THE Lapland it has its own flag, territory spread over four countries, original tribe and even an official language.
So, there’s very little of the fictional land where Santa Claus lives… But there are some things we still find hard to believe: the extraordinary white landscapes with a blue filter and the dazzling effects on the sky provided by the aurora borealis.
The magical land where it’s Christmas all year round really exists and the best thing is that we have all the necessary information for an unforgettable trip to Lapland; then we present everything you should take advantage of while touring the Nordic lands within the Arctic Circle.
Given such a remote location, don’t forget warm clothes! In winter, the average temperature is around minus 7º, and can reach -30º.
The main destination of the Sami region (name of the native people of Lapland), is Rovaniemi, north of the Arctic Circle; being the capital of Lapland, this is also the official residence of Santa Claus and where, every year, around two million letters full of requests for toys arrive.
The post office is, moreover, one of the main attractions of this city that presents itself as a childhood Christmas dream come true.
To reach Lapland, you will first have to travel to the Finnish capital, Helsinki?? Then you have to travel 835 kilometers, which can be done by plane (40 minutes), train (10 hours), bus or car (ideal with milder temperatures).
On the train journey, it is possible to sleep in the carriages, crossing a large part of the Nordic Finnish forest, in a journey consistent with the Christmas imagery.
What to do, where to eat and where to sleep in Lapland
Santa Claus Village
The first must-see in Lapland is the Santa Claus village, for friends, Santa Claus. It is a small village already inside the forest that borders Rovaniemi. In Santa Claus Village is the much visited Post office (Santa’s Main Post Office).
After sending the letter to Santa Claus and putting it in the post with the special North Pole stamp, you can still take the little ones for a ride on the carousel, play in the Elves workshop or even watch a Christmas show; for the adults, there is also, and if you are in need of refreshment, a picturesque ice bar.
Still inside Santa’s village, you can do what will probably be a unique experience: safaris with reindeer or huskies.
On a sleigh, but no presents to give, make a true symbiosis with the North Pole habitat on an epic journey powered by local animals.
Five minutes away from Santa Claus Village is the theme park Santa Park?? Christmas is really Lapland’s forte – it couldn’t be any other way, could it? – and on the side of the same road is “Santa Claus’s cave house”.
The magic train, the school of the elves, the ice princess and Santa himself make this indoor theme park one of the best, if not the best, Christmas destinations in the world.
Arktikum – Science Center and Museum
In a privileged location and with spectacular views of the sky and the icy horizon, a visit to the Arktikum is worth not only for the visual experience but also for its historical and scientific richness.
Facing the arctic, this house collects and processes information about the remote and even inhospitable region that is Lapland.
Words do little justice to the beauty and sensation felt when seeing an aurora borealis. Given as rare phenomena, there is a higher frequency in the Nordic lands and all of Lapland has a great fertile ground (sky) for this to happen.
Also known as the Northern Lights, there are several guides online on how to be more conducive to being able to watch the stars dance across the arctic sky.
Levi ski resort
A two-hour drive north of Rovaniemi is one of the most popular ski resorts in Finland. With dazzling landscapes – and a sky conducive to auroras -, this resort has many programs and activities to do in groups and with the kids.
With special packages for important dates, many families choose to spend Christmas or New Year’s Eve there. The village has many accommodation solutions, of different types, whether resort or local accommodation, including wooden huts in the snow.
Where to eat
There is no more typical place than a wooden hut with a fireplace in the middle of Lapland and luckily it is also an excellent restaurant!
Kotahovi, from the typicality of the space to the gastronomy, is a true journey through Scandinavian culture. Salmon and reindeer soup with mashed potatoes are some of the specialties.
With a higher price per person than the previous one, this Scandinavian food restaurant is one of the highest rated in Rovaniemi. For this, in addition to the excellent presentation and author’s production, it counts on the aesthetics and elegance of the space.
The Sky Kitchen is the restaurant at the Hotel Sky, which has recently undergone renovations, reopening this December, yet another ingredient to take a look at the renowned restaurant which also has a spectacular unobstructed view over the city.
The raw Finnish food tradition is at Kammi in the village of Levi, home to the aforementioned popular ski resort.
And when we refer to gastronomic tradition, of course, we are contemplating reindeer meat dishes, served in various ways and shapes. The atmosphere is cozy and warm, contrasting with the temperatures felt outside.
You can opt for the traditional hotel, either in Levi or in the capital Rovaniemi.
However, a total experience in Lapland always calls for special accommodation and in this field there are several interesting solutions, such as aged wooden huts, glass igloos or ice hotels!