What to See and Do in Finland
Think of Finland and you might think of Santa, and if you’re thinking of Santa then why not consider booking a break in Lapland in time for Christmas this year?
I know, I know, Summer’s only just finished but before you know it there’ll be Wham and piped through the speakers in every shop.
So, what’s so great about Finland that you might want to spend your Christmas there?
Well, snow for one thing: it’s the most likely place in Europe to be covered in the stuff. When it’s not snowing, there are loads of forests and lakes, which are nice to visit in the warmer months, but if you’re thinking of a Christmas getaway then you’ll be interested in what’s there in Winter.
You can feed reindeer (not necessarily with red noses, alas), have a ride on a sledge pulled by huskies, and stay in an ice hotel or igloo if you’re really committed.
Lapland is described as the ‘top of the world’ as it feels so remote. Trips on sledges to see the northern lights are usually available, although it’s rather hit-and-miss as to whether you’ll be lucky enough to see them.
Still, if you’re there for a few days then chances are you’ll be able to see the eerie, greenish glows in the sky at some point.
Other activities available locally in Lapland include mountain biking in the mountains, white-water rafting, fishing and kayaking in the rivers and even panning for gold – though these activities are best enjoyed in the Autumn or Spring months.
The provincial capital of Lapland is Rovaniemi, which is actually on the Arctic Circle (they really mean it about the ‘top of the world’ thing). This is, as we all know, where Santa lives.
If you miss the big man himself, you can visit the Arktikum museum that gives you all the information you could possibly want about the region and the history of the country and its links to Father Christmas.
In Rovaniemi you can also go for rides in snow-mobiles and participate in the usual winter sports (skiing, snow-boarding etc) and have a go at ice-fishing.
Here too are the husky safaris and igloos. There are standard, traditional hotels available too of course, but since you’re there it would be a shame to miss out on the chance of staying somewhere really different.
And how cool for the kids to go back to school in January and say they slept in a hotel made of ice, saw Santa’s house and fed his reindeer!