What it is prefer to take a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Finland’s Arctic to see Santa

Editor’s word: It is a recurring publish, up to date with new data.

In northern Finland, tucked beneath the snow-covered timber, you may discover reindeer-led sleighs, elves, kid-size snowmobiles, glass domes made for viewing the northern lights and … Santa’s cottage.

From the second the playful (and typically naughty) elves greet you in Ivalo, Finland, to after they lead you in Christmas songs on buses as you make your strategy to the Lapland area to satisfy Santa, this journey embraces all issues Christmas in a manner that even Buddy the Elf would admire.

I might know, as my household and I went all in on the magic and booked a bundle to see Santa in northern Finland final yr. The journey to seek out Santa not solely ticked off a once-in-a-lifetime expertise my youngsters will cherish eternally, nevertheless it additionally helped convey a few of the vacation magic again that had been lacking all through the coronavirus pandemic.

When you’re hoping to embark on this unbelievable journey to the Lapland area of Finland to come back face-to-face with Santa, listed below are 5 issues that you must know.

It is breathtakingly stunning

This a part of the world could also be distant, harsh and unforgiving, however additionally it is really magnificent in a manner that takes your (frozen) breath away.

Throughout the winter holidays, it by no means will get really vivid, however the noon twilight shining on a blanket of white snow is one thing straight out of a storybook you must see for your self.


Whether or not you personally go in the hunt for Santa or simply wish to expertise a spot that appears so magical you may discover it exhausting to consider it is actual, you may love exploring this a part of the Arctic.


We discovered it each bit as mesmerizing as we’d hoped. From reindeer sleigh rides to canine sledding, we noticed and did issues that took us very exterior our consolation norms … in a great way. It was like we have been residing in a fairy story flanked with fur and elves.

Join our each day e-newsletter


You’ll be able to go to by yourself or by means of a packaged tour

It is attainable to go to one of many cities or villages that Santa frequents within the Lapland area of Finland with out being on an organized tour, however if you wish to hit the straightforward button on planning, a tour would be the easiest answer.

We went with Santa’s Lapland, which provides three- and four-day journeys from the UK to Finland.

Whereas these packages are fairly dear (put together your self for sticker shock), know that the journey does embrace constitution flights from the U.Ok., lodging and floor transfers in Finland, all meals (besides just a few lunches), the usage of thermal snow gear and quite a lot of winter actions — corresponding to canine sled rides, reindeer sleigh rides and snowmobiling. Most significantly, you may even have the possibility to hunt for Santa’s hidden home.

Associated: 8 of one of the best locations to go to in December


You’ll be able to guide a few add-on actions corresponding to northern lights-viewing excursions and snowshoeing to reinforce your expertise, however given how busy your journey might be with all of the inclusions, you could wish to chorus from packing your go to with many additional adventures. We added a number of actions to our journey, and whereas they have been fulfilling, if I needed to do it once more, I might solely tack on just a few hours of a snowboarding session for the reason that slopes are shut by.

In complete, our three-night “Santa’s Aurora” journey for 2 adults and two youngsters required paying rather less than 6,000 kilos (or practically $7,000) earlier than we added on additional actions, which price between 25 kilos ($28) and 114 kilos ($128) per individual. To avoid wasting cash, take into account selecting one of many extra reasonably priced two-day packages, which begin round 1,100 kilos ($1,234) per grownup, with diminished charges accessible for kids.


If shelling out hundreds of {dollars} for a bundle would not sound like the suitable possibility for you, know that planning your personal journey can be an possibility. That is what I might do to economize the subsequent time round.

Relatively than guide a bundle, I’d possible join by means of Helsinki and goal Rovaniemi, Finland, as our remaining vacation spot. Like final time, I might use ANA miles to fly enterprise class to Europe and again for 88,000 miles per ticket. You’ll be able to switch miles to ANA from American Categorical’ Membership Rewards program, making this feature attainable for these with playing cards like The Platinum Card® from American Categorical.

Do you have to resolve to take this route, you may then hop aboard the in a single day Santa Claus Categorical practice to finish the 12-hour journey from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. Whereas there are extra budget-friendly commonplace seats accessible, I might recommend paying somewhat extra for a cabin, as they’ve beds, with some additionally providing personal bogs.

As soon as in Rovaniemi, you may pursue whichever winter actions are most interesting to you. A number of operators can be found for canine sledding excursions, northern lights outings and extra. They will replenish quick, although, so you should definitely schedule your most popular actions as far upfront as attainable.


Associated: Northern lights viewing season is again: Listed below are one of the best locations to see them

The expertise is in contrast to anything

When you do resolve to buy a bundle to see Santa in Finland, be prepared to really go all in for just a few days. From the second you arrive to the day you depart, you may pay attention to what time of yr it’s and who you are on the town to see.


After we boarded the included Jet2holidays airplane for our constitution flight to Finland from the U.Ok., it was clear this was removed from an atypical flight. Lightning on the airplane was a deep purple hue, and Christmas carols have been sung at 36,000 ft.


After we landed in Finland and headed to baggage declare, we noticed naughty elves laughing and spinning round on baggage carts as they sneakily despatched our luggage again on the belt and out of our sight.

Within the ensuing days, they’d throw snowballs, mess with folks’s hats and trigger a variety of hassle — nevertheless it was all the time in good enjoyable. As long as you lean into this Christmas chaos, you may totally benefit from the expertise.


Associated: Vacation airfare is rising: What to know if you have not booked but


The lodge included in our bundle was Star Arctic Lodge, a higher-end possibility you may also guide by yourself.

Situated a bit away from city however proper on the slopes of Saariselkä, Europe’s northernmost ski resort, Star Arctic Lodge is a perfect place for outdoorsy varieties.


There are just a few completely different lodging choices, two of which we tried out throughout our keep.

For the primary night time of our go to, we slept in a spectacular Aurora Glass Cabin that had a number of home windows for viewing the northern lights. Luck was not on our facet, because the northern lights didn’t make an look for us, however we nonetheless loved waking as much as an unobstructed view of the snowy panorama.


After our transient stint in a cabin, we moved to a collection with a sauna for the rest of our keep. It was somewhat tight for the 4 of us, nevertheless it did the trick. The personal sauna inside our suite was a terrific place to unwind after an energetic day within the chilly.

Associated: 8 unbelievable igloo motels to go to this winter

Canine sledding and snowmobiling

Once I first heard that our bundle included canine sledding, I assumed we’d be passengers using alongside tucked below the blankets with an skilled information on the helm. Wow, was I improper.

As a substitute of being chauffeured round such as you would in upscale winter locations like Aspen or Vail, Colorado, we have been within the driver’s seat … actually. After a quick lesson, I took the reins and steered myself and my daughter down the snowy trails. It was equal components terrifying and exhilarating

Different actions listed below are additionally extremely immersive, making them that rather more enjoyable (and wilder) to partake in.

For our snowmobiling journey, we didn’t merely head out on full-size snowmobiles with the youngsters in a separate cart being pulled alongside. We had the chance to present my 6-year-old an opportunity to get in on the motion and drive a miniature snowmobile connected to a pole. It was a bucket record expertise I am sure my daughter will keep in mind for the remainder of her life.


Associated: Want somewhat Christmas? 8 locations that really feel like a vacation film

The meals

As a result of we booked a Santa’s Lapland bundle, all our meals have been included except for some lunches. Every was served buffet-style.

Total, the meals was high-quality, nevertheless it was not the spotlight of our journey. There have been hen nuggets and french fries accessible for youths at most meals, however count on the majority of the choices to be extra conventional Finnish dishes. Hopefully you want salmon, as it is a common fixture on the buffet.

You probably have choosy eaters in your crew, double-check the menus upfront, pack snacks and perhaps make a grocery retailer run to make sure they’ve all the things they should keep content material at mealtime.


Associated: The 15 finest Christmas markets in Europe

The shared expertise

Reserving a packaged tour means that you’ll be round different households for a number of days. So, pack somewhat persistence and understanding, as you could come throughout a robust persona or two in your group.


For essentially the most half, this wasn’t an enormous deal for us, as we have been all simply thrilled to be someplace so particular.

No matter what language our companions spoke or the place they got here from, it was clear that everybody understood how distinctive of a possibility a visit like this was. They have been simply as desirous to savor as many seconds of the expertise as we have been.


Associated: From Branson, Missouri, to Newport Seashore, California, here is our information to 13 of one of the best vacation gentle exhibits within the US

You will meet the person of the season

Touring to Finland’s Lapland area won’t solely convey you up near Santa’s home. You will additionally get an opportunity to see Santa for your self.

On the finish of a reindeer-led sleigh experience by means of the snow on our final full day, we came across some elves at an lovely purple hut hidden within the timber.

I’m unsure if the elves have been actually thrilled that we occurred upon such a particular spot within the magical woods, however they readily welcomed us in all the identical.


After lacking seeing Santa in individual in 2020 and touring hundreds of miles to try to discover him in 2021, it was fairly the expertise to be welcomed into his cozy cottage.


He was as form as you’d count on. By some means, he had the letters the youngsters despatched to him weeks earlier, a personalized effect that added an additional little bit of magic to an already magical expertise.


Associated: Why (and the way) I rescheduled my father-daughter journey to see Santa on the ‘North Pole’

It is actually, actually chilly within the Arctic

Whereas Santa’s cottage is heat and comfy, the outside is a special story. Regardless of the abundance of snow proven in images, it isn’t till you step foot in northern Finland that you simply understand simply how chilly it’s.

Temperatures hovered round 0 levels Fahrenheit throughout a lot of our late-November go to. The truth is, it was so chilly that simply strolling two minutes throughout the car parking zone to the reception space’s restaurant was about all we might do with out getting in full thermal gear.


When you might fear about all of the gear required to remain heat, know that some necessities might be offered when you arrive — for those who guide an organized tour.

Make sure to pack good base layers and cozy garments to layer below the clunky thermal fits you may obtain out of your tour information. You will additionally wish to convey glove liners, hats, thick wool socks and neck heaters.


Even with the offered gear plus the layers introduced from house, it’s nonetheless actually chilly at occasions (particularly when the wind will get going) — however do not let it cease you from having enjoyable. As soon as bundled up, the temperatures have been doable for intervals of time — even for my 6-year-old.


Nonetheless, know that your hair and eyelashes will really feel frozen (and should look that manner in images), as something uncovered for any size of time will grow to be critically chilled in a rush.

Associated: Your full information to maximizing vacation purchases

Backside line

We’ve skied in Canada, visited Alaska and even explored Norway, however nothing fairly compares to the expertise of assembly Santa in his snowy house within the woods.

Each household journey is particular and memorable in its personal manner, however after the couple of years we’ve had and the issues we’ve all missed out on, this primary huge journey post-pandemic was really unforgettable. Visiting the Lapland area of Finland was so completely different and distinctive that it’s eternally etched in our collective story banks.

You do not have to go all the way in which to the Arctic to seek out vacation magic, however for those who do resolve to make the journey, whether or not by yourself or by means of a bundle tour, you may possible stroll away with many recollections to final a lifetime.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button