32 suggestions for visiting Lapland with children

There actually isn’t any journey extra magical than visiting Lapland – the snowy landscapes, the prospect to satisfy Santa, to go husky sledding. However which means most of us have by no means taken a visit fairly prefer it earlier than – which is why I’ve pulled collectively my prime suggestions for visiting Lapland with children.

My daugher sits on a hill of snow in Levi with snowy trees and pink tinged clouds in the background - my top tips for visiting Lapland with kids including what to pack

I’m all ready for seashore breaks however have spent fewer holidays within the snow, and this was my first with my daughter. And whereas packing lists for Lapland holidays are all the time useful, there’s extra to it than merely remembering your thermals, as I found on our four-night break in Levi.

Ideas for visiting Lapland with children: earlier than you go

Select your dates rigorously

The sooner you go, the extra gentle you get and the hotter it’s prone to be. However you do threat there being much less snow than typical, if it’s a yr with larger temperatures (like in 2018) – whereas that isn’t but widespread, the climate will all the time fluctuate throughout the six week season.

Journey later and also you may match it into faculty holidays (we needed to request a depart of absence to get away earlier) or you possibly can even journey over Christmas Day itself, however it is going to be darker and possibly colder.

The situation could make a small distinction too: Saariselka is the furthest north of the primary Santa Break resorts, so it has extra probability of early snow. Rovaniemi – the official dwelling of Santa Claus – is the furthest south – with Yllas and Levi within the center, though all are within the Arctic Circle.

Test what’s supplied

Should you’re travelling on a Santa break package deal vacation, as we did, you’ll get a thermal swimsuit included which makes an enormous distinction.

We additionally had boots included – however keep in mind that you just’ll be strolling down snowy steps from the aircraft to the airport and onto a switch earlier than you get the boots, so that you’ll want one thing to deal with snow (the identical goes for having gloves, hat, ski jacket and heat layers on the aircraft).

My very own pair had been additionally hotter and a greater match than those supplied, though my daughter wore her two pairs interchangeably.

Contemplate what’s included

With a couple of fundamental exercise suppliers and tour operators in places like Levi, Yllas and Rovaniemi chances are you’ll discover that the excursions are related whether or not you’re travelling on a package deal or independently.

For our Santa Break with Inghams, we had a go to to Santa’s Workshop on the Santa Claus Village and a gala dinner with Santa Claus on the finish; you possibly can e book some other excursions individually, though our husky sledding and reindeer sleigh rides, and snowmobiling had been each organized by the corporate too.

Different firms embrace extra excursions, whilst you can all the time e book your personal. Should you organize any independently, don’t overlook you may additionally be chargeable for your personal transfers (both at an additional value or hiring a automotive to drive within the snow).

Learn extra about our actions on our Levi Santa Break right here

What age is greatest?

Lapland is magical at any age (I used to be in my 30s after I first visited) however when the main target is on visiting Santa in Lapland, it pays to time it proper when you can.

Most firms advise you journey with children aged 4+ and thermal fits and boots aren’t often included for under-threes. However wait too lengthy and the Santa magic could also be gone as soon as they’re too previous.

Age 6-7 is good, though having mentioned that, we noticed households with toddlers and teenagers too.

How lengthy to go for? 

It relies upon partly on how a lot you wish to slot in – there’s something from sooner or later journeys to Lapland to week-long breaks.

Most have a tendency to fall someplace within the center with three or four-day breaks being the most well-liked: shorter is cheaper however you’ll have to be ready for busy days or fewer excursions and any flight delays may have a much bigger impression.

We went for 4 nights, which felt good – it gave time for an tour day-after-day in addition to time for ourselves, and we by no means felt rushed (plus we obtained again on Sunday quite than midweek), though you possibly can nonetheless have fitted all the pieces right into a three-night break.

Personally I feel a one-day journey can be very full-on with younger children and dangers drained meltdowns as you lastly arrive and get to satisfy Santa – flights to Finnish Lapland are three and a half hours, so that you’ll have an early begin and a protracted day.

Should you’re planning to ski in addition to the excursions, otherwise you needed to enterprise additional afield or attempt a Northern Lights tour, you may want longer to benefit from the ski resort amenities.

Ideas for Lapland with children: what to pack

Select merino wool

It goes with out saying that you just’ll want thermal layers to maintain out the nippiness within the Arctic Circle.

We took two units of long-sleeved tops and leggings every, largely of merino wool, which was implausible – it’s skinny and light-weight, dries shortly but additionally retains you superbly heat.

Pack numerous layers

Take numerous layers to remain heat quite than one thick layer, because it’s simpler to adapt to the totally different temperature.

On our first day, the temperature was round -6C, by the tip of the journey it was all the way down to -15C and buddies who visited the yr earlier than had been met with -32C, so this fashion you possibly can layer up or down relying what awaits you.

Click on right here to see what we packed and to get my downloadable packing record

Pack totally different weight layers

There’s a restrict to simply how a lot can match beneath a thermal swimsuit (and selecting a much bigger measurement would have swamped my daughter totally), so I shortly realised that there was no probability that we may zip it up over each her ski jacket and thicker hoody (plus thermals).

As an alternative, we had some thinner jumpers which went underneath the ski jacket or may put the thermal swimsuit excessive (once more with thermals beneath).

The identical went for my very own swimsuit, so having a range meant there was all the time one thing which labored.

Double layer your gloves

If attainable attempt them on collectively before you purchase. We had thermal gloves and waterproof ski gloves for my daughter to layer up.

However the authentic thermal gloves we obtained had been too thick to suit inside, and the replacements nonetheless wanted some tugging to squeeze the second pair over.

As my daughter’s fingers barely got here up half-way, a much bigger measurement wouldn’t have labored any higher.

Considered one of my very own prime buys for Lapland was some silk glove liners to go underneath my very own thermal gloves – I used to be consistently having to tug my proper glove off, to take pictures, to fish tickets out of a pocket, to tug my daughter’s gloves again on (once more!) and easily couldn’t do any of it with the thermal layer on.

Having the glove liner meant my hand wasn’t consistently within the freezing air however it was skinny sufficient that I may (largely) even use the touchscreen on my cellphone.

I purchased this pair last-minute from Amazon though when you’re close to a Decathlon retailer, these are touchscreen appropriate.

Pack spare gloves

Having rigorously thought by the totally different glove layers, I managed to overlook that my daughter has a expertise for shedding gloves.

Setting out the primary morning to discover, we realised her thermal ones had been already lacking…

Fortunately they’d simply been dropped within the resort foyer at check-in and scooped into misplaced property, however I used to be kicking myself for not having a number of back-ups!

Double layer your socks

Surprisingly, the low temperatures don’t all the time really feel that low, particularly while you’re bundled up in layers and thermals, because the air is so dry and we had no or little or no wind.

So it’s your toes and fingers which really feel the chilly first. I layered atypical socks with thermal socks for each of us, inside heat ski boots, however nonetheless wished for thicker socks myself a number of instances.

Purchase extra handwarmers

We had two units of reusable handwarmers with us, which labored superbly the primary time we used them (simply bend to snap the steel disc they usually warmth up immediately).

I then managed to drop one in a snowdrift the place it vanished totally, and when attempting to warmth them in boiling water to reuse them, one popped, and the opposite two flatly refused to go squashy once more.

Subsequent time I’d take much more and go for disposable air activated ones as a substitute like these.

Get a gaiter

I’ve additionally heard them known as buffs, gaiters and snoods, however no matter title you fancy giving this convenient piece of clothes, be sure you’ve obtained one!

The circle of cosy materials is so much much less faff than a shawl, simpler to snuggle underneath a jacket and simple to tug up over your face and nostril, particularly when you’re husky sledding after we felt the nippiness of the air much more.

My daughter’s was fleecy and albeit I used to be jealous sufficient to attempt it on to see if it fitted (it did, simply – click on right here to take a look at the fluffiness) so I’ve my eye on an analogous one like this fleecy one subsequent time.

My daughter lies in the snow, hat pulled down and fleecy snood pulled up over her face against the snow - my top tips for visiting Lapland with kids including what to pack

Be certain your hat covers your ears

Or think about a balaclava (though after I wore one underneath my helmet for snowmobiling, I believed my daughter would explode with laughter).

And in case your children are like my daughter, who can lose hats as simply as gloves, take a minimum of two. Tassels can are available in helpful to tie it underneath their chin too, though it’s value figuring out huskies wish to play with longer tassels…!

You will discover conventional trapper-style hats in addition to some very cute animal variations – all the pieces from a unicorn to a fleecy fox and furry wolf.

Slip in some slippers

Or some cozy sneakers. I had my very own ski boots and was additionally supplied with one other set however there’s nothing like pulling on a comfortable pair of slippers after a day clomping round in heavy boots.

Thermal socks may be heat however usually tight so I used to be glad to peel these off and this saved me heat with out underfloor heating.

My daughter had her slipper socks (together with some fleecy tracksuit bottoms) for a similar motive – I used to be tempted by this fox pair for her as properly and this fleece-lined pair for me!

Have a scorching water bottle

The apparently skinny duvets on our beds had been impressively heat, so we may definitely have managed with out our scorching water bottles.

However there’s nothing fairly so comforting as curling up with one while you’ve been chilly – I packed this 1 litre scorching water bottle with a fleecy cowl for me, and a dinky 0.5 litre model for my daughter.

I additionally threw on this fleece journey blanket simply in case: in the long run we by no means wanted it, however for a fiver it was nice as a back-up.

Pack transportable snacks

Chocolate biscuits, fruit leather-based, cereal bars… I got here armed with loads of snacks for each of us which may simply be slipped right into a bag after we had been out for the day, every time my six-year-old wanted a high-energy increase.

Taking part in in snow is large enjoyable, as had been all our winter actions, however it may be tiring so a couple of treats had been ultimate to maintain her going and Finland isn’t the most cost effective place to purchase meals.

Persist with your personal favourites, though the fruit Bear Nibbles and Cadbury Animal Biscuits labored wonders.

You possibly can by no means have an excessive amount of scorching chocolate

Ticking the excessive power field and excellent to heat us up as we relaxed after a day within the snow, I feel I misplaced depend of the variety of scorching candies we had between us.

As we had been in a resort quite than self-catering, I grabbed a handful of various sachets which solely wanted boiling water – Cadbury, Galaxy, Wispa – and sipped by all of them. Yum.

For a bit of additional luxurious, loads of fancy scorching candies have to be made with scorching milk however these Charbonnel & Walker Ingesting Chocolate flakes and the Traditional scorching chocolate from Lodge Chocolat may be made with boiling water.

Convey wine

The bottle of pink wine I picked up in Responsibility Free at Gatwick was just a few kilos greater than a small glass in a single Levi restaurant (and barely lower than a big glass in our resort).

You should buy wines on the Alko store however the one in Levi is just a little stroll from the centre of city and you’ll’t merely decide up a bottle in a grocery store in Finland.

Take a rucksack

You in all probability gained’t have an enormous quantity to hold however when you’re in a thermal swimsuit, you’ve got restricted accessible pockets, so one thing to stash the necessities in and hold your arms free to fiddle within the snow is helpful.

I took my Osprey daylite backpack which had loads of room for all the pieces, sufficient pockets to maintain all of it separate, plus a useful compartment on the again to stuff gloves and hats in after we went inside.

Contemplate methods to carry your cellphone

Even with my glove liners on, my chilly fingers managed to fumble my cellphone and drop it right into a snowdrift on day one.

Fortunately the powdery snow meant it emerged unscathed (though the battery stage dropped immediately to three%) however I regretted not taking the waterproof case I personal, which hangs round my neck.

Utilizing the cellphone with glove liners by the skinny case may need been tough however it will even have made me really feel safer holding it on our husky sled.

This case is appropriate with any cellphone as much as 6.8 inches, together with a Samsung S23 and iPhone 14, this bigger case for handsets as much as 7.5 inches like a Samsung S30 or iPhone 14 Plus.

Bulk purchase batteries

Even when you handle to not drop your cellphone right into a snowdrift (extremely suggested!), the chilly temperatures drain batteries a lot quicker.

Plus you’ll be snapping away on the beautiful surroundings so much, in addition to capturing some implausible household reminiscences.

So when you’re utilizing a digicam, it’s value having a second battery charged and prepared. Should you’re utilizing a cellphone, hold a charged transportable battery at hand.

This slimline Anker energy financial institution is good because it’s not too cumbersome however can shortly and utterly cost a cellphone (with energy leftover)..

Or hold your cellphone in the identical pocket as handwarmers if it’s beginning to get chilled.

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise

The dry air may imply you don’t really feel the chilly as a lot as you count on, however your pores and skin definitely will.

My arms felt as dry as paper, so numerous hand cream is crucial – I had my Neutrogena Norwegian Method hand cream (apt for a visit to Finland!) and super-moisturising L’Occitane Shea hand cream for an added increase.

Be sure you’ve obtained loads of lip balm too: my Elizabeth Arden eight-hour cream was additionally nice for any notably sore spots on my arms from pulling stiff zips.

The gondola linking Levi Panorama hotel with the town below - my top tips for visiting Lapland with kids including what to pack

Lapland suggestions: the place to stick with children

Lodge or self-catering?

There are self-catering residences and chalets in addition to lodges in locations like Levi, so you possibly can select which fits you greatest (together with each half-board and full-board choices within the lodges).

It’s value taking into consideration that meals in Finland isn’t low cost, so self-catering will not be as low-cost as different locations – and that whereas I’ve had some completely good meals there, you don’t actually go to Lapland for the delicacies!

With chips and little one favourites like hen nuggets on the buffet at our resort, Levi Panorama, there was one thing for my daughter each night, plus a few stand-out grownup choices together with salmon with dill and a melting beef stew.

Should you’re planning to eat out, two massive pizzas with drinks at Traditional Pizza in Levi value us round 40 Euros. You possibly can eat extra cheaply or simply spend extra although.

How far is it to the restaurant?

One factor that’s value contemplating is how shut your rooms are to the restaurant – some might be in a separate constructing within the resort so on chilly evenings or if it’s quite a lot of minutes stroll, you may want thermal fits on the best way.

The identical goes when you’re planning to eat out and might be strolling out of your resort. After a enjoyable time out within the snow, I used to be very happy to take off some layers and simply hop into the carry to get to ours.

Central or secluded? 

Levi itself isn’t enormous – and the identical goes for most of the different fundamental Santa break locations – however with snow, thermal fits and chilly climate, when you’ve obtained a 15-minute stroll to get wherever, you’ll shortly get fed up of that with drained children.

On the plus facet, when you’re just a little means out of the primary city, you get unspoiled snow to discover.

Levi Panorama is linked to the city by a gondola, and I used to be in two minds whether or not I’d like it or whether or not it will be an added faff.

Fortunately, it was the previous – we had snowy woods to wander by, the gondola was solely a minute or so away and left us proper within the coronary heart of Levi, and my daughter and I cherished the views as we had been carried up and down the mountain.

We by no means needed to wait greater than a couple of minute for it to reach and by no means didn’t get a seat both (and tickets are free when you keep within the resort).

It runs from 9.30am to 9pm which labored properly, as we weren’t out exploring earlier or later.

There are a couple of bonuses for Lapland lodges which you gained’t discover in most lodging – for starters, a drying cabinet is implausible while you’ve discovered your self lined in snow.

Inside a thermal swimsuit, you’ll keep comparatively dry however in addition to soggy gloves, hats and socks, we ended up with moist cuffs and hems at numerous factors, which this sorted out superfast.

Some lodges also have a mini sauna within the room (not suggested for youngsters underneath 12) in addition to communal saunas – women and men’s are separated however you’ll be anticipated to go in bare in Finland.

After a freezing day, it may be blissful (particularly when you’ve obtained another person to take care of the youngsters as you gently toast).

Even in freezing temperatures a swimming pool can go down properly, particularly when it’s too chilly to go outdoors for lengthy or when you’re unfortunate sufficient to not get a lot snow – though my pool-obsessed daughter managed fairly fortunately and not using a swim on this Lapland journey.

My daughter in the snow with the gold of sunset at around 2pm - my top tips for visiting Lapland with kids including what to pack

Ideas for visiting Lapland with children: while you’re there

Take it sluggish

Enable further time for all the pieces right here. There’s no query of merely grabbing a coat and coming out (not that there often is with children!)

In Lapland, it’s worthwhile to think about further time to get into thermal fits, to tug gloves over gloves, then to stroll by the snow.

Think about downtime

Having a thermal swimsuit to put on is a big bonus, maintaining the snow out and maintaining everybody heat, however they’re not light-weight.

Carrying one may be surprisingly tiring, even for adults, not to mention children, particularly while you’re clambering over the snow and becoming in every kind of enjoyable actions.

On the finish of the day, as we obtained again to the resort, I used to be glad to unzip mine, take off my boots and simply relax. (That is the place the new chocolate and slippers is available in too).

This Lapland kids’s exercise e book and journal is nice for while you’re kicking again after your time out, and makes a enjoyable memento too.

Bear in mind the darkish

After we visited in early December, there’s solely about two hours between dawn and sundown. By mid December, it’s the polar evening and formally darkish all day.

On the plus facet, we had essentially the most lovely gentle in the midst of the day, a pinkish gold shade, and the sluggish daybreak and nightfall means you do get some daylight earlier than the official dawn and sundown.

There are additionally loads of streetlights and the snow displays to offer a half-light later than you may count on. Nonetheless, in case you are heading off the crushed observe, take a torch.

Waking up at midnight and it being full darkish by mid afternoon undoubtedly confuses your physique clock although, particularly on the primary day with a two-hour time distinction and a really early begin for the flight. Be ready to suppose it’s bedtime by 5pm!

You may not want all of your layers

I used to be so equipped for the low temperatures and decided the chilly wouldn’t cease us that it got here as a shock to find we didn’t want our thermal swimsuit day-after-day.

On our first day, the temperatures hovered round -6C – not precisely tropical, however thermal layers, a thick hoody, ski jacket and ski trousers, plus ski boots (and hat, gloves and so on) saved us toasty heat.

My daughter’s thermal swimsuit was too heat for the heated pods after we went snowmobiling too!

Obtain an Aurora app

I’ve visited the Arctic Circle thrice and have nonetheless but to see these superb swirling inexperienced Northern Lights.

Sadly the cloud cowl meant I used to be no luckier this time, however to save lots of hours spent outdoors staring hopefully on the sky, I downloaded My Aurora Forecast app (click on right here for Android) which helps you to know your probabilities and the most effective instances to identify them.

*First printed 2018, up to date 2023*


My top tips for visiting Lapland with kids, from what to pack for a Santa Break in Lapland to how long to spend and where to stay, as well as why extra hot chocolate is always good.

Disclosure: My Santa Break was courtesy of Inghams. All opinions are my very own, based mostly on our experiences from our journey, together with infinite faffing with gloves and fumbling with telephones. This submit accommodates affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I’ll obtain a small fee

Photographs copyright MummyTravels


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