Lapland is Finland’s northernmost region. A real winter wonderland where you can experience amazing Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), meet Santa Claus, see the brightest stars, ski, and much more.
Lapland is not the cheapest place to travel but it is definitely worth it! We would recommend booking with a travel agency like we did with Timetravels. This way you don’t have to worry about anything since everything will be organized for you including activities and shopping (stores are limited and really far).
We went to Lapland on December 16 – 22. Just before Christmas, which was even more magical. Here is our itinerary:
DAY 1 – Departure Day
We departed from Tampere around midnight. It was a very long ride of ~12 hours.
DAY 2 – Ranua Zoo and Santa Claus Village
- Ranua Zoo: we stopped by on the way to Santa’s Village. Ranua Zoo is the northernmost zoo in Finland and the second in the world. It was very interesting to see how a zoo works during a cold winter and the type of animals they have there.
- The official Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland. We took a photo with Santa Claus and sent postcards to our families! Then we continued our journey to Vasatokka, (another 300+ km).
💎TIP: The lines to see Santa Claus are long, so better go there first if you have limited time as we did.
- Grocery Shopping: a funny thing is that there are limited shops in the very north of Lapland so we had to do ALL our shopping here since the closest shop to our cabin was more than 10 km away.
- Arrival in Saariselkä: we had time to install in our cottage and sauna.
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DAY 3 – Winter activities
Waking up and not understanding what time of day it is because of the eternal darkness is a strange feeling. Some light barely appeared for around 3 – 4 hours, but we never actually saw Sun. It’s a strange but at the same time, an amazing experience.
- Arctic Challenge activity: ice fishing, quinzee building and other fun outdoor activities.
- Snowshoe hike with BBQ: one of the best experiences of our lives! Teams had to compete in order to find 4 hidden objects necessary to make the BBQ fire. Walking in ~35 cm deep snow at -15°C in the middle of the night was definitely a unique experience. That night, we got to see a lot of Northern Lights dancing in the sky for almost an hour!
💎TIP: Having a camera is very convenient. In real life they are beautiful, but not as bright as you can see them in through a photo camera.
DAY 4 – Arctic Ocean Tour (Norway)
- Day trip to Bugøynes, Norway: a fishing village with only 230 habitants located in the very north of Norway near the border with Russia. On the way there, we stopped to see a very old Sámi church and some houses. Then, we went to Jäämeren Sauna which is situated on a small hill right next to the Arctic Ocean where you can take a dip if you get too hot, another unforgettable experience! After the sauna, we visited a local restaurant where we had the most delicious fish soup in the world.
💡FACT: Bugøynes was one of very few places that was not burnt and destroyed by German planes during the II World War because they never spotted it.
DAY 5 – Reindeer Farm
- Reindeer farm: reindeer are Lapland’s symbol and Santa Claus’s most important helpers, so we couldn’t miss the opportunity to see them there. We had the chance to feed them and interact with them. Then, they gave us a ride on a sledge. It was a fascinating experience.
- Sami culture experience: after the reindeer ride, we visited a local Sami cottage where we got to talk to a Sami family about their culture and even try their coffee and some snacks. Also, there is a shop with all kinds of Sami handcrafts. Beautiful souvenirs!
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💡FACT: reindeer are semi-wild; they’re owned by someone but they are free to roam wherever they want. They tend to hang around in the same area all their lives, and usually only go as far as 60km.
DAY 6 – Ski and trip back to Tampere
- Ski: there were a lot of falls and fails but also a lot of fun. Then we had some free time to explore a little around the area and have lunch.
- Departure back to Tampere.
Other extra activities: Aurora bus hunt, Snowmobile Safari, Spa, Husky safari.
We believe that 5 – 7 days in Lapland is more than enough to experience it for a decent amount of money. We are talking about 350 – 500€ depending on how many extra activities you choose (usually they are around 35€ each).
We would definitely recommend to do at least the activities we did, because they were worth every euro spent. In general, you might find Lapland being overpriced but it definitely is a bucket list trip to remember for a lifetime.
Eva & Tautvy – #nomadfaces 👫