Is there really a better way to experience the spectacular starlit night sky above Finnish Lapland than sat inside an igloo on a frozen lake…personally, I’d say not! But I don’t mean any-old snow igloo, I mean a Glass Igloo that has the warmth and comforts of a regular home, with all the mod cons; but in an almost pocket-sized glass pod. With a mix of traditional Lappish styling and, dare I say; futuristic Glass Igloos, Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos offers a little something for everyone to enjoy. And for those of you with a desire to travel and see the Northern Lights, the Glass Igloos offer guests a perfect viewing platform. With a glass panelled roof and unspoilt 180° window view, the Glass Igloo is a great choice should the swaying bands of the Aurora Borealis come out to play.
FINNISH LAPLAND, IT’S HARD TO STAY AWAY
READ: MAGICAL MEMORIES MADE VISITING SANTA CLAUS IN LAPLAND
BUCKET LIST TRAVEL ON A BUDGET
LOCATION – Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos, Ranua
Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos is located in the quiet town of Ranua in the very heart of Finnish Lapland. Just a short scenic drive south from Rovaniemi Airport, Santa Claus’ official airport; Ranua is easily accessible by car and by public transport. The latter is limited depending on the season of travel. As we always do when travelling in Europe, we hired a car through Rentalcars.com. Hiring a car gives us freedom and allows us to explore locally without restriction. Ranua may be a small town but there is an array of activities to suit every age and every budget. To name just a few… husky sled rides, reindeer farm visits, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, Aurora Borealis tours and of course, the popular attraction of Ranua Zoo.
- Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos, Ranua is approximately 8h 25m from Helsinki Airport (760km) and 1h 7m from Rovaniemi Airport by car (90km)
- Ranua Zoo – approximately 4 minutes by car (3.5km)
- Wildlife Safaris (located beside Ranua Zoo) – approximately 4 minutes by car – snowmobile, husky, reindeer, Aurora Borealis (3.5km)
- Vaara Reindeer Farm – approximately 5 minutes by car – reindeer, sled ride (4.7km)
READ: HAND FEEDING REINDEER AT VAARA REINDEER FARM
ARRIVAL – ARCTIC GUESTHOUSE & IGLOOS
At first, when you turn off Kirkkotie 1 (main road) toward Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos, there’s nothing that really catches your eyes and gives you the ‘wow’ factor. But, with that said, the wow factor comes from the view that you get of Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos from Lake Ranua. The building itself, long standing since the 1940’s; is a traditional Lappish style guesthouse, distinctive in both size and colour; and serves it’s purpose extremely well. A very cosy accommodation that has been styled to ensure you, the guest; have a truly authentic Lappish experience.
HAVE WE LANDED ON THE MOON?
It’s only as you abandon the car in the car park, and make your way to the Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos reception, that you see the decagon-shaped Glass Igloos. Each Glass Igloo placed with precision and care on top of frozen Lake Ranua…ten in total. From first glance, the Glass Igloos are not at all how we had imagined them to be…oh no! The Glass Igloos look like they’ve been transported from the moon as part of a NASA Space Programme. Ultra modern and uber funky! Feeling a tad tired after a fantastic afternoon hand feeding Santa Claus’ reindeer at Vaara Reindeer Farm; we couldn’t wait to be given the keys to our Glass Igloos.
CHECK IN – ARCTIC GUESTHOUSE & IGLOOS
At reception we were greeted by a gentleman with a very infectious smile, Auvo, the owner. Auvo does not speak English, and try as we may, we do not speak Finnish. Thankfully we received translation assistance from Tuomas, a native to Finland and the Digital Marketing Strategist for Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos.
WHAT DOES THE WEATHER HAVE IN STORE?
ACCOMMODATION – Arctic Guesthouse & Glass Igloos
A fully functioning ten-sided 12 m2 pod suitable for use on land or in water. Designed and manufactured as a boat, the glass igloo is fully mobile and generates its own electricity via the inbuilt solar panels.
Entrance to the glass igloo is with an electronic key fob and PIN number, offering guests peace of mind and knowledge of a safe and secure property if they wish to venture further afield for the day.
The glass igloo has an open plan design with a comfortable double bed, kitchenette, biodegradable toilet, lots and lots of storage space and wall hooks for coats/clothing.
A fully functional small kitchenette with a two ring gas hob, sink with fresh running water, cupboard space for food/drink storage and an array of kitchen utensils. The fridge is very cleverly hidden and integrated into the floor of the glass igloo. A bedside cabinet, complete with mirror, also doubles as drop-down breakfast bar/table with coffee/tea making facilities within.
Main area is the stylish bedroom. A comfortable double bed with very clever under-bed storage. At the foot of the bed, there’s a traditional Lappish throw to help warm tingling-toes on a cold winter night. Privacy curtains should you feel the need to hide the amazing view…but seriously, you wouldn’t want to; would you?
The headboard offers LED lighting, power sockets and USB ports for charging your mobile phones, tablets and laptops. There’s also a Bluetooth speaker that connects effortlessly to your devices, and free Wi-fi for endless surfing and streaming.
We’ve saved what we think is the best until last…a fishing hole, that’s right, a fishing hole! A small LED lit hole located in the floor beside the bed; so that you can fish from the warmth and comfort of your glass igloo…how cool is that? No cold fingers when trying to load bait onto the hook! And being completely mobile and compact, in winter; the glass igloo can be towed across the frozen lake by a snowmobile or ATV (all-terrain vehicle)…and it’s LOADS OF FUN! Watch our ATV highlight video below or on our YouTube Channel.
OUR GLASS IGLOO EXPERIENCE
As our host(s) returned to the reception at Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos, our focus and attention turned to the ‘NASA’ inspired Glass Igloos. The girls began squabbling as to who would open the door using the electronic key fob and pin number…solution…one does the fob, the other does the pin! As the door swung open, we stood like excited children in a sweet shop, our eyes darting from one area to the next…wow! The Glass Igloo isn’t huge and only accommodates two people (as a family of 2A and 2C, we occupied two glass igloos). But that said, the Glass Igloo is better than adequate in size for two people. If we had had too, we could easily have stayed in one Glass Igloo as a family of four! We certainly don’t mind a comfortable squash and a squeeze!
READ: ICE FISHING EXCURSION WITH RUKAPALVELU SAFARIHOUSE
The first thing you notice once inside the Glass Igloo is the bed, oh, and the ultra wide-screen view of Ranua Lake, which has to be said, is stunning! Beside the double bed there is a unit where the tea/coffee/mugs are kept. A very well stocked kitchenette is within for those wishing to cater for themselves, but we had no intention of using this facility…we were on holiday! The more we probe, the more we find and the more we are astonished by our ‘little’ Glass Igloo! Storage space under the bed, a fridge within the floor at the foot of the bed, a toilet hidden behind a curtain, plus lots more storage space. The Glass Igloo has been cleverly designed and reminds us of Dr Who’s Tardis! Oh, and a word of warning when using the loo…MIND YOUR HEAD! Although, me banging my noggin did give the girls a few belly laughs, wee monkeys! Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
FINE FINNISH DINING
It’s a little after 6pm and twilight gives way to a still darkness as temperatures begin to plummet. Our rumbling tummy’s decide the next stage of our stay as we take up residence in the rustic restaurant at Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos. The menu is in Finnish but thankfully our chef, Jorma; came to the rescue and offered Finnish-to-English translations, and vice versa. As the only diners in the restaurant, food didn’t take long arriving at the table. Each dish freshly made and presented as a colourful culinary masterpiece, and to say the food was delicious is an understatement…exceptional and worthy of a ‘Michelin star’ in my opinion. Simply put, authentic home cooked Finnish food that your Mum (or Dad) used to make. After our meal, finished off with freshly ground coffee for me; a short stroll back to the Glass Igloos. Snow crisp and crackling underfoot, the nighttime temperature had dropped to -14°C. Matilda likened herself to a fire breathing dragon as she exhaled and her warm breath formed ‘clouds of smoke’ against the cold air.
BEDTIME BLUES, BUT NO REDS, YELLOWS OR GREENS
The temperatures may have been sub-zero outside, but a cosy and warm Glass Igloo, along with a few sweet treats; kept us all happy. Liverpool FC v Atlêtico Madrid game on the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the audio transferred seamlessly to the Glass Igloo Bluetooth speaker. Crystal clear game commentary…excellent! Lily-Belle and I were happy in Pod 10! I know, I know…we’re in a beautiful location, but we’re die hard…we never miss a Liverpool game…ever! Mummy and Matilda, over in Pod 9; checked the forecast for any potential Aurora sightings, but alas, it was not to be, a cloudy sky meant there would be no Northern Lights sighting tonight. Thankfully, we had seen the Northern Lights on previous visits to Finnish Lapland, so we weren’t too disappointed! Nonetheless, we signed up to Aurora Alerts which sends a push notification text to your phone in realtime should the lights appear in the clear night sky. Bed time, an early visit to Ranua Zoo was on the cards for the following morning and a chance to hand feed an Arctic Fox.
READ: MAGICAL NORTHERN LIGHTS ABOVE FINNISH LAPLAND
FEEDING AN ARCTIC FOX…BY HAND
Morning in the Glass Igloo arrived far too quickly! The time was 6am when the iPhone alarm rang and we had a breakfast appointment with an Arctic Fox at Ranua Zoo. The bed in the Glass Igloo is exceptionally comfortable, and the Glass Igloo itself a toasty 22°C. Looking out across a stark white, bleak and cold landscape didn’t offer much encouragement to jump out of a snug warm bed! And on that note I do have a slight confession to make! I prefer a cold room at night, around 16-18°C and pitch black…the latter was not an issue as there’s no street lighting beside Lake Ranua. It wasn’t until 6am that Lily-Belle realised we could control the inside temperature of the Glass Igloo ourselves! Oh well, at least we know for our next visit to Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos. Dressed, a few snacks packed and bleary eyed, we drove the short distance to Ranua Zoo to Hand Feed an Arctic Fox.
READ ALL ABOUT IT: HAND FEEDING AN ARCTIC FOX AT RANUA ZOO
DANCING ON ICE IN AN ATV
After a great morning feeding an Arctic Fox at Ranua Zoo, and also watching a majestic Polar Bear eat his breakfast, we returned to Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos for a special treat…ATV fun on ice! During the summer months the Glass Igloo is actually a fully functioning boat, take it out on the lake, go fishing and enjoy what Finnish nature has to offer. But in the winter, the Glass Igloos can be towed across the frozen land behind an All-terrain vehicle, more commonly known as an ATV. With Auvo at the wheel, our Glass Igloo is dragged effortlessly across frozen Lake Ranua by a tracked ATV, veering left and right as if performing a rhythmic dance. So much fun and Lily-Belle and Matilda loved this part of our stay. One can only imagine how much fun the Glass Igloos would be out on Lake Ranua in summer, when the still water reflects a perfect mirror image of the surrounding pine trees that line the shore. A perfect end to a perfect stay at Arctic Guesthouse and Igloos.
WATCH OUR HIGHLIGHT VIDEO BELOW OR VIEW ON YOUTUBE
FOND FAREWELLS TO FINLAND
A hassle free check out at Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos reception, we bid a fond farewell to our new friends Auvo and Tuomas, and totally unexpected; Auvo presented us with a beautiful gift hamper to take away…a hand-woven basket with a bottle of Cloudberry Wine, Finnish chocolates and sweets. Blessed!
WOULD WE GO BACK?
DISCOUNT CODE: if you book a winter stay in a Glass Igloo between 1st December 2021 to 31st March 2022 at Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos, use code ATWI18Y to receive a WHOPPING 20% discount off your stay.
Terms and Conditions apply, code is only valid against a glass igloo stay between 1st December 2021 and 31st March 2022. Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos reserve the right to refuse the booking if the code is misused on any other booking outside of the dates shown.
With a very special THANK YOU to:
- Auvo & Outi Leppänen (Owners) – for being the perfect hosts and for your generosity, warmth and exceptional kindness in allowing us to stay at Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos as a mutual collaboration.
- Tuomas Haapala (Digital Marketing Strategist) – for arranging our stay, for the new friendship formed and for being our translator…we hope you enjoyed the gift.
- Jorma Simontaival (Chef) – for making us feel very welcome and for cooking amazing food, and for the lovely stories told over dinner.
We are truly grateful to each and every one of you. Our stay at Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos will remain a precious memory for many years to come. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making our stay the best experience we could possibly have. It was a true pleasure working alongside Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos on this collaboration. Anna kesäkuukausien olla onnellinen ja huoleton. Kunnes seuraavan kerran tapaamme…pysy turvassa.
LILY-BELLE SAYS (11)
I have been to Finland a couple of times now and we always manage to try something new. Staying in a glass igloo was so much fun, and really different. I loved being towed across the lake by the ATV.
MATILDA SAYS (5)
The glass igloo was fun and getting a ride on the snow tractor was the best thing ever.
Date(s) of stay: 11th March 2020 – 1 night stay
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Views, opinions and experiences are that of The Callaghan Posse and at the time of publication.
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[disclaimer: Our stay at Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos was gifted. Gifted item(s) were provided in return for social media and blog coverage. This blog post contains external links for which we do not receive any commission or payment if you click through these links.
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