Lapland is a wonderful world of dwarfs, elves and Santa Claus
Where, as in the residence of Santa Claus, is the best place to celebrate Christmas! What kid does not dream to see Santa's Residence with hardworking dwarfs and elves! What adult does not want to dip into the tale leaving everyday worries behind! Christmas holidays in Lapland is a perfect idea for a memorable holiday for your whole family.
What is Lapland
Lapland is not a separate state, but a cultural region, whose population are Sami. The region is divided between several countries: Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia (the Kola Peninsula). So do not be surprised when you hear ‘Swedish Lapland’ or ‘Finnish Lapland’.
Finnish Lapland is the northernmost province of the country. With its hills, small lakes and huge rocks, endless expanses of forest and turbulent rivers it is considered one of the most attractive areas of the country. Reindeer, polar night, the northern lights, Santa Claus, or Joulupukki, a real winter with frosts and underground dwarfs with untold wealth – this is Finnish Lapland.
Swedish Lapland is one of the last wild sanctuaries in Europe and the Sami homeland with their amazing culture and traditions. You feel as if the life stops here, the time slows down encouraging you to enjoy the local beauty. Harsh winters and hot summers, aurora borealis and midnight sun – welcome to Swedish Lapland.
Norwegian Lapland is a specific region of the country. A trip to the northernmost province of Norway – Finnmark – is like a journey into a fairy tale. A holiday in the ice or snow hotel, dog sledding, Santa Claus, the mysterious northern lights – each new day brings amazing discoveries.
Lapland is known primarily as the birthplace of Santa Claus. It is believed that Santa Claus has long lived near the border with Russia, on Korvatunturi, but in 1985 moved closer to the Arctic Circle. Now his official residence is located near the capital of Lapland, Rovaniemi, in Santa Claus Village with its own post office, which receives millions of letters from children every winter.
What to do in Lapland at Christmas
The main event, which attracts tourists to the winter holidays in Lapland is, of course, Christmas, and the main destination for both children and adults is Santa's Village and Santa Park, located 7 km from Rovaniemi, near the road E4 in the direction to Ivalo.
The Park receives visitors both in the winter season (from late November to mid-January) and summer (from June 18 to August 18). In winter, it is open from 10.00 to 18.00 every day, and in the summer – at the same time, but Sunday is a day off. In Santa Park, hard-working elves and other fairy tale creatures live.
Santa Park is located entirely underground, going for several tens of meters in depth. There are lot of tunnels laid inside the rock. After a long descent, you are greeted by the residents of Santa Park! There is also a large ball with snowflakes where not only elves but also big and small visitors of Santa Park play. In the Kingdom of the Ice Princess, you can sit on the ice throne and admire ice figures, have a cocktail at the ice bar. The bakery of Mrs. Santa invites you to try delicious ginger cookies and buy a souvenir. At the Elf Mail, you can send a postcard with a beautiful stamp to any part of the world. At the central square of Santa Park, there is a fancy-dress show every day which is every year different.
In addition to a visit to Santa Park you can find other no less interesting things to do in Lapland:
- Go on a tour of the Santa’s Village: reindeer safaris, skiing, snowmobile safaris to icebreaker Kami, a watching- tour of the Northern Lights, the Levi ski resort, Ranua Zoo, a night in a cozy cabin in the midst of the forest – the guided tours are offered both in the village and nearby hotels.
- To go to the ski resorts of Salla, Pyha and Suomu to go skiing and celebrate Christmas. On December 24, there are Christmas celebrations in Salla, and on December 31 at 7 pm there are fireworks for children, and at midnight – for adults.
- In Swedish Lapland the resorts of Abisko, Berkliden and Riksgransen are very popular. Snowmobiling, dog sledding and reindeer, the lunch on the Gulf of Bothnia on the ice near the town of Lulea awaits you, as well.
- Finnmark in Norway offers snowmobiling, dog sledding and reindeer, Sami ‘spa’ –bathing in a tub of hot water in the open air, the hunt for the fantastic northern lights, a visit to the ice hotel Alta Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel and snow hotel Kirkenes Snow Hotel, a tour to the northernmost point of Europe – the North Cape. At Christmas and New Year special tours with congratulations from Santa are offered.
Amazing Lapland prepared many interesting activities and excursions for the whole family.
In fact, in Lapland there are 5 seasons: hard winter, mild spring and autumn, short summer season and a mysterious nocturnal twilight – the polar night. For several weeks, it paints neighborhood in extraordinary blue, which makes the atmosphere of Christmas holidays in Lapland even more magical.
Weather in Lapland winter
Lapland is often called the ‘kingdom of eternal winter’. Lapland is characterized by long winters with frosts. In the winter, the polar night comes with no sun above the horizon. In the northernmost parts of Lapland you will not see the sun for fifty days. Where the sun pleases the locals with its light, from November to January the daylight is so short that it is hardly lasts more than four hours. The winter temperatures can drop to 50 below zero.
The snow in Lapland melts only at the end of the calendar spring. The lakes are still covered with thick ice; the air temperature often does not exceed 0 degrees until May, and there is still much snow. It is in late winter – early spring, when the polar night ends and in northern Lapland the ski season starts.
Where to stay in Lapland
Lapland tourism industry is well developed, and even during the most severe frosts, you can stay in a warm cozy cottage or hotel. Just in Finnish Lapland there are over hundred various hotels as well as owners of private homes that can collectively offer travelers about twenty thousand places to stay overnight. However, in every region of Lapland, there are favourite destinations and unique hotels with a high level of service.
1. The largestsettlementsin Finnish Laplandare Kemi, Rovaniemi, Kuusamo, Sodankyla, Kittila, Muonio, Ivalo, Kilpisjarvi, Nuorgama. The prices range from 40 to 1,000 Euros per night for double room, from modest cottages with facilities for several houses to great villas. Those who want to see the northern lights can stay in a real igloo in an ice hotel nearby Saaresilka.
2. Favourite cities in Swedish Lapland are Kiruna, Lulea, Overkaliks with average hotel prices of 50-180 Euros per a double room per night. In northern Sweden, there is a world-famous ICEHOTEL. In this hotel, built of snow and ice, you can try food and drinks from ice dishes and spend the night at a temperature of 5 below zero. Or you can stay at the Treehotel. This hotel in the trees is located not far from Lulea.
3. If you want to spend your Christmas holidays in Norwegian Lapland, pay attention to Finnmark: there is a great choice of hotels here, however, the prices are slightly higher than in other Lapland regions (from 90 Euros for a double room in a modest guesthouse).
Lapland for Christmas is the most popular destination so you should plan a trip and book tickets long beforehand (sometimes, even a year before).
Useful tips for travelers
To spend your best holidays you should prepare in advance and consider some nuances:
- The nature conditions in Lapland are very different in different seasons. When planning a trip, take care for the right clothes for a cold season.
- In Sweden, not the euro but the local currency - Swedish krona is more accustomed, and the farther to the north of the country the less you will meet Euros in circulation, and the cards are not always in use.
- In addition, there are few gas stations in the north. As a rule, they are located only in the large settlements and often work only until 18-19. There are also fully automated gas stations. You can pay by card or cash but remember that the machine does not give change.
- Remember that at the ski resorts of Lapland, there are hotels of all categories. If you are going to rest with your whole family pay attention to the special deals for hotels which include accommodation and entrance tickets to many tourist sites. Some hotels let free stay with children under 12 years.
- At the reception of many hotels you can choose a tour: there are about the same tours offered at the same price.
Lapland isa mysterious and beautiful region in Northern Scandinavia which gives you an opportunity to not only spend a memorable holiday but also create a personal fairy tale to the whole family.