Christmas is on the way and there’s nothing kids of all ages dream about more at this time of year than the visit of Santa Claus. I have always wanted to experience the shimmering snowy landscapes of the Arctic Circle with a holiday in Lapland.
In 2012 Lapland accommodation businesses in Finland had bookings that added up to 2.4 million nights as visitors flocked to enjoy the Christmas season. In fact visitor numbers have increased by 54 per cent over the past 10 years. Here are some tips for where and how to plan a winter holiday to Lapland.
There are actually a number of places you can go on a Lapland trip to meet Father Christmas, including in both Finland and Sweden.
Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi may not have actually been created by busy elves but it is a stunning place to enjoy a winter holiday.
Then there is the even more northerly Lapp town of Saariselkä, tucked away in an unspoilt wilderness surrounded by snow-laden forests.
Saariselkä is 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle and from here you can take a reindeer-drawn sleigh ride to the Igloo Fantasia, which features an ice bar, ice sculptures, an Elf Wonderland Workshop, games and an elf show.
Make sure you read the fine print of your holiday information and won’t be meeting the big guy along with a coach-load of other families.
Hunt for the Northern Lights
This year – 2013 – offers the best chance of seeing the northern lights in 11 years, according to NASA predictions. Go on an Aurora Borealis hunt in the silence and space of Lapland.
In Kemi the unique Olokolo pod offers a warm but sheltered spot to watch the night sky. Northern lights hunts are also offered at the traditional reindeer farm of Lumikylä Torasieppi and at the Muotka Wilderness Lodge in Saariselkä.
You can find out all about the science behind the northern lights at the Aurora Borealis exhibition at the Arktikum Science Museum in Rovaniemi.
Snow and nature adventures
Go on a reindeer-pulled sleigh ride; ski on the driest, fluffiest snow; make a snowman and have a snowball fight. An unforgettable snowmobile or husky dog sledding safari is the perfect way to experience the winter wonderland magic.
Ranua is a great place to see Arctic wildlife and how about sleeping in a Sami tent upon the frozen Arctic tundra of Swedish Lapland?
Lapland here I come!