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  • Writer's pictureBecky Westaway

Here’s why you should be booking your next holiday to Lapland

The Original Winter Wonderland

For festive fans and winter holiday-goers, nothing tops the festive season like Lapland at Christmas. Set in the snowy landscape of Northern Finland, Lapland is globally known as the real home of Santa. With only a 3-and-a-half-hour flight from any London airport, you can transport yourself into this magical escape for treasured family memories, romantic getaways, wild animal experiences or adrenaline sports. It really is a place for anyone and everyone to enjoy.

In case you need any more convincing, this blog highlights the best that Lapland can bring, along with the big question: is it all worth it?

Which is the best Lapland experience?

The beauty of this Scandinavian setting is that it has plenty to offer, from ski breaks to Santa meet and greets. You can also…

Visit Lapland’s capital, Rovaniemi

Situated at the summit of the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi is the heart of Lapland. The capital is easy to reach via bus from most resorts, being a must-see spot for a day trip or as part of your Lapland holiday package.

As you enter the city, the snowcapped trees, falling snowflakes and wooden buildings could be a snapshot from a classic Christmas movie. Despite the chilly conditions, there’s plenty to keep you warm with restaurants serving the finest Finnish cuisine, warming hot chocolate next to roaring fires and delightful gift shops for all your souvenirs.

Spend a night in the Artic Snow Hotel

Is there anything more authentic for your winter getaway than sleeping in an igloo? Surrounded by a crisp white canvas, these stunning glass structures tuck you away from the cold as you lie back and soak up the star-filled sky. For a little more luxury, we recommend the original Ice Hotel.

This unique accommodation has been flawlessly carved from ice to create ice rooms, suites, galleries and restaurants, decorated with cosy additions to ensure you stay snug and toastie. There’s even an Ice Chapel and honeymoon suite for your dream winter wedding. Choose to book in for a night or pick a tour which includes a visit to this frozen masterpiece.

Visit the real Santa Claus Village

The pinnacle moment of any Lapland trip is seeing the mythical tale of Santa’s workshop materialise in front of your very eyes. Packed full of merriment, Santa’s Village is truly a mesmerising place for children and adults alike.

From the welcoming glow of lights and a team of cheery Elves to meeting the main attraction, Mr and Mrs Claus. Watch your little one’s face light up as they talk one-on-one with the big man. You’ll also get a sneak peek into Santa’s grotto in this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Take in the Northern Lights

Watching the Aurora Borealis as they dance across the sky is a dream for many. Lapland is one of the best destinations to spot this beautiful phenomenon during the winter months. There’s a possibility cloudy skies can block your view, but in Finland, there’s a high chance you will see them. If not, taking a moment to witness the blanket of stars above you is absolutely worth the visit.

The hypnotising greens, blues, pinks and purples of the Northern Lights can be spotted from most Lapland resorts on a clear night. However, you can book more bespoke accommodation, such as igloos or log cabins that situate you under the stars. Alternatively, join a Northern Lights tour, where you’ll be picked up and taken to an idyllic spot to see the sky come to life.

Witness The Midnight Sun

Finland's winters are known not only for their freezing temperatures but also for their extended periods of darkness. In December, you might only see up to six hours of daylight, with lanterns, lamps and fairy lights adding to the magical atmosphere.

On the flip side, Finnish summers can host full days of sunlight, creating a ‘nightless sky’. During summer evenings, you can also view the Midnight Sun spectacle, where the sun briefly dips beneath the horizon before rising again for a new dawn — a truly breathtaking moment best captured whilst swimming, hiking or kayaking.

Indulge in the best Lapland Sports

Alongside snowy firtree walks and smores by the fire pit is another side of Lapland filled with high-intensity adrenaline and extreme fun! Several Lapland packages include exclusive experiences like high-speed snowmobiles and traditional husky sleigh rides. For snowboarders and ski lovers, there are multiple resorts an ideal distance from the slopes, including Yllas, Levi Ski Resort and Lampivaara Amethyst Mine.

Hike up Halti

The beauty of Finland is its contrasting seasons, which provide a variety of activities for sporting enthusiasts. From June to October, snow-covered paths melt to reveal winding tracks throughout the luscious countryside.

Over in Lyngenfjord, there are several challenging peaks for any keen hiker. Halti, in particular, is Finland’s highest viewpoint, reaching 1,331m above sea level. Although it’s situated in Norway, it’s only a short distance from the border and can be reached via several tour operators. The Halti hike covers a 14km roundtrip, taking confident walkers between 5-6 hours to complete.

Explore Rauna Wildlife Park

If reindeer farms and husky rides aren’t enough for you, it’s only a short journey to the Rauna Wildlife Park, the Northern Arctic’s very own zoo. Catering to over 50 varieties of native Arctic animals, it’s open all year round for you to visit.

From wolves and polar bears to moose, brown bears and otters, Rauna offers a change of pace for your Lapland adventure. Whether you decide to spend a few days in the Rauna resort or take a day trip to see the animals, they also offer winter activities for you to try, including reindeer safaris, ice fishing and cross-country skiing.

Discover Inari and the Sami Centre

Alongside the excitement of fairy lights, frosted scenery, and winter wildlife is the core of Finland’s culture. Discover more about the proud heritage of Finland’s indigenous individuals, the Sami People, with Inari at the centre of their history, traditions and natural environment.

Set on the stunning Lake Inari, you can witness the natural beauty of this site and learn about the Sami People’s traditions in the Siida Museum. You can travel directly from Ivalo airport or incorporate a day trip within your Lapland holiday to reach this destination.

How long do I need in Lapland?

Your Lapland adventure can be as short or as long as your time and budget allow! If you’re purely intrigued by the Christmas magic, the average Lapland package lasts four days. Bear in mind that your itinerary will be quite full on to fit in those once-in-a-lifetime moments like husky visits, reindeer sleigh rides, snowmobiles and, of course, visiting Santa! But all your transfers, hotels and accommodation are included.

If you’d like more time to explore this beautiful location, add a few more days to your Lapland adventure. We’d recommend a week in total to not only experience Santa’s Grotto but also for sightseeing at the Sami Centre, hiking Halti or relaxing in the Ice Hotel. You want to make sure you have enough time to tick off your entire Lapland bucket list!

When’s the best time to visit Lapland?

Depending on your reason, the best time to visit Lapland may vary. December to March are the perfect months to enjoy the picturesque winter postcard views and superb skiing conditions. For those searching for the true magic of Christmas, complete with reindeer feeding, sleigh rides and visiting the real Santa, Lapland at Christmas should be at the top of your wish list.

Top tips for visiting Lapland

During Lapland’s winter months, the temperature can drop to as little as 23°F and 28°F (-5°C and -2°C). But not to worry, as we mentioned, there are lots of ways to keep warm, with several companies providing suitable clothing such as snowsuits and boots. However, it’s recommended to invest in thermal under-layers and hats, snow gloves and ski goggles to keep you snug and protected during experiences such as snowmobiling, where the chill of the wind will hit you most.

Is Santa’s Lapland worth the money?

Whether you’re a Christmas fan or not, you can’t deny the magical feeling you come away with after visiting Lapland. The detail and passion of every location, activity and experience flawlessly shine through, and you can’t help but embrace the wonderment of it all.

To ensure your holiday to Lapland is everything you want and more, we recommend booking with an independent travel agent, like Westaway Travel, who can tailor your itinerary to exceed your expectations. To start planning your bespoke Lapland trip, contact the team today.

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