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Are you ready to explore Finnish Lapland?

Welcome to the official travel website for Finnish Lapland, the home of Santa Claus , the last wilderness in Europe, and part of the Sámi homeland. Lapland is a destination above ordinary, full of contrasts and unique natural phenomena: Midnight Sun , Polar Nights, autumn colors, Northern Lights , and Arctic cites nestled among Ice Age fells.

Virtual Lapland is your gateway to an Arctic experience unlike any other. Explore Finnish Lapland anywhere, anytime, watch a dazzling Northern Lights show, explore how the seasons and wilderness intertwine and meet the wildlife of the North!

If you’re looking for the frosty bite of a reindeer sleigh ride or the soft heat of a traditional sauna, you might be ready. If you want to explore the wilderness during a white summer night and meet Santa any time of year, you might be ready.

If you’re done with the ordinary, you might just be ready for Finnish Lapland.

Find out more below, or follow the stories on our  Facebook and Instagram .

Simply magnificent

If you're ready to discover a broad spectrum of life above ordinary, you're ready for Finnish Lapland.

About Lapland

Mythical and magical – pristine nature and breath-taking phenomena make Lapland something else.

Things to do

How to make the most of your time in Lapland – meet locals and find out what northern life is all about.

Plan Your Stay

How to get to Lapland, where to go once here and more useful travel information.

Travel Responsibly

Find out below how we have become one of the most sustainable tourism destinations, and how you can have a positive impact on the environment, economy and culture of Lapland and the whole world.

Sound of Lapland

There are no blaring car alarms, buzzing metro lines or wheezing air vents here.

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How to Plan the Perfect Trip to Finnish Lapland

From the northern lights to the legendary sauna culture, this arctic destination has it all. Here's what you won't want to miss.

laplandia trip

Milamai / Getty Images

Lapland, the northernmost region of Finland, is the place to go to check more than a few once-in-a-lifetime experiences off your list — like seeing the northern lights and experiencing the midnight sun. The arctic destination has stunning nighttime skies, wide-open landscapes, and air so fresh it can make you happier. Here’s how to plan a trip to Finnish Lapland that you’ll never forget. 

When to Go to Finnish Lapland

Here’s the good news about Lapland: It’s always beautiful out — well, depending on how you define “beautiful.” The region's peak travel season falls between December and February thanks to a natural phenomenon we’ll get to in a moment. During this period, the region’s average temperature ranges from 3 to 37 degrees Fahrenheit, though it can get down to as low as minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit with added wind chill. 

By contrast, temperatures in the summer can be much milder, usually ranging from 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a prime time to visit the area for hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor adventures.

How to See the Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland

Many visitors travel to Finnish Lapland to take in a few breathtaking natural occurrences — including the aurora borealis, or northern lights. You can see this phenomenon any time between August and April, though it occurs more frequently around the equinoxes in late September and late March. Visit then and look to the sky on clear nights for a chance to witness this incredible celestial light show.

Those looking for a more curated experience can ask their hotel for recommendations, or they can book a guided trip like a  three-hour aurora borealis picnic  in Rovaniemi, which includes a short hike to an outpost with warm drinks and food. You can also take  a snowmobile tour or, the most adventurous of all, an aurora ice floating experience in Rovaniemi . It's just as it sounds — guests don dry suits and set out on a frozen lake to lie back and blissfully gaze up into the night sky.

How to See the Midnight Sun in Finnish Lapland 

Giles Clarke / Getty Images

If you’re not much of a night owl, that’s okay because Finnish Lapland offers another spectacular show: the midnight sun. From late May until early August, the tilt of the Earth means the sky never gets dark. Make the most of the near-constant daylight by taking a hike, going fishing, or even playing a round of golf when you'd normally be asleep. 

What Else to Do in Finnish Lapland

Andrey-Kobylko / Getty Images

Go for a hike.

Finnish Lapland is chock full of  stellar hiking trails  fit for all levels. The Arctic Circle and Inari hiking areas offer everything from one-hour hikes to all-day wilderness adventures, as well as restrooms and visitor centers. 

Hit the sauna.

Sauna culture has long been an integral part of Finnish life , and there’s no better spot to experience it than in  Tampere , the sauna capital of the world. Come for the public spas, but stay for the arts, culture, and attractions like the Tampere Market Hall, the largest indoor market in Scandinavia. 

Paddle your way through the region.

Explore Finnish Lapland from a different perspective by taking to its rivers for a canoeing adventure. During the warmer months, you can take in the amazing views as you meander along calming waterways. Try this six-hour canoe trip  down the River Kapsajoki, which includes a campfire lunch and opportunities for fishing. 

Visit Santa Claus.

Fun fact: Santa lives in Finland. And you can visit him any time of year at the  Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi. Kris Kringle and his elves open their famous home and workshop all 365 days of the year. Meet the man himself, cross the Arctic Circle (which passes through the theme park), embark on a snowmobile safari adventure in the Lapland wilderness, and dine in a restaurant made of snow while you're there.

Where to Stay in Finnish Lapland 

Lingxiao Xie / Getty Images

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel

At the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel in Rovaniemi, guests can enjoy a host of creature comforts in a nature-centric setting. Every room comes with fur throws and floor-to-ceiling windows, while some even have soaking tubs, fireplaces, and decks from which to take in the surrounding forest. Book the chic two-bedroom Arctic GlassHouse  to enjoy all the bells and whistles.

Seaside Glass Villas

Need more of a view? Spend a few nights at  Seaside Glass Villas , a collection of box-shaped bungalows in the waterfront town of Kemi. Each one has a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the Bothnian Bay, as well as a glass roof through which you can enjoy incredible views of the northern lights while lying in bed.

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

You might recognize Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort's gorgeous glass-domed igloos from your Instagram feed, but even the best photos can't capture the magic of actually staying in one. Book the kelo-glass igloo to combine the privacy of a log chalet with the wow factor of the northern lights dancing over your bed.

Those seeking to stay in the lap of luxury need look no further than  Octola , an exclusive five-star hideaway with just 12 rooms and two chalets. Guests can book a single room or buy out the entire space if they want to bring along family and friends. 

What to Pack 

Packing for a summer trip to Finnish Lapland is relatively easy. Just bring whatever you normally would for any other summer getaway — shorts, T-shirts, a bathing suit, pants, and a light jacket for cooler nights. 

If you plan to visit in winter, you'll need to bust out the big checked bag and pack it with cozy thermal underwear, insulated snow boots with a grip, an insulated jacket, waterproof or snowproof pants , a few wool sweaters, warm gloves and socks, a hat, a scarf, and some instant heat packs to throw in your gloves and boots. Don’t forget your camera, and make sure to pack extra batteries — they will drain quickly in the cold weather. 

How to Get There 

Despite being located in Finland's far north, getting to Lapland isn’t nearly as difficult as you may think. First, fly into Helsinki, then, depending on your final destination, continue to either Kemi or Rovaniemi by regional flight. Finnair and Norwegian Air each offer a 90-minute nonstop to Rovaniemi, or you can board a one-stop Finnair flight to Kemi via Kokkola-Jakobstad Airport in Kronoby.

If you've got the time, a scenic seven-hour train ride will get you from Helsinki to Kemi (the ride to Rovaniemi takes 8.5 hours). You can also travel between Rovaniemi and Kemi by train for a 90-minute intra-Lapland adventure.

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Our experience with Nordic Unique was great. As a little older group some tours did not appeal to us and they were great about rearranging the itinerary. There could have been a little more communication prior to the trip. I would also suggest some kayaks at the lake. Our guide Matthias (Niales) was awesome!! He was patient, kind, knowledgeable and a great cook.
This trip was wonderful and empowering. The scenery was magical. The activities were fun and memorable. Elo and our drivers were excellent. I met some wonderful people. Christmas in Lapland was truly an experience I will cherish for a lifetime.
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"Our experience with Nordic Unique was great. As a little older group some tours did not appeal to us and they were great about rearranging the itinerary. There could have been a little more communication prior to the trip. I would also suggest some kayaks at the lake. Our guide Matthias (Niales) was awesome!! He was patient, kind, knowledgeable and a great cook.

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"MISLEADING COVID POLICY AND RUDE CUSTOMER SERVICE I am very sad to say I was truly disappointed with my experience with this travel agency. I booked a journey for the Northern Lights experience, but the information regarding the covid policy was highly confusing and contradictory. I have asthma which prevents me from being able to wear a face mask for a prolonged time. The bus tour was going to be about 12 hours and I kindly asked customer service if it was truly necessary to wear a mask during all this time. They bluntly respoded 'YES', This information was, by the way, really hard to find on their website, and I was confused from the beginning by all the different 'policies', which seemed contradictory to each other. In the end, I had to cancel, only to get half of my money back and find out later, by a friend who attended that trip, that they actually did NOT had to wear a mask at all during the bus trip... In other words - customer service lied to me about the face mask policy and they took half of my money for the trip, even though I cancelled in time. Can't even express my disappointment. Terrible!

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The Ultimate 7 Day Finland Itinerary for Winter

Last updated: April 17, 2024 . Written by Laurence Norah - 22 Comments

If you’re looking for the perfect winter wonderland destination, look no further than Finland.

We’ve had some incredible trips to Finland in winter. It was the first place I saw the Northern Lights , the snowy landscapes are spectacular, and there are loads of fantastic winter activities to choose from.

Finland is a fairly big country though, so you might be wondering how best to spend your time here when visiting in winter. Well, wonder no more. With our detailed 1 week Finland itinerary we’ve got you covered.

This itinerary will have you visiting many of the highlights of Finland, including Finnish Lapland and the capital city of Helsinki. It will take you deep into the Arctic Circle, give you the chance to sleep in a glass igloo, and even have you meeting Santa himself.

We’ve also put this itinerary together to offer you flexible transport options. Whilst we generally prefer to hire a car and self-drive, we appreciate not everyone will be comfortable driving in Finland in winter. So this itinerary can be done with or without a car.

Winter activities Finland

In terms of time, we’ve put this guide together for around a week in Finland. We think this is a good length of time to visit Finland in winter.

Of course, you can visit for as long or short a time as you want, but if you are hoping to experience phenomenon like the Northern Lights, giving yourself a bit of extra time will significantly increase the chances of experiencing them.

Ok, that’s enough preamble. Let’s take a look at our detailed day by day itinerary for visiting Finland in winter.

Finland Itinerary for Winter

This itinerary covers a range of activities and sights in Finland. Obviously everyone’s interests will vary, so do please adjust it to suit your personal preferences.

Also, don’t forget that it can be very cold in Finland in winter, with temperatures likely to be well below freezing throughout your visit. We have a detailed guide to what to pack for Finland in winter , which we recommend taking a look at so you are prepared for your trip.

Day 1: Helsinki

We recommend that you spend your first couple of days in Helsinki, the capital city of Finland. There’s a huge amount to do in the city, which has a great many museums, restaurants, a historical sea fortress, and other attractions.

On your first day in Helsinki, we’d suggest getting acquainted with the city center and visiting some of the attractions. The city center of Helsinki is fairly compact, and you can get pretty much anywhere with public transportation and walking.

A great starting point is the Helsinki City Museum . Here, you will learn all about the history and development of the city. It’s free, and open every day.

Just near to the city museum is Helsinki Cathedral . This large white building is one of the more recognizable landmarks of Helsinki. It’s spectacular to view from the outside, but you can also go inside too of course. It’s open every day, and free to visit.

Helsinki Cathedral

If you want a more in-depth overview of the history, culture and people of Finland, then we can recommend a visit to the National Museum of Finland . This covers a huge time period, from prehistoric times to the present day, and is an excellent way to learn a lot about the whole country. It’s open Tuesday – Sundays, and there’s an entry fee.

We could go on listing museums in Helsinki, as the city has a huge number to choose from, catering for almost every interest. From design , to contemporary art , to photography , to architecture , there’s really an incredible choice. There’s even a museum about hotels !

You won’t have time to visit all of these of course, but we can definitely recommend visiting a few during your time in the city. There are lots of choices, so you can just choose a few that appeal to you.

If you do plan on visiting a number of the museums or other attractions in Helsinki, consider investing in either a museum card or the Helsinki Card (buy the latter here ).

Helsinki Public transport

These cover a range of attractions, and the Helsinki card also includes transport around the city, which will save you walking around in the cold. The Helsinki card can be great value for money – see our full review of the Helsinki card to see if it’s worth investing in for your trip.

Of course, there’s also more to do in Helsinki than visit museums. We can suggest taking some time to go Christmas shopping (even if it’s after Christmas, you can stock up for the next one!).

If you do visit in December before Christmas, then you will also definitely want to check out the Helsinki Christmas market and try some traditional Christmas foods and drinks. These include Glögi (a type of mulled wine) and star-shaped Christmas pastries.

Kankurin Tupa would be our recommended destination for Christmas shopping in Helsinki. This is a department store which specialises in Finnish items, and has a whole section dedicated to Christmas.

Christmas Shop

We can also recommend getting coffee and cake at one of Finland’s best known cafes, Ekberg 1852 . This has been in Helsinki since, you guessed it, 1852, and they have an excellent selection of Finnish delicacies which obviously include baked goods.

Finally, find somewhere for a delicious evening meal, and retire, having gotten your first day of sight-seeing in Finland under your belt.

Where to Stay in Helsinki

We have stayed at a number of accommodation options in Helsinki, including apartment rentals and hotels.

Some options we suggest you take a look at include:

  • Hostel Diana Park
  • Hellsten Helsinki Senate
  • Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel
  • Hotel Katajanokka .

You can also see listings for Helsinki on Vrbo here .

Day 2: Helsinki

For your second day in Helsinki our suggestion is to head out to the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress .

This is a UNESCO world heritage site, and in our opinion is a must-do attraction when visiting Helsinki.

There is a huge amount to see and do on the island, and you could easily spend from half a day to a full day here, depending on what you want to see and do.

Suomenlinna

First, you can explore the six islands that the fortress spans on foot, admiring the impressive fortress construction. As you’re visiting in winter, you will of course want to wrap up warmly and have good footwear. Be wary of icy ground which can make for slippery conditions.

There are also five museums on the island, although not all of these are open year-round. The ones that are open in winter are the Suomenlinna Museum and the Military Museum. I would definitely encourage you to visit the former at least, as this details the history of the fortress and the island.

Both of these museums have an entry fee, and they are also both included on the  Helsinki Card . Holders of this card also get ferry transport to and from Suomenlinna Fortress, which otherwise costs €5. Ferries run every day, and you can see the schedule here .

After Suomenlinna Fortress, you might still have time to fit in a few more sights. Some other attractions in Helsinki we would suggest which are near the ferry point from the island include the Helsinki Skywheel for great views across the city, Uspenski Cathedral and the Old Market Hall for food.

Finally, a really popular activity that you must try while you are in Finland is to take a sauna. This is one of the most traditional Finnish experiences you can have.

There are a few options when it comes having a sauna in Finland. Most hotels and even some apartments will come with a sauna, which will often be the easiest way. There are also public saunas in Helsinki.

You can also take a tour which includes a sauna. From Helsinki for example, take a look at this tour , which includes a traditional smoke sauna and the chance to do a cold icy plunge – if you’re feeling brave!

Skywheel Helsinki

And that wraps up your second day in Finland and your last day in Helsinki. If you’d like some more ideas for what to do in the city, see our guide to things to do in Helsinki , which has many more ideas.

How to Get to Rovaniemi from Helsinki

Your next destination is Rovaniemi. You have a few options for getting from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. The fastest option will be to fly. There are a number of airlines offering flights from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, with the flight time being around an hour. Flights are relatively inexpensive and there are multiple departures a day.

If you fly, you can either depart on the evening of day 2 or early in the morning of day 3. You can check flight times and prices, and  book online here .

You can also take the overnight sleeper train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. This route is known as the Santa Claus Express, and the journey takes around 12 hours. If you choose to do this, you will need to leave on the evening on day 2. You can see timetables and book this train online  here .

It’s also possible to take a bus from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. This takes around 13 hours. Just note that taking the bus will eat up quite a bit of your day so is the least time efficient option. Check bus times and prices, and book tickets here .

You can also drive to Helsinki to Rovaniemi. This is around a 9.5 hour drive of 500 miles / 800km. Again, this is a long journey and we’d advise against this as well as it will be a tiring journey that will use up your holiday. However, if you want to do this, you can compare car rental prices across a range of suppliers  on Discover Cars here .

If you are planning your own trip and booking your own transport, our recommendation for getting from Helsinki to Rovaniemi would be to either fly or take the overnight train.

If you’d rather not have to worry about planning your own transport, you might also consider taking a guided tour. These will generally cover your transport and accommodation as well as some meals and activities, leaving you to focus on just enjoying yourself.

There are a few tours we suggest that have similar itineraries and activities to our itinerary, and include Helsinki, Rovaniemi and the Arctic Circle. Note that most tours from Helsinki use the overnight train service, and focus on activities in and around Rovaniemi.

  • this 6 day tour which includes Helsinki and Rovaniemi, and a number of activities
  • this 5 day tour which includes Helsinki and Rovaniemi
  • this 7 day tour which also includes Helsinki and Rovaniemi

If you take one of these tours, they will arrange all your transport and connections for you during your trip, which is definitely an option to think about.

Day 3: Rovaniemi

Welcome to Lapland! Rovaniemi sits right on the edge of the Arctic Circle, the most northerly of the lines of latitude. Above this line you can experience the Midnight Sun in summer, as well as days in winter when the sun never rises at all!

Rovaniemi makes an excellent base for a wide range of winter activities in Finland . These includes Northern Lights viewing, ice karting, snowmobiling, husky sledding, reindeer sledding, sleeping in a snow hotel, ice fishing – the list goes on!

For this itinerary, which I’ve put together on the basis that you don’t need a car, the plan is to base yourself in Rovaniemi for three days and to do a number of winter activities from the city. There are also several attractions in and around Rovaniemi to visit.

This itinerary will of course also work perfectly well with a car. I’ve visited Rovaniemi in winter with and without a car on my two visits. If you plan to rent a car, you can arrange to pick up a rental car either at the airport or in the town center once you arrive. The only consideration if you do hire a car is to ensure that your accommodation includes free parking.

Now, on with the itinerary. Note that many of the museums and attractions in Rovaniemi are not open every day, with Monday being a popular day for them to close. So depending on your timings you might want to juggle this itinerary around a little bit.

First, I’m going to suggest you head to the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi. This is around a 10-minute drive outside the city. If you’re arriving from the airport, it’s between the airport and Rovaniemi, so makes for a logical first stop if you arrive in the morning.

You can get to Santa Claus Village by driving, taking the   S anta’s Express bus , a local bus, or by taxi.

There’s a lot to do at the Santa Claus village, and it’s a great place to check off a few of your winter activities. First though, you’re going to want to actually meet the man himself.

Santa Claus Rovaniemi

Yep, as the name suggests, the Santa Claus village is actually home to Santa Claus himself. He lives here year round with his elves, planning for the big day, and sorting and reading all the mail he receives.

It’s free to visit Santa, although if you want a photo or video with him there’s a fee for that.

As well as visiting Santa, you can also visit Santa’s post office. A fun thing you can do here is mail a Christmas card that will be kept and posted at Christmas time. So even if you visit Rovaniemi in January, you can get all your Christmas cards mailed!

Beyond Santa, there’s plenty more to see and do at Santa’s Village. You can take a photo of you standing on the Arctic Circle marker, and can also arrange other activities such as a reindeer sled ride, a husky ride, or a snowmobile ride.

Of these, we’d suggest that a husky ride would be a great option. Bear Hill husky is our favourite husky operator in this region, and I actually took a two day husky safari with them. They operate a number of tours with pickup from Santa’s village, including this one .

You can also book an experience like this which includes your visit to Santa Claus and a snowmobile ride to a reindeer farm.

Husky sledding FInland

You can also do a longer 7 hour tour if you want a more complete experience.

Assuming you take the shorter tour, our suggestion for the rest of your day is to visit Rovaniemi and familiarise yourself with the town. There’s plenty to do here. We’d particularly recommend a visit to Arktikum .

This museum and science center is perfect for learning all about the people, history and culture of the area. There are a number of permanent exhibits here, with the content on life in the arctic being my favourite.

Once you have explored some of the highlights of Rovaniemi, you will likely want to have your evening meal.

If you’re still feeling adventurous, we can highly recommend scheduling some time to try and spot the Northern Lights. You can do this yourself by finding somewhere away from the city lights. If you don’t have a car, the area by Arktikum is a popular spot.

Alternatively, you can take a dedicated Northern Lights tour. Some of these also include other activities like snowmobiling or a traditional Finnish sauna. These are a good option because the Northern Lights are definitely not guaranteed, so doing another activity will ensure you are occupied and having fun, with seeing the Northern Lights as a bonus!

Some options to consider for seeing the Northern Lights from Rovaniemi are:

  • This 5 hour tour where you look for the Northern Lights whilst having a traditional firewood sauna experience
  • This photography-focused Northern Lights tour
  • There are lots more Northern Lights tours from Rovaniemi to choose from, which you can see here .

If you want to get photos of the Northern Lights, you will need to read up a little in advance as they can be quite challenging to photograph. I have a complete guide to how to photograph the Northern Lights , which I can definitely suggest you take a look at so you are prepared.

I also recommend you download an app for your smartphone that will notify you of aurora activity. I have tried a few of these, and have settled on My Aurora Forecast Pro.

I have found it to be the most reliable app that doesn’t drain my phone battery, but has always reliably alerted me to aurora activity. This is available for both Android  and  iOS , and is available in both free (ad-supported) and paid versions.

We think that’s enough for your third day in Finland! Of course, you can schedule a Northern Lights tour for any of your days in Rovaniemi, but we recommend popping out every evening if you can to at least try and see them yourself, as they can be fickle. If you have a car, driving a little out of the city will afford you the best viewing experience.

Where to Stay in Rovaniemi

You’re obviously going to need somewhere to stay for your time in Rovaniemi. We’ve tried a few different accommodation options, and have shortlisted the following as our favourites.

  • Hostel Cafe Koti – a well rated hostel with a good restaurant on site
  • Guesthouse Borealis – convenient for the train station and great value
  • Santa’s Hotel Santa Claus – centrally located well rated 3* hotel
  • Arctic Light Hotel – boutique hotel in the centre of Rovaniemi
  • Arctic Treehouse Hotel – unique accommodation just outside Santa Claus village

We can also recommend checking out the options for Rovaniemi on Vrbo here .

Day 4: Rovaniemi

We’re going to suggest a full day trip today out of Rovaniemi and down to the town of Kemi on the coast.

Here, you’re going to take a truly unique trip – a ride on an icebreaker boat!

Launched in 1961, the Sampo is a genuine icebreaker built for serious arctic conditions. She had a long and distinguished career in the Gulf of Bothnia, where for thirty years she kept the shipping lanes clear of ice.

In 1987, the town of Kemi bought the Sampo, and since 1988 she has been operating as a tourist attraction from the town port.

Ice breaker sampo Finland

This was one of the most fun experiences that I had in Finland in winter. Riding an ice breaker across a frozen sea is a really amazing adventure that is quite unique. The sound of the breaking as the ship ploughs through it is incredible, and I could have just watched the ice breaking and the bow and the frozen sea stretching off to the horizon all day.

However, there’s more to a trip on the Sampo than just watching the ship do her thing. You can also don a full dry suit, and go for a swim in the frozen sea! The ship creates a hole in the ice, and the passengers then take it in turns to don full dry suits and bob around.

This was a lot of fun, although it was definitely less like swimming and more like floating. During this time, it was also possible to take a walk on the snow covered ice, which was also a unique experience.

Ice breaker sampo Finland

All in all, I can highly recommend the trip on the Sampo icebreaker. The ship is also very comfortable, and there’s a restaurant on board. Depending on the ticket you choose, there’s an option which includes a buffet meal on board as well.

It’s worth checking the dates and times for the icebreaker well in advance of your trip as it doesn’t sail every day, so if this is something you want to do you will need to plan your trip around it. It also often sells out in advance. You can see times and prices here .

If you are driving, it’s around 90 minutes each way from Rovaniemi to Kemi. If you want to travel by train you can take the train from Rovaniemi to Kemi, and select shuttle pick-up from the Kemi train station to the harbor.

Or you can book a day tour which includes your round-trip transport directly from Rovaniemi to the ice breaker.

Day 5: Rovaniemi

For your last full day in Rovaniemi I’m going to suggest you have a full day of winter activities. After all, you came to Finland in winter to have a winter adventure!

There’s no shortage of choice when it comes to winter adventures, so I’ll just provide some options and let you decide what you might enjoy the most. Some of these activities are shorter, so you could do more than one if you wanted, whilst others are full day trips.

Hiking / Snowshoeing

One of the best way to experience winter in Finland is to get out into the countryside and take a walk!

Of course, walking in snow can be a bit challenging, as we tend to sink in. The solution? Snowshoes! These are large and wide devices which clip onto your shoes, and spread your weight out on the snow. This lets you walk without sinking in.

Snowshoeing Finland

If you want to explore on your own, you can either buy a pair of snowshoes or rent them.

Another option is to take a tour. For example, this tour has you snowshoeing through the snow covered forests near Rovaniemi, before trying your hand at another popular Finnish winter activity – ice fishing!

There are some other great hiking tours you can take from Rovaniemi. I’d particularly recommend going hiking in the Korouoma National Park. This is found 160km from Rovaniemi, so will take a couple of hours to drive to. However, in winter the park is famed for its frozen waterfalls, of which there 14.

The best way to see these is to take a hike in the park. You can either drive yourself, or you can take a tour from Rovaniemi which should include an experienced guide and the correct outerwear and footwear.

We’d recommend either this half day hike or this full day hike .

Ice Fishing

A really popular activity amongst Finnish people in winter is ice fishing. This sport has you drilling a hole into the ice on a frozen lake or river, and then using special ice fishing equipment to try and catch a fish.

We have tried ice fishing a few times, and to be honest, we have never caught a fish.

Ice fishing FInland

That said, other people on the tours we’ve taken have caught fish, as has our guide, so it is definitely possible!

Even though we’ve never caught a fish, we’ve always had a lot of fun ice fishing. It’s a wonderful way to get out into the outdoors, and most tours include some kind of food or at least hot drinks cooked over a fire.

The best way to go ice fishing is definitely to take a tour. Whilst you could hire your own equipment and go yourself, it is definitely a lot safer to accompany a local expert when heading out onto frozen lakes and rivers!

There are a number of ice fishing tours that depart from Rovaniemi, including the following.

  • A 2.5 hour tour which focuses on ice fishing – great if you just want to get an idea of what it’s all about without committing to a longer trip.
  • This 4 hour tour includes both snowshoeing and ice fishing
  • A 7 hour full day tour that includes ice fishing, a traditional Finnish sauna experience as well as a BBQ lunch – which will include your fish if you catch any!

You can also pair up an ice fishing experience with snowmobiling. For example, this is a 5 hour snowmobile and ice fishing day, whilst this is a half day tour with snowmobiling and ice fishing .

Snowmobiling

I love snowmobiling, and every time we’ve visited Finland I’ve done my best to go snowmobiling at least once.

Snowmobiling is, in my opinion, a huge amount of fun. It’s also a great activity to pair with other activities, such as watching the Northern Lights or going ice fishing. You use the snowmobile to get to where you are going, do the activity, and then ride the snowmobile back.

Of course, you can also have a “pure” snowmobiling experience too, where you just ride the vehicle.

Snowmobiling Finland

Snowmobiles are nearly all for two people, so when you go on a snowmobile tour there will usually always be one person driving, and one person as the passenger. On all the tours I’ve been on the guides have always ensured that people swap so both can have the experience of driving if they want. Additionally, it’s usually possible to pay a supplement to ride on your own if you prefer.

If you are visiting Finland with children, you should be aware that most snowmobiles can’t be operated by children under 15 years of age.

Some children can ride as passengers, but this isn’t universal, so you will want to check the tour details and contact the company to be sure before booking. For example, this is a family friendly snowmobile tour.

Some snowmobiling tours from Rovaniemi to consider include the following.

  • This tour which just has you snowmobiling and is a good way to get a feel for riding these machines.
  • This half day tour which includes snowmobiling, a visit to a reindeer farm, and a husky and reindeer sled ride. If you want to experience a number of activities in one tour, this is a great option.
  • This half day tour which includes snowmobiling, ice fishing, campfire, and lunch.
  • This evening snowmobile tour to see the Northern Lights which also includes a traditional Lappish BBQ. This tour is family friendly, and would make a great evening out after doing other activities in the daytime. Plus you might catch the Northern Lights!

Hopefully this gives you plenty of ideas for the types of snowmobiling tours you can do from Rovaniemi.

Husky Sledding

If you prefer your snow transport to be bit more traditional but still lots of fun, then husky sledding is likely going to be something you’ll enjoy a great deal.

As the name suggests, husky sledding involves a team of huskies, and a sled. Huskies are a special breed of dog which are well adapted to long periods of intense activity as well as cold conditions. Put more simply, they love running in the snow.

Husky sledding has you harnessing a team of husky dogs to a sled. There are usually between six and eight dogs, and each sled will generally have a driver and a passenger. The driver will stand at the back of the sled to steer and brake, whilst the passenger relaxes and enjoys the view.

Husky sledding FInland

Husky sledding is a really popular activity when visiting Finland in winter, and one we highly recommend. I’ve written a whole post outlining my experience dog sledding in Lapland , which you should find useful.

Like most of the other activities on our list, there are lots of operators running husky sledding tours in Rovaniemi. We recommend and have used Bear Hill Husky, they really care about their dogs, and they have a range of sledding experience to suit everyone. Some examples to consider are as follows.

  • The offer shorter tours which usually include 45 minutes of actual dog sledding over a 2.5 hour visit. As well as the sledding, you also get the opportunity to learn about and meet the dogs – and get plenty of photos. For example, see this morning tour .
  • If you want a more immersive and complete experience, they also offer a longer full day tour which includes around seven hours of husky sledding as you cover a distance of 30-40km. This also includes a campfire lunch, hot juice, and cookies.

We think one of these options would be great for anyone looking for a wonderful husky sledding experience in Lapland.

Visiting an Amethyst mine

The final option we have on our list of things you could do on your last day in Rovaniemi is to visit an Amethyst mine .

There’s one working amethyst mine in Finland, and it’s found on the top of a hill in the Pyha-Luosto National Park .

This national park is home to the remnants of a mountain chain which is over two billion years old. It’s a popular place for a range of outdoor activities, including snowshoeing, hiking and skiing.

Amethsyt mine

However, it’s the amethyst mine that I think you should visit. This is found in Lampivaara, and here you can learn all about amethyst mining, as well as having a go at mining for amethyst yourself!

If you have your own vehicle it’s around a 90 minute ride from Rovaniemi to Lampivaara. Here, there’s a tracked vehicle which ferries people up to the top of the mountain to visit the mine. This experience needs to be booked in advance, which you can do here .

Amethyst mine

Of course, there’s lots more to do be in Rovaniemi and surrounds beyond everything we’ve listed here, which is why we think it makes for a great base to explore. For more inspiration, see our guide to things to do in Rovaniemi .

Days 6 & 7: Head North

From Rovaniemi, my suggestion is to head further north into Lapland. This will give you even more chances to see the Northern Lights, as well as stay at some really unique and more remote locations.

You’ll also have more chances to do lots of winter activities including dog sledding, ice fishing, ice karting, seeing Santa, staying in ice hotels, spending time in a Finnish sauna, snowmobiling, and skiing.

As always, you have choices for where you decide to go! Here are our three suggested options for you to choose from, depending on your interests. Of course, if you are driving yourself, you can visit more than one of these options.

The first option you have is to head north to Saariselka. This is found 250km / 155mi north of the arctic circle, making this an excellent place to see the Northern Lights.

You can reach Saariselka by car or public bus from Rovaniemi. There’s also Ivalo airport , 25km to the north of the city, which has services to Helsinki and other European destinations.

When we visited Saariselka, we stayed in the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort . This is one of the most popular places to stay in a glass igloo in Finland, and was where the concept of glass igloos first originated.

Kakslautten

I stayed in a glass igloo at Kakslauttanen, and it was a night I will never forget.

Naturally there’s more to Kakslauttanen than glass igloos. The resort has a wide range of accommodation options, depending on what you are interested in. I can definitely recommend staying in a glass igloo for one night on your trip just for the experience. There’s also a range of winter activities available here.

You can see our full review of Kakslauttanen here .

kakslauttanen

Where to stay in Saariselka

Whilst we very much enjoyed our stay at Kakslauttanen, it’s not the only option in Saariselka. You might consider one of the following options:

  • Wilderness Hotel Muotka & Igloos – A well reviewed and popular option with cottages featuring glass domed ceilings and a private sauna
  • Log House Kuukkeli – if you’d prefer to stay in a more traditional property, this guesthouse is built in the traditional log cabin style and offers great value accommodation
  • Northern Lights Village – features glass roofed cabins with private bathrooms and its own reindeer paddock.
  • Saariselkä Kuukkeli Inn – a well reviewed more budget oriented option. Rooms have free-wifi, and shared bathrooms

During your time visiting Saariselka you’ll find plenty to do to keep you occupied. If there are any winter activities you want to take part in, you can of course do them, including snowmobiling, ice fishing, husky sledding, snowshoeing and more. Naturally, you’ll also want to spend time searching for the Northern Lights!

Most accommodation providers will be able to arrange these activities for you directly.

Another popular area you can visit from Saariselka, either as a day trip or overnight, is Inari. This is a little further north,  and is in fact home to Finland’s northernmost holiday resort.

This is a very sparsely populated region, and is a focal point of the Sámi culture. You can learn about this culture and people at Siida , home to the Sámi Museum and the Northern Lapland Nature Centre. This is open throughout the winter on every day except Monday, and there’s a fee to visit.

Another option is to visit the Kittilä region. This is a particularly good option if you enjoy skiing or snowboarding, as it’s home to Levi , Finland’s largest ski resort.

So if you want to get some skiing or snowboarding in on your trip to Finland, this would be the best place to do just that.

Levi Ski resort Finland

There’s lots more to do in the Kittilä area than skiing though.

The area is popular for a range of winter activities, with hiking and cross-country skiing in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park being a popular option. You can also go snowshoeing, ice fishing , ice karting, husky sledding and snowmobiling of course!

In Lanio, you’ll find the Lapland Hotels SnowVillage . This village is made every year from thousands of tonnes of ice and snow, and features a hotel, restaurant, bar, and even a chapel. There are also log cabins on site. You can stay here overnight or just visit for the day. The theme varies each year, with 2018-19 having a Game of Thrones focus.

Another excellent attraction that we enjoyed visiting in Kittilä was Samiland . This is found at Levi Summit, which you can reach by taking a lift from the ski resort.

Samiland

Samiland features an indoor and outdoor exhibit space dedicated to the Sami people, and covers the history, culture and mythology of the people, as well as their traditional building and mythology. There’s a small entry fee which is well worth it.

You can reach Kittilä by car or bus from Rovaniemi. The distance is 150km / 93mi. Kittilä airport serves Kittila/Levi, with flights from Helsinki and a number of destinations across Europe.

Where to stay in Kittilä

There are a range of accommodation options in Kittilä. Some options to consider are as follows.

  • Design Hotel Levi – perfect for those of you wanting to be able to ski from your door, this hotel is found right at the foot of the Levi resort ski lifts
  • Lapland Hotels SnowVillage – if you want to live out your dream of sleeping in a snow hotel while in Finland, this is the place to come!
  • Hotel Kittilä – 15 minutes from the Levi Ski resort, this is a great value option
  • Guesthouse Golden Goose – found in the centre of Kittilä village, this is a well rated guesthouse with an on-site sauna
  • Levi Northern Lights Huts – found on an old reindeer farm, this is the place to stay in Levi if you want the glass roof experience

Wherever you choose to go from Rovaniemi, we think that spending your last couple of days deep inside the arctic circle, chasing the Northern Lights and taking part in more winter activities, would be the perfect way to end your trip in Finland.

Then, you can return to Rovaniemi, drop off your hire car if you have one, and fly home. Alternatively, there are flights available from Kittilä or Ivalo airports.

That’s it for our winter itinerary of Finland! Now we want to share some practical advice to help you plan your trip.

Snow hotel Kemi

Map of 7 Day Finland Winter Itinerary

To help you visualise this itinerary we’ve put together a map, which you can also see on Google Maps here .

laplandia trip

Finland Itinerary Overview

Here’s an overview of this itinerary for quick reference:

  • Day 1: Helsinki – Helsinki City Museum, Helsinki Cathedral, National Museum of Finland
  • Day 2: Helsinki – Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, Helsinki Skywheel, Uspenski Cathedral, Old Market Hall
  • Day 3: Rovaniemi – Santa Claus Village, Husky Tour, Arktikum
  • Day 4: Rovaniemi – Day trip on Sampo ice breaker, Northern Lights
  • Day 5: Rovaniemi – Snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, husky sledding, amethyst mine
  • Day 6 & 7: North Finland – Saariselka, Kittilä

How to Get Around Finland in Winter

You might be wondering what the best way to get around Finland in winter is.

Well, you have a number of options.

For longer distances, such as the trip between Helsinki and Rovaniemi, we would recommend either taking the train or flying.

Flying will be the fastest option, and is likely to be the cheapest as well if you book well in advance. You can check flight times and prices, and  book online here . For the train, you can see timetables and book online here .

Driving in Finland

For shorter distances, such as exploring around Rovaniemi and getting between the sights on our itinerary, you have a couple of options.

First, you can rent a car and drive. We prefer to self-drive when we travel where possible as it gives us more flexibility with what we stop to see, where we go and when we leave.

Car rental in Finland is comparable to other parts of Europe. In winter, cars will come with studded tyres, and the roads are well maintained.

If you want to drive in Finland using this itinerary, we’d recommend hiring a car in Rovaniemi for pickup from the airport. You can compare car rental prices and book online here .

Of course, we appreciate that driving in the extreme winter conditions that Finland experiences is not going to be for everyone. With this in mind we have set this itinerary up so you don’t have to drive if you don’t want to.

By combining public transport and a variety of tours which include transport, you can absolutely experience Finland in winter without needing to hire a car or worry about driving.

Tours of Finland in Winter

If you love the sound of the trip I’ve put together, but don’t like the thought of planning it all out, booking activities, hotels and transport, then you might consider taking a tour instead.

There are of many tour options to consider, which we have summarised as follow.

  • this selection of tours which includes a number of options in Lapland

Hopefully one of these works out for you if you choose to take a tour of Finland in winter.

You can see more tour options for Finland on TourRadar here , they list tours from a wide range of operators at various price points, so you can find the one you want. We have used TourRadar to book tours in destinations around the world and always had a good experience.

Lake Finland

Further Reading for Visiting Finland in Winter

And that’s it for our one week winter itinerary for Finland. We hope it’s given you lots of ideas to help you plan your trip. Before you head off and start booking your adventure, we did just want to share with you some more resources we’ve put together on our time in Finland, to help you with your planning.

  • We have a guide to things to do in Rovaniemi , to give you more inspiration for what to do in the town
  • We have a comprehensive guide to all our favourite winter activities in Finland
  • Finland is very cold in winter, and the key to a good trip is to pack appropriately! To help you out, we have put together a detailed guide to what to pack for Finland in winter
  • If you’re looking for more destinations to visit in Finland, see our guides to visiting Porvoo , visiting Oulu and visiting Rauma
  • Helsinki is the capital city of Finland, and one we definitely recommend you spend some time. See our guide to things to do in Helsinki , a suggested 1 day Helsinki itinerary , and our review of the Helsinki card to help you plan your time here
  • Another of our favourite winter locations in Finland is Iso Syote. See our guide to visiting Iso Syote here .
  • Want to try some unique accommodation? See our review of this famous glass igloo hotel in Finland
  • It’s not all about winter – Finland is an awesome summer destination too! See our guide to visiting Finland in summer
  • Finally, if you’re looking for a guidebook, you might checkout the Lonely Planet guide to Finland or the Insight Guide to Finland

And that’s it for our 7 day itinerary for Finland in winter. As always, we are happy to answer your questions – just pop them in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

A detailed 7 day itinerary for Finnish Lapland in winter. Everything you need to plan the perfect trip to Lapland, what to see, how to get around and where to stay!

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There are 22 comments on this post

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Cyndi Puah says

8th March 2024 at 3:22 pm

may i know itinerary and the cost of the package

Laurence Norah says

8th March 2024 at 3:52 pm

The itinerary is laid out in the guide above, and it’s designed for people to follow themselves, it’s not a guided experience. If you’d like a guided tour of Finland, I can recommend checking out the options on TourRadar for Finland here , they have lots of tours at different prices from many operators, so you can choose one that suits your needs.

Have a great time in Finland!

19th June 2023 at 3:36 pm

Do you have any suggestions on extending this to Northern Norway. Perhaps a 10-14 day trip?

19th June 2023 at 4:13 pm

You absolutely could extend this trip to Northern Norway and that would make for a wonderful adventure. However as we’ve only visited southern Norway, we don’t have any specific advice for you. We hope you have a great trip though!

17th December 2022 at 2:10 pm

hi, thanks for the detailed blog. do you have any contacts for local private driver that we can engaged to bring us around or see northern lights?

18th December 2022 at 11:51 am

We don’t have any personal contacts for drivers, however, there are plenty of operators who can drive you to see the northern lights. Here is a list of some examples. So this is definitely a service you can book! If you wanted a longer tour, over multiple days, I’d suggest checking on sites like Viator or TourRadar to see what is available.

Pearlyn says

29th September 2022 at 6:00 am

Hi Laurence, this is really a great post that summarises what I need ! I’m planning to head to rovaniemi and lapland for 8 days ,would you recommend signing up tours from websites like nordic visitor etc? Do you have a recommended tour that covers both rovaniemi and lapland ? if the transport is included then that will really make it a lot more fuss free Thank you !

1st October 2022 at 5:47 pm

Hi Pearlyn!

Thanks very much! So I’ve not used Nordic Visitor before but I am aware of them and they get good reviews I believe, so that should be fine. What I would suggest is taking a look at the Finland tours on TourRadar here – they list tours from most of the companies who run tours, and you can filter by duration and price. So that should help you narrow down your options. For example, a tour like this might be an option, but there are quite a few to choose from 🙂

Have a great trip!

Shelly says

30th August 2022 at 1:56 am

Hi, So I’m really interested in the ice breaker tour but if I go in Dec. would the tour be mostly be in the dark? Would we be able to see the ice and things around us?

30th August 2022 at 11:14 am

Great question. So daylight hours in December are definitely limited. A great website is this one , where you can plug in a location and it will show you the sunrise and sunset times, as well as the dawk/dusk times (civil twilight).

For December it shows that you are looking at sunrise between 10am and 10.45 (depending on when in December), and sunset between 2.17pm and 2.50pm. Dawn and dusk add just under two hours to that, so it won’t be totally dark, but it will be definitely be darker.

So yes, you should be able to see the ice around you, and you will also get either a sunrise or sunset from the boat, depending on which cruise you take.

Let me know if you have any more questions!

Shelly Mcintosh says

30th August 2022 at 12:19 pm

Thank you so much! In your opinion what is the best time to go? What gives me the best chance to see the northern lights and also do all the wonderful winter activities. I was planning a trip in Nov but I see the ice breaker doesn’t start till dec and I see Dec has Limited daylight. By the way this was by far the best blog I have come across! So useful and informative.

30th August 2022 at 1:01 pm

My pleasure Shelly, and thanks! So we have visited Finland in December and the days are definitely quite short, especially in the northern areas. My favourite time is February, there is more guarantee of snow, the days are already a lot longer and there is still a good chance of seeing the northern lights. My best Northern lights experience was actually in February. So if that’s an option that would be my preference.

Have a wonderful trip, and feel free to ask any more questions as you plan!

20th April 2022 at 2:57 pm

Hi Laurence and Jessica,

This is amazing blog I have never come across. It’s so detailed and to the extend you’d brought me into Finland while reading. Phenomenal!

I am planning to make a December family trip with 3 children from age 11 to 15. Your itinerary definitely suit to my plan. I am wondering how easy of the public transportation like bus from point to point as you’ve mentioned? It’s unlike other EU countries where we can get train easily.

20th April 2022 at 4:36 pm

Thanks very much, we’re glad you found it helpful 🙂 So the public transport is pretty easy to use in Finland. You will just want to check schedules for where you plan on going. If you are following this itinerary, then the easiest option is to take the train (or fly) from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. If you plan on going further north, you’ll need to take a bus. We’ve taken a few long distance buses in Finland and they have all been fine. Let me know if you have any more questions!

Samir Patrawala says

12th October 2021 at 1:20 am

Dear Laurence,

I am Sameer from Explorus Travel, India. Just read your detailed itinerary for Finland in Winter. It’s a kind of encyclopaedia for me. Amazing!

I have a question: Most of the photos on this page are clicked in daylight (they are bright, sunny pics). But what I read is that Sun almost doesn’t rise at all in Dec / Jan in Rovaniemi. So how can one get an opportunity to click such sunny and bright photos in absence of sun light / day light? Isn’t the stay experience in Dec boring and dull in absence of light? I mean how much can one enjoy darkness without good photos? Or are your photos clicked during those two hours when there’s little day light?

Many thanks in advance.

Kind regards

12th October 2021 at 10:53 am

Great to hear from you! So these photos are from a few different visits, some in January and some in February. The experience of how much light there is will vary depending on where you are in Finland. In Rovaniemi, the darkest day of the year is the 22nd December, where there’s only 2.5 hours of sunlight. However, there is still sunlight. If you visit in mid-February, you get 8.5 hours between sunrise and sunset. So there is plenty of light. I would generally suggest not visiting over the very darkest days in December, but it quickly changes and the days get longer if you visit in February or even late January.

Hope this helps!

Sameer Patrawala says

12th October 2021 at 11:35 am

Thank you so much for your prompt and satisfactory response.

Would you recommend Northern Norway for Northern Lights in December last week or Rovaniemi Finland? I am asking in terms of maximum available day-light.

Kind regards Sameer Patrawala Explorus

12th October 2021 at 12:25 pm

My pleasure 🙂

So Northern Norway is way inside the Arctic Circle. In the last week of December, or in December at all in fact, you won’t get any sunlight. You can see sunrise and sunset times for a place like Tromso in Northern Norway here: https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/norway/tromso?month=12&year=2021

Rovaniemi is on the edge of the Arctic circle, which is why you don’t get the permanent darkness. If you are looking for the northern lights, then usually the further north you go the better your chances. However, I have seen incredible displays from southern Finland too, so it’s all just a question of luck really. If you want some sunlight though, northern Norway in December might not be the best option!

Trizzy says

26th September 2021 at 6:50 am

Hi Laurence and Jessica, First off, amazing and detailed itinerary! This is the type of blog I love to read when researching- keep it up! 🙂 Also, would you say early November is a good time to visit Finland and see the northern lights?

Many thanks again!

26th September 2021 at 10:36 am

Thank you very much Trizzy! So yes, November would be a fine month to see the northern lights. The only thing to bear in mind is that there might not be snow everywhere in early November (this changes each year of course), so if you wanted snowy landscapes as well as the northern lights, it’s something to keep in mind. Of course, there could also be lots of snow! But it’s not guaranteed.

I hope this helps!

Jessica says

9th April 2020 at 5:27 pm

I am following your travel blog for a while now. Love your content and photos. I am actually planing to visit Finland later this year as soon as this quarantine is over and I have one question. Do you recommend visiting smaller cities in Finland? For example this town Sastamala – I have friend there and don’t know what to expect as it is small town and there isn’t as much information online.

9th April 2020 at 6:50 pm

Hi Jessica!

Thanks very much. So the smaller cities in Finland are worth visiting, we have been to places like Oulu, Rauma and so on. There is usually something of interest in each town or city, and if you have a friend there they should be able to give you some advice as to what there is to do and see 🙂 So I would check with them and see what they say!

have a great trip when you get to go, and stay well!

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Organizing trips of a lifetime is what our team of experienced travel specialists do daily. They listen to your travel preferences and then put in hours of work to design the perfect itinerary. Your travel specialist finds the best accommodation, connections, and activities for you and makes sure everything runs like clockwork so that you can truly enjoy your time in Lapland. Are you ready for a winter experience of your dreams? Leave the tiring planning aspect to experts and get ready to dive headfirst into the winter wonderland in Northern Europe. Travel to see Northern Lights , stay in a snow hotel, sleigh with reindeers or try snowshoeing, experience meeting a Sami family , and make many more incredible memories on your vacation with Tours to Lapland.

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What Clients Say

I was very happy with the trip and will use your tour service again, everything was perfect.

There aren’t enough accolades to describe this trip. Everything was perfect. When you said a private tour this was it. A trip of a lifetime. When I booked this trip I had no idea how great it would be. You are the best. Thank you so much.

Amazing experience

Amazing experience, the tour had a great balance between free time and activities. The guides and transportation crew were all incredibly helpful and welcoming. Big Thank you to the support during the trip with changes, questions, etc... responsive, assertive, etc. Definitely a tour company we will recommend to friends and family. Thanks for your support and talk to you for our next vacation :)

Enjoyable experience

We had high expectations for this trip and they were all exceeded. We will be recommending the company to our friends and family, everything went so smoothly, it made the whole experience so easy and enjoyable, no fuss, no stress.

Enjoyed my holidays very much

The overall arrangement was perfect. I am very satisfied with the trip schedule, and I enjoyed my holidays very much. Thank you for your team effort to arrange everything for me and to give me some warm reminders.

Everything was great!

Everything was great! The only minor complaint is the hotel in Stavanger Norway wasn’t quite as nice as the rest of the booked hotels. This is just a small detail in what was otherwise an awesome well-planned trip.

It was well planned and well-executed

The perfect vacation.

I want to thank you for assisting us with the perfect vacation!!! You made everything so easy and convenient for us. All the drivers were great and very friendly. Always on time and never an issue. Our tour guide Olof was excellent. The hotels chosen were great as well. Klaus K was in the best location and was very clean and nice. I will definitely recommend it to my friends and family. Thank you again for all of your help and expertise!

We were very pleased

We were very pleased with all the arrangements ( visa services, hotels, guides, drivers ). Impressed with extensive knowledge of guides over so many sites, including the city in general and the history of the country.

The trip was absolutely wonderful

The trip was absolutely wonderful. The guides were amazing, the places were beautiful. Everything was great.

Thank you very much for organizing the tours for us!

Will use it again.

This is the first time I have used a travel agency and was a little skeptical of how well it would go. Alexandria went over and beyond my expectations! Our Northern Lights trip to Sweden was fantastic. She scheduled private tours, transfers, train and plane tickets, and excursions. Nothing was missed and it was a fantastic trip that we will talk for years to come! Will use it again.

Great guides, wonderful sights

Great guides, made all necessary changes when the weather required this. Very knowledgeable. Wonderful sights.

We very much enjoyed tripping

We very much enjoyed tripping. Our tour guides did a wonderful job explaining the history of the cities we visited. There were two guides who specifically made a great positive impact on our trip. Our guides in Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg were absolutely amazing.

We had a wonderful trip

We had a wonderful trip. Our guide Natalia was great and all drivers superb. Loved our hotel the Marriott Courtyard Valisky Island. Highly recommend the services of this company.

You all did a fantastic job planning this trip for us.

The last guide in moscow was excellent.

The last guide in Moscow was excellent. The one I at Petersburg was also great Love the attentiveness and dedication of your drivers and staff.

It was a great trip overall! My wife and I were very impressed with every part of it

Itinerary very well planned and implemented, we enjoyed our trip thoroughly and our travel agent - eugene was exceptionally, the trip was great.

Overall the trip was great. The dog sledding on the last day was the best and I loved the igloos we stayed in. The food was great at the Klaus hotel. People were very friendly everywhere we went.

Thank you for making our honeymoon special

Alexandra V. was great planning our itinerary and taking into consideration what we were looking for. Yanina Z. was very accommodating with helping us alter our trip, mid-trip. Thank you for making our honeymoon special and one of a kind.

Great communication

Well planned and delivered the company is a known agency and respected in the areas we visited Great communications with Monica and the logistics people Have already recommended it to a friend and will not hesitate in making this recommendation.

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Lapland travel blog — the ultimate lapland travel guide: how to travel & what to do in lapland finland.

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Located in the north of Finland, Lapland is very close to the North Pole, so there are 200 days of cold winter a year. Any visitor, whether a child or an adult, wishes to have a trip to this place to meet Santa Claus , along with the reindeers. Moreover, this place is also an extremely attractive destination with a lot of interesting experiences. Lapland Finland (Finnish Lapland) is world famous as “the Official Hometown of Santa Claus”. In addition to the above nickname, is there anything else that attracts tourists from all over the world? Let’s experience Finnish Lapland through the sharing below. So, what country is Lapland in, what to do in Lapland, how to travel to Lapland Finland and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Lapland for the first-time? Let’s check out our Lapland travel blog (Lapland blog) with the fullest Lapland travel guide (Lapland guide) from how to get to Lapland Finland, best time to come, where to stay, what to see in Lapland Finland, things to do in Lapland Finland as well as what to do in Rovaniemi to find out the answer!

  • Lapland Finland hotels review — 10 best place to stay in Lapland Finland
  • What to buy in Finland? — 21+ Top things to buy in Finland & best souvenirs from Finland
  • Helsinki travel blog — The ultimate Helsinki travel guide for first-timers
  • Trip review to the fairy tale Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi, Lapland – Finland

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Lapland travel blog: Where is Lapland Finland and what country is Lapland in?

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Finnish Lapland is a very large region with an area of ​​about 100,367 square kilometers of which 92,667 square kilometers is land, 6,316 square kilometers is freshwater and 1,383 square kilometers is sea. Lapland stretching through 4 countries: Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia’s Kola Peninsula with an area equivalent to 3 countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland combined.

In which the Lapland region in Finland (Finnish Lapland, Lapland Finland) occupies one third of the country’s area and the capital of the entire Lapland – the city of Rovaniemi is also located here. This is the official hometown of Santa Claus, so it is often said that Finnish Lapland (or Rovaniemi Finland) is the hometown of Santa Claus .

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Some interesting things about Finnish Lapland:

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  • Although this entire Lapland region spans 4 countries, the official name is widely known in 2 countries Sweden and Finland. Therefore, when it comes to the place of Lapland, you should often add the country name, so that people can clearly distinguish which region you are talking about.
  • The population of Finnish Lapland is over 180,000 people, mainly concentrated in 4 big cities (Rovaniemi, Tornio, Kemi and Kemijärvi), the population density is about 1.98 people/km2 – the lowest in Europe and less than number of reindeer here (200,000).
  • Reindeer here are popularly raised as a meat producing animal in other countries. Near the village of Santa Claus, there is an Artic Circle – marking the arctic circle of the earth. Therefore, there is a phenomenon of 2 months in the summer when the sun never sets (lighting all day and night).
  • Lapland Finland is also a very large region rather than a specific city or place. So when someone talks about Finnish Lapland tourism, you should understand that they mention to traveling to Rovaniemi city – the capital of the whole Lapland Finland region, where the village of Santa Claus and some remote surrounding areas is upper it, where you can hunting aurora (the Northern Lights) and other winter activities.
  • Rovaniemi was almost destroyed 90% in World War II, but then the great Finnish architect Alvar Aalto redesigned the whole city as it have the appearance as we see today. There is currently a top 2 Finnish university named after his name, Aalto University – the top 7th school in the world in art and design section.

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Lapland travel blog: When should you visit Lapland Finland?

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Tourists often come to Finnish Lapland with the desire to experience aurora borealis hunting and take part in some winter activities. That’s why I think the most suitable time and best time to travel to Finnish Lapland is in the period from November to March. Because this is the time when you have the highest opportunity to seeing the Northern Lights along with this place is completely covered with white snow creating a magical scene comes along with a special and vibrant Christmas atmosphere.

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Personally, I would recommend going from the beginning of November to mid-December because at this time there will be also a Christmas atmosphere here and it is not as crowded as December. Meanwhile, January and February are the peak winter months, the temperature is usually in the range of -20 to -40 degrees Celsius. Therefore, for those who are not used to extreme cold temperatures, coming here in this season is no different from being tortured :). In addition, the aurora often appears when it is cold and clear. If there is too much snow, the opportunity of seeing it is also lower than other times. There are times from September to November when it is very cold but without snow, it is easy to see the aurora borealis.

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Lapland travel guide: How to get and how to travel to Lapland Finland (How to get to Rovaniemi)?

How to travel to lapland finland from other finland’s cities.

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To get to Rovaniemi Lapland, you usually need to get to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Then from here, you can take the train, onnibus or plane to getting here. The distance from Helsinki to Rovaniemi is about 700-800km.

  • Onnibus: Usually you will need to transfer in Oulu city. Total travel time is about 12 hours (8 hours to Oulu and 3 hours to 4 hours from Oulu to Rovaniemi). Ticket price is around €18-35.
  • VR train (the Finland’s national railway company) often runs 2 trips a day from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. Travel time: 8 to 12 hours. Ticket price: €40-90/way. The fare of €40 usually only appears in the summer, when the travel demand to Lapland is less than other seasons.
  • Airplane: Finnair (the Finland’s flag carrier and largest airline) often has quite a few direct flights from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. Ticket price is about €70-100/way.

If you depart from some countries with lot of demands for travel to Finnish Lapland such as the UK, the Netherlands, there are also direct flights from these countries to Rovaniemi. As far as I know, there are currently 7 airlines flying directly to Rovaniemi from 5 European countries which are the UK, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Turkey, Ukraine in which the UK is the country with the largest number of tourists to Lapland Finland.

Lapland guide: Getting around Finnish Lapland

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If you simply visit Rovaniemi, I think the most suitable means of transport is the public bus. Ticket price is €3.2/way and you can catch a bus from Rovaniemi center to Santa Claus village in 15 minutes.

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However, if you want to participate in more winter activities, perhaps renting a self-drive car will be more appropriate. Because Lapland is a very large and extremely sparsely populated region, it will be quite difficult for you to participate in winter activities such as aurora hunting in the north, ice lake fishing, etc. without active means of transport.

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Lapland travel blog: Where to stay in Lapland Finland?

Because Lapland is very large and the attractions are not gather in a single cluster like in other cities, finding a room here is not simple at all. Not only that, Lapland is also famous for various types of accommodation that are rarely found anywhere in the world. So, I will write a detailed article to guide you how to choose a hotel in Lapland later.

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In general, in my travel experience, you should find a room and book it as soon as possible. Quality rooms in Lapland often sell out very quickly because here are few people, the hotel is not too abundant, but the number visitors flocking here from China, Japan, Germany, and Britain is quite a lot… Last time my friend searched for a room 4 months in advance but she still couldn’t find a good place to stay.

However, if you want to stay in upscale hotels, close to Santa Village, you can book hotels right in Santa Claus Village ( Agoda.com or Booking.com ).

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You can also refer to the two other luxury hotels: Arctic TreeHouse Hotel ( Agoda.com or Booking.com ) built in a high hill, offer panoramic windows with beautiful nothern lights view.

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Or Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort ( Agoda.com or Booking.com ). This is a hotel that is extremely suitable for visitors to see and admire the Northern Lights.

At first glance, the Kaklauttanen looks like it just step out of a sci-fi movie. The hotel consists of many rooms like turtles located next to each other. “Tortoise shell” is made of glass, does not absorb water vapor no matter how cold it is, guaranteed, guests can see the Northern Lights anytime it appears. Each room has a comfortable bed and a comfortable bathroom.

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Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.

  • Santa Claus Holiday Village ( Agoda.com or Booking.com )
  • Arctic Light Hotel ( Agoda.com or Booking.com )
  • Scandic Rovaniemi City ( Agoda.com or Booking.com )
  • Lapland Hotels Ounasvaara Chalets ( Agoda.com or Booking.com )
  • Arctic City Hotel ( Agoda.com or Booking.com )
  • Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna Rovaniemi ( Agoda.com or Booking.com )

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Check out more top and best hotels in Rovaniemi on Agoda.com or Booking.com .

Lapland travel guide: Things to do in Lapland Finland, what to see and what to do in Lapland Finland

What to do in rovaniemi.

Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland which is considered the official hometown of Santa Claus . This place is famous for its Santa’s village and many other interesting winter activities such as reindeer riding, husky sledding, skiing, visiting museums…

Some indispensable places, things to do in Rovaniemi Lapland:

Santa Claus Village

Located about 8 km from the center of Rovaniemi city, Santa Claus Village is open all year round regardless of winter or summer. Here you will have the opportunity to meet Santa Claus, visit the post office where Santa works, send letters to people all over the world…

There are 3 most attractive places in this village are Santa Claus Office, Santa Claus Main Post Office and Arctic Circle. Ticket price: free. However, there are some other activities that still cost money. There is also a service to stamp your passport to certify that you have gone through the Arctic Circle for €1, and a service to take pictures with Santa Claus for €20-40. So, fun and interesting!

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Arktikum Museum

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The museum displays artifacts, provides information about people, animals and plants that have lived in the Arctic Circle of the earth during typical historical periods, such as during the World War II and the period that Finland was invaded and took part of the territory by Russia (1939-1940).

Address: Pohjoisranta 4, 96200 Rovaniemi, Finland Hours: 10AM–5PM/Monday: Closed Ticket price: €9

SantaPark – the Home Cavern of Santa Claus

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As an amusement park built in an underground cave with many recreational activities, especially suitable for families with young children.

Address: Tarvantie 1, 96930 Rovaniemi, Finland Ticket price: €34.

Visit Raitola Reindeer & Husky Farm, experience reindeer riding and husky sledding

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Near Santa’s village there is Raitola Reindeer & Husky Farm (Address: Välttikankaantie 11, 96900 Rovaniemi, Finland) that offers tours of reindeer sleigh riding sleds or husky safari sledding with various tour packages. Ride a reindeer-drawn sleigh like a horse-drawn carriage, while exprience a husky sledding like a thrilling game.

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Driving in Lapland Finland needs to be careful because the reindeer often roam on the roads. Sometimes if you’re driving and see a couple of them suddenly crossing the road, don’t be surprised. Because the number of reindeers much more than residents living here.

Ounasvaaran Hiihtokeskus Ski Resort

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You can come here to ski or hire a guide if you still don’t know how to ski. Ticket price €20 for 1 hour or day ticket of €40. Hire a guide costs about €30-50.

In addition, if you have children, you can go to the Science Centre Pilke museum (Address: Ounasjoentie 6, 96200 Rovaniemi, Finland) and the Angry Birds Playground (Address: Valtakatu 4, 96100 Rovaniemi, Finland).

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Some other activities when traveling to Finnish Lapland

Explore the beautiful lakes and ice fishing.

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Lapland is a place full of beautiful lakes. In which, the most beautiful and famous lake is Inari. This is also the largest lake in Lapland with an area of over 1,000 square kilometers. If you come to Lapland on cold winter days, you will see that the surface of Lake Inari is completely frozen to form a giant mirror. You can experience ice fishing.

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In winter when the lake freezes, locals often have a hobby of walking on the ice, skating on the lake or punching holes in the ice for fishing. This is probably an experience that requires extremely high patience for tourists.

Hunting Aurora (Northern Lights)

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According to an old legend, an arctic fox whipped its tail and sent twinkling lights into the sky, creating the aurora borealis. Lapland is located in the Arctic region, so you will have a higher chance of seeing this natural phenomenon than anywhere else. However, Rovaniemi is a city with a dense population and is “polluted” by lights, so it’s best to go to the very remote hills, the darker and less inhabited the better.

In fact, hunting the aurora is a very bad luck. You will have a hard time guessing exactly whether that time will have the aurora or not. Usually the forecast is only accurate within 1 week. If you wait until that date to book tickets for travel and accommodation, I guarantee that the possibility of staying in a “thousand-star hotel” is very high or else the cost will be sky-high.

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In fact, hotel rooms in resorts and convenient locations in Lapland usually need to be booked at least 6 months in advance. So, when traveling to Lapland Finland, if you see the aurora borealis, you are lucky, if not, just unlucky :).

The more you traveling to the north, the clearer the visibility and the higher the chance, so many visitors flocking here because of that. However, there are also many days when the aurora is very visible, so you can see it right in the city of Rovaniemi or even in the southern provinces of Finland. Well, if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to see the Northern Lights right in Rovaniemi, you should go to the Artikum Science Museum. This is the best spot to see the aurora borealis in the city. You download the “Aurora” app to monitor the possibility of aurora in specific locations.

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Personally, I would not recommend you booking aurora hunting tour, the aurora appears or not depends mainly on the weather, not on people. If you book a tour but there is no aurora on that day, that’s okay. Instead, always monitor the weather and go up as close to the north as possible, especially in forests with less light pollution, the chances of seeing it will be high. Remember to prepare warm clothes, sleeping bags, food and water. It takes a lot of effort to hunt this “super picky girl”.

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Camping in the forest

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This activity is quite popular with nature lovers like Finnish. You should camp in national parks where firewood is available, free kitchens for grilling food, and tents near the lake. Camping in the winter is also quite interesting, but it is necessary to carefully prepare warm clothes, fully equipment as well as find out the places where camping and fire are allowed first.

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As I mentioned in previous posts, sauna is a Finnish initiative and sauna bathing has become an indispensable part of their lives. Winter is probably the best time to try this experience. If possible, you should rent a hotel room with a sauna room, so that after every day of going out to explore the experience, when you return, you will be able to enjoy a body sauna for comfort and relief.

In fact, when bathing in a sauna, Finns often go nude and after each interval they will jump into the icy lakes outside or take a cold shower. You should try this feeling :D. An indispensable experience when traveling to Finland.

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Besides activities such as skiing, husky sledding, reindeer riding… You can try the feeling of snowmobile in the forest or surrounding areas. Usually, tourists will go on a tour, but if you have experience driving this and are not afraid of getting lost, you can rent it. The price is around €150/basic package and €25 extra per hour you rent. You can refer at this progearmoto website . Regarding tours you can refer to Arctic Circle Snowmobile for €55 per person for 30 minutes — 1 hour with a driver. This is one of the experiences that many thrill-seeking travelers enjoy when traveling to Finnish Lapland on their own.

If you are interested in learning about Sámi culture, you should drive 4 hours from Rovaniemi to Inari. The winter nature here is also very impressive with many interesting sites such as The Sámi Cultural Center Sajos (Address: Menesjärventie 2A, 99870 Inari, Finland), Karhu souvenir shop. The Sámi is an ethnic minority of Finland and residents live in Lapland mainly are Sámi people.

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Lapland travel tips

If you go with a few people but still want to experience all kinds of winter activities without spending too much, join the tour group of ESN (Erasmus Student Network) organized by the Finnish schools. Most of the people going are exchange students coming to study in Finland, so you will have the opportunity to meet many people, participate in many recreational activities at a very affordable price. The tour package usually includes accommodation with sauna, transportation, activities such as husky ride, snowmobile… are all included. You can choose to go with ESN with any school in Helsinki . In Helsinki, there are a number of schools such as Laurea, Haaga-Helia, Aalto, University of Helsinki, Arcada, Metropolia… Tour prices are around €340 for 7 days. The referal link at Timetravels .

What to do in Lapland: Shopping

Coming to Lapland, visitors will be fascinated to see very high quality products that are famous throughout the Nordic region and throughout Europe. All brands are manufactured according to Nordic standards for safety, accuracy, durability over the years, high applicability and smart and traditional designs such as Finnish Knives (Puukkos), Wooden handmade Kuksa Cups, Taigakoru jewelry, Marimekko fashion, Arabia porcelain,…

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How to travel to Lapland Finland: Suggested Lapland itinerary 5 days 4 nights

  • Day 1: Go to Rovaniemi and walk around the city
  • Day 2: Visit Santa’s village, visit husky dog ​​farm, experience reindeer riding, husky safari…
  • Day 3: Visit Santa park, Arkitum museum, aurora hunting
  • Day 4: Snowmobile, ski resort
  • Day 5: Bonfire camping, ice fishing, aurora hunting

Lapland travel blog: What to eat?

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  • Reindeer meat: The most popular livestock in Lapland. People in Lapland will often raise a lot of reindeer for fur and meat. Therefore, reindeer meat is a specialty that you must try!
  • Smoked salmon
  • Muikku fish

These are famous local dishes in Lapland. In addition, you should combine going to the supermarket in Rovaniemi if you want to have a cheap self-sufficient trip.

Lapland blog: Traveling cost

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The cost of a self-sufficient travel, I think it largely depends on each individual. There are many factors that affect the trip costs such as where to stay, whether you rent a car, whether you participate in activities such as husky sledding, reindeer riding… I give a few basic costs below:

  • Meals: €12/meal. If you buy food from the supermarket to cook, you can comfortably spend about €20 a day.
  • Hotel: The lowest price is about €30 per person. The highest is about €300-400.
  • Traveling: €12/day. If you rent a car, it will increase to €40-50/person/day. Participate in other activities: Each activity costs about €30-40.

I think for comfort, the traveling cost is about €150 a day, all inclusive. Of course, this cost is higher than in the capital Helsinki or other European countries but still lower than Norway, Switzerland…

Lapland travel guide: Some tips before you go

  • The most commonly spoken languages ​​in Finnish Lapland are Swedish and Finnish. However, most people living in the city will speak English fluently. So, you can rest assured!
  • You should exchange money at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. It is best to exchange at legitimate counters for the best and safe exchange rates.

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Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Lapland you can refer to

  • Lapland 2 Day Tour from Rovaniemi
  • Highlights of Rovaniemi Day Tour
  • The Frozen Waterfalls of Korouoma Day Tour from Rovaniemi
  • [DISCONTINUED] Lapland Wellness and Relaxation Tour
  • Aurora Borealis Small Group Tour with Free Photos from Rovaniemi
  • Rovaniemi: Lapland Northern Lights Tour with BBQ
  • Rovaniemi: Santa Claus Village and Arctic Circle
  • Rovaniemi: Snowman World Entrance Ticket
  • Lapland: Husky Carriage Ride Under the Northern Lights
  • Rovaniemi: Apukka Husky Adventure

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Read more Trip review to the fairy tale Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi, Lapland – Finland , Where to stay in Lapland Findland and Finland travel guide here .

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The ultimate Lapland travel guide: How to travel & what to do in Lapland Finland

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Located in the north of Finland, Lapland is very close to the North Pole, so there are 200 days of cold winter a year. Any visitor, whether a child or an adult, wishes to have a trip to this place to meet Santa Claus, along with the reindeers. Moreover, this place is also an extremely attractive destination with a lot of interesting experiences. Lapland Finland (Finnish Lapland) is world famous as “the Official Hometown of Santa Claus”. In addition to the above nickname, is there anything else that attracts tourists from all over the world? Let’s experience Finnish Lapland through the sharing below. So, what country is Lapland in, what to do in Lapland, how to travel to Lapland Finland and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Lapland for the first-time? Let’s check out our Lapland travel blog (Lapland blog) with the fullest Lapland travel guide (Lapland guide) from how to get to Lapland Finland, best time to come, where to stay, what to see in Lapland Finland, things to do in Lapland Finland as well as what to do in Rovaniemi to find out the answer!

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Lapland travel blog: Where is Lapland Finland and what country is Lapland in?

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Finnish Lapland is a very large region with an area of ​​about 100,367 square kilometers of which 92,667 square kilometers is land, 6,316 square kilometers is freshwater and 1,383 square kilometers is sea. Lapland stretching through 4 countries: Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia’s Kola Peninsula with an area equivalent to 3 countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland combined.

In which the Lapland region in Finland (Finnish Lapland, Lapland Finland) occupies one third of the country’s area and the capital of the entire Lapland – the city of Rovaniemi is also located here. This is the official hometown of Santa Claus, so it is often said that Finnish Lapland (or Rovaniemi Finland) is the hometown of  Santa Claus .

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Some interesting things about Finnish Lapland:

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  • Although this entire Lapland region spans 4 countries, the official name is widely known in 2 countries Sweden and Finland. Therefore, when it comes to the place of Lapland, you should often add the country name, so that people can clearly distinguish which region you are talking about.
  • The population of Finnish Lapland is over 180,000 people, mainly concentrated in 4 big cities (Rovaniemi, Tornio, Kemi and Kemijärvi), the population density is about 1.98 people/km2 – the lowest in Europe and less than number of reindeer here (200,000).
  • Reindeer here are popularly raised as a meat producing animal in other countries. Near the village of Santa Claus, there is an Artic Circle – marking the arctic circle of the earth. Therefore, there is a phenomenon of 2 months in the summer when the sun never sets (lighting all day and night).
  • Lapland Finland is also a very large region rather than a specific city or place. So when someone talks about Finnish Lapland tourism, you should understand that they mention to traveling to Rovaniemi city – the capital of the whole Lapland Finland region, where the village of Santa Claus and some remote surrounding areas is upper it, where you can hunting aurora (the Northern Lights) and other winter activities.
  • Rovaniemi was almost destroyed 90% in World War II, but then the great Finnish architect Alvar Aalto redesigned the whole city as it have the appearance as we see today. There is currently a top 2 Finnish university named after his name, Aalto University – the top 7th school in the world in art and design section.

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Lapland travel blog: When should you visit Lapland Finland?

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Tourists often come to Finnish Lapland with the desire to experience aurora borealis hunting and take part in some winter activities. That’s why I think the most suitable time and best time to travel to Finnish Lapland is in the period from November to March. Because this is the time when you have the highest opportunity to seeing the Northern Lights along with this place is completely covered with white snow creating a magical scene comes along with a special and vibrant Christmas atmosphere.

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Personally, I would recommend going from the beginning of November to mid-December because at this time there will be also a Christmas atmosphere here and it is not as crowded as December. Meanwhile, January and February are the peak winter months, the temperature is usually in the range of -20 to -40 degrees Celsius. Therefore, for those who are not used to extreme cold temperatures, coming here in this season is no different from being tortured :). In addition, the aurora often appears when it is cold and clear. If there is too much snow, the opportunity of seeing it is also lower than other times. There are times from September to November when it is very cold but without snow, it is easy to see the aurora borealis.

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Lapland travel guide: How to get and how to travel to Lapland Finland (How to get to Rovaniemi)?

How to travel to lapland finland from other finland’s cities.

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To get to Rovaniemi Lapland, you usually need to get to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Then from here, you can take the train, onnibus or plane to getting here. The distance from Helsinki to Rovaniemi is about 700-800km.

  • Onnibus:  Usually you will need to transfer in Oulu city. Total travel time is about 12 hours (8 hours to Oulu and 3 hours to 4 hours from Oulu to Rovaniemi). Ticket price is around €18-35.
  • VR train  (the Finland’s national railway company) often runs 2 trips a day from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. Travel time: 8 to 12 hours. Ticket price: €40-90/way. The fare of €40 usually only appears in the summer, when the travel demand to Lapland is less than other seasons.
  • Airplane:  Finnair (the Finland’s flag carrier and largest airline) often has quite a few direct flights from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. Ticket price is about €70-100/way.

If you depart from some countries with lot of demands for travel to Finnish Lapland such as the UK, the Netherlands, there are also direct flights from these countries to Rovaniemi. As far as I know, there are currently 7 airlines flying directly to Rovaniemi from 5 European countries which are the UK, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Turkey, Ukraine in which the UK is the country with the largest number of tourists to Lapland Finland.

Lapland guide: Getting around Finnish Lapland

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If you simply visit Rovaniemi, I think the most suitable means of transport is the public bus. Ticket price is €3.2/way and you can catch a bus from Rovaniemi center to Santa Claus village in 15 minutes.

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However, if you want to participate in more winter activities, perhaps renting a self-drive car will be more appropriate. Because Lapland is a very large and extremely sparsely populated region, it will be quite difficult for you to participate in winter activities such as aurora hunting in the north, ice lake fishing, etc. without active means of transport.

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Lapland travel blog: Where to stay in Lapland Finland?

Because Lapland is very large and the attractions are not gather in a single cluster like in other cities, finding a room here is not simple at all. Not only that, Lapland is also famous for various types of accommodation that are rarely found anywhere in the world. So, I will write a detailed article to guide you how to choose a hotel in Lapland later.

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In general, in my travel experience, you should find a room and book it as soon as possible. Quality rooms in Lapland often sell out very quickly because here are few people, the hotel is not too abundant, but the number visitors flocking here from China, Japan, Germany, and Britain is quite a lot… Last time my friend searched for a room 4 months in advance but she still couldn’t find a good place to stay.

However, if you want to stay in upscale hotels, close to Santa Village, you can book hotels right in Santa Claus Village ( Agoda.com  or  Booking.com ).

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You can also refer to the two other luxury hotels:  Arctic TreeHouse Hotel  ( Agoda.com  or  Booking.com ) built in a high hill, offer panoramic windows with beautiful nothern lights view.

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Or  Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort  ( Agoda.com  or  Booking.com ). This is a hotel that is extremely suitable for visitors to see and admire the Northern Lights.

At first glance, the Kaklauttanen looks like it just step out of a sci-fi movie. The hotel consists of many rooms like turtles located next to each other. “Tortoise shell” is made of glass, does not absorb water vapor no matter how cold it is, guaranteed, guests can see the Northern Lights anytime it appears. Each room has a comfortable bed and a comfortable bathroom.

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Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.

  • Santa Claus Holiday Village ( Agoda.com  or  Booking.com )
  • Arctic Light Hotel ( Agoda.com  or  Booking.com )
  • Scandic Rovaniemi City ( Agoda.com  or  Booking.com )
  • Lapland Hotels Ounasvaara Chalets ( Agoda.com  or  Booking.com )
  • Arctic City Hotel ( Agoda.com  or  Booking.com )
  • Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna Rovaniemi ( Agoda.com  or  Booking.com )

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Choose your Santa’s Lapland experience

Both of our lapland holiday packages include a reindeer ride, sledging with huskies, tobogganing, lots of snowy activities like snow hockey and mini skidoos, and a private visit with santa., on our santa’s aurora package, your activity centre is exclusive to our santa’s aurora families and you’ll have an additional wilderness dinner, a visit to santa's elves workshop, a longer husky ride and a snowmobile safari..

  • SANTA s MAGIC Your choice of four hotels with everything you've dreamed of for a magical Lapland adventure. Explore Santa’s Magic

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  • Believe your eyes, this is an experience your family will cherish forever. From £1169 per adult See what's included
  • SANTA S AURORA Enjoy the ultimate Christmas in Lapland with a little extra Aurora magic sprinkled on top. Explore Santa's Aurora

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  • The ultimate Lapland experience for your family, even the elves get jealous. From £1549 per adult See what’s included

Get Inspired

Santa and his elves can't wait for your arrival, but before your trip begins, get inspired! Unlock the magic of Lapland with our Santa's Chronicles, learn how to wrap up warm in Lapland or call our Christmas helpers to book your magical getaway.

The Santa's Lapland Chronicles

Don't Miss Out On This Limited-Time Magic

Tick-tock. The magic's on the clock. We're giving the gift of incredible savings with HALF PRICE child places on our  Santa’s Magic package for selected dates in November and December 2024 & 2025.

No one knows how to make Christmas more magical

Flights, transfers, half-board accommodation, a fun-filled activity trip and snowsuits are all included.

A remote spot in the far north of Finland, 200km above the Arctic Circle among the snowy trees of Saariselkä.

If you are yet to book, and you find your Santa’s Lapland holiday cheaper elsewhere, we’ll price match it.

Everything about the holiday was magical. Amazing staff, hotel, organisation of the search for Santa day, the support of the company in the lead up to the trip. Can't recommend this trip and company enough. SANTA'S HOTEL TUNTURI - CHRISTOPHER December 2022
Amazing holiday. Reps were amazing. Programme was well thought through. I loved it as much as the kids. STAR ARCTIC HOTEL - REBECCA January 2022
A once in lifetime trip, magical and full of fun for children and adults. Accomodation practical with everything you needed, staff attentive and organised and the food suited everyone's needs. The adventures were unforgettable and breathtaking! SANTA'S HOTEL TUNTURI - MARY December 2022
We had a truly magical experience enhanced by the enthusiasm of the staff. Our boys 6 and 7 were taken aback by the whole experience and Santa was the icing on the cake. A family trip and memories that we will treasure forever! SANTA'S HOLIDAY CLUB - ALISON December 2021

Fancy more snow fun?

Keep the magic going with an extra day for adventure - the choice is yours. sledding on the toboggan run, the thrill of husky sledding, cruising through the snow by snowmobile or hunting for the northern lights..

  • An extra day for family time in the snow. Husky and reindeer rides, thrilling snowmobiles, a spot of skiing, or a hunt for the Northern Lights. The choice is yours. Optional Adventures

Northern lights in Lapland

  • Explore a little more, make magical memories in this other-worldly wilderness. You're spoilt for choice. See for yourself

WAYS TO BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY TO LAPLAND

It's time to book your trip to Lapland and we can't wait for your arrival. Whether you're booking online or giving our Christmas helpers a call on 01483 791 945 , we're just as excited as you are for your magical journey to begin!

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4-Day Tours in Lapland

Experience the spellbinding beauty of Lapland for yourself on a tour arranged by the regional travel experts at Nordic Visitor. With 4 days in Lapland, you could chase the northern lights or visit Santa’s workshop. Your short break includes accommodation, excursions, and airport transfers.

VISIT LAPLAND ON A 4-DAY TRIP

Want to find out the best ways to spend 4 days in Lapland? We are here to help

Wrap up warm and journey to the Arctic Circle for an unforgettable winter break in Lapland . Unmissable adventures in the snow are waiting for you! With 3 nights in Lapland, you can make the most of this winter wonderland with activities like husky safaris and snowmobile rides.

Choose between visiting Swedish or Finnish Lapland for your 4-day tour. Read on to find out more about each region and see which one would suit you best.

When you book a trip to Lapland with Nordic Visitor, you get handpicked accommodation, airport transfers, access to our 24/7 helpline, and many other benefits. You also enjoy personal service from your own dedicated travel consultant.

Get in touch via our contact form, live chat or toll-free numbers and we'll gladly plan your Lapland getaway.

— WHY US?

Why book with nordic visitor.

  • All bookings protected by our package travel insurance
  • Accommodation, activities, transfers & breakfasts included
  • Professional service from Scandinavian-based travel experts
  • Hassle-free & seamless travel experience
  • Flexible & customisable tour options

EXPERIENCE LAPLAND IN 4 DAYS

Escape to the sparkling, snow-laden landscapes of Lapland. 3 nights is perfect for a winter escape, because you’ll have time to relax and experience exciting winter activities.

Express Lapland Adventure & ICEHOTEL

Best of lapland express - rovaniemi, winter adventure at the arctic snowhotel, kiruna cabin getaway & northern lights, stay longer in lapland.

Give yourself a better chance of seeing the northern lights, and pack in extra activities, by adding a night or two to your 4-day Lapland holiday.

Lapland Adventure - Aurora Sky Station

Best of lapland classic - rovaniemi, classic lapland adventure & icehotel, best of rovaniemi - classic, santa claus village & dog sledding, lapland adventure - aurora sky station & icehotel, best of lapland complete - rovaniemi, christmas adventure in swedish lapland, new years adventure in swedish lapland, lapland travel experts.

As a travel agency based in the Scandinavia region, Nordic Visitor knows how to make the most of your time in Lapland. Choose from a variety of tours that include the must-see attractions as well as lesser-known highlights, all handpicked by our own Scandinavian travel experts. 

To ensure a stress-free Lapland trip, Nordic Visitor handles all the local details for you: accommodation, activities, airport transfers and other services.

Oh, and we can customise your itinerary! For example, you might decide you want to add extra nights at a certain location. In that case, your personal Nordic Visitor travel consultant will be happy to make suggestions and modify your itinerary.

What do our customers say?

The reviews speak for themselves. See what Nordic Visitor travellers said about their experience with us.

Super organised

Everything was super organised and detailed, there is nothing to complain well done Nordic Visitor. We enjoyed all tours that were organised for us.

Amazing experience

Having not done a tour like this before, it was comforting to know that someone else had taken the reins and everything was double-checked. Liza was helpful with all my booking questions and all the team members we met on our trip were friendly and knowledgeable. We learnt so much about Swedish life and traditions on our stay, in addition to some amazing experiences.

Trip of a lifetime!

This was a trip of a lifetime and I would do the exact same trip over again! We had a blast and cannot wait to get back to Sweden. 

Thanks Nordic Visitor!

Nordic Visitor made booking what could be a potentially complex trip (finding the right accommodation and day trips, etc.) really easy. We booked very last-minute and our consultant Ruzena could not have been more helpful - booking and arranging the package we wanted for the exact dates we requested at short-notice. Thanks!

Unforgettable experience

It was the best decision to book with Nordic Visitor. Juliana, our travel agent, responded quickly and gave us great tips and service when we needed it. The excursion we took, snowmobiling and chasing the northern lights, was unforgettable, and the dog sledding was a wonderful experience. The stay at the seasonal ICEHOTEL - wow! Every detail was well planned and scheduled by Nordic Visitor. We are extremely grateful and it exceeded our expectations.

Exactly what we're looking for

This was my second tour with Nordic Visitor, and I will continue to use them as a first choice option when exploring trips in the Europe area. They offered exactly what my wife and I are looking for in planning guided and semi-guided experiences.

We were well looked after

We had a fantastic time. We were well looked after. Our activities were well laid out. Liza our Nordic Visitor agent was really good keeping us informed as well.

We absolutely loved our experience with Nordic Visitor! From our first inquiry to our last goodbye, we had exceptional service and attention. It quite literally was everything we asked for and more! Our travel consultant worked diligently to accommodate our every wish, was always in communication with us, and was simply amazing! This was a trip of a lifetime!

Outstanding experience!

The entire experience was perfection! The dog sledding was outstanding. There are no words to adequately describe how beautiful and peaceful it is out there with the dogs. The reindeer farm was so fun! Everything and everyone was truly outstanding! All of the drivers were prompt, friendly, and knowledgeable. Starting every day with such a beautiful and thoughtfully prepared breakfast spread was above and beyond. Every excursion/tour was amazing, from the guides to the food to the excursions themselves. We loved everything.

Nordic Visitor thought of everything

I can't say enough about Nordic Visitor. They really thought of everything and handled even real time unexpected issues promptly. We would have definitely not had such a good experience had I tried to plan this all on our own!

Thrilling trip!

We were very pleased with our trip to Lapland, Finland. Quite honestly, we didn't know what to expect, because we had never been there before. The activities we experienced (snowmobiling, dog sledding, reindeer sledding) meant we were thrilled with our trip. Nordic Visitor made the travel very smooth and enjoyable.

Excellent experience!

Cannot fault our experience. Everything was made very easy from start to finish. Thank you so much. Loads included but still had enough time to do other things and explore on our own. Excellent experience. No glitches so no negative memories of the experience. Loved equally by child and adults!

Getting to Lapland

Nordic Visitor tours of Lapland begin in either Kiruna, for Sweden itineraries, or Kemi or Rovaniemi for Finland trips. You can find some direct flights from airports across Europe.

Otherwise, you can reach Lapland with connecting flights from Stockholm, Sweden’s capital, or Helsinki, the capital of Finland. Another option is to fly to Copenhagen in Denmark and travel to Lapland from there.

Stockholm Arlanda Airport is the main gateway for international air travel in Sweden. From Stockholm, you can fly to Kiruna with SAS or Norwegian. The journey takes around 1 hour 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is Finland’s main air travel hub. From here, you’ll be able to take a direct flight to either Kemi or Rovaniemi with Finnair or Norwegian. Both journeys take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.

We recommend checking airline websites directly for flight availability and timetables. You can also use an airfare search engine, such as Skyscanner, Dohop or Kayak, for example.

Flights are not included in Nordic Visitor packages. However, all of our itineraries can be customised with extra nights in your arrival city if you’d like to rest up after your flight.

Different ways you can experience Lapland

We have tours for all varieties of travel styles and interests. See our options for exploring Lapland below.

ICE & SNOW HOTELS

Santa claus, snowmobile adventures, culture & history, reindeer & sami culture, winter tours, what to see and do in lapland with 3 nights.

Imagine jetting off to a winter wonderland in Northern Europe, discovering pristine scenery laden with snow. You could find yourself in this enchanting landscape on a 4-day Lapland holiday.

Lapland is situated in the far north of Sweden and Finland, within the Arctic Circle. It is a region characterised by beautiful forests, lakes and rivers. Here the dark night skies of winter light up with the shimmering colours of the aurora borealis.

Spend your 4-day tour enjoying activities in the snow, soaking up the native Sami culture, and cosying up by the fireplace.

  • Explore these Lapland winter trips
  • Discover 7 reasons to visit Lapland in winter

TOP THINGS TO DO IN LAPLAND

Lapland offers opportunities for adventures and indulgent experiences in equal measure. This means that you can be as active or relaxed as you wish on your winter trip!

Here are the top things to do in Lapland :

  • Go mushing through the snow on a husky sled
  • Marvel at the otherworldly northern lights
  • Explore the countryside by snowmobile
  • Have a private meeting with Santa Claus
  • Sleep in an ice room or a glass igloo
  • Try skiing, ice fishing or snowshoeing
  • Experience local Sami customs and cuisine
  • Celebrate Christmas or New Year’s Eve
  • See Arctic animals in their native habitat
  • Warm up in a traditional Finnish sauna

When you book a Lapland tour with Nordic Visitor, you can add optional activities and day trips to your itinerary. We recommend that you reserve any extras in advance to guarantee availability.

Speak to your personal travel consultant at Nordic Visitor about the excursions you’d like to incorporate into your Lapland itinerary. They will organise everything on your behalf, while you relax and look forward to your winter escape.

  • Browse these classic Lapland holidays to start planning your trip
  • If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our Lapland travel experts

TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN LAPLAND

Where you go in Lapland will largely depend on the activities and sights you want to enjoy. You can read Nordic Visitor’s Lapland travel guide to learn more about each area, which will help you decide where to visit.

Here are the best places to go in Finnish Lapland :

  • Santa Claus Village
  • Kemi  

These are the top places to visit in Swedish Lapland :

  • Abisko National Park
  • Aurora Sky Station

VISIT ONE OF LAPLAND’S ICE HOTELS OR GLASS IGLOOS

One of the “coolest” things you can do in Lapland is stay in an ice hotel. Marvel at the ice sculptures, imaginative themed rooms, and restaurants and bars crafted from frozen water. Since many of the hotels melt in the spring, artists start from scratch and rebuild them each winter.

Spending the night in an ice suite is on many travellers’ bucket lists. You are kept cosy thanks to thermal sleeping bags and reindeer hides, with the chance to step into a hot sauna in the morning.

If you’d rather sleep in a warm room, you can take a guided tour of these ice hotels instead.

A great alternative is staying in a glass igloo in Lapland. Snuggle up in your heated dome, looking through the clear glass up to the night sky. You might even be treated to a northern lights show from your bed!

Here are the best ice hotels and glass igloos to visit in Lapland:

  • ICEHOTEL (Kiruna)
  • Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos (Rovaniemi)
  • SnowCastle (Kemi)
  • Choose from one of these Lapland ice and snow hotel packages
  • Learn more about the best ice hotels in Finland and the ICEHOTEL in Sweden

VISIT FINNISH OR SWEDISH LAPLAND

Take your pick from visiting Finnish or Swedish Lapland. 4-day trips in both destinations offer similar experiences, such as aurora hunting, and going on husky and reindeer-drawn sled rides.

However, Finnish and Swedish Lapland each have particular highlights that you should know about before you decide where to go. Take a look at these itinerary recommendations for a taste of what to expect in Finland and Sweden, respectively.

  • Find out the  top holidays in Lapland for winter

4-DAY ITINERARY SUGGESTION FOR FINNISH LAPLAND:  

Day 1 - Arrival in Rovaniemi and snowmobile safari After touching down in Rovaniemi Airport a driver will meet you for your transfer to your centrally located accommodation. Unwind after your journey or explore the town a little before your first adventure in Lapland.

Snowmobile safaris are one of the most thrilling ways to chase the northern lights! This evening, you can ride a snowmobile through the snowy countryside around Rovaniemi. Follow your guide as they lead you to their favourite places for spotting the aurora.

Before returning to your hotel, warm yourself by the fire and enjoy a hot drink and snack with your guide.

Spend the night in Rovaniemi.

Day 2 - Dog sledding and Finnish sauna Wake this morning for a transfer to a local kennel and dog sledding excursion. Here you will meet the huskies and learn all about this traditional mode of transport in Lapland: mushing.

After a lesson in driving your sled, you and your team of excited huskies are ready to follow your guide along the snowy trails.

Return from the surrounding forests and plains to refuel with a warming beverage around a campfire, a cosy setting for sharing stories with your fellow mushers.

Bring the day to a close by returning to the twinkling lights of Rovaniemi and indulging in Finnish sauna culture.

Day 3 - Reindeer farm and Santa Claus Village Today hop back onto a snowmobile to ride out to a traditional reindeer farm. Here you can enjoy a sleigh ride and learn about the culture of the Sami, Lapland’s native people.

This afternoon, head to Santa Claus Village and prepare to meet the “man in red”. Search for Santa’s elves in his workshop and soak up the festive atmosphere in this Christmas wonderland. Then why not send a postcard from the Santa Claus Post Office, or browse for souvenirs at the craft shops?

Spend the night in Rovaniemi or upgrade to a warm glass igloo at the Arctic SnowHotel.

Day 4 - Departure Today you’ll be transferred to Rovaniemi Airport by your driver, where you’ll fly home from your Lapland holiday.

  • Discover Finnish Lapland with one of these Rovaniemi tours or Kemi packages
  • Read this guide to Finland in winter for more inspiration

4-DAY ITINERARY SUGGESTION FOR SWEDISH LAPLAND:  

Day 1 - Arrival in Kiruna and snowmobile safari After arriving in Kiruna Airport, a driver will meet you for your transfer to your hotel. Head to a local cafe for fika (coffee and pastries) while strolling around the town, or simply relax in your hotel after travelling.

Come evening, it’s time to wrap up in your cosiest layers for a thrilling snowmobile safari. Your guide will lead you through the snow-blanketed countryside to the best places for spotting the northern lights.

Later, warm up by the fireplace in a rustic log cabin while savouring tasty local food. After dinner, your guide will return you to your hotel for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Spend the night in Kiruna.

Day 2 - Dog sledding day trip Today, if you are an animal lover, get excited about visiting a traditional kennel and learning to drive a dog sled. After having a brief lesson and being introduced to your team of huskies, it’s time to follow your guide and head out into the countryside.

Ride across plains and through forests, soaking up the beautiful scenery as you go. Then, refuel with coffee and a light lunch by the campfire before spending the rest of the day at leisure.

You could spend the evening exploring the town and sampling traditional cuisine. Alternatively, add a snowshoeing excursion to your itinerary and you could spot the northern lights while hiking through glistening forests.

Day 3 - The ICEHOTEL and visit to a Sami reindeer farm Near Kiruna, in the village of Jukkasjärvi, you can visit the world’s first hotel made from snow and ice. Sweden’s ICEHOTEL has inspired many other similar hotels around the world. This morning you’ll hop on a snowmobile, to visit this unique ice hotel retreat.

The complex includes the ICEHOTEL itself, crafted anew each year from snow and ice, along with the ICEBAR and year-round ICEHOTEL 365. Enjoy a guided tour and marvel at the artistic skill that goes into carving the individual ice rooms, suites and church.

This afternoon a transfer will bring you to a Sami reindeer farm. Learn about the integral role that reindeer have in the lives of Lapland’s native Sami people. At the farm you will meet the reindeer and try your hand at driving a sled.

Later, experience more of Sami culture while snacking in a lavvu, a traditional tent.

Spend the night in Kiruna or speak to your travel consultant about a pre-booked upgrade to the ICEHOTEL.

Day 4 - Departure Today your driver will pick you up and transfer you back to Kiruna Airport for your onward journey.

  • Explore these Kiruna tour packages to experience Swedish Lapland
  • Find out the top 10 reasons to take a winter break in Kiruna, Sweden

BEST TIME TO VISIT LAPLAND

The best time to visit Lapland is between December and March, when you can enjoy the magical white scenery, northern lights, and excursions in the snow.

Certain activities are available in Lapland year round. For example, in summer you can meet Father Christmas, or even visit certain ice hotels that use solar power to keep some of their rooms frozen. However, we recommend travelling in winter for the quintessential Lapland experience.

  • Learn more about visiting Lapland in December or January
  • Check out Lapland tours in February or March

Thanks to snowfall from mid-October to mid-May, you’ll be surrounded by snow-blanketed scenery between December and March. What’s more, in winter you have the best chances of seeing the northern lights. The long, dark nights provide the ideal backdrop for spotting the aurora borealis.

In summer, on the other hand, there are long daylight hours in Lapland – a phenomenon called the “midnight sun”. With light skies all night long, it is too bright to see the northern lights.

Find out how to increase your chances of spotting the aurora borealis with these guides:

Best time and place to see the northern lights in Sweden

Best time and place to see the northern lights in Finland

What are the northern lights? Aurora borealis explained

  • Explore these northern light tours in Lapland to hunt for the aurora
  • Read about Lapland’s daylight hours and climate on the Nordic Visitor travel guide  

CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR IN LAPLAND

Perhaps you want to time your Lapland trip for December to celebrate Christmas or New Year’s Eve in this winter wonderland?

Spend Christmas in Lapland and you could attend a festive gala dinner for Christmas Eve, accompanied by Santa’s elves. Join in the fun and help to decorate the Christmas tree before you tuck into the big feast.

You could then have the ultimate Christmas Day in Santa’s homeland. Whizz through the snow in a reindeer sleigh, meet Santa in his workshop, and taste delicious Christmas food. Think freshly baked gingerbread biscuits and a warm glass of glögg (mulled wine).

Or visit Lapland at New Year for a celebration to remember. You could attend a New Year’s Eve party in a wooden hut in the middle of a Finnish forest, trying local customs and cuisine. And, of course, you’d get to watch a spectacular fireworks display at the stroke of midnight.

Don’t forget, you can get into the festive spirit at any time of year when you visit Santa Claus Village in Finnish Lapland!

  • Check out these Lapland Santa trips
  • Learn more about spending 3 days , 5 days or 6 days in Lapland

— REGIONAL SUPPORT & KNOWLEDGE

Get the most out of your holiday.

  • Explore places handpicked for you by regional experts
  • Save time and effort with everything arranged for you
  • Relax knowing you can reach us 24/7 during your trip

About Nordic Visitor Tours

Nordic Visitor is a Lapland tour operator and has been creating incredible travel experiences for customers in the region since 2010. Our Scandinavian travel experts know Lapland inside out, and will use their knowledge to craft your perfect itinerary.

With your Nordic Visitor package, you can expect personal service from your own designated travel consultant and a tailor-made itinerary with quality travel documents. Furthermore, we have long-standing professional relationships with trusted local partners, which are carefully selected by our staff for their high standards of service.

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Blog posts you might like

Lapland for grown-ups: why lapland isn’t just for kids, a few fun facts about swedish lapland, 7 reasons to visit lapland in winter, how to eat like a local in lapland.

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Guide on How to Travel from Helsinki to Lapland

A re you heading to Finland and wondering what the best way to travel from Helsinki to Lapland? Did you know that for most visitors to Finland, these are the two most visited areas? It makes sense as most visitors fly into Helsinki, spend a day or two and then head off into the vast wilderness of Finnish Lapland.

In this guide I will help you in your travel research by providing up to date information on how to travel to/from these regions of Finland, whether its by plane, train or even car. 

One of the biggest factors in your decision about how to get from Helsinki to Lapland will be the amount of time you have and your budget. Below I go through the practical details on the three main transport options, providing the positives and negatives for each so you can make the most informed decision. Let get into it!

What are the airports in Lapland?

As I mentioned there are currently 5 airports in Lapland. Below are the airports with the main locations serviced from them.

Rovaniemi Airport (RVN)

Rovaniemi is the third busiest airport in Finland and is the most popular of the ones in Lapland. Located in the south of Lapland, just near the Arctic Circle, this airport is seen as the gateway to Santa Claus Village. Given the towns popularity, there are several flights a day between Helsinki and Rovaniemi. This is one of the few that also is international airport accepting flights from several major European cities. 

In general, Rovaniemi can feel a quite commercial and crowded, especially during the peak winter season. This airport also serves as the hub for Pyhä  and  Salla which are popular for their natural beauty and skiing, both downhill and cross country. 

Ivalo Airport (IVL)

Two popular destinations with skiers and snowboarders include Inari and Saariselka , which are both serviced by the Ivalo airport. The airport is within 30 minutes of both destinations and is the northernmost airport in Finland.

Kittilä Airport (KTT)

Kittila is one of the main airports in the northernmost region of Finland, and the only other accepting international flights. This airport services the popular ski area of Levi. Levi is a popular spot for families during the festive season, but is smaller and quieter than Rovaniemi. Additionally, the popular Snow Village can be found here.

Our favorite destination serviced by this airport is Muonio which is a laid back destination offering all the popular touristy activities found in Rovaniemi but without the crowds and is excellent for spotting the Northern Lights. 

Kemi Airport (KEM)

Kemi-Tornio Airport is located on the coast of the Bay of Bothnia, serving travelers heading to Southern Lapland. Kemi has slowly become more popular in the tourist circuits for their magnificent Snow Castle that is built there every winter and for the famous Sampo icebreaker cruise. 

Kuusamo Airport (KAO)

Lastly, the Kuusamo Airport serves one of Finland’s major holiday destinations Kuusamo, attracting almost a million tourists annually. Many of these arrive for skiing at nearby ski resorts, especially Ruka Ski Resort , one of the largest in Finland.

RELATED READING

Top Things to Do in Lapland Finland

A Finnish Lapland Winter Escape

Flying from Helsinki to Lapland

Domestic flights from the capital Helsinki to Lapland airports are operated by Finnair. While the flights can be reasonably priced if booked well in advance, domestic flights on Finnair do impose an extra fee for checked luggage. Additionally, the new Finnair carry on limits are quite strict with a maximum of 8 kg for all carry on items combined. This means, that for most travelers,  it makes most sense to upgrade to the main fare price which includes both carry on and checked baggage. Once you upgrade your flight, a round-trip flight will cost a minimum of €200.  Note, if you are looking for cheap flights, sign up for Finnair’s email blast and keep an eye out for flash sales.

That said, this is still the quickest way to travel between Helsinki and Lapland. It can be cost effective if you are a solo traveler and/or traveling with extremely light luggage. However, it can be get expensive if you need to check a bag or are traveling in high season with several people

Traveling by Train from Helsinki to Lapland

Next we will move on to traveling by train from Helsinki to Lapland , which is the second most popular option.

I personally find travelling by train in Finland to be a wonderful experience and the most convenient way to get around the country. The trains are clean and reasonably reliable depending on weather conditions of course. Additionally, it is better for the environment and saves you money on accommodation if you can take an overnight train to travel while you sleep. All long-distance trains in Finland are operated by VR Train. 

Day vs. Night Trains

The most popular train that visitors take to Lapland from Helsinki is the Santa Claus Express train which ends in Rovaniemi. It leaves close to midnight and arrives around 11 a.m. the next morning. If you are traveling with children, this train is great as the sleeper cabins are essentially sold as a two person cabin. Prices for an upstairs private compartment sleeper cabin which includes a private toilet run around 300 Euro one way. The train also has a restaurant car for snacks and meals while on the train. Note, Rovaniemi train tickets for the sleeper cars can sell out quickly, so book well in advance to ensure you have a cabin.

Another popular route is to Kolari, which is the northernmost railway station in Finland. Travel here from Helsinki takes approximately 14 hours. Boarding is around 7:45 p.m. in Helsinki with a 10 a.m. arrival.  Even though it sounds like a long trip, it goes by quite quickly once you get settled in your sleeper cabin, grab some food from the restaurant car and then hit the sack. 

If you are unable to secure a sleeper cabin, you can consider a day train. With free Wifi, power sockets and the ability to walk around, an 8 hour train would actually go quite quickly if you can keep yourself occupied! These tickets run around €75 per ticket during high season. 

Take Your Car on the Train

For readers who live in Europe or have a rental car already booked, they can consider putting the vehicle on the train as well! These trains depart from Pasila Station and can be extremely handy if you have brought your car over from mainland Europe, but don’t want to drive all the way to Lapland. This is not cheap, but is a dobale option to ensure you have more access to explore around Lapland.

Train Stations in Lapland

There are many train stations in Lapland that I can’t list them all, but the main ending/starting point for the major lines include Kolari as the furthest north, Rovaniemi and Kemijarvi in the east. 

Kolari is in the far north of Finland, northeast of Rovaniemi, and very close to the Swedish border. This station is perfect for those traveling to Levi or Muonio. You can reserve a shared taxi or bus from the station to both locations. 

Kemijärvi is located east of Rovaniemi and from here you can easily access Salla and Pyhä.

Overall, I personally feel that if you are traveling with others or even on your own that taking an overnight train to or from Lapland is a great option. Train travel is scenic, cost effective if you have a family or a lot of luggage and you also have the option of taking a vehicle. The negatives are that it does take a long time and there are times that the trains leave late at night making it awkward for families with smaller children. 

Driving from Helsinki to Lapland by Car

For many travelers further afield, this would mean renting a car and needing to return it either in Lapland or back to Helsinki which can be quite an expense.

I am not sure I would recommend this option for many, but if you have your car and you are confident on driving on the right hand side of the road, in snow or inclimate weather, you will most likely be fine.

But you must be aware that this journey is at least 800 kilometers and can take around 10 hours. That said, the journey up to Rovaniemi is along one main road and the views will be stunning for much of the way.

In general, I’d only advise driving to Lapland from Helsinki if you’re touring elsewhere in Finland, have your own vehicle and have at least a couple of weeks here to make it worthwhile and cost-effective.

Important Information for Your Finland Trip

When is the best time to visit finland.

In reality, you can visit Finland at any time of the year as there are a multitude of activities to suit any weather condition. That said, in my opinion, the best time to visit Finland is definitely during the winter months between December and February. This is when you will see the most beautiful winter wonderland landscapes and you have a great chance to see the aurora borealis. Note, it is also the coldest time of the year, so you will need to prepare for that!

What is the best way to get to Finland?

Finnair offers direct flights to Helsinki Airport from all over the world, including from here in Los Angeles. The international flights are on newer Airbus A350 planes which have ample legroom, flight cameras and more. Subscribe to their newsletter for deals and special offers if this is a trip you are looking to plan far in advance. 

If you are in mainland Europe, you can also make your way overland to Tallinn and take the Viking Express over to Helsinki for a very affordable rate. Note, this is also a great day trip idea from Helsinki.

Where do you recommend to stay in Helsinki?

There are so many amazing options to stay in Helsinki. I think where you stay is dependent on what you want out of your visit. During my stay in the city I was leaving on an early morning ferry and arriving late at night from the airport so I chose the Noli Studio Apartments which were cheap, clean and convenient to everywhere I wanted to go. There are several of them located throughout the city, so pay attention to the neighborhood that you wish to be in! 

If you want a little more luxury and don’t mind being a little further out, consider the Clarion Hotel which is a favorite for repeat visitors to the city. 

What are the best things to do in Finland?

There are so many amazing things to do in Finland that I can’t list them all here. But a start would be to check out our top experiences in Lapland that you can find all over the region. Winter activities are some of the best on offer here in Finland.

What do I need to pack for Finland?

Layers is the short answer. The longer answer will depend on what time of year you are visiting. Assuming you visit during the high season of winter, you will need to pack a lot of warm breathable layers such as merino wool . Overall, I would say to focus on layers, good boots that have room for several pairs of socks, good gloves or mittens and a warm hat.

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Guide on How to Travel from Helsinki to Lapland

Denmark vs Finland: which Nordic country is better to visit?

Kerry Walker

Sep 5, 2023 • 7 min read

Rømø's beaches or Finland's lakes

Denmark’s beaches or Finland’s lakes? © iStock

These two countries consistently rank among the world’s best for livability, sophistication and happiness. So which one should you visit?

World-famous cuisine, or wilderness? Coziness or hardiness? Seaside beaches by the mile, or off-the-grid lakes?

While we would gladly opt for all of the above, life is short. Tough choices must be made. And sometimes, you must decide whether to visit Denmark or Finland, two countries consistently ranked among the world’s best for livability, sophistication and sheer happiness.

We’ve asked two partisans to make the case for why their pick edges out the other.

People walk by boats and past buildings at sunset in Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

Denmark: hygge for all

A contributor to over 70 Lonely Planet books, Luke Waterson has traveled widely in Scandinavia – and is drawn to Denmark most.

On paper, Denmark is the dinkiest and least topographically impressive of the five Nordic nations. But it thinks mighty big.

Not only does it scoop the lion’s share of Scandinavia ’s foreign tourists: it routinely makes the world’s top-20 most-visited countries, according to UNTWO (United Nations World Tourism Organization). What renders it so attractive? After many trips there, I’d say one factor stands out above myriad others: ease.

This has to be the planet’s most straightforward country to get around for first-timers. Almost everyone speaks some English – most to a high level – and everything you’ll want to do as a visitor is backed up by a comprehensive, English-language website or app, making communication effortless. A stellar railway network connects the country tip to tail, and buses efficiently link the few other travel destinations without stations. Its capital,  Copenhagen , is a global leader in pedal-powered travel: there are free bikes to rent and impeccably maintained cycle lanes.

People going by bike in Copenhagen, Denmark

All this makes stress levels stay low as you explore – which only heightens your enjoyment of a place. No one is saying Finland is a navigation nightmare, but the going in Denmark is a good deal smoother and speedier. Copenhagen to Skagen (so southeast to extreme north) takes less than eight hours by rail; to get from Helsinki to Lapland adventure hub Inari, you’d need 15 hours by train and then bus.

Denmark’s small size comes with some limitations: there are none of Finland’s fells, no Arctic and fewer forests, which means no winter sports or bears to speak of (unless you include Greenland , technically part of the Kingdom of Denmark, in which case Danes outdo Finns for highest summits, Arctic square mileage, snow and bears). But “mainland” Denmark sports a sandy coastline any other country in Scandinavia would covet, and tourists do generally tend to prefer great beaches over prevalent bears.

People walking on the beach on a summer day, Skagen, Denmark

Denmark’s sandy beaches indeed are ubiquitous. You’ll clock them everywhere from Copenhagen’s Amager Strandpark, just a 30-minute cycle from the city center, and through Baltic holidaymakers’ haven Bornholm . The dreamy, dune-rich Wadden Sea islands Rømø and Fanø boast respectively 12km (7.5-mile) and 15km (9.3-mile) unbroken lengths of fine-grained strand, while the Skagen region offers over 60km (37 miles) of beguiling beaches hem the shores. 

And what do you need to do an average of three times daily every day you’re on vacation? Eat! Denmark, the birthplace of New Nordic cuisine and birthplace of the five-time recipient of the World’s Best Restaurant award, noma , would trounce most countries for fine dining (yep, Finland falls into the trounced category). Tally the Michelin stars each nation’s eateries have been awarded: as of 2023, it’s a convincing 45–8 in Denmark’s favor.  

Park and Palace Frederiksborg Slot, Hillerod, Denmark

As you might expect from an incessantly inventive country that gave the world Lego and Google Maps, there is no dull, unused space in Denmark.  That’s why the offshore waters are stippled with the highest per-capita ratio of wind turbines in the world. Why what would be just another harbor in any other city has, in Copenhagen, become an open-air swimming pool and a residential district made up of floating shipping containers, among many other things. And why the once-decrepit industrial stretches in northern Aalborg are now a blueprint for urban waterfront regeneration Europe -wide.

Prefer history to contemporary innovation on your vacation? Denmark was raising ostentatious castles and handsome timber-framed towns before Finland ever existed.

At the end of the day, ask yourself this. Would you rather have a big helping of hygge (a state of cozy conviviality that’s an integral part of the Danish psyche) or be whipped by a stranger with birch branches (as they do for health in Finland)? 

I rest my case.

A traditional sleigh ride with the Sami people in Finnish Lapland, Finland

Finland: find your inner Finn in the world’s happiest country 

Kerry Walker is a lifelong Finland fan and has traveled the length and breadth of the country: from remote swamps and forests groaning with bears and berries in the east all the way to Lapland’s icy northernmost tip.

Finland stole my heart the minute Lapland wrapped its snowy blanket around me more than a decade ago. Many trips later, I still can’t resist its elemental beauty.

That first visit to Utsjoki is freeze-framed in my mind: the unnerving silence and bone-chilling cold of the high Arctic, twinkling trees sculpted with hoarfrost, the endless white tundra, the snuffle of Sámi reindeer in the deep-blue polar night. I slept in a simple wooden cabin and regularly woke up after midnight to find the northern lights swooping and swaying overhead , as if the gods had flicked the disco lights on.

I instantly felt an affinity with this land and its mind-bending extremes of darkness and light, and this has only intensified over the years. Drive along the country’s ruler-straight roads for miles and all you see is forest, lakes and distant fells on repeat – a never-ending tapestry of green and blue. In some regions, you’re more likely to bump into elk and reindeer than people. Finland has nature in its bones.  

Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights shine over a forest in Saariselka, Finland

And Finland captures the imagination long before you’ve even arrived. This is a country touched by magic, with its flying reindeer, Moomins and the one-and-only Santa up at the glittering Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi . It’s a country where you can let your inner child run wild and free. Whichever way you look at it, Finland is the lovable odd one out among the Nordic countries, with its Elvish tales; a singsong language that inspired Tolkien’s pen; and fondness for weird foods like squeaky cheese ( leipäjuusto ) you dunk in coffee, salty licorice ( salmiakki ) and pine-tar liqueur ( terwa ).

Finland’s outlandish personality reveals itself in mad championships, too: wife-carrying and boot-throwing, swamp soccer and competitive sauna-going. It’s my kind of place.

Yes, Denmark blazes ahead in avant-garde design and gourmet cuisine. But while the Danes gladly blow their own trumpet, the Finns whisper modestly about their country’s charms. Even though, to be frank, they have plenty to shout about. The fact Finland is officially the world’s happiest country in the UN’s World Happiness Report for the sixth year running in 2023, for instance. Indeed, the longer you linger here, the more those happy vibes rub off. Now they are even offering a free master class in happiness for a lucky few. 

A young boy is fishing on a wooden pier by a lake in a forest, Finland

The number-one secret? Living in tune with nature. In this generously spaced land, you can still hear the rustle of leaves, the rush of wind, the flutter of snowflakes. Even the country’s charismatic, easygoing cities are poised on the edge of big wilderness. On the breezy Baltic, Helsinki is sprinkled with islands and riven with inlets. Castle-topped Turku , the gateway to 20,000 islands and skerries, is island-hopping heaven for kayakers, cyclists and hikers. And in vivacious, cultured Tampere , you can grab a canoe and paddle across vast lakes. 

Some of my happiest moments have been spent in Finland (statistically, no coincidence there). I’m talking tell-your-grandchildren moments like spending a hairs-on-end night in a solo hide at the Bear Centre  in Lentiira, where brown bears sneak through old-growth boreal forest over to Russia. Or squelching through cottongrass-stippled swamps in search of amber-hued cloudberries – that most rare and precious of Arctic fruits – under the never-dying light of the midnight sun in Ranua . Or feeling the pulse of the reindeer-herding Sámi as the aurora dances above Lake Inari .

Hiking woman in colorful autumn tundra in Lapland, Finland

Many joke about the Finns being mirthless – but lurking beneath the surface is a dark, self-deprecating humor, a serious ability to party, a hatred of idle gossip and a passion for the deep and meaningful stuff. This nation was built on sisu , an impossible-to-translate characteristic embodying toughness, freedom, grit and bravery – the bear hug to Denmark’s air kiss.

So if you want to find your inner Finn (and the path to true happiness), understand this: walking for miles in mosquito-infested bogs to find berries, stripping naked to roast in a sauna, diving into a gaspingly cold ice hole and beating yourself with a birch branch are a Finn’s idea of fun . 

And you know what? They are mine, too.

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    Day 4: Rovaniemi. We're going to suggest a full day trip today out of Rovaniemi and down to the town of Kemi on the coast. Here, you're going to take a truly unique trip - a ride on an icebreaker boat! Launched in 1961, the Sampo is a genuine icebreaker built for serious arctic conditions.

  8. Tours to Lapland

    Travel to see Northern Lights, stay in a snow hotel, sleigh with reindeers or try snowshoeing, experience meeting a Sami family, and make many more incredible memories on your vacation with Tours to Lapland. World Travel Awards winning company. Among Top 10 Travel Companies on Inc. 5000. 2021 Winner of Travel & Hospitality Award.

  9. THE 30 BEST Places to Visit in Lapland (UPDATED 2024)

    9. Amethyst Mine, Pyhä-Luosto, Lapland. 286. Mines. In the middle of Pyhä-Luosto National Park, on top of Lampivaara fell in Pyhä-Luosto, Lapland, Finland is a sustainable amethyst mine. On guided tours our guests hear fascinating stories of this wonderful…. See ways to experience (6) 10. Riisitunturi National Park.

  10. 5 Days in Lapland : Tours 2024/2025 : Nordic Visitor

    5-Day Tours in Lapland. Soak up the enchanting wonders of Lapland on a tour arranged by the regional travel experts at Nordic Visitor. With 5 days in Lapland, you could look for the northern lights and meet Santa himself. Your short break includes accommodation, excursions, and airport transfers. view tours.

  11. Lapland Travel Agency & Tour Operator : Nordic Visitor

    Trusted local travel experts. Established in 2002, Nordic Visitor has been creating unforgettable travel experiences in Lapland since 2010. Our local experts have all toured around the region, and they will use their experience to create your ideal itinerary. Choose our Lapland packages and you'll take home unforgettable memories.

  12. Best Lapland Tours

    The Lapland travel packages on this page were designed by Firebird Tours' travel experts and by default include private airport transfers, stays at top city-center 4 or 5-star hotels and unique properties, insightful guided tours, as well as exciting activities, such as Northern Lights cruises, snowmobile rides, or meeting reindeer. ...

  13. Lapland travel blog

    Lapland travel guide: Things to do in Lapland Finland, what to see and what to do in Lapland Finland What to do in Rovaniemi. Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland which is considered the official hometown of Santa Claus. This place is famous for its Santa's village and many other interesting winter activities such as reindeer riding, husky ...

  14. Lapland Holiday Packages 2024/2025 : Nordic Visitor

    Book a Lapland holiday with Nordic Visitor, and you can expect: • A dedicated local travel consultant who'll organise your trip. • A personal itinerary with all the details arranged. • Tried-and-tested local tour guides and excursions. • 24/7 phone support during your adventure for peace of mind. • Handpicked accommodation for a ...

  15. The ultimate Lapland travel guide: How to travel & what to do in

    Total travel time is about 12 hours (8 hours to Oulu and 3 hours to 4 hours from Oulu to Rovaniemi). Ticket price is around €18-35. VR train (the Finland's national railway company) often runs 2 trips a day from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. Travel time: 8 to 12 hours. Ticket price: €40-90/way.

  16. Lapland Holidays 2024, 2025

    Lapland Arctic Adventure. First rate company 2nd time we've been to Lapland with Canterbury Travel. We had a wonderful time meeting Father Christmas and the elves 2019 we just had to go back to experience the Arctic Adventure 2023 fabulous time again, wondering how we will ever top that!...

  17. Lapland Holidays 2024 & 2025

    Choose your Santa's Lapland experience. Both of our Lapland holiday packages include a reindeer ride, sledging with huskies, tobogganing, lots of snowy activities like snow hockey and mini skidoos, and a private visit with Santa. On our Santa's Aurora package, your activity centre is exclusive to our Santa's Aurora families and you'll ...

  18. 4 Days in Lapland : Tours 2024/2025 : Nordic Visitor

    4-Day Tours in Lapland. Experience the spellbinding beauty of Lapland for yourself on a tour arranged by the regional travel experts at Nordic Visitor. With 4 days in Lapland, you could chase the northern lights or visit Santa's workshop. Your short break includes accommodation, excursions, and airport transfers. view tours.

  19. Lapland Holidays 2023/2024

    We can offer Lapland Day Trips throughout the month of December - flying out early morning and returning late at night. Extend your stay on a 2, 3 or 4 night break staying in 3 or 4 star hotels in various resorts, including Saariselka and Rovaniemi, both a short transfer from the airport. Whether you're looking for an affordable last minute ...

  20. Lapland Holidays 2024 / 2025

    Lapland safety and security. For up-to-date advice on travelling to Lapland, please visit the FCDO website. Lapland weather. Known for its snow-filled winters, a white Christmas is pretty much guaranteed in Lapland. Temperatures are at their coldest between the months of December and February, typically averaging at -6°C.

  21. Lapland Holidays 2024 / 2025

    The four-night trip departing on the 22nd of December lets you experience Christmas Day in Lapland. Winter sports, activities and entertainment. Santa and his elves are just half the story. Lapland's snowy countryside was made for exploring and, wherever you stay, winter sports like snowmobiling are as easy to come by as Christmassy activities.

  22. Guide on How to Travel from Helsinki to Lapland

    A Finnish Lapland Winter Escape. Flying from Helsinki to Lapland. The quickest and probably one of the most popular ways to travel from Helsinki to Lapland is to fly. Right now there are 5 ...

  23. Lapland Holidays 2024 / 2025

    Abbey Travel offer 2 & 3 night packages to Ruka with return flights, accommodation & any extras you request included, such as insurance & transfers. Book your Lapland Holiday Package with Abbey Travel by filling out the enquiry form or by calling our Lapland travel experts on 01 804 7100.

  24. Should you visit Denmark or Finland?

    Kerry Walker is a lifelong Finland fan and has traveled the length and breadth of the country: from remote swamps and forests groaning with bears and berries in the east all the way to Lapland's icy northernmost tip. Finland stole my heart the minute Lapland wrapped its snowy blanket around me more than a decade ago. Many trips later, I still ...