The magical medley of frozen lakes, frosted forests and carpets of white snow – this is snowmobiling country. And adrenaline junkies are in for a treat. You can zip over the tundras at full throttle, slicing up the snow as you go. It’s also the perfect way to cram in as much of the scenery as possible. As well as our day-time snowmobile trips, we also run an adults-only night-time tour. This way, you can whizz across the silent landscape, with only your headlights guiding you. If you’re lucky, you might even be joined by the Northern Lights. Just make sure you wrap up warm – the temperatures rarely rise above freezing here. When you book a daytrip or a three or four-night break with us, we’ll kit you out with a thermal snowsuit, boots, gloves, socks and a hat, but it’s worth layering-up, as well.
You don’t get much further north than Finnish Lapland, so it’s a great spot for chasing the elusive Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. People travel from all over the world to try and catch a glimpse of this natural wonder. The lights have certain diva qualities – they’re about as unpredictable as you get. But, from November to April, you’re in with a fighting chance. If you do strike lucky, you’ll be treated to a real show – green, yellow and, sometimes, red lights dance through the pitch-black sky. You can often watch them glow from towns like Levi, Luosto and Saariselka. However, it’s best to escape any artificial light whatsoever. A good way to do this is on a night-time snowmobile trip. Or you can choose to make a real night of it and stay in a remote log cabin or a glass-ceiling igloo, where you can gaze out from the comfort of your bed.
Lapland’s buried in snow for around six months of the year. So, it’s hardly any surprise that it’s home to tonnes of cross-country skiing trails. Forget the Alps, the four big names in these parts are Levi, Yllas, Luosto and Ruka. And they’re way less crowded. Yllas has the longest slope at three kilometres, while Levi’s ski resort tots up 48 runs, including three black ones. Plus, the boarders aren’t left out, either. Saariselka lays claim to Finland’s biggest snowboard park, and Levi’s got a pair of parks with a superpipe and a halfpipe. If it’s cross-country skiing you’re after, head for Yllas, Saariselka or Luosto – between them they’ve got hundreds of kilometres’ worth of trails. For total seclusion, there’s also Hetta, which is tucked into Finland’s north-western corner, and boasts plenty of off-the-beaten-track skiing and hiking routes. And the activities don’t stop there. Ice fishing, tobogganing and ice swimming are also popular pastimes.
Snowmobiles aren’t the only way to get around in Lapland. Once upon a time, husky-drawn sleds were the only mode of transport. These days, they’re just for fun, serving up a huge adrenaline rush, as you speed along at speeds of up to 30 kilometres an hour. You’ll be pulled by a team of huskies – originally bred in Siberia to pull big, heavy loads across the tundra. And they’re always raring to go, so you’ll need to hop onboard quickly. Depending on the resort, you’ll either be driven by an experienced guide or take the reins for yourself. Our Husky Trail Blazers excursion will sort you out with this once-in-a-lifetime trip. Or, for a more relaxed ride, try our Reindeer Safari.
When it comes to bars, you don’t get much cooler than this. Literally. You’ll find it inside Finland’s famous Snow Village, which is rebuilt from scratch every year. As the name suggests, it’s made from 20 million kilos of snow and around 350,000 kilos of ice. The temperature hovers around the -5°C mark, but you can warm up with a hot chocolate or a cocktail in the resort’s Ice Bar. Everything from the tables, benches and the bar is all carved out of ice. There’s also a candlelit Snow Restaurant, where three-course dinners cost €60 per person. Elsewhere, you can wander corridors full of ice art and bedrooms with ice-slab beds and snow walls. Book onto our Snow Village excursion and we’ll take you there and back from Levi, Yllas and Pallas.
Lapland’s capital, Rovaniemi, has a real buzz to it. It might be the hometown of Father Christmas, but it’s got a grown-up side, too. We’re talking two shopping malls, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. It’s a great place to sample some traditional Lappish cuisine – salmon, trout and reindeer are menu favourites. And you can wash it all down with a glass of lakka – made from cloudberries, which only grow in the Northern hemisphere. The compact city’s also got an interesting layout. It was completely rebuilt after being destroyed by the Nazis in 1944. Finnish architect Alvar Aalto did the honours, creating roads shaped like a reindeer’s head and antlers. In the head, you’ll find the Sampokeskus district. This place is full to the brim with drinking spots and clubs pumping out a mix of Finnish pop and house music. Nightlife-wise, you’ve also got the ski resort of Levi within two hours’ drive. And the après-ski here is top-notch.
Set in the middle of Lapland’s snowy wilderness, the Saariselka Cabins come with authentic touches, like stone-built fireplaces and Finnish saunas.
The is right in the heart of Rovaniemi, so you’ve got shops, restaurants and bars at your fingertips.
Things don’t get much more picturesque than at the Lapland Hotel Hetta. It sits next to pine forests and a frozen lake.
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