The Fall leaf colour, or 'ruska' to the locals, is a spectacular phenomenon in Finland, painting the landscape in deep and soft tones. The colours get more vibrant the further north one travels, and what better way to see the onset of ruska than on a horseback riding trail within the wilds of the Arctic Circle. On this equestrian trail discover the delights of the outermost northwest of Finland, sparsely populated and geographically and scenically different to the rest of the country with mountains, fells, lakes and tundra-like vegetation. This is the only area in Finland with a Sami majority.

This 'treeless' topography is perfect for wilderness lovers. Ride the Finnish horses by day and spend nights in basic wilderness cabins or camping in tents; the riders help to look after their own horses and to help with camp/cabin. A level of fitness and enthusiasm for the outdoors is required for this equestrian adventure. Enjoy typically Lappish food dishes, and the sauna – a central feature of any Finnish home!

There are no reviews for this holiday at the moment

Day 1      
The riders are welcomed by the guide at Kittilä airport, followed by the transfer to Polar Lights Tours Horse & Husky Camp, close to Levi. The first night's accommodation is in the Aurora wilderness cabins which are situated 1,5 km from the camp, in a peaceful spot in the middle of wilderness. The cabins have two beds, table and chairs and an eco-toilet. Your guide will introduce the next few day's trail program. Welcome dinner and overnight.

Day 2    
After breakfast, pack the bags and transfer to Näkkälä Village in Enontekiö to prepare the horses for the first trail ride. Riders will meet the horses and be shown the Finnish riding techniques. On the first day the route follows sandy roads, hillocks and hills in the fell forest. The days ride is approx 20km and there is a picnic lunch before heading to the wilderness cabins in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight

Day 3    
Continue the ride after breakfast. Today covers approx. 25km on mainly treeless sandy hillocks, and fells with small, beautiful streams, lakes, bogs and hills. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way by the campfire before riding to Pöyrisjärvi, the summer place of reindeer herders. This is the base for the next two nights. There is no electricity or running water. After taking care of the horses the group prepares dinner before spending the night in the cleanest air in Europe.

Day 4    
The day is spent exploring lake Pöyrisjärvi and its surrounds. Today's 25km ride starts after the morning routine. Remember that there is no mobile connection! Picnic lunch during the day. Dinner and overnight in the same cabin as on previous day.

Day 5    
After breakfast and tending to the horses, the group starts the ride back to the village of Näkkälä. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way before reaching Näkkälä in the late afternoon. See to the horses before transferring back to the Polar Lights Tours Horse & Husky camp. Enjoy a sauna and delicious farewell dinner. Overnight in the Aurora wilderness cabins.

Day 6    
After breakfast it’s time to say goodbye to the beautiful Finn horses and scenery of Lapland before the guide transfers you to the airport.

Please note: There is no electricity in the wilderness huts.
This is a sample itienary and the program may change.

Sleeping bags and bed sheets/linen can be rented on-site for €25 each per person per week (approx). If you do not wish to rent the bed linen then please take your own sleeping bag and pillowcase. Extra nights can be added on before or after the trail to take advantage of the extra activities that can be enjoyed in this area of Finland - choose from canoeing tours, biking tours, walking tours and fishing to name but a few activities. It may also be possible for non-riders to enjoy these activities while the riders are on the trail. Please enquire for more details.

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

There are 5 Finnish horses available for riding, each one is regarded as a member of the family! They are all good-natured, calm and forward-going. Finnish horses are a hardy, cold-blooded breed who are used to the harsh conditions of Lapland. They have been used for centuries for agricultual draught work and although they are seen as 'robust' they are light underhand. Finn horses have an average height of around 15.1hh.



The pace of the riding is steady, mostly walking with short busts of trot or tölt and some cantering where terrain allows. The tack is English with leather saddles and snaffle bits. They are ridden in a loose-rein style. You are asked to help groom, tack-up and look after your horse.


Rider requirements

All abilities from intermediate riders onwards can be catered for on this holiday. There are canters where terrain allows. Minimum age is 12 years old but children need to be strong and fit.

A general level of physical fitness is recommended for this ride; not only for the riding but also for the help that is required in the mornings and evenings when not riding. As well as riders looking after their own horse (feeding, watering, grooming, tacking up) they are also required to help set up the cabins and camps, clean and cook. There is also no running water or electricity on the trail on two of the nights in the wilderness cabin so a willingness and enthusiasm for camp life is a must!

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

At the start and end of the trail (nights 1 and 5) riders will stay in small log cabins which are well-equipped and have shared facilities, including the all-important sauna. There are no single rooms and all accommodation is shared. The hosts will cook on these nights.



While on the trail the group will stay for two nights (nights 3 and 4) in a Government-owned wilderness cabin, or camps in the middle of the wilds of Pöyrisjärvi. This is cosy and rustic but the facilities are very basic with no electricity or running water. Again, riders must be prepared to share bedrooms and bathroom facilities. 



First night on the trail (night 2) is spent in an apartment situated in a holiday village. The facilities are shared but there is running water and electricity and an outside sauna. Meals are home cooked and feature typically Lappish specialities such as reindeer, fresh local salmon and forest mushrooms to name but a few. Many different local berry varieties are favourites on the dessert menu.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

Passport and Visa requirements can change regularly depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/finland

In the USA: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Finland.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/finland

Climate Summary

Your hosts have experienced a wealth of weather conditions in this part of Finland. In Enontekiö you may experience snow in August, or, as in 2013, +20 degrees!
In the summer, there is 24 hours of daylight, and for a number of weeks in June and July there is midnight sun. The warmest month is usually July.
Autumn is a time of bright colours in nature, and the spectacular “ruska” period begins in September. Please note that it can be snowing in September. It heralds the berry picking season shortly followed by the mushroom gathering season.
Winter usually brings a good deal of snow (average of 1.9m), with starry night skies and northern lights.

Winter comes in two stages, first the dark period which is called Kaamos – the darkest time of year. This period lasts until January. Then comes the light period of winter. By the end of January, the light and sun return. In early spring, the sun rises on sparkling seas and lakes still covered by thick ice. This is a time of ice fishing and skiing. The ice on the River Tornio dramatically breaks up at the end of April or beginning of May, while the ice on normal sized lakes remains until around 15 May.

Here are the typical dates for the start of the different seasons of the year: Spring 20th April, Summer 1st June, Autumn 5th September and Winter 25th October. The division of the seasons is based on the climate, where winter is defined as the period when the average temperature over 24 hours is below zero, and summer is when it is above +10°C. Spring and autumn are when the average 24 hour temperature is between 0°C and +10°C.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Finland and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Health (ride specific)

There are no specific health precautions to take but we do advise a high factor sunscreen (factor 50+) and sunglasses. Mosquito's can be a problem during the summer although don't carry disease. They tend to die out during mid-July and have gone by late August.

Electricity

In Finland the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.

Mobile, WiFi and charging

Electricity is available on 3 nights of this programme so cameras need to be charged ready for the nights in the wilderness cabins/camps! For those using GoPro camera's must please check if the group is willing to be filmed.

Packing List

- Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384
- Gloves
- Clothing for horseback riding (resistant fabric pants, fast drying shirts, long sleeve shirts to protect from the sun)
- Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
- Chaps
- Warm fleece shirt
- Thermal underwear/long johns
- Sleeping bag (may be hired on-site)
- Swimming suit
- Towels
- Sunglasses
- Sunscreen
- Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent
- Camera, spare Batteries/Chargers - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding
- Headtorch
- Alcoholic drinks and goodies

Provided by hosts
Pillows and blankets are supplied every night but not bed linen so if you are taking your own sleeping bag then please remember to pack a pillowcase too. Sleeping bags and bed linen can be hired on-site. Please see our website or ask your Sales Consultant for details.

Please be aware when packing that it can still snow in August.

Programmes

6d / 5n programme with 4 riding days available on set dates. Tailor-made itineraries are available for groups of 3 to 5 people, please enquire.

Departure Dates

2024: 12 - 17 Aug
Other dates available on request for 3 people or more, please enquire.

Pricing
No single rooms available (on some or all nights). Riders must be prepared to share with someone of the same sex.
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2024 6d/5n4double pp2,635
2024 6d/5n4Extra night in Wilderness Cabin115
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2024 6d/5n4double pp3,055
2024 6d/5n4Extra night in Wilderness Cabin129
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
2024 6d/5n4double pp3,509
2024 6d/5n4Extra night in Wilderness Cabin149
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2024 6d/5n4double pp36,505
2024 6d/5n4Extra night in Wilderness Cabin1,555
Recommended Reading

We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.



Finland (Travellers)  - Jon Sparks

The Sami of Northern Europe - Deborah B. Robinson

Lappish cooking from fire and fell - Päivikki Palosaari

For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit www.thelongridersguild.com.

Another excellent source of equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com



 


Other Activities

Finland is an outdoor country in summer and winter and there is a whole host of outdoor activities on offer here, for riders and non-rider alike.

Your hosts are qualified wilderness guides and can speak English, Finnish, Swedish, French and German. There are many other activities on offer such as fishing, canoeing, mountain biking and hiking.

Wildlife

There is an abundance of birds, moose, foxes and reindeer in Enontekiö but it is largely a case of they can see you but you can't see them!
Finland is Europes most forrested country and also boasts lakes over 10% of its surface areas and within those, more than 100 000 islands. With a very low population density and an open access to all land (including privately owned), the wildlife has a free rein in Finland. The range is similar to the pine and birch forests in the rest of Scandanavia and northern Russia including: reindeer, moose, foxes, ermine, deer, snow hare, bears, pheasants, partridges, owls, cranes, wild swans, lemmings, salamanders, rare butterflies.
There are also many varieties of edible berries, which are all freely available for picking in the vast forests in September. As well as the more common blueberries, cranberries, loganberries there are more exotic ones such as the yellow clouberries. Just after the berries the mushroom season starts – it is advised to take a local expert guide to distinguish the many edible varieties from the few very poisonous ones!

Other Information

Many wonder how Finns survive with no sunlight in the winter and nature replies with 24 hours of it in the summer. The intense contrast in light conditions has a profound effect on all walks of life in Finland. For understandable reasons, public spaces come to life in the summer. After the harsh winter, endless daylight never arrives a day too early. Summer in Finland is a time spent outside the house enjoying the short but sweet season, and all worries are postponed until nights get dark again.

70 Days without Sunset
Two thirds of all people living in areas graced by the Midnight Sun reside in Finland. In the northernmost parts of Finnish Lapland, the sun stays above the horizon for over 70 consecutive days. Below the Arctic Circle, the sun pops below the horizon for a few hours at night. This is not to say it gets dark – white nights are a fact throughout the country, and even Helsinki on the southern coast has virtual daylight around the clock.

A sauna culture pervades Finland. A house is rarely contructed without a sauna, often this is a central feature and planned before any other rooms. Any communal area such as hotel or community house, or summer house, must have a sauna.

Other Country Information

Finland (Finnish: Suomi, Swedish: Finland) is in Northern Europe and has borders with Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and Sweden to the west.

The country is a thoroughly modern welfare state with well-planned and comfortable small towns and cities, but still offers vast areas of unspoiled nature. Finland has approximately 188,000 lakes (about 10% of the country) and a similar number of islands. In the northernmost part of the country the Northern Lights can be seen in the winter and midnight sun in the summer. Finns also claim the mythical mountain of Korvatunturi as the home of Santa Claus, and a burgeoning tourist industry in Lapland caters to Santa fans.

Despite living in one of the most technologically developed countries in the world, Finns love to head to their summer cottages in the warmer months to enjoy all manner of relaxing pastimes including sauna, swimming, fishing and barbecuing. Today, Finland has a distinctive language and culture that sets it apart from the rest of Nordic Europe.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Kittilä Airport, Finland. It may also be possible to fly into Enontekiö Airport if flights are available.
Transfer:
Included from meeting point.
Flight Guide:
London to Kittilä from £430 pp return.
Riders who booked this ride also considered
Exploring The Ranch
South Africa, Horizon Ranch

All round fun equestrian vacation with Read more >

from US $329
View of Glacier Trail
Iceland, Glacier Trail

An adventurous equestrian Read more >

from US $3,059