Why A Winter Holiday In Lapland Should Be On Your Bucket List?
It will be perhaps the most fairy-tale holiday you can think of: a winter holiday in Lapland. By that dear reader, you should read: lots of snow, hot chocolate with whipped cream, reindeers and of course the house of Santa Claus.
Lapland, what exactly is that?
Lapland extends over the most northern part of Norway, Sweden, Finland and a part of Russia. Hence the name Land van de Lappen. In the area several languages are spoken, also called the Sami languages, but it is not a state of its own. It is said that the name 'Laps' is perceived as an insult by the population; they would prefer Saami or Sámi.
The sun does not rise above the horizon in the middle of winter. It is then dim-light from 10 am to 3 pm, but such a day is long enough to experience the special features of the area. You do not have to organize a tour; the hotels ensure that their guests are entertained through an extensive excursion program.
WHAT can you DO?
Because the location of the area is so northerly, close to the Arctic Circle, and by that, I mean above the Arctic Circle, the winters are very long and cold. The sun is almost never present, but when it appears the blue sky with the white landscape just melts your heart. This will sound like a nightmare to many people, but it still has something incredibly romantic. During the winter, Lapland is covered with a thick white blanket and in combination with the sun that hardly comes up, this produces the most beautiful pictures. Enjoy nature: forests, valleys, and mountains. The countless lakes are naturally frozen and with the snow fallen on them they look like vast white plains and….the silence!
Eating & Drinking
In Lapland there is no way how to cultivate anything, because of the cold, therefore the most common food is fish or meat - reindeer, simply because this is the most available. A glass of hot wine or a hot chocolate with whipped cream before the crackling fire is, of course, the perfect expectation if you just come out of the snow.
House of Santa Claus
Something you cannot miss during a holiday in Finnish Lapland is a visit to Santa Claus. He lives about nine kilometers outside of Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland. You can visit him in a small wooden house: his door is always open and his beard is very long.
A short instruction from the guide is sufficient to be able to drive safely with the scooter. Two persons can share a ride and you can take turns to drive regularly. A three hours long beautiful trip over snow-covered hills, through woods, over frozen rivers and lakes.
A kind of tennis racket linked under your shoes and of you go! You can literally walk wherever you want, and you are not longer tied to the trails.
Another popular tourist attraction is the husky tour, also called husky safari. Hh, what nice dogs with their clear eyes! First you get an introduction about the huskies and the driving of the dog sled and then you go on your own. You make a trip of about 5-10 or 20 kilometres with two people per sled. Fortunately, you get an extra warm overall in top of your clothes, so you do not get cold. Because it is of course -20 ℃! During such a tour, 6 to 8 dogs pull a sleigh in the snow. This way you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings in peace and quiet. You will have the opportunity to ‘drive’ the sleigh yourself given that you follow certain instructions given beforehand.
The reindeer were kept my the Sami (Lapland local population) for their meat, leather and milk. You get to see a lot in Santa’s village as his sleigh is pulled by reindeers.
Anyone who is lucky will also catch the Northern lights a number of times during a holiday in Lapland. I know I did it 3 times in one week. The silence in the dark snow world is so overwhelming, that the walk itself is an unforgettable experience. The northern lights are most common during clear nights in February to March and from September to October.
All you see around you is white and frozen, so you go to a lake, drill a hole in the ice and start fishing. It’s one of the ways locals get food in the winter.
Stay in a wooden hut
There are plenty of stays to book in Lapland, but one of the best is to rent a wooden hut (log cabin/chalet). Go for a truly traditionally decorated version with lots of wood and red curtains, then turn on that fireplace and enjoy the romantic white view.
Stay in an Ice Hotel
The opinions about the quality of the ice hotels are sometimes divided, but it is certainly an experience in its self. Do you want to just take a look and don’t feel like shivering the night? Most ice hotels can also be visited as non-hotel guests.
Stay in a glass igloo
It’s a pretty expensive option, but most of the igloos have the Northern lights alarm, therefore, if you sleep, it will wake you up so you can see everything through the glass ceiling. Then again even if the Aurora is not active, sleeping under the starlit sky is romantic.
In most of the houses you will find a sauna, which is so common because let’s be honest, how else would you be able to warm up your body when you come from -20 degrees outside? In Finland the public saunas are never mixed but some hotel rooms have a private sauna.
Yes, there are some incredible slops. For sure, you can’t compare to France or Austria, but for sure the views are impressive. The slopes are illuminated and quite empty I might add compared to the other European countries.
If you want to see the area in a thick layer of snow, you can do so until the end of February. Then the snow starts to fall from the trees. In March the days are already longer and from late May it will not be dark anymore. That is also a very special experience, white nights!
The well-known travel platform Lonely Planet calls out every year the ten best countries, cities, regions and budget destinations to visit the following year. Almost every year at least one Scandinavian destination is on the list, mainly... Lapland!
Do you have the ultimate tip for a trip through Finland? Let me know in the comments!
Is Lapland on your bucket list yet?