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The Ultimate Itinerary for Lapland and Arctic Circle, Finland

The Ultimate Itinerary for Lapland and Arctic Circle, Finland
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This article is Part 1 of our 4 part series on planning the ultimate trip to Lapland, Finland 

Read Part 2 The Ultimate Guide to Packing for Finnish Lapland (opens in a new tab)

Read Part 3 The Ultimate Guide to Lapland Safaris (opens in a new tab)

Read Part 4 Staring at the Northern Lights in Saariselka (opens in a new tab)

 

Most people (us included!) wouldn’t blink an eyelid before planning a trip halfway around the world just for a single once-in-a-lifetime experience. Be it jumping off a bridge in South Africa, watching the sun rise at Angkor Wat (Cambodia), participating in the Tomatina Festival in Bunol (Spain), or staying in a villa suspended over water in Bora Bora – we’re all guilty of booking an air ticket just to tick one item off our bucket list.

 

But what if a trip promises not one or two but over a dozen once-in-a-lifetime experiences at one go? You’d jump right into it, wouldn’t you? Well that’s what we did. We slept in an igloo, rode on reindeer sleighs, played with husky dogs, tobogganed down ice slides, walked on a frozen ocean, marvelled at the elusive Northern Lights, and even floated in water with icebergs for company. Phew!!

 

Finnish Lapland is a truly phenomenal corner of the world. We’ve been to over 45 countries and have experienced some crazy things but very rarely have we seen beauty that left us dumbstruck. Literally! I’ll let you into a secret – I carry a travel journal with me wherever I go. I’m perpetually scribbling notes in it. It’s somewhat of a ritual. But for one whole week in Finnish Lapland, I penned nothing in my journal. Yep, nothing, nada, zilch!!

 

That’s how long it took me to accustom myself to the surreal beauty of Finnish Lapland. This corner of the world, located at the Northernmost tip of Continental Europe is so special that I don’t know where to start. The air is clear (no pollution here!), water is sugary sweet, the sky sparkles with thousands of stars, and the snow-laden landscape seduces people into thinking this is paradise. It could well be!

 

 Lapland Itinerary Husky Dog Safari

The two of us at the Arctic Circle with loads of husky dogs. A trip to Lapland is truly the trip of a lifetime 🙂

 

 

 Lapland Itinerary Rovaniemi

No prizes for guessing where we are 🙂

 

If you want to explore this area for yourself, look no further. Here’s the ultimate itinerary for exploring Finnish Lapland.

 

Itinerary

Now for the fun stuff. Get ready, ladies and gentlemen, for the virtual ride of a lifetime. Don’t blame us if you’re tempted to book a flight to Lapland as soon as you finish looking at these photos. Here’s a summary of our experiences and our suggestions for planning an itinerary for Lapland 🙂

 

Day 1 – Fly into Oulu

Oulu is just over an hour away from Helsinki. The two cities are well connected through multiple flights a day. You will find a white landscape, laden with snow, when you land in Oulu. Once you’re in Oulu, you could stay there for the night or take the train to Kemi, a small Finnish city close to a deep harbour.

 

Tips :

  • Take bus no. 9 from Oulu Airport to the city centre/train station.
  • You can book your train tickets to Kemi in advance on this website : www.vr.fi/cs/vr/en/

 

 

Days 2 and 3- Float with Icebergs in Kemi

This is when the fun begins in real ernest. On this day, you will witness a castle made entirely out of ice and hop aboard an ice-breaker cruise ship. Ice-breaker sampos are used to transport goods from one port to the other in this part of the world but Kemi’s ice-breaker sampo is one of the very few that allow tourists on board.

 

A free shuttle bus ferries passengers from Kemi’s train station to the Ice Breaker Sampo. A short drive later, you will see a ship looming large in the distance. Chunky boulders of ice surround it. This is the Gulf of Bothnia, Europe’s largest mass of frozen ice. You might have been on many a cruise but nothing like this one. A loud horn heralds the start of an unforgettable journey – the ship leaves the harbour, cutting through the frozen Baltic Sea.

 

It might be cold outside but it’s hard to tear yourself away from the surreal sight of a frozen sea stretching out in front of your eyes. Our favourite part? A short pit-stop in the middle of the journey where passengers are given the opportunity to don bright floatation suits and plunge in ice-cold waters with a few other fellow crazies for company. My heart was in my mouth for the first ten seconds of the plunge but I really really enjoyed the rest of it 🙂

 

The free shuttle bus is waiting for passengers when the cruise ship gets back. It drops tourists at the snow castle of Kemi, which is straight out of the fairytales. You could wander around and walk back to the train station (a pleasant 20 minute walk) or spend the night at one of their unique ice-rooms. Did you ever think you would be sleeping on a bed of ice? Now is the chance to make that dream come true

 

Tips:

  • This should be one of the first things you book because cruise tickets get sold out months in advance. The cruise can be booked here :- www.visitkemi.fi. You could also send an email to sales@visitkemi.fi
  • The Sampo Icebreaker Cruise costs €270 per person. This cost includes food, polar plunge experience, and the return journey on the cruise ship
  • There is a free shuttle bus that ferries tourists from Kemi train station to the Ice Breaker Sampo and the Snow Castle
  • Entry to the Snow Castle costs €15. If you want to spend a night in the ice hotel, prices start at €155. More information on their website www.visitkemi.fi/en/snowcastle

 

 Lapland Itinerary Kemi Sampo Icebreaker Cruise

Kemi’s Sampo Icebreaker Cruise cutting through the frozen Baltic Sea

 

 

 Lapland Itinerary Kemi Sampo Icebreaker Cruise

A close up of the frozen waters

 

 

 Lapland Itinerary Kemi Sampo Icebreaker Cruise

Arctic plunge with ice-bergs and fellow crazies for company – check 🙂

 

Day 4  – Settle into Rovaniemi

A short train ride will get you to Rovaniemi, the bustling capital of Lapland situated on the Arctic Circle. Rovaniemi is also famous for being the home of Santa Claus. Did we not say Lapland is straight out of our childhood fantasies? 🙂

 

Rovaniemi is the perfect base for exploring Lapland and all it has to offer. No wonder it features heavily on most itineraries of Lapland. We stayed at Santa’s Hotel Santa Claus and loved it. The hotel’s location is perfect – it’s less than a five minute walk away from most of Rovaniemi’s supermarkets, restaurants, and excursion providers.

 

Our spacious suite was on the sixth floor, overlooking the river. The room was modern, kitted out with a private Finnish sauna (where Vid spent most of his time 😉 ). Breakfast was plentiful with a wide variety of vegetables, salmon, eggs, meat, fruits, cookies, and cheese on offer.

 

Tips:

  • Stay in a centrally-located hotel in Rovaniemi. We stayed at Santa’s hotel Santa Claus and will happily recommend it. You can find the best rates here
  • Make sure you spend time in the Finnish sauna – it’s unique and rejuvenating

 

 Lapland Itinerary Santa Claus hotel Rovaniemi

The frozen river is a 2 minute walk from Santa’s Hotel Santa Claus

 

 

 Lapland Itinerary Santa Claus hotel Rovaniemi

Breakfast at Santa’s Hotel Santa Claus in Rovaniemi

 

 

 Lapland Itinerary Santa Claus hotel Rovaniemi

Our private li’l Finnish sauna at Santa’s Hotel Santa Claus

 

Days 5 and 6 – Experience the best of Lapland’s safaris

Once you’ve settled into Rovaniemi, it’s time for the adventures to begin. There are photo opportunities galore. You can spend your days snowmobiling on frozen rivers, driving through stunning Arctic forests, visiting husky dog farms and playing with furry creatures, or hunting for the mysterious Northern Lights. Northern Lights’ excursions in Rovaniemi involve driving out of town, spending hours listening to Sami folk tales and BBQing sausages in a tent in the Arctic Wilderness – SO good 🙂

 

Tips :

  • Lapland Safaris offer husky-dog safaris, snowmobiling, visits to reindeer farms, and Northern Lights excursions. Safaris start at €100/person.
  • We recommend pre-booking all your safaris with Lapland Safaris. That way you can keep their Arctic overalls, ski gloves, even snow boots for the length of your stay in Rovaniemi for free. You’ll keep warm and you won’t need to pay a penny. You can thank us later 😉 More information on their website www.laplandsafaris.com/en/

 

 Lapland Itinerary snowmobile safari Rovaniemi

Vid loved the snowmobile safari with Lapland Safaris

 

 

 Lapland Itinerary Northern Lights Safari Rovaniemi

Sitting around a fire, listening to Sami folktales, and waiting for the Northern Lights to show up

 

Day 7 – Meet Santa Claus on a day trip

Did you know that Finnish folklore has it that the ‘real’ Santa Claus resides in Rovaniemi’s Santa Claus Village with Mrs. Claus and an army of elves. No wonder it’s Christmas 365 days an year in Lapland 🙂

 

Santa Claus Village is a short bus ride away from the centre of Rovaniemi. You will hear Christmas carols and festive music as soon as you enter the hallowed gates of this dreamy village. Of course, there’s no better way to arrive at Mr. Claus’ house than on a reindeer sleigh. Now let me tell you something. This might not be your first skirmish with Arctic Safaris but one thing is for sure – it’ll be your favourite one. It belongs in a fairytale, nowhere else.

 

Once you’ve exhausted yourself by playing in the snow, giggled at the little elves in the village, and hugged snow-men, head to Kotahovi Restaurant in Santa Claus Village for a warm meal. The restaurant is housed in a traditional Lappish wooden hut. The roaring fire at the centre of the restaurant is comforting and made us feel cosy almost immediately. We devoured the creamy salmon soup with rye bread (€14)  and the sautéed reindeer with mashed potatoes, lingonberries, and pickled cucumbers (€26) and spent hours looking at the snow falling outside the window.

 

Tips:

  • Bus number 8 takes you from the Rovaniemi city centre to Santa Claus Village. Bus tickets cost €2.20/per person.
  • Entry to Santa Claus Village is free. You can meet the ‘real’ Santa Claus for free too.
  • Don’t leave Santa Claus Village without hopping on a reindeer sleigh. It will take you through magical snow-laden trains and Arctic forests. It was one of our favourite experiences on our entire trip of Lapland. The owner at Santa Claus Reindeer, Janne, is a great photographer. Make sure you ask him for a frame-worthy photograph once you’re in the sleigh 🙂
  • Reindeer Sleigh rides start at €22/per person. We opted for the 3 km ride and loved it. You can book it here :- www.santaclausreindeer.fi
  • More information about Kotahovi Restaurant here :- www.santaclausreindeer.fi

 

 Lapland Itinerary Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi

Trying to hug a gigantic snowman at Santa Claus Village. Notice the ‘Santa is here’ sign at the top? 🙂

 

 

 Lapland Itinerary Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi

The two of us loved the reindeer sleigh ride at Santa Claus Village

 

 

 Lapland Itinerary Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi

The warm, cosy interiors of Kotahovi Restaurant

 

Day 8 – Devour a traditional Lappish meal and say bye to Rovaniemi

Sampling local food is the easiest way to acquaint oneself with a new culture. If you’re a regular reader of Bruised Passports, you’d know we never leave a new place without trying out all the local delicacies we can get our paws on. We had a fair few Finnish meals in Lapland but Restaurant Nili came out triumphant by a mile (and a half).

 

The evening we spent at Restaurant Nili made us so happy that we just had to go to the kitchen to give the chef a hug. The unassuming exterior makes it seem like a small neighbourhood eatery but locals swear by Nili’s exquisitely-crafted Finnish food. We loved the fact that the food was modern without being excessively experimental.

 

We opted for the sensational set menu called The Rovaniemi Menu. The meal kicked off with a delectable Lappish blini, perfectly complimented by whipped sour cream and grainy fish roe. Main course was reindeer rack on a bed of fluffy parsnip purée, braised root vegetables, and a creamy sauce. We opted for a full-bodied Merlot with the reindeer meat and the two were a match made in heaven. A refreshing scoop of Nili’s black currant sorbet followed – the perfect palate cleaner to prepare our taste buds for the Cheese Plate. We wound up the feast with a glorious panna cotta (the creamiest I’ve ever had!) garnished with apples and wild raspberries. But we didn’t stop there – a couple of shots of Finnish Tar liqueur followed. We could fly back to Rovaniemi just to have a meal at Nili all over again 🙂

 

Take a bow Chef Marko, you did good 🙂

 

Tips:

  • Don’t leave Rovaniemi without trying delectable Finnish food at restaurant Nili.
  • Reserve in advance because Restaurant Nili can get really busy in the evenings.
  • We loved their sensational set menu called The Rovaniemi Menu (€58/per person) but you can go the à la carte route too. More information on their website www.nili.fi

 

Finland Lapland Itinerary Rovaniemi

Finnish bline with sour cream and roe at Restaurant Nili

 

 

Finland Lapland Itinerary Rovaniemi

Scrumptious pannacotta in diddly mason jars at Restaurant Nili – someone take me back

 

Day 9 – Sleep on a bed of ice at The Arctic Snow Hotel

After you’ve explored Rovaniemi to your heart’s content, it’s time to go to a snow haven 30 kms outside Rovaniemi. Arctic Snow Hotel is built from scratch in November every year. It’s nestled in Lappish wilderness and provides a fairytale experience.

 

The reception area, communal toilets, and breakfast rooms are heated. However the fun begins when you enter the main building made of ice. The corridors are full of ice-carvings and sculptures and bright LED lights lead visitors to the Ice Bar and Restaurant. Here drinks are served in glasses made of ice and food is served on intricately carved ice plates. Finnish specialities such as creamy soups and elk are on the menu. Stools and benches might be carved out of chunky blocks of ice but they’re covered with Finnish fur rugs that keep guests warm.

 

Each ice suite has a different theme – we loved the playful Angry Bird themed room. Stunning beds are carved out of ice. Artic-style sleeping bags are provided to guests so they keep warm as they doze off. But doze off you mustn’t. For there is a lot of fun to be had.

 

Don’t miss the outdoor jacuzzi for the world – there is nothing quite like sitting in a hot tub in the middle of an Arctic forest and feeling warm when it’s -20°C out. You can count stars and if you’re lucky, you can spot the mysterious Northern Lights. Bucket list or not, an open-air hot tub is one experience that NEEDS to feature on your itinerary of Lapland.

Tips:

  • Arctic Snow Hotel is open to visitors from November to April
  • It is possible to visit only for a meal but we suggest sleeping in an ice room for 1 night for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Prices for overnight stays start at €125. You can compare and book here.

 Lapland Itinerary Arctic Snow Hotel Rovaniemi

The restaurant at Arctic Snow Hotel

 

 

 Lapland Itinerary Arctic Snow Hotel Rovaniemi

Dessert on a snowflake-shaped plate carved out of ice *sigh*

 

 

 Lapland Itinerary Arctic Snow Hotel Rovaniemi

A colourful room made of ice at Arctic Snow Hotel

 

 

Days 10, 11, and 12 – Immerse yourself in Arctic Wilderness in Saariselka and spot the Northern Lights

It’s time to head north to delve deeper into the Arctic wilderness. Frozen slanting trees, ice-laden hills, and fields covered with untarnished snow – the scenery at the northern tip of Lapland is beyond your wildest imagination .

 

A 3 hour bus ride from Rovaniemi will get you to Saariselka. There is a variety of accommodation on offer in Saariselka – log cabins are a popular choice. But we are partial to the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, where you can sleep in a heated igloo under the Northern Lights. The bus will drop you at the gate of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. To say we had the time of our lives here would be the understatement of the decade. We spotted the Northern Lights ever so often while we were there. We were so taken in by the surreal beauty of this hotel that we decided to extend our stay by 2 days.

 

We spent our days trying to absorb the immense beauty of Finnish Lapland. Reindeer safaris provide a glimpse into the life of Sami people (indigenous people living at the very northern tip of Europe) and will convince you that you’re in a fairytale. Just when you’re drifting into your dream world, the reindeer will stop in the tracks to pee or grace the ground with perfectly-shaped reindeer droppings 😉

 

Tips:

  • The bus journey from Rovaniemi to Saariselka is gorgeous. The bus has wifi and is extremely punctual. Bus tickets can be bought in person or booked online on this website :- https://www.matkahuolto.info/lippu/en/
  • Read our detailed review of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort with photos, tips, and more before you flesh the itinerary for your trip to Lapland.
  • We suggest staying in the glass igloos at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort for 1-2 nights and their rustic log cabins for 2-4 nights depending on how much time you have. You can compare prices and book here.

 

Northern Lights over our igloo at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Stunning Northern Lights over our igloo at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

 

Day 12 Take the flight back from Ivalo

Ivalo airport is close to Saariselka and Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort offers regular transfers to the airport. Take the flight back to Helsinki – we promise you’ll spend the flight thinking about all the surreal panoramas you saw on your trip to Lapland and counting the crazy experiences you had. One thing is for sure – it’ll be hard to pick favourites. After all, how often does one get to pick between petting a reindeer and sleeping in an igloo 🙂

 

Planning your trip to Finland – The Essentials

 

Lapland Itinerary Kemi Sampo Icebreaker Cruise

One trip – dozens of surreal & dreamy experiences

 

When To Go

If you’re there for winter sports and the Northern Lights, then visit Lapland between December and March. If you want to drive around, then summer is a good time since Finnish Lapland boasts of sunlight 24*7. Winter Wonderland transforms to the Land of the Midnight Sun during the months of June, July, and August.

 

Length of the trip

We suggest setting aside at least 10-12 days for a trip of your lifetime to Finnish Lapland. A rough breakdown is as follows (scroll down for the detailed itinerary 🙂 ) :-

  • Fly into Rovaniemi/Oulu from Helsinki
  • Kemi: 2 nights
  • Rovaniemi and surrounding areas: 4-5 nights
  • Saariselka: 3-4 nights
  • Fly back from Ivalo to Helsinki

 

Budget

Finnish Lapland is not the place for backpackers. Scandinavia is infamous for being notoriously expensive and Finnish Lapland is no exception. Moreover it’s an extremely remote corner of the world. Consequently transport, hotels, food, and excursions can get pricey here. Try to set aside approximately €200 per person/day when budgeting for your trip. This includes the  hotel rooms, excursions, food, and transportation within Lapland but excludes flights from your hometown.

Don’t come back without trying these typical Finnish things

  1. Finnish Sauna (Finnish people are obsessed with it and with good reason!). We love Visit Finland’s introduction to the Finnish Sauna
  2. Reindeer meat – a local delicacy, Finns sure know how to dish up the perfect reindeer steak. Ok you can skip this and opt for creamy salmon soup if you’re a bit squeamish about devouring Rudolph’s li’l red nose 🙂
  3. Spending a lazy evening in a Sami lavu/teepee making pancakes, BBQing sausages or just acquainting yourself with Sami Folklore.
  4. Sipping on dozens of glasses of warm lingonberry juice – this local speciality the perfect antidote for Lapland’s Arctic winter.
  5. Spending an evening in an outdoor hot tub while it’s -20°C outside. It’s a surreal experience to watch your drink freeze as you lounge comfortably in warm water and stare at Lappish sky, coloured green by the Northern Lights. Words can’t do justice to such an experience, can they?!

That’s it – our itinerary and favourite things to do in Finnish Lapland. You need to put this corner of the world on your travel bucket list – it will leave you spellbound and you will come back, wanting more.

 

Leave us a comment below if you enjoyed reading about our journey or if you have any questions about planning a trip to Lapland – we’ll make sure we get back to you as soon as possible 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

We were guests of Finland Tourism Board and Rovaniemi Tourism Board in Finland. We are two extremely opinionated ninjas – so all views (good and bad) are entirely our own. Click on to read our full Disclosure Policy

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99 Comments

  1. That’s like the trip of dreams come true!!! So beautiful.. I have to find someone to go along with me . M saving up!!

    • Now you’ve found Madhuri 😉 Go, go, go. PS It really was the trip of our dreams

  2. OMG this is insanely awesome. I would love some dessert served on a carved piece of ice!
    The Northern Lights are definitely a bucketlist, along with a loooong list of thing! :-p

    xox
    head2heels.co

    • I know right?! I want to have food on those plates everyday 😉 The Northern Lights were amazing, definitely the highlight of the trip

  3. this is one of the most beautiful post !!! this seriously seems some magical stuff!!! i could not even imagine that something like this existed !!!! so so so beautiful !!!!

    • Thanks Kushagr – we couldn’t believe our eyes when we first saw the scenery at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort 🙂

  4. Rashmi, can i tag along =p
    I LOVED this post. trip of dreams indeed. thanks for this post. this definitely goes on my bucket list.

    • hehehe!! Sure :P:P The more the merrier 😉

      • Love the sound of this 😉

    • Thanks Madhuri – this was a dream trip indeed! Rashmi and you better make it there quickly 😉

  5. Wow, what an epic trip! Yes, I’d love to tick off all those things, except the reindeer meat (I’m a veggie)!
    I’m obsessed with Finland and I was there in December but not more northern than Tampere, I didn’t have the time or the money to head up to the

  6. sorry! that cut out and posted unfinished!

    I didn’t have time or enough budget to head to the arctic north and centred my trip in the south. I’m hopefully heading back in the summer to drive down from Norway to Helsinki and I can’t wait to experience the light nights and the far north!

    I also can’t wait to get back to saunas! Oh how I miss them, absolutely the must do for Finland!

    Such a great post guys!

    • Rachel I hear you – it’s so easy to fall completely in love with Finland 🙂 I hope you manage to make it to the North soon, Lapland is straight out of the fairytales

  7. I decided to visit Finnish Lapland for my honeymoon as soon as I saw your first Facebook post on the Icebreaker Cruise in Kemi. Then when you posted about the Northern Lights, there was no looking back. I was looking forward to reading this post. It’s answered most of my questions and I will be following your itinerary. I have 1-2 questions about budgeting and flights- can I email you for that?

    • Sure Sher – drop us an email. Lapland is the perfect place for a honeymoon 🙂

  8. What an awesome writeup – watching the northern lights has been on the bucket list for a while – had a couple of questions ?

    – WHats the probability of seeing northern lights during the stay ? What are the best months for the same ?
    – I understand from the pictures that its cold – how cold does it actually feel ? At any ;point did u experience the feeling of unbearable cold ?
    – Availability of vegetarian food in the northern hinterlands ?

    • Hey Maulik – The chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Lapland, especially in a place like Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort are very high between November & March. Vegetarian food is never a problem. One never feels unbearably cold because of snug Arctic jumpsuits which can be rented from a number of shops 🙂

  9. Finnish Lapland looks like quite the chilly place – but it looks like you enjoyed yourself. Hope to do it myself soon!

    • We really loved it there Elaine – you must plan a trip to Lapland soon 🙂

  10. One of the places we really enjoyed was a Thai Cultural Theme Park – Phuket FantaSea. Every service area there was beautiful and neat. We enjoyed watching their beautiful, costumed parade culminating at an outdoor stage with a Bangok theme show. The place is really somewhat like Disneyland of Thailand! The highlight their main show held at a beautiful Palace of the Elephants Theater. I must say it was pretty amazing, I left overwhelmed by their beautiful culture. International buffet dinner was good, particularly the noodle soup. We remember it as one of our nicest outings in Phuket and do recommend it for a quality evening-into-the-night entertainment. Don’t miss it!

  11. Loved reading about your Lapland adventures! It was very inspirational so we are planning a trip for March next year. I’m hoping this will be a good time to go. How far in advance do you recommend booking? Is it worth staying in Oulu?

    • Hey Michelle,

      March should be a good time to go. We booked 3-4 months in advance. We flew into Oulu and spent the night there – didn’t really see much there. You should try and go to Kemi from there to try out the Sampo ice-breaker cruise. It’s an amazing experience.

  12. Straight out of my dreams!! I hate you guys hahhaha…so jealous!!! But on a serious note, thank you for sharing all this info!! Its a wonderfully written blog, and I can totally feel your excitement 🙂 Great stuff

    • Thanks a lot Pallavi 🙂

  13. Your travel plan look really nice!! Can you please share me what is the destination from Kakslauttanen Artic resort stop name and Rovaniemi bus station (toward Santa Claus village) to take?

    • Hi Mayvia,

      If you take the bus from Kakslauttanen towards Rovaniemi, it will stop at the Santa Claus Village. Just inform the driver that you wish to get off at the Santa Claus village 🙂

  14. Awesome blog !!! I am from Norway,live in California.Go home to Norway quite often,and this trip is definitely on top of my bucket list. Thank you for great information…..and I have to tell you…..I love reindyr kjøtt og tyttebær syltetøy. Have a great day…?

    • Hey Olaug,

      Thanks for that. You should take a trip to this part of Scandinavia – I’m sure you’ll love it!

  15. Hi guys, well written travel experience. quite inspiring. We are planning a trip this year in dec 15, we live in dubai and have children age 2 and 5, a little concerned to see if our kids can adjust to such severe weather conditions while living in a hot place like dubai. On your trip, did you see kids of similar ages? do you foresee any challenges that we may face?… any suggestions?

    • Hey Almon,

      Given that its Santa’s hometown, we saw LOTS of kids in Rovaniemi and around. Just make sure that you wrap your kids warm (thermals are a must). I’m pretty sure your kids will love these experiences.

  16. What an amazing read. I have been surfing for weeks but found everything I needed right here. I am staying at the Hotel Santa Claus with my daughter and widened how far the bus stop is from the Hotel to visit Santas Holiday Village. Also, I am going to book the 3km reindeer ride. The excursion states almost 2 hrs plus but only 40 mins ride, did you experience this? They only have 9am or pm and I wondered which would be the best time to ensure the most magical … I thought possibly the afternoon. I had so hope to arrange a private meeting with Santa but this isn’t possible unless staying much further North…. But maybe next time. :-). Could you tell me how expensive the meals are at the Hotel for the evening, the breakfast looks amazing. I am hoping we may sleep well there, but expect noise due to the location. Your trip looks truly perfect and I am glad you had such a wonderful experience. 🙂

    • Dear Debbie,

      The stop from where you get the bus to the Santa Claus village is a straight 5 minute walk from the hotel. As for the excursion, not sure where you have booked but we were told the exact time of the ride – perhaps they have added the transfer times from Rovaniemi to the excursion time? Yes, afternoon will be amazing 🙂

      We didn’t have evening meals at the hotel in Rovaniemi. We used to step out to try restaurants around the hotel. If you get a chance, have a meal at Restaurant Nili (not far from the hotel) – the food was really nice. Say hello to them from us 🙂

  17. this is actually want I’m planning to do from years…just 2 questions – Is it doable in 7-8 days ? If yes, what can be shortened ? Is Dec a right time ?

    • Hello Upender,

      December is a great month for this 🙂

      You can certainly do it in 7-8 days – we’d cut out a day or two in Rovaniemi and a day and a half in Kakslauttanen!

      Hope that helps

  18. Ok so my husband and i are headed to the northern lights for 10 days max end of march. help us plan an itinerary. we will be staying here Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

    • Dear Lauren,

      You’ll have a great time 🙂 Not sure what exactly you need help with but you could drop us an email with any specific questions that you have and we’ll get back to you asap. Pretty much everything we did is documented in this article itself 🙂

  19. Am looking at web page for sampo cruise and lowest rate is €385.00 for March 2016! With entrance to ice castle. We are Four and frankly I think it’ s too much! Could it be that rates went up since your blog? As you mention €270 per person – which is ” reasonable” can you help me with info where I can find costs you mention?
    Thank you

    • Thanks Toni- you’re right, €385.00 is extortionate for a family of 4 but we were told by another reader that prices have increased in the past year. Perhaps you could choose just the ice-breaker cruise and transfer package, which is for €339.00? I will update prices on our website now

  20. Hi,

    I don’t seem to be able to search info about getting to Ivalo airport from Kakslauttanen Resort. On bus travel website it stop at the junction not at the airport. Any advice? And at the city of Rovaniemi where do I board the bus to Kakslauttanen? Lots of thanks!

    • Hi,

      In Rovaniemi, just go to the Rovaniemi coach station to board the bus to Kakslauttanen. It’s a short taxi ride from the centre.

      As for Ivalo, you might have to change the bus i.e. take a bus from Kakslauttanen to Ivalo and from Ivalo take the airport bus to Ivalo Airport.

      Which bus company have you checked?

  21. This is really dreamy! If I plan a trip say in May/June, will I still have an opportunity for the husky safari, reindeer ride etc?

    • Hi Mayank,

      You might get to experience those activities in early May but June will be difficult. However, it’s best to drop an email to the activity provider to confirm 🙂

      Cheers

  22. You guys have done a fantastic job of summarizing your entire itinerary and including all necessary details with the series of posts on your Lapland trip. Super exhaustive resource for planning my honeymoon. Quick questions for you – where can I find the following experiences in Lapland (we are staying in Rovaniemi for 3 nights, Kakslauttanen for 3 nights and Muotkan Wilderness Lodge for 6 nights)?

    1. Spending a lazy evening in a Sami lavu/teepee making pancakes, BBQing sausages or just acquainting yourself with Sami Folklore.
    2. Spending an evening in an outdoor hot tub while it’s -20°C outside. It’s a surreal experience to watch your drink freeze as you lounge comfortably in warm water and stare at Lappish sky, coloured green by the Northern Lights. Words can’t do justice to such an experience, can they?!

    These sounds like lovely experiences and it’ll be great to know exactly what we should be looking for and where. Thanks a ton!

    • Hey there – you’ll love Lapland. It’s the perfect honeymoon destination 🙂 Here are the answers to your questions:
      1) The perfect places for this is in Kakslauttanen – opt for the reindeer sleigh excursion to Penti’s farm and you will get an opportunity to make pancakes, BBQ sausages, and learn more about Sami folklore. We covered this excursion in our video on Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. Just check it out on our Youtube channel 🙂
      2) Most hotels and lodges in Lapland offer outdoor hot tubs, so this shouldn’t be tough to find. Arctic Snow Hotel, just outside Rovaniemi, has a magical outdoor hot tub. But just email the hotel you’re staying at in Rovaniemi and Muotkan Wilderness Lodge to confirm whether they have outdoor hot tubs too.

      • Awesome, thanks a lot! Can’t wait to experience the wilderness of Lapland. Hope you guys are enjoying Fiji.

        • Anytime 🙂 Do send us photos from Lapland

  23. Dear Savi,
    It was lovely reading your post, as we were looking into finland and happend to step onto your blog.It just gave us a good itinerary of our trip.
    I have a couple of questions if you dont mind which can help us for our trip in march.

    We will be visiting rovaniemi on march and we would like to do some excusrions but considering our 3 nights stay there iam a bit confused on this.

    1. Firstly do we do the Reindeer and the snowbike in Rovaniemi or at the resort of Kakslautten ? as we are spending three nights there as well ? ( in terms of northern lights and experince )

    2.I know you have suggested lapland safaris but what do you think of the tour company laplandwelcome ( the reason i ask is cz the snowmobile excursion in lapland safaris ends by 11, whereas the laplandwelcome starts at 11 and ends at 1 am.

    3.can you explain the route for the bus as we are going to have suitcases with us ? is that okay to travel from rovaniemi to kakslautten ?

    • Hey Divya

      Great to know you found our posts helpful. You’ll have an amazing time in Lapland. Here are the answers to your questions:
      1) You should go on the reindeer safari at Kakslauttan – you’ll be deeper in the countryside and the scenery is a lot prettier there 🙂
      2) I can’t comment on Lapland Welcome because we don’t have personal experience with them – however you can read other reviews on Tripadvisor or another dependable forum and make a decision 🙂 Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful but I find it hard to recommend something unless we haven’t tried it out for ourselves
      3)You can take the bus from Rovaniemi to Ivalo and get off at Kakslauttanen – just let the driver know you’re headed to the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort as well 🙂

  24. Thank you so so much for such a detailed info.. I am planning a trip for my fam n having difficulty figuring out until I stumbled upon your blog, so much helpful info. Will be following your itinerary and am pretty sure we gonna have as much fun as you both. Keep posting! Am definitely going to be your obsessive follower from now. 🙂

    • Thank you so much Vic 🙂 So happy to hear that. Have a great time in Lapland – it’s one of the most magical places we have been to.

  25. Great article, thanks so much! We are planning to travel there in late Jan 2017 – just made the award ticket booking – and as our route is pretty much like yours i was wondering if you could answer 1-2 questions.

    we only have short time 6 might 7 days invluding overnight trip back to our country, but due to award booking condition due to availability of award ticket, seems like we’ll only have 1 night each, 1 at helsinki, 1 at kakslauttanen, 1 rovaniemi, 1 kemi, and 1 at Oulu. If we cough up extra 450 euro or so for plane ticket for 2 of us, we can probably add 1 night in kakslauttanen instead of Helsiinki.

    My question is:1) how high is out chance of catching aurora with our current achedule? Should we pay more to spend 1 more night in kakslauttanen? 2) what about ouliu? Is there any chance for catching aurora there? I’ve been trying to find info but there isn’t much…

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Karens

    • Hey Karen –

      It’s hard to predict whether or not you’ll spot the Aurora, so it’s probably not worth paying so much jut for 1 extra night. Oulu isn’t particularly noteworthy for spotting the Northern Lights. Hope you have fun in Lapland 😀

  26. Dear Savi,

    Thank you very much for your wonderful post. It makes me more excited 😉 I would like to ask did you booked all the activities one by one or
    all from one tour operator? Coz i found one tour package it is for EUR 1600 and its for 5 days only. it includes ice breaker in kemi, santa clause village, 1 night stay at the ice hotel, safaris, accommodations and bus transfer you think the price is reasonable enough? or it will be better to booked it separately. This price doesn’t include the igloo arctic resort.

    Thank you so much

    Cheers!

    • Hey Vanessa – we booked all our activities with Lapland Safaris but booked the hotels and the Icebreaker Cruise individually. Hope this helps 🙂

  27. Hi Savi,
    This is Manish from Mumbai,
    Read your experiences ,very refreshing.we r planning to go to Finland in the month of June ,is this the right time to go ,thnx.

    • Hey Manisha – June is summer season, so it isn’t the best time if you want to experience winter activities and the Northern Lights

  28. Hi Savi, how long in advance should i book the train tickets from oulu to Kemi and from Kemi to Rovaniemi? I am planning to go next year march but when I try to search for the tickets it showed no result 🙁

    • Hey Daphne – the tickets usually go on sale 3 months before the travel period in question. You should check back around November/December 🙂

  29. Hey Savi!!!

    What a great article!!! It almost inspires one to book tickets immediately and travel to Finland! My husband and I are planning on travelling in January 2017 and i was looking at the Kakslauttanen Resort booking website and its already sold out!!!! However i managed to reserve two nights (only!) at the cottage. that is not the same as the igloo right? Any idea if the igloo will become available later maybe due to any cancellation? How can i book the same?

    Thanks and cheers! 🙂

  30. Hey Savi!

    Thats a great post and a very detailed account of your travels! Thanks for inspiring us to book our tickets for Finland! 🙂
    Had a quick question- I was looking at the Kakslauttanen Resort booking website and most of it is akready booked!!! However i managed to reserve two nights (only!) in January 2017 in a cottage.. that is not the same as the igloo right? Any chance the igloo might become available due to any cancellations? ca
    How can i ensure atleast one night stay in the igloo?

    Thanks and cheers! 🙂

    • Hey Munira – the cottage isn’t the same as the igloo. It’s best to ask the hotel about availability of igloos in case of cancellation. Unfortunately advance booking is the only way of ensuring a night in the igloo.
      PS Do send us photos from Finland. We’d love to share them with our readers and tag you.

  31. Hey! Sounds like an amazing place and trip. I just have one question – would you recommend this for a couple and their 10month old? Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Pieta – we did see a lot of people with young kids but I’d wait for your baby to be a bit older – it can be TOO cold for a 10 month old 🙂

  32. Thanks for the very nice input. We’re a family of 5 – 4 adults and a 4 year old – and we do hope to spend Xmas in Lapland. We tried checking the Sta. Claus Village but it is not available anymore during our intended trip in December. What other hotel is best recommended that is very near the Village? Do we have to provide our snow shoes before embarking on the journey?

    • Hey Angie – unfortunately we don’t know of any other hotel nearby. Snow shoes are available for rent everywhere in Lapland, so you needn’t invest in them if you don’t already own some 🙂

  33. I love your itinerary. I’ planning a family trip this December and would like to follow your itinerary. Do you know of any travel agents that can arrange this trip for us?

    • Hey Chan,

      We planned this trip on our own so don’t really know any travel agents 🙁

      Have a great time in Lapland 🙂

  34. This is amazingly awesmmmm…I wish I cud find u guys earlier before visiting Finland…for more experiences…

    • Hey Ina – now you have a reason to go back to Finland, which is never a bad idea 😉

  35. Hi Savi and Vid,

    I have always wanted to go to this place and this is very helpful information.
    May I ask how much was the total cost of the trip including the glass resort stay and all activities(excluding flights since that would be different for me , I will fly from US) ?
    Also I believe, to see the northern lights winter is the time to go. so is christmas – new year time a good time? when did you guys go?

    • Hey Ananya – yep, the total cost depends on where you fly from and how many days you stay for. The glass igloos cost $450/night and good mid-range hotels in Finnish Lapland cost about $120/night 🙂 Winter is the only time to go for Northern Lights – December and January are perfect

  36. Hi Savi,

    Amazingly informative post. I am planning a trip for this December and would be obliged if you can help me with a few questions.

    1. Can I copy paste this itinerary and avoid Tromso and Ice Hotel?
    2. Any recommended agencies that dont overcharge and have experience of booking these?
    3. Iceland or This trip? Which would be your recommendation.

    Thanks,
    Govind

    • Hey Govind,

      -Sure you can definitely avoid Tromso and Ice Hotel
      -Lapland Safaris are great to book day trips and other such in the area
      -If you’re keen on watching the Northern Lights, then Lapland is great. If you enjoy roadtrips, go for Iceland

  37. Hi! I am planning a 10 day trip to Finland end of November. Given the temperatures and snow, did you guys use backpacks or a suitcase for your luggage? Any suggestions?

    • Thanks Shree – We took a suitcase but we’d strongly recommend taking a backpack because it’s so much easier to carry a backpack than drag a suitcase on snow laden roads and alleyways 🙂

  38. Thanks for the amazing video and article! We are staying at Kakslauttanen in a few weeks and I wanted to ask what camera settings you used to capture the Northern Lights? I have a Samsung digital camera that I love but am debating also packing my DSLR so I have lens options. Any advice would be great! Could you see the Northern Lights with your GoPro? Your video was a great reminder to pack a tripod!

    We are only staying 2 nights at the resort. With limited time, which safaris do you think are the best? Thank you so much!!

    • Hey Michelle,

      Apologies for the late reply. Definitely take your DSLR, your widest lens, and your tripod if you want to get great shots of the Northern Lights. I normally did a 10-15 sec exposure (depending on how intense the lights were) at f2.8 / f3.5 with the widest focal length possible. We could not see the lights with our GoPro but not sure if the newer GoPros have a better low-light performance.

      As for the safaris, you should definitely go for the Reindeer safari at Penti’s farm (you can book through the resort) – he is quite a character and you’ll have a great time 🙂

      Cheers

  39. Hey guys, big fans!!

    Inspired by your blog, we have booked tickets for a 11 day trip in Feb’17 (arriving in Helsinki on the morning of day 1 and leaving from Helsinki the night of day 11). But now feels like a bit too long? Is there enough stuff to do for 11 days?

    We are planning for 2 nights in Kemi, 3 in Rovaniemi, 1 in Arctic Snow hotel and 4 in Saariselka. Does it make sense?
    Considering the Sampo ice breaker is 4 hour cruise, what else can we do in Kemi on day 2/3? Also, whats a good place to stay in Kemi?

    Much appreciate your inputs. Thanks a lot !!

    • Hey Guys,

      Happy to hear that our blog has been helpful for you to plan your trip. Everything else looks great except for 2 nights in Kemi – you’d be better off making that 1 night and spending an extra night in Rovaniemi. Other than the ice-breaker cruise you can spend a few hours in the Kemi snow castle.

      Have a great trip 🙂

  40. Hi
    Your blog is amazing !! Thank you so much. I am planning a trip based on your itinerary . We live in Australia so would love a white Christmas. I was just wondering what your budget was for the entire 10 days. I’m looking at trying to do it for $10,000 Australian dollars. Thanks again for your tips!

    • Hey Maria,

      Happy to hear about your upcoming trip to Finland and Lapland. If $10,000 includes flight to and back from Finland, then it might be short. However, if it’s just for the expenditure while you are in Lapland, it should suffice (on an average for 2 people).

      Have a great trip 🙂

  41. Hii Guys,
    Thats an amazing trip.
    We are planning out Finnish getaway from 26th March to 31st March this year.
    Helsinki is just to get in and out and exploring the city. Not staying over.
    Then heading to Rovaniemi for 4-5 nights.
    Planning igloo for one nights and log cabins for remaining nights.
    Ice breaker cruise and arctic snow hotel from Rovaniemi.
    Husky, reindeer safari,snowmobiling as well as santa claus village and how can we forget one night is for Aurora hunting.
    All are morning activities except the Aurora hunting which is one night. Should we do more night tours for aurora hunting?
    So basically our base is only Rovaniemi.
    Also, we do not have snow shoes/boots – do we need to buy the same or renting is good enough.
    Then back to Helsinki.
    Do you suggest any changes?
    Also, we are based in Mumbai, need to buy good warm hats and scarves for me as well as my husband, can you suggest some places.
    Hope we have a good holiday, considering I feel very very cold gemerally – any tips for that?

    • Hey Priya – renting snow shoes works perfectly. You needn’t buy them 🙂 Also more than one aurora hunting trip shouldn’t be needed – if you’re lucky you’ll see Northern Lights at the Ice Hotel or Rovaniemi itself 🙂

  42. Hii Guys,

    Thats one beautiful trip.
    We are planning Finland from 25th March to 31st March.
    In and out from Helsinki.
    Helsinki to Rovaniemi and back in overnight train.
    We have 5 nights in Rovaniemi, which we have made our base.
    We are planning to do husky safari, reindeer sleigh ride, santa village, snow mobiling, arctic snow hotel, ice breaker cruise, northern lights hunting and a night in the igloo, all in Rovaniemi.
    Would you suggest anything on the same.
    Also, I am based in Mumbai and looking to buy some good warm caps and scarves, can you suggest where i can find one.

    • Hey Priya – that sounds like a great itinerary. We would suggest picking up woollens from a reputed brand like North Face or Jack Wolfskin online 🙂

  43. Hi. your blog on finland trip is very nice. i wanted to ask you what month of the year did you go to finland. i am planning a trip in january and was thinking of tromso in norway and rovaniemi in finland. could you suggest me if january would be good and also how best to travel about from norway to finland in your opinion. thank you

    • Hi Rimmy,

      We went in Feb. January is a great time to visit especially if you are interested in seeing the Northern Lights. The best way to get from Norway to Rovaniemi will be to fly – Norwegian has regular and reasonably priced flights 🙂

  44. Hi Guys,

    Just back from our trip !!! What a amazing one n truly once in a lifetime trip. I was searching for an itinerary for Finnish Lapland when I came across your blog and I had to look no further. We visited Santa, did husky safari , slept in an ice hotel , saw the northern lights in d forest while on a reindeer sledge etc etc…everything was so surreal….!!! A big thank you for penning down such a detailed itinerary…was truly helpful.

    Keep travelling…keep inspiring!!!

    Love
    Vanessa

    • Hey Vanessa we’re well and truly grateful that you stopped by to leave a comment AFTER your trip – it means the world. Do send us some photos from your trip – would love to share them with our readers 🙂 So happy you enjoyed Lapland as much as we did

  45. Hey! Thanks for sharing. Is like an amazing place and trip. Planning to bring my dad and mum to Lapland this December as they loved to see snow and northern light. My concern is it may be too cold for them. Would you recommend this for a couple and their parents at the age of beginning 60? Thanks in advance!

    • Dear Lilian,

      Apologies for not replying sooner.

      It does get really cold up there, but if you’re wearing the right clothes, we don’t see why it’ll be a problem for your parents. We met plenty of elder people and they all seemed to be having the time of their lives 😀

      Hope you have a great trip.

  46. Hi, can I know how much you spent on this trip throughout Finland excluding international flight?

    • Hi,

      We spent around 2000 GBP per person including the hotels, meals, activities (which end up being expensive), and internal transport.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  47. v r planning during late october for 1 week only. what do you suggest? primary interest is northern lights and snow. any suggestions for self drive in the lapland.

    • Hi,

      Self-drive is always an option, but we chose to use the public transport when we went. You could spend 4 days in Rovaniemi and 3 in Kakslauttanen/Saariselka

      Have a great trip!

  48. Hi Guys, great trip and pics/description. Thank you !!!

    I am taking the family in Novemeber for 8 days to Rovaniemi and Saariselka. What activities do you recommend in Rovaniemi and what do you receommend in Saariselka? I dont want to do the husky ride, reindeer farm etc at both locations and I am trying to determine what activities in what area. Thank you!!

    • Hey Riz,

      To be honest, you can pick either place for the tours and they’ll be equally gorgeous. We did the reindeer ride and husky ride near Rovaniemi and really enjoyed both. Perhaps you could do these 2 just like us and do a Northern Light chasing snowmobile tour in Saariselka?

      Hope that helps

  49. This is gorgeous!! Thanks for all the great info. I’ve been sharing this post with so many friends and family. Definitely on my wish-list! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for all the love Shruti 🙂

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