How to Visit Lapland: A Guide to Finland's Magical North
Are you ready to embark on a journey to a winter wonderland where the Northern Lights dance across the night sky and reindeer-drawn sleighs whisk you through pristine snow? Lapland, the northernmost region of Finland, is a place of unparalleled natural beauty and enchanting experiences perfect for that desired festive feeling. Whether you're dreaming of meeting Santa Claus, laying eyes on the mesmerising aurora borealis, or immersing yourself in Sami culture, Lapland has it all.
What To Do 🎅🏂🏻🛷
If your main goal is to meet Santa Claus, you're in the right place! Especially in Rovaniemi, Finland, where the Arctic Circle begins. In Santa Claus Village and the nearby Santa-themed park, it's a perpetual Christmas celebration. Here you’ll find festive wonderlands filled with elves, gingerbread baking, reindeer rides, and the opportunity to share your wish list with Santa himself.
But Lapland has more to offer than Santa. Rovaniemi serves as a convenient hub for various Arctic adventures, including husky safaris, chasing the Northern Lights, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and exciting adventure tours. Don't miss the enlightening Arktikum museum, which highlights Lapland's wildlife and Sami culture.
Top things to do:
See the Northern Lights - The Northern Lights are a breathtaking sight, especially on clear nights with high solar flare forecasts. Witnessing this natural wonder is one of Lapland's top attractions, given its northern location. While there are various chances to spot the Northern Lights, escaping light pollution is essential for experiencing the full spectrum of colours. Some hotels and lodges offer wake-up calls (upon request) when the lights make their appearance.
Arktikum Science Museum - If you're looking for a break from the sub-arctic weather, pay a visit to the Arktikum Science Museum. It offers insights into the Arctic's evolving landscape and life in the extreme north. Additionally, the museum features a stunning glass walk-through tunnel leading to the Ounasjoki River. This provides an ideal vantage point for witnessing the captivating Northern Lights on dark evenings or afternoons.
Husky Sledding - Husky sledding is a classic and iconic Lapland experience, deeply rooted in Sami culture for generations. In this region, husky sledding is a time-honoured tradition, and you'll find a plethora of tour options to choose from. Some are lengthy journeys, involving plenty of mushing and a bit of running, especially on steeper slopes.
How To Get There 🛷🛫🚗
Given the location's remote and expansive situation, travelling to Lapland may seem daunting, but it's surprisingly accessible. Holiday packages often include airport and road transfers. Most travellers fly into Helsinki's Vantaa Airport and then connect to their destination's nearest airport, typically Rovaniemi, Kittilä, or Ivalo however, there are multiple options readily available:
Air: Rovaniemi Airport has regular flights from Helsinki and other major European cities.
Train: The scenic Santa Claus Express train runs from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, offering a cosy and comfortable journey perfect for making your festive trip that bit more seasonal.
Car: If you prefer a road trip, you can drive to Lapland, but be prepared for long distances and varying weather conditions.
Where To Stay? 🏨🪵❄️
Lapland offers a diverse range of accommodations, from the annual Snow Village made entirely of snow to the Aurora Kota with its aurora-viewing glass roofs. There are also rustic cabins. To secure your stay, especially in these popular spots, be sure to book well in advance, as they tend to fill up quickly. You can even mix and match accommodations for a multi-day Lapland adventure. Top spots include: Arctic Treehouse Hotel - Nestled among the Arctic Circle's forested hillside, the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel boasts a collection of rectangular chalets, each featuring expansive north-facing windows. This innovative design hotel seamlessly blends luxurious comfort with the opportunity to witness the Northern Lights.
From £207 per night
Apukka Resort -Take a trip to a cosy igloo-style cabin, with an ice-crafted bedroom. This unique Lapland resort offers a novel lodging option allowing you to enjoy the best of FInland. This wagon is towed out into the Finnish wilderness, providing guests with the utmost privacy to chase the Northern Lights.
From £179 per night
Javri Lodge - Nestled in Finnish Lapland, this adults-only retreat offers the perfect blend of eco-consciousness and natural beauty. Original logs, wool, and reindeer hides create a rustic warmth, while avant-garde furnishings add a modern touch to the rooms.
From £2,057 per night
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