There actually is not any journey extra magical than visiting Lapland – the snowy landscapes, the possibility to fulfill Santa, to go husky sledding. However meaning most of us have by no means taken a visit fairly prefer it earlier than – which is why I’ve pulled collectively my high suggestions for visiting Lapland with children.
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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 at all times 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 traditional, if it’s a 12 months with greater temperatures (like in 2018) – whereas that isn’t but frequent, the climate will at all times fluctuate through the six week season.
Journey later and also you would possibly match it into college holidays (we needed to request a depart of absence to get away earlier) or you can even journey over Christmas Day itself, however it will likely be darker and doubtless colder.
The placement could make a small distinction too: Saariselka is the furthest north of the principle 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.
Examine what’s offered
Should you’re travelling on a Santa break package deal vacation, as we did, you’ll get a thermal go well with 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 airplane 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 airplane).
My very own pair had been additionally hotter and a greater match than those offered, though my daughter wore her two pairs interchangeably.
Contemplate what’s included
With a couple of essential exercise suppliers and tour operators in places like Levi, Yllas and Rovaniemi you could discover that the excursions are comparable 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 another excursions individually, though our husky sledding and reindeer sleigh rides, and snowmobiling had been each organized by means of the corporate too.
Different firms embrace extra excursions, when you can at all times e-book your personal. Should you organize any independently, don’t neglect you may additionally be chargeable for your personal transfers (both at an additional price or hiring a automotive to drive within the snow).
Learn extra about our actions on our Levi Santa Break right here
What age is finest?
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 should you can.
Most firms advise you journey with children aged 4+ and thermal fits and boots aren’t normally included for under-threes. However wait too lengthy and the Santa magic could also be gone as soon as they’re too outdated.
Age 6-7 is good, though having stated that, we noticed households with toddlers and youths too.
How lengthy to go for?
It relies upon partly on how a lot you need to slot in – there’s something from in the future 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 preferred: shorter is cheaper however you’ll should be ready for busy days or fewer excursions and any flight delays may have an even bigger affect.
We went for 4 nights, which felt good – it gave time for an tour every single day in addition to time for ourselves, and we by no means felt rushed (plus we received again on Sunday moderately than midweek), though you can nonetheless have fitted every thing right into a three-night break.
Personally I believe a one-day journey could be very full-on with younger children and dangers drained meltdowns as you lastly arrive and get to fulfill Santa – flights to Finnish Lapland are three and a half hours, so that you’ll have an early begin and an extended day.
Should you’re planning to ski in addition to the excursions, otherwise you wished to enterprise additional afield or strive 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 chilliness 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 rapidly but additionally retains you fantastically heat.
Pack a lot of layers
Take a lot of layers to remain heat moderately 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 pals who visited the 12 months 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 checklist
Pack totally different weight layers
There’s a restrict to simply how a lot can match beneath a thermal go well with (and selecting an even bigger dimension would have swamped my daughter solely), so I rapidly 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 beneath the ski jacket or may put the thermal go well with excessive (once more with thermals beneath).
The identical went for my very own go well with, so having a spread meant there was at all times one thing which labored.
Double layer your gloves
However the unique thermal gloves we received 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, an even bigger dimension wouldn’t have labored any higher.
One in every of my very own high buys for Lapland was some silk glove liners to go beneath my very own thermal gloves – I used to be continuously 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 continuously within the freezing air nevertheless it was skinny sufficient that I may (largely) even use the touchscreen on my telephone.
Pack spare gloves
Having rigorously thought by means of the totally different glove layers, I managed to neglect that my daughter has a expertise for dropping 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 lodge 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 at all times really feel that low, particularly once 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 abnormal socks with thermal socks for each of us, inside heat ski boots, however nonetheless wished for thicker socks myself a number of occasions.
Purchase extra handwarmers
We had two units of reusable handwarmers with us, which labored fantastically 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 solely, 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 to’ve received one!
The circle of cosy materials is quite a bit much less faff than a shawl, simpler to snuggle beneath a jacket and simple to tug up over your face and nostril, particularly should you’re husky sledding after we felt the chilliness of the air way more.
My daughter’s was fleecy and albeit I used to be jealous sufficient to strive 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 the same one like this fleecy one subsequent time.
Be certain that your hat covers your ears
Or contemplate a balaclava (though after I wore one beneath 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 at the least two. Tassels can are available in helpful to tie it beneath their chin too, though it’s price figuring out huskies wish to play with longer tassels…!
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 could be heat however typically tight so I used to be glad to peel these off and this stored me heat with out underfloor heating.
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 once 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: ultimately we by no means wanted it, however for a fiver it was nice as a back-up.
Pack moveable 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, each time my six-year-old wanted a high-energy increase.
Taking part in in snow is big enjoyable, as had been all our winter actions, however it may be tiring so a couple of treats had been preferrred to maintain her going and Finland just isn’t the most affordable place to purchase meals.
Follow 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 vitality field and excellent to heat us up as we relaxed after a day within the snow, I believe I misplaced rely of the variety of scorching goodies we had between us.
As we had been in a lodge moderately than self-catering, I grabbed a handful of various sachets which solely wanted boiling water – Cadbury, Galaxy, Wispa – and sipped by means of all of them. Yum.
For a bit of additional luxurious, numerous fancy scorching goodies should be made with scorching milk however these Charbonnel & Walker Consuming Chocolate flakes and the Basic scorching chocolate from Lodge Chocolat could be made with boiling water.
The bottle of crimson wine I picked up in Obligation 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 lodge).
You should purchase wines on the Alko store however the one in Levi is a bit of stroll from the centre of city and you may’t merely choose up a bottle in a grocery store in Finland.
Take a rucksack
You most likely gained’t have an enormous quantity to hold however when you’re in a thermal go well with, you might have restricted accessible pockets, so one thing to stash the necessities in and maintain your arms free to fiddle within the snow is beneficial.
I took my Osprey daylite backpack which had loads of room for every thing, 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 telephone
Even with my glove liners on, my chilly fingers managed to fumble my telephone and drop it right into a snowdrift on day one.
Fortunately the powdery snow meant it emerged unscathed (though the battery degree dropped immediately to three%) however I regretted not taking the waterproof case I personal, which hangs round my neck.
Utilizing the telephone with glove liners by means of the skinny case might need been difficult however it could even have made me really feel safer holding it on our husky sled.
Bulk purchase batteries
Even should you handle to not drop your telephone right into a snowdrift (extremely suggested!), the chilly temperatures drain batteries a lot sooner.
Plus you’ll be snapping away on the beautiful surroundings quite a bit, in addition to capturing some implausible household recollections.
So should you’re utilizing a digital camera, it’s price having a second battery charged and prepared. Should you’re utilizing a telephone, maintain a charged moveable battery handy.
This slimline Anker energy financial institution is good because it’s not too cumbersome however can rapidly and utterly cost a telephone (with energy leftover)..
Or maintain your telephone in the identical pocket as handwarmers if it’s beginning to get chilled.
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise
The dry air would possibly imply you don’t really feel the chilly as a lot as you anticipate, however your pores and skin definitely will.
My arms felt as dry as paper, so a lot of hand cream is crucial – I had my Neutrogena Norwegian Components hand cream (apt for a visit to Finland!) and super-moisturising L’Occitane Shea hand cream for an added increase.
Be sure you’ve received 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.
Lapland suggestions: the place to stick with children
Lodge or self-catering?
There are self-catering residences and chalets in addition to resorts in locations like Levi, so you possibly can select which fits you finest (together with each half-board and full-board choices within the resorts).
It’s price taking into account that meals in Finland isn’t low cost, so self-catering is probably not 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 baby favourites like rooster nuggets on the buffet at our lodge, 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 Basic Pizza in Levi price 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 price contemplating is how shut your rooms are to the restaurant – some will probably be in a separate constructing within the lodge so on chilly evenings or if it’s various minutes stroll, you would possibly want thermal fits on the best way.
The identical goes should you’re planning to eat out and will probably be strolling out of your lodge. After a enjoyable day trip within the snow, I used to be more than happy to take off some layers and simply hop into the raise to get to ours.
Central or secluded?
Levi itself isn’t enormous – and the identical goes for most of the different essential Santa break locations – however with snow, thermal fits and chilly climate, should you’ve received a 15-minute stroll to get anyplace, you’ll rapidly get fed up of that with drained children.
On the plus aspect, should you’re a bit of method out of the principle 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 find it irresistible or whether or not it could be an added faff.
Fortunately, it was the previous – we had snowy woods to wander by means of, 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 should you keep within the lodge).
It runs from 9.30am to 9pm which labored nicely, as we weren’t out exploring earlier or later.
There are a couple of bonuses for Lapland resorts which you gained’t discover in most lodging – for starters, a drying cabinet is implausible once you’ve discovered your self lined in snow.
Inside a thermal go well with, 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 resorts actually have a mini sauna within the room (not suggested for kids beneath 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 should you’ve received another person to take care of the youngsters as you gently toast).
Even in freezing temperatures a swimming pool can go down nicely, particularly when it’s too chilly to go outdoors for lengthy or should you’re unfortunate sufficient to not get a lot snow – though my pool-obsessed daughter managed fairly fortunately with no swim on this Lapland journey.
Ideas for visiting Lapland with children: once you’re there
Take it sluggish
Permit further time for every thing right here. There’s no query of merely grabbing a coat and coming out (not that there normally is with children!)
In Lapland, you’ll want to consider further time to get into thermal fits, to tug gloves over gloves, then to stroll by means of the snow.
Having a thermal go well with to put on is a big bonus, protecting the snow out and protecting everybody heat, however they’re not light-weight.
Carrying one could be surprisingly tiring, even for adults, not to mention children, particularly once you’re clambering over the snow and becoming in all types of enjoyable actions.
On the finish of the day, as we received again to the lodge, 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 youngsters’s exercise e-book and journal is nice for once you’re kicking again after your day trip, and makes a enjoyable memento too.
Bear in mind the darkish
Once we visited in early December, there’s solely about two hours between dawn and sundown. By mid December, it’s the polar night time and formally darkish all day.
On the plus aspect, we had probably 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 present a half-light later than you would possibly anticipate. Nevertheless, if you’re heading off the overwhelmed observe, take a torch.
Waking up at the hours of darkness and it being full darkish by mid afternoon positively 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 go well with every single 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 many others) stored us toasty heat.
My daughter’s thermal go well with was too heat for the heated pods after we went snowmobiling too!
Obtain an Aurora app
I’ve visited the Arctic Circle 3 times 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 avoid wasting 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 perfect occasions to identify them.
*First revealed 2018, up to date 2023*
PIN FOR LATER: TIPS FOR VISITING LAPLAND WITH KIDS
Disclosure: My Santa Break was courtesy of Inghams. All opinions are my very own, based mostly on our experiences from our journey, together with countless faffing with gloves and fumbling with telephones. This put up incorporates affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee
Photos copyright MummyTravels