As you probably know, working in the travel industry comes with its perks so when an invitation to visit Lapland came through the door, I jumped at the chance to go on a 4 night arctic adventure! The whole trip completely surpassed my expectations and it was absolutely brilliant in tonnes of different ways. So let me tell you my top 5 reasons Finnish Lapland should be on your bucket list!
1 The scenery is simply stunning
Northern Lapland remains largely untouched and with the lush landscape coated in pristine white snow between November and May each year, it’s easy to see why this region epitomises the perception of a winter wonderland. Attracting tourists year-round due to its abundance of natural beauty, leisure activities and infinite photo opportunities – there are more than 200,000 lakes and nearly as many roaming reindeer! One of the larger towns; the popular resort of Saariselka offers fantastic winter pursuits such as down-hill and cross-country skiing, as well as a variety of hearty restaurants and family activities. Then there is the jewel in the crown; Lake Inari, that covers an area of 400 sq miles and is flanked by a countryside full of fells (an Old Norse word for mountain) and to top it off, it is snowmobiling heaven in the winter months, when the ice is more than a metre thick!
2 How to get there and where to stay
Finnish Lapland couldn’t be easier to get to, with a direct service from London Gatwick to Ivalo twice weekly between December and March with Finnair. We recommend 3 great hotels in the Wilderness Hotel group – Inari, Nellim and Nangu. All hotels feature a selection of cosy Aurora Cabins perfectly positioned towards the northern sky, equipped with glass thermal roof tops, ensuring the window stays clear even in the lowest temperatures…how fabulous to spot the northern lights from the comfort of your bed! There are larger cabins for families and standard rooms too, but my recommendation is definitely one the Aurora Cabins!
3 Northern Lights by Snowmobile
A visit to Lapland in the winter wouldn’t be complete without a night time hunt for the Aurora Borealis (a natural electrical phenomenon characterized by the appearance of streams of reddish or greenish light in the sky). A typical excursion whilst staying at The Wilderness Lodge Inari, starts out from the hotel at around 8pm, where guests are handed insulated suits for extra warmth and then pulled on sleighs by snowmobiles across the lake. If the lights appear, the sleighs will pull up and rest for a while to enjoy the show. Guides quickly prepare a fire and offer warm berry juice to help with cold hands and cook sausages on the fire to keep everybody happy. It’s an exhilarating experience and one to be treasured for a lifetime. I was captivated by the beauty of the lights dancing across the midnight sky! It’s a definite ‘pinch me moment’ and has the real wow factor!
4 The Sami culture and Reindeers
You can’t come to Lapland without taking time to learn more about the Sami culture. The best place to start is to arrange a guide to take you around the museum in Saariselka and then it’s a great experience meeting a local family who can share traditional stories of life and about herding and taking care of their reindeer. Here’s a top tip – never ask a Sami person how many reindeer they own, it’s like them asking you how much money you have in the bank!
5 It doesn’t have to be Christmas time to enjoy Lapland
Lapland is the ultimate winter wonderland and there’s no denying that to visit Father Christmas in this picturesque setting is a very magical experience, however I hope you can see that there is so much more to do, that it’s ideal for visiting outside of the Christmas season too. I went in March, when the snow was still 5ft high in places, there were less tourists and I even saw the Northern Lights two nights running! During a 4 day adventure I managed to Snowmobile across miles of frozen lakes, try ice-fishing, go on a huskie ride, visit a local Sami home, enjoy a reindeer sleigh ride and relax at the end of a busy day with a cold beer in a toasty warm sauna, watching the sunset! Oh and not forgetting a visit to one of the many ice bars for a wild cloudberry vodka!
A 3 night stay at Wilderness Hotel Inari starts from £1050 per person including flights and excursions.
So to meet your very own friendly reindeer, contact Claire for a quote to this magical part of the world!
E: [email protected] T: 020 88910166