Lapland comprises the northernmost regions of both Finland and Sweden. For this reason, there is both Finnish Lapland and Swedish Lapland. They are amazing to visit for a snowy getaway.
You will not be disappointed if you travel to Lapland in winter. This Arctic destination has no shortage of awe-inspiring natural attractions, thrilling excursions and unique accommodations.
Watch the northern lights dance
First, the bad news: the northern lights, also called aurora borealis, never show up on demand. They depend on natural factors such as solar winds and charged particles in the earth’s upper atmosphere. However, the good news is that Lapland is one of the best areas in Europe to spot them! This is thanks to its Nordic location.
It is indeed set right by the “Northern Lights Belt”, the region with the most activity in the northern hemisphere. And if you come between October and March, the near total darkness means you’ll have more time to witness them in the dark sky. Once in Lapland, you can check through your window for the lights. Or you could book a northern lights experience. These usually allow you to get out of town to more remote and darker areas for the best chance of sightings.
Experience a real Arctic adventure
Lapland isn’t just known for its fantastic natural beauty, but also its fun winter activities! Want to feel like a Nordic explorer? Or would you like to experience snow like never before? There are so many different kinds of tours and pursuits you can enjoy during the winter months. You could go on a sledding safari (with reindeer or huskies!) or buzz through the forest and along frozen lakes on a snowmobile. You only need a driving licence and the courage to take the wheel!
In Lapland, you not only get to try first-hand, but also learn from the experts themselves! They’ll teach you so you can experience a real Arctic adventure. For something a bit more physically challenging, you could try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Looking for something even more unique and extreme? Go for an “arctic swim” during a tour onboard the Sampo icebreaker ship.
If you’d prefer to relax and stay away from the chills, Lapland also offers plenty of calmer and cosier activities. Visit a museum, learn craft or warm up in a sauna.
Head “sky-high” in the mountains
For a different outlook on the region, why not head even more north? This time up the mountains of Lapland.
In the Laponian Area, at the heart of Swedish Lapland, you’ll find one of the country’s magnificent national parks, Abisko. It is known for its Aurora Sky Station, one of the best places in Sweden to spot the elusive northern lights. You can reach the station via a chair lift which will take you closer to the heavens. This will give you an unspoilt view of the stars above!
From the station, you could go on a short walk around the hotel as well to experience the top of the mountain, but make sure to be dressed for the occasion. If you want to be experience even more of this mountaintop, why not hire some skis or go snowshoeing?
Get into the Christmas spirit
If you didn’t get to see Santa climb down your chimney last Christmas, you can make up for it by visiting his Finnish hometown. The Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi has declared itself Santa’s official “North Pole” residence. You could even meet Santa himself!
This is a festive activity that will make for a memorable trip for your whole family. Can’t travel at Christmastime? No problem! The village is open year-round so you can meet Santa, Mrs Claus, Rudolf, and the busy gift-making elves. You can get a Christmas card-worthy photo here and even send postcards from Santa Claus’ Post Office. They even have a special postmark!
Located across the street, you’ll also find Santa Park, a thematic Christmassy cavern. Here you can cross the Arctic Circle underground, see elves perform acrobatics and more.