I’ve always wanted to go to Lapland, the home of Santa. This year I finally managed to do it and I went last week for 4 days. Lapland truly is a magical destination and I recommend anyone go there.
Lapland is not actually a country, it’s more of a cultural area and incorporates parts of Finland, Russia, Sweden and Norway. Trips are available to both Swedish and Finnish Lapland. Although most trips are to Finland, which is where I went. I booked with TUI, which is the travel company formerly known as Thomson. I paid around £900 for the four day trip which included return flights from Gatwick, 3 nights accommodation in a 4 star hotel (half board), winter clothing and a visit to see Santa.
There were a few different resorts on offer and I chose Saariselka which is a village right at the top of Finland and is around 250km north of the Arctic Circle. It is the perfect winter wonderland as it is in a nice remote location and has nothing but snow. It’s also super quiet too which means plenty of peace and quiet. You can also pretty much walk everywhere you need to, although there is a Ski Bus available that will take you to the slopes.
Flights for Lapland leave really early in the morning, mine was 6am. The flight was very festive and the cabin crew were wearing Santa hats and Christmas jumpers. They even got us singing along to some Christmas carols too. The flight was only around 3 hours and it really did fly by.
I did start getting super excited as the plane began to land because all I could see out of my window was snow and nothing but snow. If you want to see the white stuff, there is plenty of it here.
Unfortunately my luggage didn’t arrive with me, which meant I was without it for most of my trip. Fortunately it turned up 2 days later and had somehow ended up in Helsinki. I was so glad when it showed up and the reps did a fantastic job of trying to find it. It may have been annoying to be without your stuff, but I didn’t let it ruin my trip. I stayed at the Lapland Hotel Riekonlinna, which has shops, restaurants and bars nearby.
At the welcome meeting we were all told about all the different trips that could be booked, from snowmobiling to husky safaris. At the taster event the next day I got to drive a snowmobile, went sledging and had a short ride in a sleigh pulled by Huskies and then later Reindeer. It was really nice to come out from the cold and sit around a nice hot fire with a cup of hot berry juice and gingerbread cookies.
There was so much to see and do including a visit to see Santa himself. As I enjoyed the taster with the Huskies I booked myself on a full Husky safari which was very fun. I also took a walk to the ski slopes too and even though I would have liked to have gone skiing I didn’t have time to so just watched. It was very fun going sledging at night on the big hill not far from the hotel. Saariselka also has an Angry Birds Activity Park in the Holiday Club. It’s an Angry Birds themed soft play where adults are free to have fun (not just for kids). Jumping into a foam pit and going along the zip line to knock the Pigs over is extremely fun.
When I went, the temperature wasn’t too cold. -7 was the coldest it went, although it can go down to as low as -30. Lapland is a great destination for everyone but they do recommend to take kids when they are a bit older, as the extreme cold isn’t suitable for very small children. Another great thing about Lapland – it stays dark for most of the day in the winter. There are just a few hours of what is called ‘grey light’ in the morning. Around 2.30pm it starts getting dark and by 3 it is completely dark and feels like night time. It did feel really funny walking around in the afternoon in darkness.
The Northern Lights are very elusive and I did try looking for them. They are not easy to find and it can be hit and miss if you see them. I overheard some woman in the hotel saying she saw them out of her window at 4am. Every night I walked out of the village where it was a bit darker, and I still didn’t see them.
I loved my trip to Lapland and want to go again next year. Just one tip, if you are considering a trip, don’t do the day trip. Price wise it isn’t much cheaper than a 4 day trip and a day trip will be very tiring and rushed. There is no way you can experience Lapland properly on a day trip. Plus if your flight is delayed going which can easily happen, it will eat into your time there.
Lapland truly is magical.