Lapland december2013(33 Posts)
My dm has decided that she wants to take dd's to Lapland next December (me too!), so were looking for recommendations of who to go with, what to do and just as important what not to do, which companies to avoid.
From our brief look, It looks as if we're better off doing a 2 or3 day trip. Will we def get snow? And private meeting with Santa?
All help and tips gratefully received. Tia
I only ever read about how awful these trips are, usually accompanied with the 'miserable family' photo at the side. Sorry, not much help I know!
I think from info I've seen on here, smaller companies tend to do it far better but you pay for the privilege. Only problem s unhelpfully I can't remember who they suggest.
Check out Levi - we went skiing there, not as a Santa trip, but it was utterly fabulous and very snowy (we went mid January). Lovely little place - we did husky sledding, saw wild reindeer, and you could do all of the Santa stuff too.
We went to Yllas last year with Thomson for 4 nights and it was fantastic. We had a private visit with santa. Go as far north as you can to guarantee snow. Esprit are also sopposed to be very good.
We have just returned form a 3 night trip with Magic of Lapland & can't fault them! It was exceptionally cold with lows of -29*C!!! but the snow was beautiful. The staff & hotel were fantastic and it was truly magical a once in a lifetime trip paid by the grandparents!
Wow looks amazing! Not sure mums budget stretches quite that far though!
Its worth every penny and pretty fabulous! A friend of mine went with transun and had a very good experience too.
I was just looking at this for the DC next yr. We were recommended this company santa-holidays.com/4_day_magical_interlude.php
Canterbury travel are one of the most expensive companies. Looking at their itinery we had the same experience. We booked quite late, around October 2011 for the December. Cost under £3000 for the 3 of us.
Hi we are lucky enough to have been twice, thanks to granny. Went to Saariselka both times, travelling from Stansted. First time with Cosmos I think (4 days) and second time with Canterbury Travel, (5 days). Trips were different - Cosmos, short private visit with Santa out in a log cabin in the forest, Canterbury kids searched for him and didn't find then he came walking out of the mist. Both fantastic memorable trips and very well organised, would definitely recommend staying as long as possible as its very tiring with early flight and dark days. My info is about 4-5 years out of date though.
Aftfer looking at a lot of the companies, we went with esprit to saariselka this year for three days. It was AMAZING. I cannot speak highly enough of the company.
We stayed in an amazing log cabin so the kids could run around and play easily whilst we had a glass of wine, the cabins girls even happily cooked pasta we'd brought along for a fussy eater. it was properly beautiful (close you eyes, imagine Narnia).
The transfer at the other end is under 30 mins of beautiful scenery.
It's really far north so we had great snow.
The whole thing was so extremely well done. Not in the slightest commercial (some companies take you to a shopping centre on the way back to the airport - seriously why? that is time you could be making a snow man or tobogganing).
You meet a fantastic Santa just with your own family who greeted our girls with "hello gybe1 and gybe2" as they walked in the door, then Santa got out their own letters which had gone up our chimney in Ireland two days before. They couldn't believe it! It was not rushed at all. There are no queues. In fact it's in the middle of a wood in a log cabin and the only other people you see are Elves!
The other activities in the day were great too. The girls must have been on snow mobiles about 8 times each. ALL the staff were smiley, happy friendly ALL the time.
Our ages ranged from 4 to 70 (grandparents came too and loved it).
4 is probably the youngest good age as our little 4 year old managed the activity day for about 7/8 hours, whereas the family we shared with, their 3 year old got a bit tired and had to go back to the cabin early.
I would recommend Esprit in a heart beat. It was worth every penny and was truely magical. Look at their website.
Ooh, now I've read gybegirl's post, I've realised it was Esprit we went with, not Cosmos, sorry. It was great, though, remembered that bit properly
Got back two weeks ago! We went with thomsons to saariselka for 4 days! Was fantastic. Do a search of the lapland threads previously - a month or 2 ago - lots of info. See also trip advisor lapland forum.
Esprit, thomsons and inghams get best reviews. Transun get terrible reviews. Cost varies lots even within same operator. Cheapest time to book in 2012 was may, June. The itineries vary by resort. We had private meeting with Santa in saariselka with thomsons but its not private in all resorts. Thomsons are cheaper than esprit for same hotels etc. they also have fab 'party flight' with xmas hats, competitions, games, singing carols down the intercom on the plane!
If you decide on saariselka id stay at the snowflake -(also called the reikolinna). We stayed at the holiday club but visited them all and I thought it was the best. If you go with thomsons their entertainers are based there and my 2 dds loved them!!, lots do dancin and famile quizzes etc at night.
Go as far north as possible and as late in dec as you can - rovaniemi had no snow early dec both this and last year.
Book trips independently - although not massively cheaper, you get a better overall experience. E.g tour operator husky trip is 2 hours with 40 min driving. Local independent one was cheaper but 2.5 hours with 2 hour driving etc
We paid £2200 for family of four for 4 days inc activities, clothing and b&b which I recommend as most hotel food was pretty basic!
I had canterbury travel recommended to me and its who we are planning to go with next year.
I just came on to ask exactly this! Ordered a brochure from Cantubury, and looked at Inghams...now off to do some more research, please update which company you book with.
Canterbury get good reviews but do research as I've heard they have history of cancelling trips last minute if low numbers? Not sure how true it is but there have been some comments about them over the last couple of years.
Inghams offer week stays quite cheap but not a traditional Santa package with elves etc like with some operators. Do check trip advisor as there's tons on info, ESP about the snow! Dec is early for lapland snow so avoid the first week if you can!
I've done Espirit to saariselka twice. I book in Nov (to leave mid Dec) and paid 1500 last year and 1600 this year for 3 people. We were very happy with espirit but I booked through an agent as Espirit wanted 2200 when I called direct.
Yes a friend of mine had her Canterbury trip cancelled in December 2011 for this reason. She rebooked with Espirit and had a fantastic time.
As I couldn't fly out of a local airport on one of these tours, i booked independently. Flight via Finnair to Rovaniemi, booked a log cabin independantly and then two trips to Joulukka. Which was the most magical thing ever.
They basically have a private forest with an elf school, secret underground workshop, Santa's workstation, and secret office.
An elf comes to pick you up in a minibus, and only 8 people are allowed in at a time to the park. You go to elf school, make biscuits, drink berry juice, have lessons and a certificate. Then you walk through the dark snowy forest stopping at little shelters for fire, hot choc out of a big black kettle on the fire. Marshmallows to toast. The elves tell you about the Northern lights, stories about the Sami etc. Everyone sings as they dance round the woods (even my dh).
Santa is amazing, he knew names, remembered presents etc. and his secret base was superb.
We also went for a Northern light evening, which Santa turned up at. Same guy, real beard, remembered ds. Magic!!
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