adults)
Price Includes: equipment hire and professional instruction
For those who want to head out into the wilderness on back-country skis far from groomed trails, there are a number of access points onto the high arctic tundra plateaus that make for spectacular skiing at the edge of the earth. These journeys are suitable for either competent cross-country skiers wanting more of a challenge and for those preparing for polar expeditions. On some of these journeys hut accommodation is available but on others, the only option is to camp.
Programme Duration: 2 - 10 days
Price Includes: equipment hire and professional instruction
Your farewell dinner will be in the form of a traditional Lapp Kota evening since this provides a real opportunity to gain a cultural insight into the local traditions and ways of life amongst the Sami of Enontekio. The evening will be led by either a sha-man or a joiku singer of note. Joiku is effectively a Lappish version of yodelling and one of Enontekio's locals is celebrated for his prowess throughout Finland.
The evening consists of songs and stories about the Lappish way of life around a roaring fire and a traditional reindeer meal. It is an unforgettable experience for those lucky enough to take part in this type of rare event.
Price: depends on group size (<5, €60 per person)
Programme Duration: 2 hours
Price Includes: traditional reindeer meal and local entertainment.
There are two well-known silversmiths who live and work in Hetta, Enontekio. Both offer jewellery-making classes to small groups. Participants buy the ingredient com-ponents for the item of their choice and take the finished version that they, them-selves, have made, away with them. This is a great opportunity to spend some time amongst the locals and to ask questions about the way of life for those who still de-pend on traditional handicrafts for survival in this remote community.
Programme Duration: c. 1 hour (up to 5 people). Longer for a larger group.
Price: Adults and children (from age 7) €15 each, assuming that each person makes an item of jewellery. Family members and friends are welcome to simply watch.
Price includes: expert tuition in jewellery-making and a self-made piece of jewellery – eg, a pendant (chain, extra).
Kautokeino is the first large Norwegian village that you come to after the border to the North of Hetta. It is an interesting area since c. 90% of the population are Sami-speaking and it is arguably the cultural capital of the Sami. It not only has the only Sami University in Scandinavia, but also numerous media and research-related insti-tutions and a traditional Museum that can be visited in summer / by prior arrange-ment. It is well worth the c. 1-hr drive from Hetta.
One of the key tourist attractions there is the Juhls silver gallery. This architecturally interesting building contains not only one of the largest collections of Sami jewellery but also hand-made designer clothing made out of natural fibres and a bizarre but beautiful collection of Asian tapestries and rugs. There are plenty of different room designs to wander through and for those keen to purchase some authentic jewellery, the prices are reasonable.
Nearby is a small sami museum and outdoor area with traditional dwellings. This is generally open only in the summer but when open, a visit to it can be incorporated into the program.
Programme Duration: c. 5 hours inc. transfers
Price includes: 1-hour transfer each way and guided tour of the Silver Gallery - and Sami museum when open.