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Lapland is the ultimate winter destination for any travel lover, with so much to do and see. From husky sledding and reindeer sleigh rides, to aurora hunting and Finnish saunas, there are so many reasons to add Lapland to your travel bucket list. In this guide I’ll be giving you a complete rundown of everything you need to know for a trip to Finnish Lapland. This includes the best time to visit, recommended places to stay, the best winter activities and so much more!

Good to know

Currency

Euro (EUR)

Language

Finnish and Swedish

Plug Type

Type F

Time Zone

GMT+2

What to see and do in Lapland

Located in Finland’s northernmost region is Lapland, a vast area of outstanding arctic beauty where you’ll find the magical northern lights and midnight sun. Lapland is home to some of the most beautiful arctic resorts, unique outdoor adventure activities and of course, Santa Claus.

Apukka adventures autumn Alaskan husky sledding ride

Known for being the home of Santa Claus and husky sledding, there are endless activities to do whether you want to get into the Christmas spirit or explore what Lapland has to offer. The most popular destination to visit in Lapland is Rovaniemi, Lapland’s capital city, and the “official” home of Santa Claus. Some other popular places to stay are Kittila, Ivalo (and Saariselkä) and Kuusamo. Many of these are known for their ski villages, northern lights and stunning scenery.

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When is the best time of year to visit Lapland

Although Lapland is thought of as a winter wonderland, it also has its warm summers and colourful autumns. The best time of year to visit depends on the activities you wish to do, and the budget you have to spend. As with most destinations, Lapland is more expensive in its peak, during the months of December, January and February. 

 

Winter temperatures and snowfall begins around November, although permanent snow usually won’t happen until December. For this reason, if you’re after snow activities like husky sledding and snowmobile rides, it’s best to visit from December until March. Between November and December, temperatures rarely go above freezing, you can expect anything between 0 and -40 degrees Celsius. 

Aurora Northern Lights through windows from Aurora Suite at Northern Lights Village, Levi, Lapland

Spring rolls around by the end of March and is short lived, lasting till May. This is still a great time to visit as the days are longer and it’s not as cold as the winter months, but there is still snowfall. This is also when accommodation and activities are cheaper, as it’s not the peak season anymore. 

 

Summer weather begins around May, as well as the natural phenomenon Midnight Sun, where the sun stays above the horizon at all times, meaning it doesn’t get dark. This lasts for two months, until July. July is also the warmest month of the year, with an average temperature of 17 degrees Celsius. 

Inside Northern Lights Village Levi Aurora Suite in the snow, Lapland
Northern Lights Village Levi Aurora Suite in the snow, Lapland

Autumn begins at the end of August and lasts through September. This is one of the best times to visit for hiking, as you can get incredible views of the colourful autumn foliage. The weather also starts to get colder with an average of 10 degrees in September and -2 in November.

 

November is also a great month to visit as there is some snowfall, and the country starts to transform into a winter wonderland. Activities and accommodation are still cheaper during November, so it’s a great time to visit before the peak in December.

how expensive is Lapland?

I’m not going to lie, Lapland is an expensive destination, especially if you’re staying in a nice resort, eating out and doing lots of activities. However, there are lots of budget accommodations and affordable ways to visit Lapland and still do all the amazing things it has to offer.

 

If you’re travelling to Lapland with a budget, I’d recommend spending less on the accommodation and meals and more on the activities. Of course, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes that are affordable too, the best way to find these is on Tripadvisor.

 

We used our Wise international bank account and debit card to spend and withdraw cash at the true exchange rate, it’s such an easy way to save time and money when you travel and you can sign up for free here.

Bearhill Husky Alaskan Huskies
Arctic ice plunge at frozen lake in Lapland

is Lapland safe to visit?

Finland, and Lapland in particular, is a very safe country, with low crime levels. There are low levels of theft and robbery, so it’s always advised to keep valuables hidden and to lock doors and windows.

 

If you plan on driving in Lapland it’s important to understand road safety to ensure you don’t have any accidents. There are many reindeers and elks roaming around Lapland and often in the road, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to stay alert. If driving in the snow and ice, make sure to have winter tires.

 

Make sure you’re covered with travel insurance – it’s a small investment that could make a big difference if something goes wrong!

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where to stay in the Lapland?

Glass Igloo Resorts 

One of the most unique experiences to do in Lapland is staying in a glass-roofed Igloo in the Finnish wilderness. There are plenty of unique stays to choose from, depending on location and facilities. Some igloos can be self-contained with kitchens, whereas some can have hot tubs, saunas and other luxury amenities. These range in price, but generally start from around $250 per night. We really recommend staying in an Igloo, as the glass roof allows you to spot northern lights from your bed which is the ultimate Lapland experience.

Apukka Resort Kammi suites luxury accommodation in snow, Lapland, Finland

Apukka Resort

Northern Lights Village Levi Aurora Suite in the snow, Lapland

Northern Lights Village

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apartment style 

One of the most affordable accommodation options in Lapland are apartment and home-style stays, often found on Airbnb and Booking.com. These are great if you want to save money by making your own meals and are generally cheaper than any other accommodation style. We stayed in a clean and modern apartment for 7 nights in October, which cost us $280.

Log Cabins

Lapland is full of traditional Log Cabins that are perfect for a cheaper alternative to unique and luxury resorts. These cabins range from budget to luxury, and you can find self-contained cabins or cabins in a resort. 

Bearhill Husky Wilderness Cabin, Rovaniemi, Lapland , Finland

Bearhill Husky Cabin

Camping

Staying in a campervan is also a great option in Lapland, as there are plenty of free campsites and facilities dotted around. Lapland has a law called ‘Everyman’s Rights’ which allows anyone living in or visiting Finland the freedom to camp, fish, forage and roam the countryside. Although, make sure to leave no trace and respect the wildlife and nature.

how to get to and around Lapland

Plane

Lapland has a total of 6 airports, with the options of direct flights from cities such as London, Paris, Milan, Berlin and many more. There are also daily flights from Helenski, so for those further away you can fly into Helenski, and then onto one of the six airports depending on your where you choose to stay in Lapland.

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Car

Driving to Lapland is an option if you want to visit multiple parts of the country or prefer to drive rather than take public transport. We drove to Lapland from the UK in our campervan. This is a great option if you plan on travelling to different parts of the country, or exploring surrounding countries. We took a road trip through Norway, and then drove across to Finland. 

Campervan surrounded by snowy forest in Finnish Lapland

There are plenty of car hire options from all around Finland, so you can hire a car and drive to Lapland or hire a car when you fly into Lapland. Most car parks charge around €1.40 an hour; however, we used Park4Night to find free parking spaces.

Public Transport

Another option is to take the train or bus from Helenski. Travelling from Helsinki to Rovaniemi will take you between 8 and 12 hours, and cost you around 102. You can even opt for an overnight train with sleeping cabins, so you can arrive fresh and ready to explore Lapland. Buses also run between Helsinki and Lappish cities and towns, with a bus from Helsinki to Rovaniemi costing you anywhere from €20 – €70 and taking around 11 hours.

 

If you’re staying In Rovaniemi, there are buses that run daily to take you to locations like the airport, Santa Claus Village and the city centre. However, once you’re in the city centre, it’s easy to walk everywhere because it is quite small. You also have the option of a taxi, which will be the more expensive option. From Rovaniemi, you can take a bus to Levi, Ranua, Saariselka, Inari, Kuusamo and many other destinations.

Rentals

There are plenty of car hire options from all around Finland, so you can hire a car and drive to Lapland or hire a car when you fly into Lapland. Or if you’re feeling adventurous why not hire a fat bike and cycle through the snow!