10 fun winter activities in Lapland

From husky rides to Santa’s village and snowmobile tours, discover some of the best things to do in Lapland.

While this area of Northern Europe brims with natural beauty all year round, in winter Lapland is downright dreamy.  With 200 days of winter beginning with the first snowfall in late autumn to early April and miles of pristine wilderness, Lapland offers up endless opportunities for an idyllic winter escape. 

And if you’re wondering what to do once you’re there, then look no further. We’ve rounded up some of Lapland’s top winter activities.

1. Hunt for the northern lights

During summer the sun barely sets in Lapland, while in autumn, winter and spring the dark skies are lit by the northern lights. This is because even though the Aurora Borealis is caused by solar winds year-round, the sky is not always dark enough to see it. It’s only from the end of August to the beginning of April that the days are short and the nights dark enough to spot those glowing green lights. Statistically, around 200 nights a year you can observe this light spectacle in Lapland. And the further north you go, the better your chances. A nighttime snowmobile tour, a snowshoe hike, or an overnight stay in a glass cabin, along with many more experiences can also help you hunt those fantastic lights.

2. Snowshoe or cross-country ski

Snow is guaranteed in this Arctic region from late autumn to the end of winter, making Lapland the perfect destination for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Cross-country skiing is part of the Sami daily culture and in Lapland there are miles of cross-country skiing trails. So strap on some skis and make your way through the snowy forests, across open plains and with a bit of luck you might spot a moose, weasel or arctic hare. Prefer to take it a bit easier? Then pull on some snowshoes and explore the wintry landscape at a more leisurely pace. 

3. Go on a husky adventure

Want to meet some playful huskies? Then Lapland is the place to be. There are several husky farms in places such as in Rovaniemi, where you can get to know these friendly canines. The local trainers will tell you all about how the dogs live and are trained. Youll also see firsthand how they love interacting with people. Then it’s time for the sleigh ride! Jump on the sled and let the huskies pull you through the untouched landscape of Lapland. The fantastic energy of the huskies and the incredible views are something you won’t forget. 

4. Enjoy a reindeer safari

Another animal inextricably linked to Lapland is the reindeer, which play a major part in the daily life of the Sami. You’ll encounter more than a few when you’re here in fact there are about as many reindeer as people in Lapland! And if you want to learn more about these famed animals there’s no better place than a reindeer farm. There you’ll learn all about reindeer from the shepherds and also get a chance to feed these animals their favorite food, lichen. Then it’s time to hop into a sleigh and let the reindeer pull you through the Lappish landscape. 

5. Visit Santa Claus

Looking like it dropped straight out of a Christmas tale, is it any wonder Lapland is Santa’s home? And if you’re a Christmas lover a visit to Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi is a must. The village is open all year round, but the atmosphere in December is, as you might have guessed, extra special. You can take a picture with Santa Claus and share your wishes with him. Theres also an elf farm and a post office where you can send a postcard home with an authentic Santa Claus stamp. The Arctic Circle crosses Santa Claus Village and you can even get a certificate as proof that youve crossed the circle. In addition, there are all kinds of boutiques for the best gift-shopping and cozy restaurants where you can get warm and satisfy your hunger 

6. Discover arctic animals at the Ranua Zoo

This small municipality in Finnish Lapland holds an exceptional surprise: the northernmost wildlife park in the world. There’s no better place to discover the Arctic nature and the species living there. The park is a real forest, with around 150 animals from 50 different animal species housed in large enclosures. You can observe polar bears, brown bears, cute wolverines and all kinds of birds of prey, from snowy owls to golden eagles, just to name a few. The park is open all year round and is a fun day trip for the whole family. And don’t forget to stop by the chocolate shop Fazer once you’re done; it’s owned by a famous Finnish brand known for its sweet treats.

7. Zip through the snow on a snowmobile

There’s no better way to explore Lapland’s winter landscapes than on a high-speed snowmobile. Our snowmobile tours, of different lengths and routes, make for a magical winter experience that’ll get your heart pounding. Traveling by snowmobile also lets you access beautiful tranquil areas that are otherwise difficult to reach. Drive through snowy forests, frozen valleys and exciting off-piste routes, all accompanied by an expert guide wholl share their knowledge of the area with you. One of the most exciting excursions is the evening and night tour, where you might even catch the northern lights.

8. Ski or snowboard

In addition to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, you can also explore these wintry landscapes by skiing or snowboarding. Although the descents may not be as exciting as in the Alps, the rugged beauty, the quality of the slopes and the abundance of snow make the experience just as thrilling. The most famous ski area is Ylläs. Located around 90 miles above the Arctic Circle, it offers the greatest elevation of all the country’s ski resorts. Here you’ll find over 30 miles of slopes, 25 ski lifts, well-kept and cozy accommodation and, above all, unspoiled nature that is bound to amaze you.

9. Warm up in a sauna

Sauna culture is so deeply entrenched in Finland that there’s one sauna for every three inhabitants. The traditional sauna is a dry sauna, with a temperature of about 176212 °F, which is sometimes enriched with essential oils. After a long walk in the snow, or after admiring the northern lights on a wintry night, a few minutes in the strictly clothes-free sauna is a real treat. And after some good sweating, tradition dictates that you immerse yourself in ice water to maximize the health benefits. In Lapland there are some truly spectacular saunas, often located near natural pools, that you can dive right into.

10. Have a drink at an Ice Bar

In an Arctic region like Lapland, there’s no shortage of venues made entirely of ice, from hotels to restaurants, saunas to ice bars. Can you think of anything cooler than dinner at an ice restaurant enjoying local delicacies such as poronkäristys, dish of slow-cooked reindeer meat? Or maybe you’d prefer a drink in an Ice Bar? While you can find these bars in various resorts and restaurants, we recommend the one in Santa’s Village in Rovaniemi for the festive atmosphere.

Have an unforgettable winter in Lapland with our experiences:

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