Finnish lapland - anyone been?(11 Posts)
I am thinking of taking the children on an activity holiday over christmas or new year, don't want to do the santa thing.
Has anyone been? Is it ok in December in the dark?
Anyone been on a small families or activities abroad holiday?
Any advice or comments appreciated.
I got married out there in 2009! We stayed in a ski resort called Levi which was beautiful, you can do reindeer safari's, snowmobile rides, ice fishing, visit to Santa if you wish!
We booked a package through Inghams for a week and had flights, transfers and hotel included! Its very expensive to eat and drink out, I recommend a half board hotel/cabin:-)
Darkness wise its not pitch black its just grey all the time, if that make sense. The only thing you may want to consider is the weather, it can reach as low as -20 degrees thermals will definatley be needed:-) I'm a travel agent by the way so feel free to ask any other questions!
Have asked my Finnish au pair who says personally she would not bother because in December the sun does not rise and it is basically twilight all the time. She does say though that Christmas is a very big thing there (because there is not a lot else going on) so if you want to be there for Christmas that is probably worth it. She confirms its about -20 degrees so not that cold (if you are Finnish. Apparently its an awful lot colder in January and February.
I am Finnish although not from Lapland, but I've visited loads. Lapland for Finns is a bit of a Marmite thing, some love it and but it's not for everyone. I love it up there, winter is an experience I think because of the 'kaamos', the Arctic Night. It's not totally dark but like 3mum's aupair said it's a bit like twilight during the day. It's so beautiful, you can experience being in this remote corner of Europe where there is just wilderness as far as you can see, just trees and snow for miles and miles. It's not like ski resorts in the Alps where there are little villages and towns and people everywhere, in Lapland it's just Mother Nature! Some people get uncomfortable because it can look a bit bleak and desolate (trees and more trees, snow and more snow), others love it.
As for winter activities, there is everything. I go there to cross country ski, the tracks are really well maintained and you can stop at a 'kota' (a trad Lapp teepee) for a hot drink.
It will be cold, you really need proper clothing, merino wool base layers, down jackets, boots, the works.
Levi is great by the way and my favourite resort when with children, Yllas is also. PM me if you need any info
We went in the week leading up to Christmas to Ruka which is just outside the Arctic Circle so on 21st December we got about an hour and a half/two hours daylight, from 11am to about 2pmish (as I understand it, inside the Arctic Circle would be dark all day on 21st by definition). The light is rather odd, like a really grey February day in England. The pistes are floodlight until quite late in the evening for skiing/sledging, there was go karting on a local frozen lake that was floodlit and we did things like skidu trips in the dark, but also fitted in husky/reindeer safaris in the daytime.
It was incredibly cold when we were there, down to -37 so your eyelashes and the hairs inside your nose freeze, but we had a really lovely time regardless of the lack of light. I've got some incredibly beautiful pictures taken at about 1.30pm on Christmas Day with the lights coming on, a pale pale sky and all that beautiful snow, like something out of a Moomin illustration. DS keeps asking when we can go back.
Was there enough snow in Ruka? Iam worried about choosing Ruka as it is so much further south than ivalo and luosto the other places Iam looking at.
I have tried looking for how much snow has fallen in recent years but don't seem to be able to find any info.
I would hate to get there and find there isn't any snow.
There was tons of snow - well over a metre deep or more and the pistes very well covered (though they also make snow all the time) - and this was in a year they were saying the coverage wasn't that good! Their idea of 'not much snow' and ours is definitely at variance. Here's the link for the Ruka website if it's any help: http://www.ruka.fi/winter_eng/
Had a day trip there (Enontekio) last year and loved it - it is pitch black from early afternoon. I would think after a few days the darkness would irritate. Lots of snow then and about -15/20
It does get dark early at that time of year, but we didn't find it a problem, we were out earlier in the morning and back at the apparement earlier in the evening.
You'll need all the right gear, though it can be hired. It got up to -40 while we were out there, so proper balaclavas, hats which cover your ears too. Mimble is right about your eyelashes (don't bother with mascara - trust me)!
I would buy your own high quality gloves, boots, socks and proper stuff for under the snow suit.
Can't advise re activities, we did all the husky rides, Santa trip etc.
We went to Yllas last December and we loved it. The darkness didn't bother us at all. It was so peaceful that dh and I didn't want to come home! Even ds had a cry before coming home.
I had cross country skiing lessons and ds went to ski school too. We did a package with Thomson which worked out very reasonable. We preferred the lodge style place we stayed rarther than one of the hotels. We would go back in a shot!
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