Finland: A white night in a glass igloo within the Arctic Circle

According to Finnish folklore, the Northern Lights are initiated by the brush of the Arctic fox's tail as it tracks through the mountains flicking snow, which transforms into brilliant, colourful sparks that corkscrew across the sky. It's a stirring visual made all the more gripping as my night in an Arctic Fox Igloo gets nearer.

I've already concocted the experience in my head: I'm rugged up and resting snugly in bed gazing up at the night sky, which would come alight with the glittering auroral ballet. I'd curl beside my husband and we'd watch this natural spectacular together, then doze off and enjoy a blissful sleep.

As settings go I've done well. I'm on a customised tour of Lapland with 50 Degrees North and when I mentioned that I wanted to stay in a glass igloo, the travel agent knew exactly where to send us. The igloos – about an hours' drive south from Rovaniemi – are some of the newest and largest glass igloos in Finland. Each one is fitted out with its own kitchenette and sauna, and we easily fit our daughter's travel cot beside the plush double bed.

Guests to this area will often visit Ranua Wildlife Park, perhaps stay at Holiday Village Gulo Gulo, then complete the experience with an igloo stay (all three companies are under the same umbrella). We stick to the tried-and-true. We spend two nights at Holiday Village Gulo Gulo, taking our time to explore Ranua Wildlife Park and play in the snow on cross country skis and snow shoes. Then we finish with the igloos, which are situated away from the rest of the complex, fanning around the shore of Lake Ranuanjarvi (a car or snowmobile transfer will be organised).

The Northern Lights season in Lapland spans from mid-August until early April, and although we are here in the peak period, the night we are booked to stay in an igloo is preceded by days of extreme snow fall and grey skies.

It creates a different kind of bliss. The igloo is well heated and as soon as we step inside we don't want to leave. There's lounging on the bed, a few sauna stints, and I brave the cold and jump into snow wearing only swimwear (which I quickly follow with another sauna session to recover).

Eventually, my husband decides to head out, hoisting our daughter on his back in her carrier. He doesn't get far or set any speed records, slowing his pace to that of a crawl as he tries to navigate the near-impenetrable snow. I stand at the glass sipping hot chocolate and taking photos. I send the best snapshot to family, captioning it: Just another day in Finland. Pictured, my husband is thigh deep in the snow with our daughter a bundle of feather-down cocooned on his back. They are surrounded by ink-black pine trees that spear into the moody sky from an infinite carpet of white.

We spend the rest of the afternoon just sitting and watching the incessant flurry of snowflakes cartwheel around us. When the glass exterior of the igloo becomes obscured by the snow, we simply press a button to defrost.

I realise the likelihood of seeing Northern Lights tonight is slim, but I make peace with the idea. There's an ethereal beauty to a near white-out and I'm feeling more calm and relaxed than I have in years.





A stay at the Arctic Fox Igloos can be included as part of any 50 Degrees North Lapland itinerary that includes a visit to Rovaniemi. The igloos can also be booked directly. See


Finnair flies to Rovaniemi daily from Helsinki. Finnair partner airlines Qantas and Cathay Pacific fly to Helsinki from Sydney and Melbourne See


50 Degrees North specialise in authentic travel experiences in the Nordic region, including Finnish Lapland. It offers both independent and group tours. See

Tatyana Leonov travelled as a guest of 50 Degrees North and Finnair.