Lapland in December
One of the most beautiful and unspoilt countries on earth - and home to Father Christmas. In December, Lapland comes alive: cosy log cabins, crackling campfires, and husky sleds and reindeer sleighs swishing through the snow, secret grottos, elves baking cookies (yes really!) and a guaranteed visit from the big man himself.
In a nutshell
- Will suit: families of all ages, although children really should be over three to cope with the temperature
- Flying time: 3 hours from London Gatwick
- Time difference: GMT+1
- Average temperature: about -16°C (3°F) to 3°C (37°F) depending on location, with occasional lows of about -30°C or colder with wind chill
- Tourist information: lapland.fi
How to get there
- One operator rated highly with Mumsnetters is Thomson. You can choose between a day trip (although this is very early and very long) or stopping for three or four nights.
Where to stay
- MNHQ was invited to try out the Snow Princess with Thomson Holidays last year. Read our review.
What to do
- This is all about being a big kid and enjoying the snow. As well as a visit to Father Christmas, you must experience a husky ride, race on some snow mobiles, and visit the Ice Hotel.
- You could also include some time for skiing and sledging.
- Learn more about the Sami, the native people of Lapland. Many still live like their ancestors -think reindeer herding, husky farms and 'kotas', tepee-shaped huts that welcome you with blazing log fires and hot berry juice.
- The short daylight hours create ideal conditions to view the Northern Lights, aka Aurora Borealis. You may have to travel further north to see this, but if you have the chance and the conditions are right, this is one experience you'll never forget.
- If taking under-fives, give them time to rest on the first day as it's a very early flight.
- Bring thermals - many companies will lend you outerwear, but layering is key.
- Depending on your package, you might have a 'gala' dinner included. Don't worry about taking your best frock and strappy shoes with you. Jeans and a sparkly top/pashmina affair will be fine.
- In the peak winter months, daylight is limited to a few hours, usually between 10am and 2pm. However, the light reflecting off the snow can make the days seem brighter.
- Pack a torch and extra camera batteries, just in case.
- If you're stopping for a few days, choose your resort based on what you and your family want to do. Rovaniemi is the biggest and comes with everything from ski slopes and Santa theme parks to shopping malls. Levi is the skiing star, with packs of pistes as well as plenty of kids' activities and things like snow safaris on the doorstep. Then there's Yllas, Enontekio and Saariselkä, situated deeper in the Arctic Circle with few commercialised facilities.
What Mumsnetters say about holidays in Lapland
- Lapland - best trip I've ever been on! Sledging, husky rides, snowmobiles, log fires and candle lit. Just gorgeous and so much fun! jamtoast12
- The temp really does vary, it's been -28°C and -2°C in the same week. Please don't underestimate the cold, if you're doing all the husky dog/santa's house-type activities, the kids will be sitting around at times outside, especially on the dog sledding, and once they're uncomfortably cold there's nothing you can do about it, so try to avoid at all costs! VonHerrBurton
- I really recommend getting silk liners for gloves (wool is a bit bulky/sweaty), and good M&S thermals for both you and the children. Rather than jogging bottoms, brushed cotton trousers (like thick pyjama bottoms) with thermals under are the absolute best. Thick ski socks with ordinary socks under are good and I found the fleece neck tubes they sell in ski shops much better than scarves, as you tuck them in your suit, pull them up over your face and with your hat over your ears you are fine - and again they aren't bulky. mimbleandlittlemy