I have written this post so many times in my head but couldn’t grab the time to give this post the justice in needs. We first visited Lapland in 2018, following this I wrote my Lapland DIY post which has consistently been in my top 10 read posts which I think it a testament to just how popular it has been as a destination. In 2018, our youngest wasn’t well and added to that we have limited snow. I felt I needed to go back to experience Lapland in all its snowy glory. So on the day of the EasyJet Winter sale release, I set my alarm and for £17.99 each way we were off to Lapland again!
Where we stayed
As with last year we stayed at Santa Claus Village. My kids just love it here. I know its expensive but for us there is just some sort of magic there. Wandering around the village when the tour groups of gone, playing with kids in the neighbouring chalets. Its almost like exactly as how id imagined it would be.
Breakfast each morning was at the Christmas House restaurant. We had drinks a couple of evenings in the Three Elves Restaurant and a dinner another evening at Santa’s Pizza, both on site at Santa Claus Village . We loved the Three Elves but wasn’t 100% on Santa’s Pizza. It was manic and you got your chips first and then pizza and burgers were cooked to order it seemed and arrived 20 mins later.
We had a standard cabin which has a double, a double sofa and a little kitchen which was perfect for us.
What we did
Where do I even start. We packed so much into the 4 night visit. I know this sounds so cliche but it was magical.
- We visited Husky Park located at Santa Claus Village. We did the 500m husky in -8 temperatures which was ideal length for the boys (ages 4 and 7). A total bonus for us was the the husky hugging – oh-my-god. I was in love. We saw the most adorable pups. We loved this experiences and could clearly see the love, care and attention the dogs get at Husky Park. Kids absolutely loved this experience and cant wait to see their favourite dog – Batman again
- Also located at Santa Claus Village is Santa Claus Reindeer We didn’t get to experience a reindeer ride in 2018 so this year we could not wait to do this. We arrived at 10am and it was really quiet, no queuing so we were straight on. We did 2 on each sleigh and it was breathtaking. It was quite bright and the snow glistening as we were leisurely pulled around the woods. Definitely a memory I will cherish.
Elfs Farm Yard
- I understand Elfs Farm Yard is a new edition to Santa Claus Village and we were very excited to give this a go. This for us was a very surprise hit. How many people can say they skied across the Arctic Circle on traditional Lappish skis or feed reindeer on the Arctic Circle. This place is very deceptive, there was so much to do. We cooked hot dogs (available to buy in the on site shop), we skied, we fed reindeer up close and personal, we used sledges up and down the man made hill there. We waited for the sun to set and sat around the fire pit chatting to other families. Magical and in terms of prices in Lapland, so reasonable. A true hidden gem not to be missed, definitely a surprise highlight for us.
- This was top of my kids wish list particularly the 7 year old. From September onward he stalked accuweather to see if there would be enough snow this trip for him to go on snowmobiles. He was not disappointed. He spent time each day at the Wild Nordic kids track at Santa Claus Village and just loved it. I have to thank the very lovely 2 female staff members who were incredibly kid to my pair, im sorry I didn’t get your names. This was such a good option as it was contained, felt very safe for the kids and the kids felt they were getting independence. Just brilliant and I think if im honest the snowmobiles even topped Santa for my oldest!!!
- Snowman World opens each year in early December, its also located at Santa Claus Village. It consists of the Ice Restaurant and Ice Bar and the “winter zone” the winter zone consists of a pretty epic snowtubing slides. There was also a separate smaller one for kids which was ideal for my pair. They must have went up and down a million times! We enjoyed a drink in the Ice bar we didnt do lunch this time but hopefully on our next visit.
- Santa Park is located 2 km from Santa Claus Village and is all located inside which can prove a nice days respite from the cold. This was my youngest favourite morning. There is loads of cool activities to do here, crafts, gingerbread decorating, ice bar, train ride, crossing under the Arctic Circle, visit Santa and the highlight for all of us I think was the elf show. Its on a number of times during the day and its quite mesmerising. We had lunch at the buffet there while watching the show. I think the location in a underground bunker really adds to the charm here. We got there for the opening and it was nice and quiet. We took the bus between Santa Park and Santa Village which was ideal. There are large cloakrooms to store your winter gear also.
- We were kindly gifted Culture Passes which offer entry to the top 3 museums in Rovaniemi. Its €20 per adult and €15 for children over 7 and under 7s free. We had decided to spend a morning have a nosey around the town and make use of the card. In the end we only made to Pilke as we has so much fun in the snow at Lordi Square and also at the Irish Bar!!! We decided on Pilke which is the forestry museum as boys really love this type of thing. Its beautifully laid out, relax, lots of different activities. I found it so interesting learning all about sustainable forestry. Another ideal way to spend an afternoon out of the cold!
Arctic Snow Hotel & Glass Igloos
- When I was researching this trip, I was offered an opportunity that I could never refuse.
An offer to have dinner, outdoor Jacuzzi and sauna at the Arctic Snow Hotel. I mean opportunities like this don’t come around often and to be honest a total bucket list item for us. You know when you imagine what something will be like and it exceeds it beyond anything that you could have imagined will this was it.
- The bus picked us up from the reception of Santa Claus Village promptly at 6pm, we travelled for about 30 minutes and jumped off the bus to -24 temperatures!!!! The coldest it was during our time in Rovaniemi. First we had a drink at the Sky Bar which has stunning 360 views. It just felt like a dream. The very lovely staff kindly let us watch a time lapse video of the building of the Snow Hotel. With 70 beds it is one of the largest in the Nordic region. Words don’t do this structure justice. The work that goes into building it is just huge and its a huge testament to the hard work of many people.
- After our drink, we headed next door to the Kota restaurant for a 3 course meal. Paula – our chef what can I say, your personality shines through and your food – well wow it speaks for itself. All four of us opted for reindeer and hand on heart I have never tasted anything so good. We saw the fish being cooked on the open fire there and I intend coming back next year to sample it!!
- We savoured every mouthful then headed outside again for our Jacuzzi and sauna.
- It was now 10 o’clock at night, it was cold and I mean bitter. We donned the robes and slippers and made a run for the Jacuzzi. It was quite honestly one of the highlights I have ever experienced on our travels, -24, pitch dark, only the stars out and we chilled, chatted and relaxed. It really was surreal. The kids are only 7 and 4 and they just loved this so much.
- We were kindly offered the opportunity to experience the snow sauna. This is quite something, its hard to imagine a sauna made out of snow and ice but that’s exactly what this is. At this point the kids were getting tired so myself and the kids stuck to the traditional wooden sauna but my husband very gladly tried out the snow sauna and declared it an experience of a lifetime.
- At 11 o’clock we headed for our journey back to Santa Claus Village, tired but oh so happy. It was the stuff of dreams. I hope one day to stay on site just to savour the magic that little bit longer.
- You know… good staff really make a visit and for me the staff here are some of the best we have met worldwide, so kind, caring and thoughtful. Such a lovely vibe. Arctic Snow, its not if its when we will come back because we will most definitely be back. Its simply too good not to.
What we wore
- Kids were dressed head to toe in Reima which was kindly gifted to us. I have full blog post on dressing for Lapland here
- Adults had a mix of Campri and Mountain Warehouse
- Dont forget the bepanthen for protection delicate skin on faces
So…..2020 whats it to be
2018…was a once in a lifetime trip. 2019…..was ah sure we didn’t to see enough lets go back. 2020….ok we admit we have fallen in love with Lapland and let explore more of what this beautiful county has to offer. So for 2020 we plan on back to Rovaniemi for 2 nights and the dream is an over night at the Glass igloos at the Arctic Snow Hotel. From there we want to travel to Ranua to stay at the Arctic Guest house and Igloos.
I have been captivated by the charming tranquil location and we hope to stay 2-3 nights to see what Ranua has to offer. Kids have their heart set on the zoo there and the ice fishing which I understand can be organised via the Arctic Guesthouse. Check out the huts….can you just imagine gazing out at that sight…just wow. I believe you can also organise an Igloo sleigh ride…how cool does that sound. My kids would just love that.
There is also a very reasonably priced restaurant on site too, which is a huge plus as Finland is expensive to eat out.
All I have to do now is wait for flights to be released, pick our date and away we go. 2020 its looks like the year we explore more of Rovaniemi, sample the salmon at the Arctic Snow Hotel….. take a trip further afield to Ranua and maybe just maybe I could make my dream of staying in a glass igloo come true.
A couple of thank yous….Visit Rovaniemi and especially Anne. ….Massive thank you for your support for this trip. We spent a wonderful morning in your company at Santa Claus Village experiencing all the activities and it was simply wonderful. To the staff at Arctic Snow Hotel…..you made a dream come true in truly spectacular fashion, the kindness and care shown to us was really appreciated. A wonderful family business that deserves every success.
For more pics – see my Instagram highlights