Christmas in Lapland with Monika

As Santa’s home, Lapland is perhaps the ultimate destination for those who have dreamt of a truly white Christmas with all the traditional trappings.

Europe Holiday’s senior consultant, Monika, gave her family an experience to remember last Christmas, with a journey to Lapland. Here’s her first-person recount of the experience.

“Christmas in Europe is special, with the lights and night markets. As Santa’s home, Lapland takes the Christmas magic that lives inside all of us – even adults – and brings it alive even more.

Being European myself but now living in Australia, I wanted my husband and two kids to experience snow, to be able to understand what it was like growing in a northern climate. So where better to do it than to take them on a surprise trip to Lapland while we were close by in Hungary visiting family for Christmas.

We started our trip in Hungary with our family and then flew on to Helsinki, where we caught an overnight train on a lovely double decker into Rovaniemi. We all had a great sleep on the train and arrived at 7 in the morning in the dark. Of course in northern Finland at that time of year, it’s only light from 11am till just before 2pm, which is a whole different experience.

There was so much to see and do, though, so we were pleasantly distracted and not at all bothered by the dark. It actually made it feel like we spent more days there than we really did, and the night-time feel added to the experience.

We stayed in Santa Claus Village, which had a wonderful feel to it. Nestled in amongst the trees, the hotels didn’t feel at all hemmed in. Our accommodation was quiet and private. We also went to visit the spectacularSnowman Glass Resort, where the sides and top are glass. It’s beyond luxury!

Overall during our time in Lapland, the food was excellent. Salmon is one of the traditional Finnish foods, and we had it baked, cooked and in soup, as well as trying other local dishes – even trying reindeer meat.

The best part of the experience for the kids were the activities; ice skiing, sliding in tubes on the ice, snowball fights and an outdoor spa, which was a real eye opener for them. There are also rides for little kids in the village for those travelling with younger kids, and the option to do ice fishing for those who want. 

An absolute highlight for us was doing a reindeer drive as we were hunting for the aurora borealis (northern lights). It truly felt old world magical. While it’s possible to do the lights safari on snowmobile or in a minibus, we loved the reindeer experience – and we learnt a lot about them in the process. We even got our reindeer driving licences for a year!

The whole village lives the Santa tradition, from the post office where there are letters sorted by country of origin to Santa, through to the chance to meet Santa in person for a photo, and the huge Christmas tree covered in flags that takes pride of place in the centre of the village square.

For New Year’s Eve, we crossed the Arctic Circle, which runs through the village, to mark the beginning of the new year. What a memorable way to herald in the new year, in a magical ‘old world’ village!

Call our team of travel planners to discuss your next European Winter Holiday: 1800 242 353.