Lapland is not just about Santa! Here’s TEN exciting things to do in Lapland!
This week I am joined by an extra special guest writer. My six year old niece Marisa joined us for ‘Santa’s Festive Adventure‘ in Lapland and is desperate to share her experience. For her thoughts, head straight to the bottom of the post, otherwise read on to find out what grown up kiddies might enjoy in this magical land with these ten exciting things to do in Lapland. If you wish to explore further afield, check out these other fabulous things to do in Finland by Pretty Wild World.
Lapland appears to have been sprinkled in fairy dust. From the snow-covered streets to the shimmering lights twinkling on gigantic Christmas trees, there’s something magical about Lapland. Sunrise comes late here, inky black nights fade into pink and orange skies whilst wisps of cloud create fabulous patterns in the sky. Welcome to the enchantment of Santa Claus land.
But it certainly isn’t all about Santa Claus. There are many enchanting activities to create a fun filled weekend so here is my itinerary for an enchanting winter wonderland weekend in Lapland. Prepare yourself for a bumper TEN things to do on this action-packed trip.
Saturday morning – four thrilling things
Yes there are reindeer in the village but there’s also plenty of other thrills to encourage whoops and hollers of delight. Our trip included tasters of the key attractions designed to whet your appetite and encourage you to book onto a longer trip.
Husky dog sleigh rides
First to the husky dogs where we whoop with glee, huge grins plastered on our faces as we whip around a snow covered circuit. The huskies bark impatiently as they strain at their leads and as soon as the brake releases, they hurtle off, their howls piercing the early morning glow. Families attempt to capture the perfect moment on film but most will be disappointed as the dogs are so desperate to escape, the photos are just a blur of legs and tails.
A rather more sedate affair, reindeer plod along in no rush. After all, they have to save their energy for the biggest night of the year which is just around the corner! My niece tries to fire them up with her magical reindeer food, but after the first tentative sniff (note: watch those antlers which threaten to take out children’s eyes), they snub her food in favour of plain snow.
Some of you may know that my last snowmobile adventure almost turned into disaster l as I narrowly avoided crashing into a tree. With this horror still fresh in my mind, I opt to join Marisa on the snowmobile, sleigh ride. I leave Jason to the more exhilarating driving experience but even he is more Miss Daisy than Lewis Hamilton thanks to some less thrill-seeking guests blocking his path.
As Marisa and I crest a small hill, we feel a little lift and are momentarily airborne. Maybe this is the way Santa really travels these days. That would at least explain why the reindeer don’t need Marisa’s magical food!
Sledging is a serious affair in Finland. New arrivals soon realise the only way for anyone under ten to travel is laid, cramped, squished or sleeping in a sledge. Parents drag around exhausted kids wallowing in the pleasure of having parents do all the hard work. Trust me, it definitely beats carrying them and is the best €12.50 euros I suspect I will ever spend. We pass endless hours hurtling down mini mountains flying through the air and narrowly avoiding disaster.
Slowly Marisa grows in confidence as she starts to figure out how to steer herself and before long she is up and down those hillsides like a pro. It’s in stark contrast to one of her first descents on the nursery slope where uncle Jason unleashes her and in a desperate attempt to avoid an errant adult, she heads smack into the side of the tunnel. I try desperately to run up the hill whilst laughing to find Marisa bawling whilst glaring evilly at the ‘naughty man’.
Sunday morning – four more delights
Santa’s post office
Another day arrives and this time we head to the Santa Claus village. Quaint, thick timbered chalets hide in the woods and elves greet us as we stomp snow off our shoes. Children squeal and chatter as they decorate gingerbread biscuits, paint Christmas tree decorations and write letters to friends and family back home. Even some adults get in on the action!
Visiting Mrs Claus
The elves come round to chatter to the children but before long it’s time to head over to see Mrs Claus. Dressed in a bright red dress she welcomes us with a beaming smile, pouring cups of hot chocolate for her visitors. Inside we find decorative papers to make Christmas cards and watch as the kids cut, glue and stick assorted shapes to their cards.
Off to see Santa
From Mrs claus’s house, we head to see the big man himself. He’s pretty popular with a huge queue of people waiting to visit him. We stamp our feet in the cold snow trying to bring life into them and keep refilling our hot berry juices. Eventually it’s our turn and an elf invites us inside where Santa sits all warm and toasty by the fire.
Without a hint of shyness Marisa rushes into his arms proudly telling him that she has been very good. Mmm, not sure mum and dad would agree! He snuggles in for photos and hands her a little present, but before long we are ushered back out of the cosy cottage and heading to the teepee for an Arctic Circle ceremony.
Arctic circle ceremony
Inside the gloomy teepee, a fire crackles in a huge metal drum, and a somber looking Sami Eskimo tells us tales of the windy tundra. He offers us reindeer milk (I’m pretty sure it’s come from a bottle!) and explains how those who drink reindeer milk will return one day as a reindeer. Everyone has to be initiated into reindeer life with antlers made from ash smudged onto their foreheads.
As we prepare to leave, Santa emerges from his cabin and wearily walks down the pathway to greet Mrs Claus. We grab another quick photo and then head to our buses to give Mr and Mrs Claus a huge wave as we pass.
We head off for yet another husky ride at the husky farm, nestled inside the forest on the banks of a frozen lake. We board our sledge for a 2km sprint across the lake and through the woodlands. Tree branches whip at our backs, the dogs howling with glee as they race around the path. Its more like a fairground ride as the sledge bumps and flies with us laughing and squealing with delight.
Afterwards we head to see the eight-week old husky puppies, wolves and foxes which line the enclosures. It is an expensive afternoon but I swear, for an adventure that was most definitely not on my bucket list, I will be forever grateful to Marisa for wanting to go on this one.
Magical skies and starry nights
Remember though, winter in Lapland is not all about Santa Claus or Christmas. The winter skies are something to behold. The blackest of nights merge into the pinkest of days, with a mere hint of blue. By day, the skies hint at Armageddon but by night you could be forgiven for thinking you were on the set of ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.’
Apart from the joy of seeing children captivated by elves and other magical activities, walking the frozen lake at night admiring the bright skies is a memory which will stay with me forever. Lying in the cold snow in our thick snow suits, no light pollution to mar the skies, we admire uninterrupted views of stars. Jason even spots a shooting star! We don’t see the northern lights, but it is truly a magical moment. As an aside, if you wish to see the Northern Lights yourself, Allison of Eternal Arrival has some great tips for this Northern lights on a budget.
So what does my six year old guest writer think? Let’s hear from her directly. By the way, if you are wondering she typed this herself which was pretty amazing.
What does Marisa think?
I liked going in the snow and swimming pools (Anne: Levi has a fabulous spa complex with indoor and outdoor pools). I loved seeing Santa, and Mrs Claus because she makes nice hot chocolate. I thought the baby huskies were cute and the long bumpy husky ride made me laugh.
I didn’t like hurting my bum sledging but I did like going down the hill on my own. I liked it because it was fun and on the last day I saw my friend called Miya.
I liked decorating biscuits with icing in different colours, drinking sprite and eating donuts.
I liked going to the parties in my party dresses, doing the games and dancing. (Anne: note packages to Lapland include a party night and a Gala dinner night where the kids are entertained and parents can relax with a drink!)
I liked the elves because I loved their freckles. They were kind and danced and sang a song at the airport when we left.
I liked doing snow angels but I didn’t like crashing into the snow tunnel.
I think every child should go to Lapland because it’s very very fun.
Anne: Aw, isn’t she cute?! But then I am totally biased. To experience first-hand Marisa’s weekend, check out the short video below. I dare you not to find this sweet!