The northernmost regions of Finland and Sweden – more often recognised as Lapland – are an arctic playground where the resident reindeers outnumber the people. Family memories are made here – visiting Santa Claus at his official home in Rovaniemi, staying in a hotel room made entirely of ice in Sweden’s ICEHOTEL, sleeping under the northern lights in an igloo topped with a glass roof for uninterrupted skyward views, mushing through the snow on a traditional dog sled or dashing through the glittering landscape on an adrenaline-packed snowmobile safari… The choice of exhilarating winter activities is extensive.
With a winter that lasts around 200 days, the northern lights can be seen painting ribbons of colour across the sky from late August until mid-April. Wrap up warm and hunt for them on an evening reindeer sled safari, head out through the woods on snowshoes to watch them from around a campfire or simply lie back in a glass-topped igloo, treehouse or log cabin and watch the starry night sky from the comfort of your own bed. For first-time visitors, our four-day Lapland Winter Escape is a popular holiday choice.
Rovaniemi, sitting directly on the Arctic Circle and crowned the capital of Lapland, has all the amenities of a city close to hand and an array of excursions available to get the full winter experience, making it an ideal choice for families. Those looking for a more remote experience or a wilderness escape should head further north; the barely-inhabited regions surrounding Ivalo and Kittlia in Finland, and Kiruna in Sweden, offer escapism and total immersion in beautiful natural surroundings, with plenty of potential for adventure too, of course.