Motorcycle Travel Logs and Trip Reports

5 of the best hotels in Arctic Europe

The region of Arctic Europe includes Finnish Lapland, Northern Norway and Swedish Lapland, the most Northern parts of each of the three countries. This is a region of spectacular natural beauty, gourmet food, Northern Lights and White Nights.

The Arctic Circle is the land of the midnight sun. The Summer solstice in June is a time of joy and celebration before fall sets in. The first snow comes early, followed by Christmas time, before the ice departs and the cycle starts all over again! We think the best time to visit is in the magic of winter, when you can hear the silence and enjoy the most spectacular scenic beauty.

Visit a Viking longhouse that has survived though the centuries, enjoy a reindeer sleigh ride, or feel the exhilaration of a husky safari with the excitement of the dogs who thrive on their work. Take an expert photography tour and learn about the unique light, or get your adrenaline going with a high-speed snowmobile ride across the expanse of a frozen lake. Calm your energy and visit an Amethyst mine or Santas home, where it is Christmas every day of the year

Unique and highly unusual hotels in the region are truly experiential. Below are five of our favourite hotels in the region:

Wolf Lodge

Wolf Lodge, located in the heart of Norwegian Lapland, boasts an experience unlike any other. Situated within Norways Polar Park, Wolf Lodge allows visitors to interact up close and personal with some of their resident gray wolves. Wolf Lodge is also positioned perfectly for Northern Lights viewing. In fact, guests can take a short gondola ride to the top of Narvik Mountain for an unobstructed view of the aurora borealis.

Treehotel, Sweden

Located in Harads, Sweden, Treehotel, is a exclusive seven room property, located in a village of just 600 people. This family owned hotel is set within the treetops of a picturesque valley overlooking the Lule River. Offering a wide variety of both summer and winter activities, Treehotel is the perfect spot to destress and connect with nature. Each room is different and unique ranging from a birds nest to a mirrored cube.

IceHotel, Sweden

Perhaps the most iconic hotel in Swedish Lapland is the famed IceHotel. As the worlds first ice hotel, the entire property is also an art exhibition with more than 40 artists joining together annually to rebuild the hotel. The hotel features a number of wonderful winter activities including Stand Up Paddle Boarding on the Torne River, Cross Country Skiing, Wilderness Survival courses, plus dog sledding and snowmobiling, just to name a few!

Kakslauttaten, Finland

Kakslauttaten Arctic Resort, a short distance from Ivalo airport, is one of Finnish Laplands greatest gems. The resort features several different types of accommodation ranging from traditional cabins to hybrid cabin/igloos to traditional snow igloos. Guests enjoy a medley of activities including dog-sledding, snowmobiling and hiking. For those traveling with children, it is also possible to visit Santas home! Kakslauttaten Arctic Resort is the perfect spot to enjoy some of Arctic Europe's best winter activities, while experiencing the Northern Lights.

Camp Ripan, Sweden

Camp Ripan is another wonderful family owned hotel near the town of Kiruna in Swedish Lapland. In addition to spectacular northern lights viewing opportunities, Camp Ripan also offers a number of unique excursions such as Moose Safaris, driving reindeer sleds and visits to local Sami camps. In addition, they have a fantastic culinary experience highlighting a number of local Sami and Swedish dishes.

So leave your smart phone at home (or at least in your hotel room) and re-connect with yourself and the planet. See the stars clearly, listen to the silence, enjoy amazing wildlife and view the vast forests and lakes. Visit Arctic Europe and be at one with nature!

Ala Osmond is Director at Exeter International.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, pleasecontact us.

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6 of Costa Ricas most secret islands

Costa Rica is most commonly known for its pristine beaches, abundance of wildlife and varied landscapes. Visitors can fly into the cosmopolitan capital of San Jose one day, and be zip lining through a nearby jungle or laying out next to clear blue waters the next. Many of these frequently visited seaside destinations also boast tiny, little-known islands not far off their coasts. From abandoned maximum security prisons, national parks and possibly haunted cemeteries, don?t forget to put these six ?secret? islands on your itinerary during your next trip to Costa Rica!

Isla de Ca?o

Where: Osa, Costa Rica (in the Pacific Ocean)

The island, which is rumored to have once been inhabited by pirates, is a Costa Rican national park and part of the Osa Conservation Area. Visitors can explore the island?s varied marine life and brightly-colored coral species by snorkeling or diving in the crystal-clear waters. Several different companies in the area offer guided hiking, diving, snorkeling and even whale watching trips to the island. Visitors will also be able to see several artifacts that give evidence to pre-Columbian inhabitants of Isla de Ca?o, including carved stone spheres.

Islas Tortugas

Where: the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in the Pacific Ocean

The Islas Tortugas are a stretch of uninhabited islands lying in the Pacific Ocean. Daily catamaran tours of the island depart from nearby towns Montezuma, Jaco and Puntarenas. Once on the island, visitors can rent jet skis, paddle boards, snorkel gear and kayaks or spend the day laying out on the beach.

Isla del Coco

Where: the middle of the Pacific Ocean, about 340 miles from the shores of Costa Rica

Isla del Coco is a designated national park that does not allow inhabitants other than park rangers to stay permanently on the island. Tourists who come for a day trip to check out the island?s natural beauty, however, are always welcome. Because of its extremely remote location, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is ideal for advanced divers seeking a truly unique spot. The island offers a wide array of biodiversity; divers will be able to see hammerhead sharks, dolphins and whales, as well as over 300 different species of fish during their trip.

Isla Damas

Where: Quepos, Costa Rica (the Pacific Ocean)

Hop on a quick 30-minute boat ride from neighboring beach towns such as Jaco and Manuel Antonio to spend the day exploring one of Costa Rica?s most unique environments. This small island is an easy day trip for tourists who wish to enjoy boating or kayaking through the mangrove trees that surround the island. Visitors can also take the time to learn about the island?s tropical rain forest ecosystem, which boasts wildlife species such as monkeys, sloths and boa constrictors.

Isla San Lucas

Where: Puntarenas, Costa Rica (Pacific Ocean)

Located in the Pacific Ocean about five miles off the coast of Puntarenas, Isla San Lucas served as Costa Rica?s most famous maximum security prison until 1991. Those seeking more information about Costa Rica?s history and culture can take a tour of the island, where they will get an inside look at the cells and hear several stories about the prisoners who spent their days living on the island.


Isla Cabuya

Where:Montezuma, Costa Rica (Pacific Ocean)

Isla Cabuya, also known as ?Cemetery Island,? is located just off Montezuma, a small town near the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. Public buses run four times daily from Montezuma to Cabo Blanco Reserve, where visitors wanting to make the trek out to Isla Cabuya must wait until low tide, when a causeway over the rocks will appear. Snorkeling is a popular activity for visitors, as a reef on one tip of the island makes for the perfect spot to see tons of colorful fish. In pre-Columbian times, Isla Cabuya was home to a burial ground, and the island is said to remain haunted by ghosts. Funerals continue to be held on the island to this day, and participants can be seen late at night carrying candles as they make their way out to the tiny cemetery. The island also boasts a little-known surfing spot called the ?Secret Reef.? With the right conditions, a huge swell forms, satisfying even the boldest of surfers.

Rob Harper is the Director of Business Development for Namu Travel Group.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on?A Luxury Travel Blog?in order to raise your profile, please?contact us.

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