If you are searching for a hotel in Ivalo then look no further than Guesthouse Husky. Here visitors not only get an authentic Lapland experience but also get to spend time among magnificent huskies. What’s more? Guesthouse Husky is an amazing place to spot the Northern Lights. Located in the midst of the Finnish Lapland, the guesthouse’s location is perfect for catching the Aurora Borealis right above your head.
Getting To Guesthouse Husky
The easiest way to arrive at Guesthouse Husky is to catch a flight from Helsinki to Ivalo. From the Ivalo airport, grab a taxi to Guesthouse Husky. Ivalo is a small town, and Guesthouse Husky is literally right behind the airport. However, the drive to the guesthouse takes about 15-20 minutes.
Our Guesthouse Husky Experience
Guesthouse Husky is a family-owned operation located just 5 km outside Ivalo main town. The guesthouse is in fact a husky farm with 140 husky sledge dogs and their puppies! Most of the employees we met were volunteers who had a passion for dogs.
Staying at Guesthouse Husky
The hospitality at the guesthouse will make you feel like you’re home.
You can choose to stay at the guesthouse, however, you must spend a minimum of 2 nights. The guesthouse has only a handful of rooms, and they sell out fast! So, if you’re planning to stay at Guesthouse Husky, book well in advance.
The rooms were extremely comfortable and clean. And we were really lucky that the room overlooked the kennels with the little husky puppies. Every morning we woke up to the howls of 140 huskies and husky puppies. That was the best start we could ask for to our day! In fact, we were amazed at how well synchronized their howls were every day – once in the morning, and once in the evening.
Dining at Guesthouse Husky
Guesthouse Husky has a quaint lobby and dining area where they serve delicious home-cooked Lappish dinners (€25 per person), and breakfast, which is included in the cost of the room. If you like an authentic experience, we’d highly recommend opting for dinner. The food is freshly prepared every evening, and we loved the quaint, homely experience. It was like our own dining room. FYI, vegetarian options are also available if you inform the staff in advance.
However, lunch is not available at the guesthouse. But there is a fully equipped kitchenette for the guests to prepare their own meals. There is a supermarket in Ivalo where you can buy all the groceries to prepare your meal. Or if you’re lazy, buy a pre-cooked meal, and heat it in the microwave. Also, stock up on coffee, wine, beer or any other items that you might crave on your holiday.
So Many Huskies!
Let’s be honest, one of the biggest attractions of Guesthouse Husky is its husky farm. Staying at the guesthouse comes with the added benefit of spending time with the huskies when they’re not working. However, even if you chose not to stay at the guesthouse, you can simply book their husky safari.
GuestHouse Husky provides different types of guided husky sledging tours. You can choose a 1 hour, 2.5 hours, 4 hours, or 6 hours day tour. Or you can select overnight tours wherein you’re taken to camp under the Northern Lights in a wilderness lodge. You can find a detailed list of tour options with their costs available here.
Husky Safari In Ivalo
We chose the “Mushing makes hungry” tour. The tour lasted 4 hours and took us through some of the most magical landscapes of Lapland. Surrounded by snow-covered trees and a pink horizon, it was here that we truly felt that we were in the middle of a winter wonderland!
The safari started with our guide teaching us how to control the sledge and the huskies. At this point, we didn’t realise it, but boy are those huskies strong!
After the training session, we were assigned a team of 6 huskies. Huskies are basically wolves, and they love to stay in packs. And they love to follow their leader. That is why the leaders are assigned to the tour guide, while the rest of us follow him. The only two controls at your disposal are brakes, and steering and both require your body weight to work. The sledge automatically turns when the huskies turn, but it is the driver who prevents the sledge from tilting over. It’s actually quite easy once you get the hang of it.
Perfect Lapland Scenery
As the journey began, we couldn’t believe that we were actually on a sledge pulling drawn by huskies. It was everything that we dreamed of in our Lapland adventure!
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In all our excitement, we forgot that it was -24°C (-11.2°F). Luckily, the passenger in the sledge gets to cover themselves with a warm blanket, but the poor driver has to bear the cold.
At the midway point, we stopped at a tepee and warmed ourselves against the fire while the guide made us hot sausage soup (cooked over fire), and coffee. We were quite fortunate because there was only one other couple who joined the safari so the entire experience felt very personal. After mushing through the snow in freezing conditions, the lunch break was well deserved.
Our guide was very friendly and knowledgeable as we badgered him with questions about Lapland and huskies. We didn’t know that huskies can survive outdoors till -60°C (-76°F)!
As the fire warmed the tepee, we felt our frozen bodies thaw. If it wasn’t for the howling huskies outside, we would have had no reason to leave.
This was definitely the highlight of our trip to Finland.
Playing With Huskies
When we weren’t out mushing, we spent our time walking around the husky farm meeting all the dogs. Visitors are also allowed to enter the puppies’ kennel and play with them. Honestly, if you’re a dog lover, it’s hard to pass this opportunity to not stay with the huskies in their natural environment.
Word of caution though, huskies are wolves. And those little husky puppies were as vicious as they come! Their diet consists of a giant slab of frozen reindeer or lamb meat with vitamin pills. Every day we saw those cute husky puppies go through the slab of meat. On average, it takes them a week to finish it.
We made the mistake of stepping into their kennel to play with them. Obviously, we got the same treatment as the piece of meat. But, it was totally worth getting our jackets ripped apart by the husky puppies. Would recommend!
Other Facilities & Activities
Like most hotels in Lapland, Guesthouse Husky allows you to book other various outdoor activities.
Spotting the Northern Lights
We saw the Northern Lights on both nights that we spent at Guesthouse Husky.
On our first night, we booked a Northern Lights Tour with a guide called Jouni Mannisto. He picked us up at the guesthouse in his van and drove us (a group of 6-8) around Ivalo and Inari searching for the Northern Lights. We first stopped at the frozen lake and spent an hour or so before Jouni felt we could get better views. So, we drove further into the woods where we found an amazing spot to see the Northern Lights!
Jouni also helps you with your camera settings to best capture the lights. He also carries his own camera, takes photos of you with the Northern Lights, and mails them to you the next day. We really appreciated that. The tour costs €120/person and lasts for approximately 4 hours.
On our second night, we didn’t book any tour. We decided to take our chance with the Northern Lights at the guesthouse itself. We thought that we might catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. But we were so wrong.
After dinner, we took a stroll outside Guesthouse Husky. It was a full moon night and everything around us covered in snow sparkled in the moonlight.
But just then we began to see a faint glow in the night sky. Next thing we knew the lights began dancing and dazzling right before us. A gentleman who was walking with us ran back into the guesthouse and began screaming for his family. They all came running out, and for a moment we all forgot that it was -24°C (-11.2°F).
Cross Country Skiing or Snow Shoeing
As Guesthouse Husky is in the outskirts of Ivalo, they keep snowshoes and cross country skis to allow guests to explore the surrounding wilderness. Shoes and skis can be rented for €12 per person for the entire day.
And when you feel too cold from staying outdoors all the time, there is a sauna in the guesthouse for you to enjoy.
Like I said at the start, I can’t imagine a better place to stay in Ivalo. The stay was everything that we imagined in our Lapland holiday – huskies, Northern Lights, delicious home-cooked Lappish food, and more!