Victoria runs Bridges and Balloons, a blog that specializes in special places to stay and carefully curated itineraries and guides for creative people and families.
For me, there’s nothing quite as magical as a winter wonderland, and Lapland is the perfect place for that. My 4-day trip to Lapland in winter helped me craft this guide to help you find that magical holiday spirit. While December would be an incredible time to visit, the holiday spirit is strong in Lapland throughout the winter.
1. Visit Santa Claus Village
Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi is a must for any holiday trip to Lapland. It’s the epicenter of all things Christmas and where you can visit Santa in his office all year round. It’s home to Santapark, a theme park where you can do all sorts of Christmas activities, from visiting a gingerbread bakery to hanging out with elves at the Elf School Experience. There’s also a ride on a magic train, and the chance to meet all sorts of magical beings from ice princesses to elves and Mrs. Gingerbread.
Although much of Santa Claus Village is open all year round, there are some seasonal activities, such as Snowman World, a whole world made of snow and complete with an ice bar. Santa Claus Village is on the Arctic Circle and the line of the circle is marked by a strip of bright blue lights running through the center.
You can even send a letter from the onsite post office, marked with a special Arctic Circle postmark, and telling your loved ones about your Lapland Christmas holiday. If you’re only in Lapland for a day, this is the place to go as it also has the chance to experience many of the other things on this list, all on one site.
2. Take a reindeer sleigh ride
They may not fly, but traveling in a sleigh still feels like magic. Visiting a reindeer farm is a great way to learn about traditional Lappish culture. Meet the reindeer herders and learn about their history and everyday life. You’ll also have time to meet the reindeer and feed them while taking plenty of photos.
The real highlight is cozying up in blankets in a picture-perfect sled while dashing through the snow, followed by some hot drinks and biscuits in a traditional Lappish hut. It’ll bring out the childlike wonder in even the biggest Scrooge.
3. Spot the Northern Lights
The most coveted prize on a trip to Lapland is seeing the Northern Lights. Of course, there’s no way to guarantee it, which means if you do get lucky, it feels all the more special. The mystical dance of the colored lights across the sky is one of the earth’s most spectacular sights, and a memory you’ll never forget. They are best seen in the darkest places and there are all sorts of tours you can join to go out in search of them by night.
I definitely recommend taking a tour as the experts know how to read the forecast and find the places where you’re most likely to find them. You can do anything from minivan tours to sleigh rides and reindeer safaris.
4. Go on a snowmobile adventure
The Lapland winter scenery looks straight out of a Christmas card, and one of the most fun ways to explore that landscape is by snowmobile. You can take snowmobile tours where you get to master the art of driving one by yourself while following trails through the snowy forests, led by an experienced guide. It’s one of the most exhilarating things to do in Lapland.
5. Hang out with some huskies
Visiting a husky farm is a quintessential Lapland experience. You’ll spend time hanging out with the gorgeous wolf-like dogs. Learn all about how they’re cared for before you take off on a husky sled ride. They go a lot faster than I’d imagined and it was definitely one of my Lapland highlights. As with all Lapland experiences, expect hot drinks to keep you warm (the Finnish are specialists in keeping cozy!).