8 activities which you will love in Lapland (which have nothing to do with Father Christmas)
Think Lapland, think Father Christmas. I often hear of the link between the man in red and Lapland and families who have older children or those who may not celebrate Christmas often overlook Lapland as a travel destination as they feel there would be nothing to do for their families. However, after coming back from our Finnish adventure with Crystal Ski, we have totally fallen in love with Finland. So here are 8 activities which you will love in Lapland which have nothing to so with Christmas!
1. Reindeer rides
Reindeers are an icon of Lapland and with good reason. The number of reindeers in the area is almost equal to the number of people, so spotting Reindeers is something which is really common (We saw a few on our arrival into Lapland and the kids were totally wowed!). Sleigh rides are not a tourism industry innovation thought but an ancient Sámi way of getting around.
During our visit to Lapland we did a night time sleigh ride to go hunting for the northern lights. When we visited even though it was incredibly freezing it was a fabulous journey; lying in your sleigh your glide through a snowy forest in a wooden sleigh with a star speckled sky, it is as magical experience as you would think. There’re lots of choices for this activity in terms of time of day and length so you can make it appropriate for your families needs.
2. Husky rides
Huskies are another animal which I will always associate with Lapland and snow, but whereas reindeers conjure up the idea of calm and relaxing, huskies instantly conjures the image of speed and an adrenaline rush. Raihan is learning all about explorers and how huskies was the mode of transport employed by real life adventurers. My little adventurers thought going on a husky ride in the snow was so much fun, Maya is an adrenaline junkie and having the wind blowing in your face she thought it was both exhilarating and a little scary. Sweeping through the Finnish landscapes, you will feel the wind across your face and the sweeping landscapes whizzing past you.
Snowmobiles are a great way to exoplore the Finnish countryside. It is easier to cover greater lengths and you can go and explore parts of the countryside which truly look other worldly. I didn’t ride my own snowmobile but it was great being a passenger on Doc’s mobile and really getting to enjoy the wilderness. We went for our ride first thing in the morning and the sun was rising. The landscape was beautiful and truly felt like being in Narnia and with the rising sun it was like we were riding off into the sunset. For children, they are unable to be seated on a snowmobile and are using driven by an instructor in a carriage.
Only word of warning here would be that you sign a waiver for damage to the snowmobile. On a guided tour it is easier to follow a path but the snowmobile infront of us did crash so factor in that there is a risk and you will be held liable for the costs of damage.
4. Snow shoe walk / ice fishing
This is a great experience and a great way to try a traditional Finnish activity. Unlike the other activities mentioned above this is probably of that visitors may overlook but its probably the most hands on and actually lets you see and get a real feel the area. Snow show walking is much harder than it seems but once you have mastered the skills, it really lets you go deeper in the woods then the huskies and snowmobiles and see sights like the ice wall which you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. We had worried that this wouldnt be suitable for little adventurers but my baby adventurer was in the lead of the group. The walk is also really great as it really allows you to try fun things like trying out all the snow slides down big hills.
We did have a try of ice fishing and even though we didn’t manage to catch anything (I think my children just wanted to say hi and send them back their families) it was great to show the children just how thick the ice was and how incredible life is that fish are able to survive in these conditions. You are given a drill and learn how to make the hole, clear away the ice so you have clear access My little adventurers did patiently try for and wait but to no avail.
5. Skiing and sleding
We visited Salla in Lapland on one of the Activity Weeks offered by Crystal Ski so skiing wasn’t included. However, there is skiing available in all the resorts and compared to more traditional Alp resorts, these runs are quieter but would be a better base for families to learn to ski. We met several families who have skied in lots of places and they all confirmed that Lapland was definitely one of the most beautiful that they visited.
Sledging is the way to get around the resort. My little adventurers adored their sledges and at every opportunity would be eager to be pulled around and sledge down even the smallest of incline. Right next door to the ski slopes, they also had a slope specifically for sledging. I loved that there was so many sledges available throughout the resort and there was this great activity which was free to do and with family races, it will bring out the competitive side in all of you!
6. Northern Light hunting
Nothing was higher on my list then seeing the northern lights and Lapland is a great place to have an opportunity to see this. We tried every night to see if we could spot the lights and were treated to Mother Nature’s greatest light show on our final light. It is an incredible sight and words cannot really express how magical it is.
7. Playing in the snow
My little adventurers have been craving sow for years and the snow in Lapland is incredible. Not only is it fresh, stunning but there is so much of it, that it always takes you by surprise. There is PILES and PILES of snow everywhere. the snow is Lapland glistens and children and adults will be enchanted and love playing in the snow. Nothing will truly capture how breathtaking everything looks in the snow and every time you open your curtains in the morning, you will be left in awe!
Star light, star bright….nothing will compare to sitting under a star speckled sky. Whilst in Australia I was left completely awestruck when seeing a horizon filled with thousands upon thousands of stars and it is both mesmerising but humbling! During our reindeer ride, we went into the middle of the Lappish countryside at night and with no light pollution, as you lay in the sleigh you were treated to a view of a sky filled with thousands of stars. I was riding with my boy adventurers and it was a great experience to share. When you see so many stars, you realise just how vast the universe is and just how small our part in the world is!
Lapland is so much more then just Father Christmas and I would happily recommend it as a family travel destination for everyone. There is lots to love and enjoy in the area, you will have a great time!