DIY Lapland from Ireland
Last year we ticked one item off our bucket list when we visited Iceland. Little did I think a mere two months later we would have managed to tick another one off the list – an ultimate dream come true….DIY Lapland from Ireland. It cost us a fraction of the price that tour operators were quoting for our two night stay therefore I though id set out just how we did it including costs.
Feel free to comment below or DM/ email and im more than happy to answer any questions or queries:
We weren’t overly keen on the over night train, I know some people love it but my thinking was tired kids = nightmare! Therefore we knew without booking with a tour operator we were limited to connecting nights flights so off we went researching.
- We flew Dublin to London Gatwick, Cost €9.99 per person each way with Ryanair
- London Gatwick to Rovaniemi £35.99 each way with Easy Jet
They above were the cheapest I could find anywhere and I did buckets of research in terms of timing I booked in August for December 2018. You also need to factor in the cost of an overnight stay in the airport as the Easy Jet flight is 6.20!! A very early flight!! We booked the Hilton Hampton airport hotel via booking.com for £90 b&b for the four of us. Nothing overly exciting but did the job and its literally next to the Easy Jet check in desks.
There is also the option of flying with Norwegian or Finnair from a few of the UK airports. The alternative is to go via Helsinki from Dublin, think its around an hours turnaround in Helsinki so tight but doable im informed. Of course the overnight train is an option if you fly from Dublin. Sign up to their newsletter for and discounts.
Accommodation (3 Nights)
There are a wealth of option to suit lots of budgets and requirements in Rovaniemi. We stayed at Santa Claus Village which yes is pricey but it was so handy to be so close to the airport and all activities were on site from Snowmobiling, huskies and of course the big man himself. We crossed over and under the arctic circle and Santa Claus Village is a 30 min or so walk to Santa Park. (Full reviews on both to follow).
The town of Rovaniemi is really nice and hosts the worlds most northerly McDonalds im told (and 2 Irish bars)!! I know a lot of people like to stay closer to the town for a variety of eating options and to be close to supermarkets etc. As above booking.com and Airbnb are good places to start. Food is pricey so do bear that in mind that you might like the option of self catering to be able to save money and cook at home.
The best piece of advice I can give here is to do your research. My kids are young so seeing Santa was top of the list but that list could be endless, there is just so much to do. What we did was we decided early what activities we would like and booked and paid for some of those in advance. Also highly recommended is the Rovaniemi Culture Pass which covers the top 3 attractions in Rovaniemi at €20 for adults and kids under 7 free this works out at really good value.
One thing I must do is commend the staff at Visit Rovaniemi, they are incredibly helpful at assisting with all queries in relation to upcoming visits. I literally spoke to them most weeks in the lead up to our trip and I can say hand on heart it would not have been half as good without their expert advice and guidance. It can be a bit of a minefield with so much on offer and the sense of wanting to see all that’s on offer in this magical place so do contact them for assistance.
I do have a full review to follow of each of this but I will say some highlights were:
- We saw Santa at Santa’s Office in Santa Claus Village, just amazing, we went early no queue as the tour buses hadn’t started to arrive yet
- We did the husky ride at Husky Park located in Santa Park, you get to spend some time at the husky farm before going on the ride which my kids just loved. The puppies…..so so cute. You can tell the staff genuinely love what they do and have a special bond with the animals
- Santa Park is about 2km from Santa Village, its a really lovely walk via a forest trail. Id probably say this was the kids highlight. They loved the entire experience start to finish. The entrance alone is pure magic. You walk down this walk way which is all lit up with beautiful coloured lights. Almost like stepping into a fantasy. At Sana Park you can underpass the arctic circle which we all thought was super cool. I can’t recommend Santa Park enough, well laid out and just wonderful. We only did Santa in one place to stave off the questions so the activities here were really thoroughly enjoyed:
- elf show – one word mesmerising I could not take my eyes off the lead female, just incredible ,
- angry birds play space, the grown ups enjoyed a coffee while the kids played over head at the place centre,
- gingerbread decorating, this was really lovely and relaxing and kids had plenty time to decorate and use all the various toppings on offer,
- train ride
All in all we estimate the total cost for the 4 of us for 4 nights flights bed and breakfast was around €1,000 activities extra bus that’s very much a matter of personal preference. The food is pricey but do factor that into your budget but I would urge you to try some of the local cuisine. Our favourite was probably the dinner at the Nova Skyland yes pricey but yes so worth it. My kids are snacky eaters so I had lots of their favourites with me when the (
hangry) hunger took over!
Mamma Fairy Insider Tips
- Take snacks!!
- Bepathan, my kids are fair skinned so I knew the cold would bother them, we used this on their faces and lips and no issues at all, definitely recommend
- Good ski gear/ cold gear – kids wore good quality thermals and outerwear from Reima boots from Sports Direct and adults Regatta and Sports Direct boots, nobody got wet and nobody moaned about the cold….. winner! (For our full post of dressing for Lapland click here)
Chat to Visit Rovaniemi they are excellent, I did it via email and definitely made our trip what it was.
- Whatever clothing you need only take half, we took way too much.
- Plan and plan some more, know what you want to do before you go and either pay in instalments or in advance makes planning easier.
- You only have very short day time hours so plan accordingly
- This year there was much stress about the snow levels so my advice – book into December. Nothing is guaranteed but it does increase your chances
- Sign up for all airlines newsletters so you know when flights are released. I understand both Easy Jet and Norwegian will be releasing theirs in April this year.
- The Airbnb and Booking.com links above will give you a small discount so you are welcome to use them as every little really does help.
- Savour every minute, honestly its magical
Hopefully this is helpful for anybody planning their trip of a life time -DIY Lapland from Ireland. Although in saying that im eagerly awaiting flight releases for this year so we can go back and enjoy all that the Official home of Santa Claus has to offer.
***2019 update*** if you want to see what we got up to in 2019 here is the link – from the jacuzzi under the stars in minus 20’s at Arctic Snow Hotel to Elf’s Farmyard lots more options of activities to choose from, the hard part is deciding what to to!! On to planning next years trip!
Note – since our return we got to interview the GM from Santa Claus Holiday Village who shares a view from the inside with us here