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04.06.2024

Journeying from Helsinki to Kirkenes: A Winter Expedition

The Arctic landscape is a playground of contrasts—where ethereal beauty meets raw, unyielding nature. Embarking on a winter journey from Helsinki to Kirkenes promises an unforgettable adventure through pristine snowscapes, under dancing auroras, and across the remote terrains of Finland and Norway. Here’s a glimpse into what this epic voyage entails. 

Starting Point: Helsinki, Finland 

The journey begins in Helsinki, Finland’s vibrant capital, where modern urban life seamlessly blends with historical charm. In winter, Helsinki is adorned with a blanket of snow, making its stunning architecture and coastal vistas even more enchanting. Take a moment to explore iconic landmarks like the Helsinki Cathedral and Suomenlinna Sea Fortress before setting off towards the Arctic Circle. 

Crossing Borders into Lapland 

Leaving Helsinki behind, the route heads northward through Finland’s Lapland region—a winter wonderland straight from a storybook. The landscape transforms into a serene white canvas dotted with pine forests and frozen lakes. Trains or flights can whisk you through this snowy expanse, each moment revealing the magic of the Arctic Circle. 

Icebreaker Cruise from Kemi 

One unique way to kick off your Arctic adventure is by embarking on an icebreaker cruise from Kemi, a city along Finland’s coast renowned for its icebreaker fleet. Picture yourself aboard a massive vessel, slicing through thick ice sheets, with the surreal Arctic scenery unfolding around you. Feel the thrill as the icebreaker breaks through the frozen sea—a moment that will surely etch itself into your memory. 

Rovaniemi: Crossing the Arctic Circle 

Continuing northward, you’ll pass through Rovaniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus and the gateway to Lapland. Here, you can partake in husky sledding or reindeer safaris, and if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights dancing in the Arctic night sky. 

King Crab Safari in Kirkenes 

Finally, arrive in Kirkenes—a remote outpost near the Russian border and a haven for Arctic adventures. One of the highlights here is indulging in a king crab safari. Join a local fisherman on a boat excursion into the icy fjords, where you’ll help haul up enormous king crabs from the depths of the frigid waters. Enjoy a feast of freshly caught crab, prepared right on the boat—a culinary experience like no other. 

Aurora Borealis: Nature’s Light Show 

One of the highlights of this winter expedition is the possibility of witnessing the elusive Northern Lights. Kirkenes, with its high latitude, offers excellent chances to witness this celestial dance across the Arctic skies. Embrace the cold, bundle up, and wait for the magical aurora to paint the night sky. 

Practical Tips for Winter Travel 

  • Warm Clothing: Pack layers, thermal wear, and good winter gear. 
  • Daylight Hours: Be prepared for limited daylight hours in the Arctic winter. 
  • Transport: Plan train or flight connections ahead due to varying schedules in winter. 
  • Local Cuisine: Try Arctic delicacies like reindeer stew and fresh seafood. 

Traveling from Helsinki to Kirkenes in winter is not merely a journey; it’s an odyssey through a pristine wilderness where winter’s embrace transforms the landscape into a breathtaking panorama. From the urban allure of Helsinki to the Arctic wilderness of Kirkenes, every mile traversed reveals the captivating beauty and resilience of the Nordic winter. Prepare to be immersed in a world where snow and ice define the rhythm of life—a journey that promises memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Sounds good? Book the tour: Helsinki to Kirkenes – Beyond the Arctic Circle