How to plan a affordable winter trip to Finland under INR 3Lac ?
Thumb rule here being:
“Spend more on Experiences (Activities & Lappish Cuisines), Save more on Flights & Stay”
Now as an Indian, I have never seen so much of white snow covering everything! Yes, northern parts of India do experience snow but this was like jumping into a fairytale.. What with husky sleighs, santa claus, reindeers and frozen waterfalls.
Now 2 most important disclaimers:
- It's going to be really really really COLD! Invest in some good winter wear! Thermals, Sweaters, Overalls, Gloves, Woollen Scarves and Caps… It's all about the layers!
- Don't make the trip only for Northern Lights. Finland is beautiful across the year with wide range of activities but it’s important to plan ahead. We didn't see the Northern Lights even after being there for close to a week.
If you do not have more than 5 days like us, the best option is to stay in one city for the entire trip! We chose Rovaniemi because it was the closest to all the activities we had planned and had the best places to visit in the city as well.
After a weekend of research we came down to the activities stated below. Also sharing the links for all our bookings through Klook (amazing website to book acitivites) :-
Note: All the activities below take almost the entire day, only leaving the evening free. All costs below are in INR
- Highlights of Rovaniemi Day Tour: It was all magical things…Husky Sledging, Reindeer Sledging, visiting the official Santa Claus and Artikum Museum(amazing if you are interested in History). Also, short hike to Ounasvaara, highest point in the city.
Cost:- Approx. 15K per person
2. Snowmobiling: We rode on our snowmobiles for an entire day through snow clad forests and beautiful landscapes and stopped for Bonfire Lunch and Ice-Fishing. The highlight definitely being the nice warm lunch!
Cost:- Approx. 10K per person
3. Polar Explorer Icebreaker Cruise:- a.k.a “War” movie ki climax wala location! This one definitely has to be booked beforehand as the availability is really limited. This is a bit expensive if you take the transfers and lunch provided by the company but worth it for floating in the icy waters!
Cost:- Approx. 30K per person
4. Frozen Waterfalls of Korouoma:- Ever imagined walking through the forests of Narnia, this is exactly like that! Cautionary warning: Its a 6 kms hike and it can get a bit steep at times so go for this only if you have an average fitness.
Cost:- Approx. 13K per person
P.S. I am wearing 4 layers of clothing in the above picture!
All the activities had pick up from the Hotel and hence we didn't spend any money on the transport.
How to make this affordable?
Now, I agree that all these experiences are so varied and unique yet a bit expensive if you earn in INR. To make this trip affordable, we decided to get creative about where we could stay and the flight bookings! Also, our main criteria was booking a hotel that is close to the city center!
This recommendation is keeping in mind that you are travelling as a couple and not with family! Since through your entire stay you would just come to your hotel.
And ofcourse, you need the buffet breakfast combined with your stay! So that’s how we started the search. Affordable hotels with breakfast included! Voila, we definitely hit a jackpot when we found this cute Cafe-Hostel in the city center! Also, Booking.com is the best when it comes to Hotel bookings.
Let me present to you, Hostel Cafe Koti!
Free wifi and breakfast and in-house Sauna facility with private rooms! What else do you need?!
Cost: Approx. 45K for 5 nights
Now since you have saved up on the stay. Let the foodie in you explore the Lappish delicacies! My top 3 must visit recos are:
- Nili Restaurant: Always booked during the rush hours and serves the best Bear meat in the city (Cost: Expensive)
- Artic Restaurant: Again a super busy place with amazing Crab meat pasta! (Cost: Mid Range)
- Rosso: 3 words…Yummy & delicious Pizza’s! (Cost: Mid Range)
Ofcourse, all my recommendations are walking distance from Hostel Cafe Koti :)
We booked a Finnair flight to Rovaniemi from Delhi via Helsinki. We used our HDFC Diners Black Credit card for booking the trip through the points collected. So let's just say, we had to pay only for 1 person for the tickets.
We booked the flights and polar explorer cruise 2 months prior to the trip. We applied for the visa almost a month prior to the trip. Again, the visa processing fees is on the higher side as compared to other countries.
Just visit Decathlon! The friendly staff is the best to guide you on the essentials!