Few days ago we released our latest video about winter activities in Lapland. I loved it so much that I felt like I had to write about all the things you can do in Lapland in winter time. The winter season will be ending in about one month from now, but the message of this post will be valid for many winters. I hope that it will help travellers who plan to visit Lapland in the future.
When is a good time to visit Lapland?
This should be the first question that you have to answer before buying the flight tickets to any Lappish airports if you are planning to do winter activities. For some unknown reason some people think that Lapland is covered by snow for the whole year, and some others that we have 6 months of summer and 6 months of dark night… And all that is far from reality.
If you plan to come and do the winter activities that you have seen in the video, you need to have enough snow. The best time for this is normally between de first of December to the first week of April.
Some of you come already in November or later in April, and for those I would recommend travelling to the northern destinations of Lapland, such as Saariselkä (accesible from Ivalo airport).
Winter activities in Lapland
Now that you know when to visit us in the north of Finland, and have chosen the destination (Rovaniemi, Luosto, Saariselkä, Levi or Ylläs), it is time to present you briefly what to do once you are here!
This is part of what I call the trilogy of the activities that you can do in winter: snowmobiles, huskies and reindeer excursions. Personally I like most the snowmobile safaris.
The price for all the activities includes a full thermal equipment to enjoy them. After getting the equipment, the guide will lead you to the snowmobile parking area. He will brief you about how to drive the snowmobile and then you will be ready to start the adventure, driving on frozen rivers and lakes, doing maybe some ice-fishing. You will race on the snowy forest and up and down the fells of Lapland. There are many different routes depending on the type of safari and on the actual destination you have chosen.
Good to know of the snowmobile excursions
The normal price is based on 2 persons sharing a snowmobile, but if you want to have one just for you, you can pay the single supplement and be sure that no one else will drive your machine.
The children will travel sitting on a sledge behind a snowmobile of one of the guides.
All the snowmobiles are insured, but as it happens when you rent a car, there is a personal liabilty which is 980 EUR per snowmobile. It is advisable to contract the self liability waiver. By paying 15 EUR more, you can reduce the maximum liability to 15o EUR… which make a huge difference in case you crash the machine
If snowmobiles are my favourite excursions, husky safaris are the favourite of the majority. Imagine yourself driving your own sledge pulled by a team of eager huskies. These amazingly strong animals will surprise you as soon as you arrive to the husky farm. You’ll find them all barking like crazy waiting for the time to leave. Once they start running, they will calm down and the only noise that you will hear, will be the sledge on the snow.
Good to know for the husky excursions
Do you want to enjoy a full ride with huskies? Then be sure that you don’t combine this activity with others, such as Snowmobile to husky farm or Reindeer safari to husky farm, as on those the husky part is just a short ride.
The adults will travel on the sledge: one will stand behind, on the runners, and will be the driver. The other one will be sitting in the sledge. In mid-way, they will change the position, so both parties will be able to drive.
The kids, depending on the farm, will drive on the sledge with the parents or in a bigger sledge with all the kids, driven by one of the musher guides.
Welcome to the most tradicional way of moving around the Lappish landscape. The reindeer will make you feel as the Sami people felt on the old times, when they used the reindeer for their no madic migrations. When you travel on a reindeer sledge, just enjoy the forest and the quietness of the most authentic Lapland.
Good to know for the reindeer excursions
During the reindeer excursions, you will travel on the slege. Normally two adults and two small kids fit into one sledge. The reindeer herder will tell you if a family of 4 need to be split in two sledges. This will depend on how big the kids are, and how strong the reindeer are. So trust them, the herders know their reindeer as the back of their hand
Snowshoes and cross country skiing excursions
Time to move… by your own legs! Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trips are a great way to discover the Lappish nature. With the snowshoes you might follow some marked trails with the guides, or try them in soft (and deep) snow, which is much harder but good fun. For the cross country skiing trips you will follow offical cross-country skiing trails.
Searching for Northern Lights activities
It is night time, and it is dark! It is time to search for aurora borealis. You choose how you want to search for them: on snowmobiles, with the reindeer or on snowshoes… Do you need some inspiration? I think that the best that you can do is to check the video below:
Catching the aurora borealis require a bit of luck, and what I always recommend is to go out and enjoy your time during the night activity. If you see the northern lights, great, but otherwise, enjoy the nature in the darkness. It is a completely different experience than the activities during the day time.
Visit Santa Claus
Did you choose Rovaniemi as your destination? Then you should pay a visit to Santa Claus at Santa Claus Village. Santa Claus Village is about 9km from Rovaniemi town centre, and you will be able to reach it by yourself (by bus or taxi), or by snowmobile or reindeer. You can choose yourself how to visit Father Christmas at Arctic Cirle!