Spend an adventurous and varied week on your hosts beautiful farm near lake Kalix, in the pristine natural landscape just west of Kiruna. This is the land of the Sami people, with whom you will spend part of the week as they guide you through their homeland and share with you their culture and knowledge passed down by their forefathers.
This holiday is perfect for families or groups of friends with non-riders, as the riding activities can be replaced with reindeer sledding, snowmobile driving, and dog sledging, giving everyone the perfect winter wonderland experience!
This wilderness can be unforgiving and the people of these parts are incredibly resourceful. This variation is reflected in the itinerary planned for you over the week. As well as enjoying the special characteristics of your hosts Icelandic horses - riding through the snowy forest tracks and in fun and informal lessons- you will get the chance to visit the incredible Icehotel and try your hand at reindeer sledging, snow mobiling and ice fishing.
Those lucky enough may even catch a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights dancing in the night sky...
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from AS of Lewes on 09/01/2020
When you arrive in Kiruna you are transferred to the farm. Please aim to get a morning flight as then you will arrive in good time to enjoy a riding lesson to get to know the horses before a delicious three course dinner. You might see wild moose and the Northern Lights outside your window. Overnight on the farm.
After breakfast we travel by snow mobile to a river in the mountains. You'll get some driving tuition from your guide . Please note only those with a valid car driving license with them can drive snow mobiles. On arrival at a mountain river it's time for some ice fishing, followed by a picnic lunch, before driving back to the farm and enjoying a magical ride in the dark looking for the Northern Lights. The evening is spent in a goahti (Sami hut) and dinner is eaten around the fire before heading back home to bed.
Today you will experience a reindeer sledging tour, which is the old way of transportation in this area. After lunch we head off to the famous Ice hotel. This extraordinary hotel is rebuilt each winter, from snow and ice, taking inspiration from the river Torne. A true work of art. Dinner is taken at the hotel. After dinner we head back to the farm although those who would like to spend the night in the Ice hotel can do so for a supplementary cost.
The morning is spent with a riding lesson on the Icelandic horses followed by another hearty lunch. In the afternoon we will visit the town of Kiruna and the Sami museum. Kiruna is the most northerly and one of the most unusual cities in Sweden. The area has been inhabited for around 6,000 years; the Sami people knew of the areas rich iron deposits long before the city was founded in 1900. For those who prefer this afternoon there is a chance to replace the visit to the museum with dog sledding. There is a tour sitting on the dog sled and this includes coffee and sandwiches, there is an extra charge for this (see detailed prices).
Non-riders: In the morning you'll enjoy a cross country skiing/snowshoeing tour.
A morning ride takes us through the snowy forest tracks, great for showing off the dexterity and balance of these fantastic little horses. Hopefully we'll see moose on our tour. After lunch we can enjoy a sauna with fantastic views over the river and mountains. Dinner and overnight at the farm.
Non-riders: While the morning ride discovers the forest tracks you'll experience an exciting moose safari from the back of a snow mobile.
A final ride in the forest on your last day. We'll remember what we have been taught throughout the week and enjoy the smooth gaits of our Icelandic friends. After lunch we'll all enjoy a final lesson together before a farewell dinner in the evening.
Non-riders: In the morning you can go by car go to the small village of Nikkaluokta. There is nice scenery on the drive there with good photo opportunities. The afternoon is free, perhaps read a book, try kick sledging, have a walk, the choice is yours.
Time to say goodbye and transfer back to Kiruna for your flight home.
There is wifi in one of the houses only. Please check with us if you need to have wifi on your holiday.
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.
There are about 20 Icelandic Horses on the farm, two dogs and a cat, a tame reindeer and his friends and 2 goats. There are horses both for beginners and experienced riders.
The Icelandic Horse is quite small, about 130-145 cm high with four or five gaits walk, trot, canter (including gallop), tölt and pace. The paces are at walk, moderate distances in trot (tölt) and short distances in canter.
For this tour it is necessary to have some riding experience in varied terrain. Sometimes we need to lead the horses when the terrain demands it, so you should be able to walk beside your horse for up to 20 minutes over rough terrain.
Minimum age 12 years old.
There is a separate itinerary for non-riders.
The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
On the farm there are three twin rooms with shared comfortable living area, kitchen and 2 shower rooms. Sheets and towels can be arranged on site.
Meals are served in the main kitchen/dining area, or in the Blue House kitchen. The meals are delicious and all home cooked. They are very tasty and passionately prepared with attention to detail and presentation. Breads, cakes, pastries, sweets are all homemade, even when out on a picnic.
Breakfast includes a selection of the following: breads, meats and cheese, hard boiled egg, cereals, fresh fruit, yoghurts, juice, tea and coffee.
Lunch and dinner, 2 or 3 courses consisting of local produce, for example; salmon soup, feta salad with reindeer stew and rice, moose burgers, homemade blueberry cake, homemade orange cheese cake.
Please notify us of any special dietary requirements well in advance.
When visiting the Icehotel, dinner is taken in one of the warm restaurants. Top quality service and dishes of local produce. Included in the price is your choice of 2 courses. You may pay extra for drinks and a third course, should you choose. Traditional meals are cooked over a fire when outdoors.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year 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 on request.
British citizens and EU passport holders do not need a visa to visit Sweden but British citizens must be in possession of a valid passport. The British embassy is located in Stockholm, the British Consulate-General Address: Skarpögatan 6-8,
115 93 Stockholm. Switchboard telephone number (0046) (8) 671 3000, phone number (0046) (8) 671 3000. If you are a British citizen and find yourself in an emergency situation when the Embassy is closed, please telephone +46(0)8 671 3000 for instructions.
For sunshine visit Sweden between late May and late July, leaving before the August rains. The average temperature in the northernmost mountains in July is about 11°C (52°F), but you should be prepared for occasional sub-zero temperatures and snowfalls, even in summer. In the winter months in the Arctic Circle, you can expect temperatures of -10 to -30 and it can be very chilly in the wind. The northwest and far north: This is mostly a plateau of moderate to high elevation. Temperatures are largely controlled by altitude and at the higher levels snow cover persists throughout the year. In sheltered valleys precipitation may be much less than on the surrounding hills. Here, during fine weather, winter temperatures sink very low while summer temperatures may rise surprisingly high. The greater part of the area, however, has a severe winter climate with short, changeable summers. Sweden's northern latitude means that it never gets really dark from mid-May to late July, with the trade-off being a pervasive December dimness.
Please take along plenty of batteries and film with you before you travel. Camera batteries can be re-charged at the farm but not whilst staying at the Sami hut.
Please note that cameras and phones will stop working in these freezing temperatures. You may wish to consider buying a freezeproof camera, although the battery on these will also run out quickly in cold temperatures.
There is wifi in one of the houses only. Please check with us if you need to have wifi on your holiday.
***We strongly suggest that guests do not to check their luggage in directly through to Kiruna even if they say at the airport that it is going to work. A lot of luggage gets stuck in Stockholm - please ask at check-in to be able to pick up and re-check your luggage.***
Suggested packing list:
Driving license (for those wanting to drive the snowmobile)
Snow boots/walking boots for general use
Quilted jacket and trousers, such as ski wear
Thick woollen jumpers
Gloves - it is recommended you take inner liner gloves AND normal woollen gloves AND winter gloves (such as ski gloves)
Sunglasses (February to April)
Thermal underwear/sports base layers
Clothes to layer up, such as long sleeved tops and jogging bottoms
Thick socks - ski/walking socks. You may need to wear 2 pairs each day
While winter clothing is available to borrow, it is recommended you take as much as you can of your own. Available to borrow; overalls, (riding) boots, hats, gloves, snoods, mittens/riding mittens, socks, jumpers, balaclava, woollen trousers...
If you have woollen sweaters, underwear, hat, gloves, scarf, socks we recommend you to take them instead of synthetic materials because it is warmer with wool. Cotton is not to recommend as it is a cold material. In the winter you will need many layers of clothing and it is important that they are not too tight as the air between the layers is warming.
Example what to wear under your overalls on a cold day:
one layer of thinner underwear wool/(synthetic)
one layer of wool/fleece sweater
one layer of wool/fleece/jogging trousers/riding breeches
2-3 pair of woollen socks
On a warmer day you may not need a quilted jacket and trousers under the overalls. Instead, an extra layer would be sufficient.
This is a 7 day/6 night programme with 5 days riding available on set dates through the winter months. Non rider programmes are also available.
2020:19 Jan; 2 (FULL), 16 Feb; 1, 15, 29 (FULL) Mar.
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2019/2020||7d/6n||5||Supplement for dog sledding excursion||199|
|2019/2020||7d/6n||5||Ice Hotel upgrade (one night) single room||495|
|2019/2020||7d/6n||5||Ice Hotel upgrade (one night) double room||265|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2019/2020||7d/6n||5||Supplement for dog sledding excursion||235|
|2019/2020||7d/6n||5||Ice Hotel upgrade (one night) single room||585|
|2019/2020||7d/6n||5||Ice Hotel upgrade (one night) double room||309|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2019/2020||7d/6n||5||Supplement for dog sledding excursion||259|
|2019/2020||7d/6n||5||Ice Hotel upgrade (one night) single room||639|
|2019/2020||7d/6n||5||Ice Hotel upgrade (one night) double room||339|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2019/2020||7d/6n||5||Supplement for dog sledding excursion||2,389|
|2019/2020||7d/6n||5||Ice Hotel upgrade (one night) single room||5,975|
|2019/2020||7d/6n||5||Ice Hotel upgrade (one night) double room||3,169|
To learn more about the Sami people have a look at www.samer.se and about Kiruna www.kommun.kiruna.se/Om-kommunen/English/
You will get to enjoy reindeer sledging and learn how to drive a snowmobile. Your Sami guide will also teach you how to ice fish!
You should consider taking a husky dog sledging trip while you are here. You will get to drive your own sledge over frozen rivers and through the snowy forests. Highly recommended.
Despite the climate there is plenty of wildlife around, moose, reindeer, snow hares and wolverines, for example.