Discover the stars Lapland style
When it comes to aurora hunting, there’s nothing cosier than a room with a view.
Villages are scarce, and hotels are even rarer up in the northernmost reaches of Finnish Lapland. But the few that are hidden away certainly make the most of the spectacular location. Top among them is Wilderness Hotel Nellim, where cosy cottage life meets an energetic, outdoorsy lifestyle.
The hotel is the perfect reflection of its owners, Mari and Jouko Lappalainen of Wilderness Hotels and Safaris. “We are active people who love nature as well as a bit of luxury,” says the busy couple, who run a small empire of four hotels covering 25 hectares of land.
Open year-round, the busiest period for Nellim is winter, when the temperature drops, and the Northern Light chasers arrive. But the aurora borealis also puts on a dazzling show before the snowy season, making autumn with its milder temperatures and vibrant colours an equally great time for a visit.
While the hosts actively encourage guests to go aurora-spotting, the Aurora Lakeside Villa is a luxurious log cabin where guests can observe the Northern Lights from the comfort of their own beds.
In addition to the amazing night-time light shows, the all-inclusive hotel offers both visitors and their credit cards a well-deserved rest. Ready-made packages comprise a variety of activities from snowmobiling and snowshoeing to cross-country skiing and husky safaris. After an adrenalin-fuelled day, the evenings are perfect for unwinding by an open fire and enjoying a tasty meal without the distraction of television.
“We believe in seizing the day,” says Jouko Lappalainen. “And we encourage our visitors to do the same.”
Finnair flies to Ivalo four times a day, where it’s a 40-minute drive to Wilderness Hotel Nellim.
Text Elena Sulin
Photos Hannes Repo