Christmas is celebrated all around the world. But for 2019 Expat Club brings you the most magical Christmas in the most magical place of all… Because this year we travel to the North of Finland, namely to the official hometown of Santa Claus himself: Rovaniemi. If you ever wondered where your Christmas letters are being sent to, who reads them, and who wraps your gifts, you will learn all the answers during this special Christmas trip.
Meet Santa and his elves in snowy Finland, enjoy his hospitality and celebrate Christmas like you’ve never done before, and with the nicest international people from Brussels.This trip is extra magical because Rovaniemi is perfectly located within the ring around the North Pole from where you can observe the Aurora Borealis. If you have never seen the Northern Lights before, this is your chance to enjoy this mysterious light in the skies above.
UPDATE 3 December:
Expat Club has the last spot available for an amazing Christmas adventure in Rovaniemi, Lapland. This is Santa’s Official Hometown!!!
If you would like to join we can only offer you a single room.
If you want to join with a friend or your family, please call us at 0495-345144.
We cannot guarantee extra spots since this depend on the flights.
Our group currently consists of several solo travellers, a few couples and even families! In other words, we have a wonderful mixed group for this trip. You are welcome to join us too!
Spend Christmas with a nice group of expats and enjoy from the best Christmas atmosphere you can find anywhere in the world. Do NOT delay your booking because the trip will fill up and we may not be able to offer you the same program as the rest of the group if you try to book as late as possible.
Free Christmas Eve Dinner (24/12 –> Book by 17 November 2019)
Guided tour & free time in Helsinki
Transfer and visit Santa Claus Village
Transfer, visit and entrance fees Santa Claus Park
Transfer, visit and entrance fees IceHotel & Icebar (ice sculptures)
Free lunch in IceHotel
Crossing of Arctic Circle
Northern Lights Chase by bus
We will fly with Finnair direct from Brussels to Helsinki on Sunday 22 December (evening), and onward to Rovaniemi on Tuesday 24 December (early afternoon). Our return flight is on Thursday 26 December afternoon/evening with one stop in Helsinki.
Lunches & dinners (lunch on 25/12 included)
Who can join us?
Expat Club is known for welcoming a wide variety of international people on its trips. This creates a special, open-minded, safe and friendly environment in which everyone should feel comfortable. You do not have to be a member, and of course Belgians are more the invited too to join us. We always welcome many solo travellers, couples, retirees, small groups of friends and on this trip certainly also children.
How to add a child ticket?
Expat Club loves welcoming the younger/est expats. If you want to bring your child(ren) up until 18 years, please contact us first so we can apply the right discount. Due to the nature of this trip, we can only offer a relatively low discount for children. Up to 11 years €150, and from 12 to 18 years €100.
Welcome to Rovaniemi! Welcome to Lapland! Welcome to Finland!
We start our trip in the Finnish capital Helsinki | OpenStreetMap Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA 2.0)
Large parts of the city are on the waterfront.
The Suomenlinna Fortress dates back to the 18th century | by Pöllö (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
Helsinki is connected with many big cities by ferry service | by Pöllö (own work), via Wikimedia Comons
Stroll along the harbour
Panoramic view of the Helsinki old town center | by roccodm (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
The Helsinki Cathedral by night
St John's church in downtown Helsinki
The Kallio Church | by Kallio (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
The Finnish Senata | by Pöllö (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
Helsinki City Hall | by Skorpion87 (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
The market halls | by Georg Mittenecker (owk work), via Wikimedia Commons
By day or by night, Helsinki is an attractive city to visit | Petteri Sulonen - Flickr
The constant change between land and water is what makes Helsinki a beautiful city.
As with every Expat Club trip our program is carefully designed to enjoy all locations. Still, due to unexpected circumstances, including weather-related delays and traffic jams, it may have to be adapted during the trip. Your hosts, driver, airline and the receiving destinations will do their best to give you the most optimal experience. The additional activities will be planned at a later point (see below), so they don’t show in this program yet.
Sunday 22 December
17h15 – Meeting time Starbucks main departure hall
19h15 – Flight AY1546 Brussels to Helsinki
22h50 – Arrival Helsinki (note Finland is +1 hour)
23h45 – Arrival at hotel & check-in
Monday 23 December
07h00 – Breakfast (until 10h00)
10h00 – Start program Helsinki (guided city tour, free time)
19h00 – Dinner (place t.b.c.)
Tuesday 24 December
07h00 – Breakfast (until 10h00)
09h45 – Departure to Helsinki Airport
10h10 – Arrival Helsinki Airport & check-in
12h10 – Flight AY533 Helsinki to Rovaniemi
13h30 – Arrival Rovaniemi & transfer
14h15 – Arrival hotel & check-in
15h30 – Start afternoon program, incl. Arktikum Museum
19h00 – Christmas Eve Dinner (optional)
21h00 – Northern Lights tour (included, t.b.c.)*
Wednesday 25 December – Christmas Day
07h00 – Breakfast (until 09h00)
09h00 – Departure to Santa Village
09h15 – Arrival Santa Village**
12h30 – Lunch in IceHotel
13h30 – Visit to Santa Park
16h00 – Departure to Rovaniemi
19h00 – Christmas Dinner (optional)
21h00 – Northern Lights Tour (t.b.c.)
Thursday 26 December
12h30 – Departure to Rovaniemi Airport
12h50 – Arrival Rovaniemi Airport & check-in
14h50 – Flight AY7038 Rovaniemi to Helsinki
16h10 – Arrival Helsinki
20h05 – Flight AY 1549 Helsinki to Brussels
21h40 – Arrival Brussels & good-bye
* The Northern Lights tour is included, but depends largely on weather conditions and may shift to 25 December
** The exact program depends on what participants would like to do in terms of activities, such as reindeer sledding (see below)
As with all Expat Club trips we value staying in good hotels, with good reviews, with clean and comfortable rooms, and with good locations. For this trip we stay 2 nights in Helsinki and 2 nights in Rovaniemi, both in very nice 4* hotels from the Scandic hotel group. They are the perfect base for exploring both cities while being able to relax.
A single room with a single or a queen size bed
A double room with 1 queen-size bed for couples or a parent/child
A shared twin room with 2 single beds for two friends sharing a room
A shared twin room for 2 solo-travelling ladies who would like to share a twin room. If you travel solo, you do NOT have to search for another solo travelling lady. Expat Club will introduce you to the other ladies travelling solo and you can mutually agree to share a room during our outbound trip. This room-sharing service is not available for male solo travellers (only upon request).
A family room for 3 or more people with multiple beds and/or sleeping sofa, e.g. for a family
NEW – Scandic Simonkenttä Hotel Helsinki**** This hotel (general rating 8.7!) is located right in the Helsinki city centre (rating 9,4!!) and just a stone’s throw from the main station. This is much better than our originally planned hotel, because we can now simply walk to various places. This new It offers spacious modern rooms with all the services you may expect from a 4* hotel, including WiFI in all areas. You can choose between a single room, a double room or a twin room with two single beds. It has a nice lounge-like lobby-bar and a good restaurant. As a hotel guest you can the gym and sauna for free. Needless to say that a nice breakfast buffet is included.
Scandic Pohjanhovi Rovaniemi**** This legendary hotel is situated in the best location in Rovaniemi at just a stone’s throw from the city centre. It offers a beautiful panoramic view of the the scenery of the Kemijoki river. Also this hotel offers spacious rooms with a single bed, a double bed or 2 single beds (twin room). The hotel bar in the lobby offers snacks and drinks, but if you want more surely the karaoke bar and nightclub offer everything you need. If you want less excitement, you are also invited to use the swimming pool and sauna. It is the perfect place to stay and a great starting point for all our Christmas and winter activities.
We are taking convenient flights with Finnair to and from Helsinki and Rovaniemi. One checked luggage is included (max 23kg and external dimensions of maximum 158cm), as well as one carry-on luggage of max 8kg and one personal item. Coffee, tea and blueberry juice are complimentary.
Sunday 22 December
Finnair AY1546 – Brussels to Helsinki – 19h15 to 22h50 (+1 hour)
Tuesday 24 December
Finnair AY533 – Helsinki to Rovaniemi – 12h10 to 13h30
Thursday 26 December
Finnair AY7038 – Rovaniemi to Helsinki – 14h50 to 16h10
Finnair AY1549 – Helsinki to Brussels – 20h05 to 21h40 (-1 hour)
There are many things to do in snowy Rovaniemi and Lapland. We would like to propose several of them to participants of this trip. Several winter activities can be done in and around the Santa Village and Santa Park. During the checkout you can indicate what interests you. It’s not yet possible to book them, because we need to make proper reservations that fit in our larger program. During the reservation you can indicate what activities you would like to do. There is no obligation yet, but select it with care so we have a very precise estimate for every activity.
Of course Santa is not from the North Pole. What should his lovely reindeers eat there? Indeed, they are from Lapland and during this trip you can meet them and take a sledge ride as well. Price start at €75 for a short ride and from €100 for the longer rides.
Do you love those wolf-like albeit very friendly dogs from Lapland? Now is your chance to meet them up and close and to even take a nice sledge ride. Prices start at €50 for just 500 meters and go up to €150 for 1,5 hours.
Snowmobiling Do you like driving a car or motorcycle? Maybe you then also love to try out a snowmobiling trip! We can organise several trips for you, from 30 minutes with two persons shared (from €50) up to 3 or 4 hours solo driving including an ice fishing experience (up to €200).
Weather & clothes rental
Needless to say that it will e cold in Rovaniemi. It’s mid-winter and temperatures are well below 0 degree. This means you must be prepared for the cold. However, we certainly don’t want you to go mad over this. We are not going on an arctic expedition, and our warm hotel, a warm restaurant or warm bus is always a stone’s throw away. We just recommend getting thermal underwear, thin cotton socks and thick wool socks, and a thick wool sweater. Dressing in layers is what it is all about. Leave the last layer for what it is, don’t buy it if you don’t have it. Just rent arctic clothes in Rovaniemi for less than €45 for the entire stay there. This includes thick boots, thick pants, thick jacket and head (full gear). After booking your trip we will inform you how to pre-book this. NO WORRIES ABOUT THE COLD!!! IT WILL BE A FUN ADVENTURE LIKE THIS.
The trip will be carried with Finnair.
This trip is carefully planned. Still, all timings are indicative and may change if required by circumstances.
The trip is sold as a package. You cannot go with your own transportation and/or arrange your own accommodation. If there are specific things that you do not want in the package, please let us know, and we may consider a discount on a case by case basis.
The date for cancelling your trip with a refund is 8 weeks, as stated in the terms & conditions. A name change can be made for free until 45 days in advance.
You are personally responsible for getting a good travel insurance that covers you for any unforeseen emergencies and medical expenses during the trip. We also advise you to obtain cancellation insurance in case you cannot join anymore (e.g., due to illness or a family emergency).
You are personally responsible for appropriately using the hotel room. Any missing or broken items will be billed after the trip. If you share the room with someone else, you are equally responsible for leaving it the way you found it.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for long delays that influence the program (e.g. missing a guided tour, lunches/dinners and other pre-ordered activities). Expat Club cannot be held liable either for weather-related cancellations or any other unforeseen events that influence the course of the trip, including, but not limited to technical problems with the aircraft and coach, strikes, traffic, weather etc.
Expat Club carefully selects correct pictures for hotel rooms, but they remain purely for illustrative purposes. The actual rooms may differ.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for personal injuries during the trip, such as, but not limited too, things that happen during Northern Lights tours or reindeer sledding. Joining this trip is at your own risk, so having a good insurance is important.
If you do not find a room partner on your own, we will find one for you (female rooms only, no male rooms). During the outbound trip, we will connect you with others in the same position. If you opt for the room-sharing, you will not have to pay the single fee if there is no one else to share the room with, unless you decide to take a single room during the trip. In that case, you will have to pay for it yourself fully.
If you book a double / twin room and your travel partner cancels, either from the same order or from a separate one once you indicated you want to share the room with him or her, you will have to pay the single room supplement.
Expat Club may “upgrade” or “downgrade” you to another hotel. In the case of a downgrade, you will receive reasonable compensation.