Finnish Lapland is one of the most beautiful destinations on earth especially during the winter months with its enchanting winter landscapes. What makes it even more magical for children (and adults) is that it’s also home to Santa Claus.
We have always wanted to visit this magical destination and our dream finally came true when we spent nearly a week in Finnish Lapland during our journey to find Santa.
From snow-laden trees and vast frozen lakes to reindeer and huskies there are infinite photo opportunities both day and night in this picture perfect winter wonderland.
Here are 15 things that we tried during our visit to Finnish Lapland to inspire your travels.
Go on a Reindeer Safari
There are more Reindeer than people in Finland and remains one of the most popular ways to travel during the winter months for the local Sami people. Our reindeer was a bit boisterous so we didn’t have the chance to guide the reindeer, he had other ideas! What captures your imagination is the beautiful scenery as we travelled across the frozen lake in our sled.
Locals use snowmobiles as their standard mode of transport in the winter. We spotted a snowmobile and took a ride through the woods until we arrived at a traditional Finnish Kota.
Warming sausages on the fire in a traditional Finnish Kotta
What better way to warm up from temperatures which got as low as -25 degrees Celsius than some hot berry juice and sizzling sausages over the fire in a traditional Finnish Kotta hut.
Walk through snow covered forests
The snow covered trees and paths are a winter wonderland. The best way (and most fun) for the girls to get around was on their little green sleds.
Take in the postcard views
At night from the top of one of the mountain peaks we had amazing views of the picturesque town of Levi below. It was such a beautiful sight with snow covered trees and the twinkling lights of the buildings in the town, it was like looking at a postcard. We also found one of the most unique cafe’s in the world.
Have tea in a traditional Finnish Laavu
We found a beautiful little cabin (called a Laavu in Finnish) high in the snow covered woods in the mountains. As we listened to local stories we roasted marshmallows on the open fire and warmed up with hot berry juice and enjoyed the breathtaking views of Levi below.
Visit snow covered towns
The girls loved the fact that they could explore the town of Levi on the little sledges that were freely available outside of our hotel (the Levi Hotel Spa) and quickly became their favourite mode of transport to get around Levi.
Go swimming in extreme cold
It’s not every day that you can swim in an outdoor heated pool whilst you are surrounded by snow and ice.
Visit traditional Sami homes
These traditional red wooden cabins are dotted across the landscape, and home to the native Sami people. With roughly only 4 hours of daylight in Lapland in December, when we arrived it was still getting light yet this set the scene perfectly with candlelit pathways across this magical winter wonderland.
Levi Lapland has one of the best ski resorts you probably have never heard of. It’s the perfect place to learn how to ski (you can read about our experience here) with great nursery slopes full of powdery snow and without the crowds that you would encounter at the traditional ski resorts in Europe.
Go on a Husky Dog Safari
Our husky dog safari was such an incredible moment. As we arrived at the farm we could hear the noise of the huskies ready take us on our adventure through snow covered trees and across frozen lakes.
Scale one of the highest mountains in Northern Finland
We took a gondola 300m to the top of one of the highest mountains in Levi – 170km north of the Arctic Circle. The 360 degree views were spectacular and we were lucky to catch a stunning sunset.
Help the Elves in their workshop
In the snow covered elf village we found the gingerbread house where we baked delicious gingerbread cookies with Mrs Claus and made Christmas crafts with the elves at their workshop.
Give Santa your Christmas wishlist
Seeing the look of astonishment when the children saw Santa Claus as we entered his cabin was priceless – Santa was everything we could have imagined and more.
Catch the Northern Lights
Seeing the Northern Lights still remains on our bucket list. There is no guarantee that you’ll see them as the weather conditions have to be perfect but if you are lucky enough to witness this spectacular light-show it will be something that you will never forget.