Destination Focus: Finland for incentive trips

Posted by: Neil Thompson on October 9th, 2014 IN Destination Focus

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We think it is vital that we have the latest insights and information at our fingertips when planning events, meetings and incentives. When searching for a destination we like to have first-hand knowledge so that we can create bespoke experiences that truly resonate with the target audience.

Neil Thompson, our creative director, took a trip to Finland to get a feel for what this stunning Winter Wonderland has to offer.


Flights leave London Heathrow to Helsinki 7 times a day, and take just under 3 hours. Once you’ve seen all the sights Helsinki has to offer (see below), you can then hop on a one hour flight to Lapland, the country’s northernmost region. Rovaniemi serves as the entrance to Lapland, Northwest Russia, Northern Sweden and Norway and there are daily flights to here from Helsinki. If your incentive trip requires a touch of a luxury, you can even arrange for guests to be collected by a Russian helicopter straight from the airport and be flown further north.


There is a wealth of wonderful accommodation dotted all around Lapland – perfect if you’re touring different parts of the region as I did, and would highly recommend.

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A highlight for me was Ruka Peak, a stunning 3km walk in snow shoes from Ruka Village, the quality of the food and accommodation is superb even for some of us on a gluten-free diet! Thanks, Chef.

I also took a trip to Pohjanseita Wilderness Lodge – steeped in Nordic mythology, the resort is really enchanting and with its fires and sacrificial mounts, it brims with mystery. On entrance you are treated to a tour of the different saunas and outdoor wooden sleeping huts. When we went into the main building it was lit like a film set, with candles and reindeer horns – but the most unmissable feature of the building was a 4 metre brown bear arching over the doorway!

On my final day we stayed the night in Rukan Salonki resort in a stunning chalet set in the wilderness by Lake Salonkijarvi. The resort comprises 14 chalets together with its own restaurant, wellness centre, and sauna including a smoke and ice sauna.


When in Helsinki, opt for dinner at the neo-Renaissance style Sautorget, which will please anyone with an eye for design, architecture and art.  And the food is fantastic too!

You’ll find that all of the above hotels in Lapland serve incredible food as well as offering an enchanting night’s sleep, but head to Tundra in Kuusamo for a private restaurant, cooking courses (and a professional ceramics studio!).

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Wander around Helsinki and take in the impressive architecture and history. The memorial honouring Finish composer Jean Sibelius is a sight to see, and you can’t go to Helsinki without taking a visit to the timber constructed Kamppi Chapel (Chapel of Silence)  – a very unique and welcoming urban chapel. It is beautiful in its simplicity.

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But the majority of winter sport activities lie in the winter wonderland that is Lapland. Ruka Adventures and Tailored Adventures have a wealth of activities on offer. Obviously a trip to Lapland isn’t complete without a go in a reindeer sleigh or being dragged around the snow by husky dogs. I have to say the husky dog trip was one of my top ten experiences ever.

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Of course, you’ll want to try your best to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights, which whilst not guaranteed, can be organised by aforementioned Ruka Adventures. Take your pick from Starlight Sledging, Snowmobiling in a Taiga forest, or Snow Shoe Walking in the fell scenery.

And for something a bit more adrenaline-filled, Ruka Adventures, whose office is fully equipped with kit to hire, can take you Ice Carting – basically Go Karting on ice. So much fun (maybe because I won?!)!  Another one for the petrol-heads is the 20km snowmobile tours. Going 80km/h across a frozen lake really is my idea of fun! It’s also a good way to take in the sights, albeit at a bit of a speed. Ruka do three-day tours that take you to the Russian border with overnight stops for food and sauna.

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Talking of saunas, whilst a trip to Finland will generally be filled with adrenaline-filled activities, these activities are always followed by the most Scandinavian activity of all – a visit to the sauna. Try some of the special sauna treatments made with nature’s own healing ingredients like birch, juniper, tar, peat, and honey. Head to the stunning wilderness retreat, Pyhapiilo, for the ultimate sauna experience – to say this is a magical place is an understatement.

One thing that I wasn’t quite prepared for was the dip in the frozen lake that was to follow…. Well, when in Finland!

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Neil Thompson

Neil Thompson

As Line Up’s Creative Director Neil gets to wave his magic wand over every experience that we create, thrilling our clients and keeping our trophy cabinet full. When not in front of his Mac you might find him behind a wheel or careering down an Alpine mountain on skis or his mountain bike.

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