This time last year everything felt really flat. Boris had cancelled all of our Christmas plans and after such a difficult year, it was something we had been really looking forward to. So I made a really spontaneous decision that the following Christmas we would feel as festive as possible and that meant a visit to Lapland!
When you google holidays to Lapland you are inundated with so many options. One that I hadn’t considered was a day trip to Finland, which quite a few companies offered. I narrowed it down to either 3 days or a day trip and then looked for reviews on both. The 3 day trip certainly seemed a better idea initially but being married to a Spaniard… and Ita taking firmly after him… I just knew they would find the cold painful (I was so right, but Ill come back to that!!). One thing that also put me off was that you potentially spend a lot of time just enjoying the snow.
Naively (possibly stupidly) I thought Lapland was merely a small village in Finland but there are actually so many areas you can visit. In Rovaniemi there are international-name shops and restaurants, as well as vibrant night life too! Levi, Pallas, Yllas and Kuusamo, were described as experts in snow activities. Then there’s Saariselka, a real winter wonderland, and Luosto and Hetta, secluded spots, which are real Northern Lights territory. All I knew was that I wanted to take my family to Lapland where we could do some snow activities and most importantly, meet the real Santa!
In doing some research, it was clear that Finland is exceptionally cold over the Winter and whilst one year there was no snow at all, most years it can reach -45 degrees c! To put things into perspective anything under 16 degrees means my family are cold. Therefore I decided that the price would make the decision on how long we were there however, surprisingly there wasn’t actually much difference in the price. Day trips all seemed similarly priced across a few different companies whereas there were big differences in longer stays (obviously dependant on your hotel and additional activities). I wasn’t too fussed about visiting a particular area, especially since I had decided that a day trip seemed to be the better option for us.
In the end I decided that TUI offered the best packages for day visits. Ours included our flights, meals on the plane as well as in Lapland, transfers to Kittila, all clothing (snowsuit, gloves, boots) husky rides, reindeer sledging, entrance to the Snow Village, Meeting Santa and a gift from him too. This was at a total cost of £1,813. Hugely expensive for one day, but I justified that it would be a very memorable, one-off experience. TUI also offer a monthly direct debit option which softened the blow somewhat.
Once we landed in Kittila we were swiftly directed to a huge warehouse to collect our thermal clothing. On the date we visited it was -30 (I just knew it would be one of the coldest days!). We collected our snow suits, boots, socks and gloves and were advised to wear these over our own thermal clothing including our puffa and ski jackets. So that’s what we did. I’m not joking when I say I could barely walk!!
We then headed to our coach and drove about 25 minutes to Kittilas Snow Village. There we had free reign of what we wanted to do and were encouraged to follow our own itinerary. We enjoyed reindeer rides in huge sleighs and Ita especially loved the husky rides! We had hot chocolate in the hotel made entirely from ice and ate delicious mash and meatballs (think ikea style!). A highlight was of course taking a snow mobile to Santa’s cabin deep in the woods.
However, I would be absolutely lying to you if I said the coldness didn’t affect us. It was horrendous. My phone turned itself off and wouldn’t work at all because of the temperature which kind of worried me since my boarding pass was on there! There was one point where Ita broke down in tears from being so cold. In fact she said she was ready to go home. I felt terrible because I knew she wasn’t exaggerating, she was genuinely painfully cold. At that point I was so relieved to have only booked a day trip… I just know my little family too well!
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t consider more than a day in Lapland. If you can manage the weather or perhaps your children are older etc, then please do not allow my experience to put you off. You need to think about what trip would best suit your needs.
Overall we had a truly unique and magical visit to Lapland. Ita has long since forgotten about how cold she was and only recalls the reindeers and huskies. She tells everyone she met the real Santa. I am so happy that I made that spontaneous decision to book.
I had so many messages regarding our trip to Lapland and there were so many different questions! Hopefully this blog post will answer everything but if not, feel free to message me on Instagram.