photo © Visit Rovaniemi
Lapland Holidays and best trips to Lapland
For most people considering a Lapland holiday, the winter season comes first to mind. Finnish Lapland is a unique winter holiday destination, where numerous activities can be combined with visits to Santa’s home; where endless night is lit by the Northern Lights.
Lapland’s most famous and celebrated resident is Santa Claus, and every year tens of thousands of visitors make trips to Lapland just to meet him, and to spend time at one of the resorts dedicated to him. The capital of Finnish Lapland, Rovaniemi, hosts two of these, Santa Claus Village and Santa Park, and a third, Santa’s Resort, opened in 2010 near Saariselkä; but visitors can also plan a Lapland trip to meet Santa in Luosto, Karesuvanto, Muonio, and other Lapland holiday resorts.
Skiing and snowboarding holidays are the next most common reason for making a trip to Lapland, with a dozen excellent resorts in the region to choose from. Indeed, Lapland is home to Finland’s two biggest ski resorts, Ylläs and Levi, with over 100 slopes combined. Although Lapland lacks the steep slopes of the Alps or the Rockies, the ski resorts make up for it by being particularly family friendly, providing a wide range of other off-piste activities that everyone can enjoy. These include husky-sleigh and reindeer-sleigh rides through pristine snowy forests, snowmobiling, ice-karting or driving a rally-car on the ice, or climbing frozen waterfalls. Another adventurous option becoming more popular is spending a night in ‘snow accommodation’, with Snow Hotels, Snow Villages, Ice Bars & Restaurants, and even Igloo Hotels now located in Rovaniemi, Lainio, Muonio, and Saariselkä.
In recent years the number of visitors making a trip to Lapland just to see the Aurora Borealis has increased dramatically, and there are now numerous agents dedicated to this specific type of green tourism. Of course, the Northern Lights season is longer than winter, beginning in September and continuing through until April. In addition to providing guides who can take you to the best locations to photograph this natural wonder, there are also dedicated resorts where you can spend the night in a glass igloo, or even take a ride in snowmobile-pulled perspex heated Aurora Sleighs!
Lapland isn’t only a winter holiday destination, and during the warmer months people take holidays in Lapland for a variety of very different reasons. For many, the attraction is the great outdoors: Finnish Lapland contains many of Europe’s last true wildernesses, making it an ideal destination for hikers, trekkers and cyclists. In fact, Lapland contains the three largest National Parks in the country, covering an area greater than 6,500 km2. Add the 12 wilderness areas, covering 15,000 km2, and 7 other protected areas, and the appeal is even greater.
There are plenty of other things to on do a trip to Lapland. The region boasts some of the best fishing in Europe, and with so many rivers and lakes it is perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and even white-water rafting. Others come to Lapland as budding nature photographers, hoping to get a shot of wolves, bears or wolverines, or as birdwatchers. In Tankavaara Gold Village you can even pan for gold!