Lapland has pretty much all the ingredients for every child’s Christmas wish list. Snow? Tick. Elves? Tick. Rudolph? Tick. But, let’s face it, the must-do is a meet ‘n’ greet with the man in red. You’re in luck, as all of our three and four-night breaks include a sit-down with Santa, so little ones can personally deliver their Christmas lists to the man himself. Take our Classic Lapland trip, for instance, which has a visit to Santa Park. This cave is the secret underground home of Father Christmas and his little helpers. Youngsters can sign up for Elf School or decorate gingerbread in Mrs Claus’ kitchen. And the highlight of the day is some face-to-face time with Santa. In Saariselka, meanwhile, you’ll swing by one of Santa’s other abodes. On the Santa’s Wonderland trip, you’ll head over to a secluded spot in the forest, known as Santa’s Creek. Here, you can rub shoulders with reindeers, elves and a Lappish shaman – a bit like a spiritual healer – before visiting the area’s most famous resident, Father Christmas. Whichever one you opt for, we’re betting the kids will be chuffed.
Decades ago, the indigenous Sami people used huskies to haul their goods across the snowy landscapes. Now, these hyper hounds will take you on a fast-paced safari through the tundra. It all starts at a husky camp, where you’ll gather around a campfire to learn more about these hard-working Arctic dogs. Then, you can take the reins, with the help of your Elf guide, and race past the magical scenery at speeds of up to 15 kilometres an hour. You’ll get taster sessions of husky-sled rides on all of our Lapland trips, or you can book on to our Husky Trail Blazers excursion for the full experience.
When it comes to little ones’ Lapland goals, we’re guessing reindeers are up there with Santa. After all, there wouldn’t be any presents without Rudolph and his friends. This one is a go-slow ride through the icy wilderness, so there’ll be plenty of chances to snap the surrounding scenery and take selfies with your new furry friends. Our Reindeer Safari also takes you to a farm, where you can sip on hot berry juice while hearing all about reindeer herding. Then, you’ll get the chance to get up close to the festive animals in their natural surroundings.
Around 20 million kilos of snow and 350,000 kilos of natural ice are used to build this one-of-a-kind village. And every year, they do it all over again – remaking the snow suites, restaurant, cocktail bar and chapel. It’s just a 45 minutes’ drive from Yllas, and once you arrive, you can wander the icy corridors, decorated with elaborate sculptures and lights. You’ll have time to pop your head into one of the bedrooms to check out the huge ice-beds. Or there’s even the chance to swap vows in the wedding chapel, complete with an aisle, an altar and seats made of ice. You can finish your visit with a chilled drink at the bar, which is carved out of – yes, you’ve guessed it – ice. Tempted? If you’re staying in Levi, Yllas or Pallas, our tour will whisk you here. Or you can go on one of our Search for Santa daytrips, which also stop by for a visit.
This is one for the grown-ups. But who wouldn’t want to tick one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World off their list? Luckily, your chances of seeing the elusive Aurora Borealis really take off when you hit Finland. As it’s so far north, the spectacular light show makes regular appearances between December and March. A pitch-black sky is another key requirement, though, with no light pollution – basically the more remote, the better. Cue Hetta – it’s tucked into the northern corner of Finland, so you don’t get more secluded than this place. Make sure you turn your eyes to the skies between 9pm and 11pm, and you could be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the natural phenomenon. Expect to see the sky glow with dancing swirls of green, red or yellow. If you still need convincing, check out our round-up of the 5 reasons you must see the Northern Lights.
They might not be traditional, but snowmobiles are one fast way to get around. It’s as if Lapland’s deserted countryside was made for whizzing across on these speedy machines. There are trips during the day or night, as well as ones for families and others just for adults. Pick a night tour and you can tie it in with a hunt for the Northern Lights. You’ll get to cruise through jet-black forests, with only your snowmobile lights to guide you. After, you can warm up with a hot drink and snack under the moonlit sky, before zipping back to base.
If reindeers and huskies weren’t enough, you can get your animal fix at the world’s most northerly wildlife park. White foxes, elk and lynxes are all residents here, along with 20 different species of rare bird. Plus, you can see the only polar bears in Finland rolling around in their natural snowy habitat. Wolves, reindeers and moose also call this place home. If you’ve got time to spare, you can even head to the onsite ice bar, which is hidden inside an igloo.
Other than our three or four-night getaways, we’ve also got a pair of daytrips for those short on time. With a flight time of three-and-a-half hours – Lapland’s majestic landscapes are a lot closer than you think. So you could be snowmobiling, husky sledging or chatting with Santa in no time. First off, you’ve got the Santa’s Secret Grotto daytrip, where you spend the day at Rovaniemi’s Santa Park. This huge underground cave is home to Elf School, an Ice Gallery and Santa himself, of course. Or there’s the Search for Santa
daytrip, which centres around Kittila’s Snow Village. Here, you can get to grips with mini-skidoos, reindeer rides and biscuit-decorating. Depending which one you pick, you’ll take off around 7am and land at around 9pm, so you’ll get a full day of snow-filled adventure.
Take a look at our full range of Lapland holidays.
Author: Annabel Langley
Your stay at the Lapland Hotel Hetta is a picturesque one. It’s snow-dusted wilderness as far as the eye can see.
The Hotel Snowflake and Apartments are set-up for sports fans – tobogganing, snowmobiling and skiing starts from your doorstep.
With an indoor pool, visits from Captain T, and plenty of activities, the The Snow Elf Hotel & Apartments make a great family-friendly pick.
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