Lapland activity holidays

Holidays to Lapland are activity holidays. It’s pretty much as simple as that. After all, beyond the ski resorts and painfully cool Swedish and Finnish capitals, you’ve got a vast canvas straight out of Narnia at your disposal. This isn’t the time for kicking back and sheltering from the cold. It’s time to get out into the snow and hunt for the Northern Lights. It’s time to skip the cities and venture north, where there are more reindeer, moose and lynx than people. It’s time to go camping with Sámi families or meet Santa in his true home – the taiga forests of northern Finland.

That’s not to say you won’t get any downtime. This is the Nordics; saunas come as standard. And nights spent aurora chasing are balanced with evenings around the campfire breaking bread with family or newfound friends. Read on to discover what Lapland activity holidays are all about.

Top five activities in Lapland

1. Seek the Northern Lights

Famously fantastical but exasperatingly elusive, the Northern Lights are a spectacle not to be missed and Lapland is one of the best spots on the planet to see the show. The northern regions see long winter nights and zero pollution – a recipe for dark skies. If the weather is on your side, you’ll be treated to a lightshow that glows pale green, purple or white, depending on its mood. And no display is the same. One of the best parts? Getting there – usually by husky sled, snowmobile or simply on snowshoes.

2. Hug a husky

If there’s one thing guaranteed to ice a grin to your face, it’s a husky ride. These dogs are in their element in Lapland, racing ahead of the sled while you hang on for dear life. You can either pair up with a professional musher or have a go yourself after a training session. All you need is a love of dogs (slobbery welcomes are par for the course), a sense of adventure (temps can reach -30°C), and zero fear of falling (just accept that you’ll go arse over teakettle at least once). Luckily, the dogs are headstrong but impeccably trained; you’ll always have a musher on hand to come to the rescue with a laugh and a Thermos of tea.

3. Celebrate Christmas with Santa

Finland has claimed Santa as one of their own. Santa Village in Rovaniemi is about what you’d expect from the most-visited spot in Lapland – tat, queues and all. And although that’s where the workshops and elves are, the best holidays offer you and the family the chance to meet Santa at his home, secreted away in the snowy fells of northern Finland. It’s a world away from the commercialised crowds down south; instead, you’ll snowshoe into his forest hideout.

4. Switch hiking boots for snowshoes

The best way to truly appreciate the chilly beauty of Lapland is to snap on a pair of snowshoes and get hiking. The best holidays will pair you up with a local guide who’ll take you along frozen rivers or into forests dripping with icicles. You’ll view impeccable tundra that hasn’t seen footprints in months, plus sheer white valleys where herds of moose show up like trails of ants. Picnic at a Sámi camp, before snowshoeing back for a sauna and a hot toddy.

5. Track wildlife through the tundra

Reading most Lapland travel guides, you’d think that the animal life begins and ends with reindeer and huskies. But in Sweden the fells, lakes and forests also hide away more secretive species. A holiday specialist can match you up with a moose tracking expert who’ll drive you to the valleys where 200-strong herds shelter from the Arctic winds. They’ll follow a breadcrumb trail of pawprints and decipher whether it’s a wolf or lynx. They’ll tell you about the bears slumbering beneath your feet. Along the way, you’ll learn wilderness skills, forage for cloudberries, go ice fishing and get photography tips from the people who know best – hardy Laplanders.

Our top Lapland Holiday

Husky safari in Finland

Husky safari in Finland

Sled with huskies through spectacular Finnish scenery

From £2155 to £2295 8 days inc UK flights
Small group travel:
2019: 1 Dec, 8 Dec
2020: 5 Jan, 12 Jan, 19 Jan, 26 Jan, 2 Feb, 9 Feb, 16 Feb, 23 Feb, 1 Mar, 8 Mar, 15 Mar, 22 Mar, 29 Mar, 5 Apr
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Lapland or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

What do Lapland activity
holidays entail?

It’s wisest to travel with a Lapland activity holiday specialist. As well as knowing Lapland like the back of their gloved hand, they’ll recommend an itinerary that suits your group. Most trips are small group tours of up to 16 people that include activities, accommodation, transfers and meals. They don’t tend to last more than a week. All equipment is supplied and bulky outer winter clothing is often included. Bring lots of warm, thin base layers instead – moisture-wicking thermals, long johns and plenty of socks, plus snow boots if you want shoes you already know fit. Regular scarves don’t cut it in -30°C, so consider bringing a neck warmer, too. Fancy pick ‘n’ mixing hotels and durations? Or adding an extra couple of days in Stockholm or Helsinki? Look at tailor made holidays that’ll tweak almost every detail to your liking. That way, you can choose whether to stay in the Icehotel or Treehotel, a waterpark hotel near a resort, or a log cabin in the middle of the woods. Keep in mind that you’ll only get around three hours of daylight in December, so chances are you’ll end up snowshoeing and husky sledding in the dark. That’s not a problem, though – it just ups your chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
Photo credits: [Page banner: adege] [Intro: Greenland Travel] [Hug a husky: Lovely Lisa] [Track wildlife through the tundra: vil.sandi]
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