Visit to Lapland on a Budget
Updated: Jan 29
Do your children (and you!) really want to visit Lapland and see Santa Claus but don't have the budget to spend thousands of pounds? We visited the North Pole and did it all for just a few hundred. The kids had an amazing time and so did we. Lots of magical memories were made. Want to know how?
The first thing I would advise you to do is book it all yourself. There are lots of travel operators who do proper tours but these cost thousands for just a couple of days. A quick search brings up the cheapest holiday for the same time as £4,200 for a bed and breakfast stay. Whilst that does include activities, it is easily possible to book your own activities and be able to tailor it more to your holiday and family.
With just a bit of research it's possible to save lots of money. We decided to go to Rovaniemi, Finland, in November. We knew it wouldn't be the full on snow experience that Christmas time is but the flights were so much cheaper. We flew with Norwegian Air from London Gatwick to Rovaniemi for around £600 for all five of us - we went for three days.
The airport in Rovaniemi is amazing, everything is geared up for the Santa experience so as soon as you get there it's an adventure. We went all out with telling the children, surprising them with laminated invites to meet Santa Claus in Lapland. You can buy things like this but I made them myself.
Junior Suite with Sauna for € 540 (around £460). Be aware that if you are going nearer to Christmas accommodation prices may go up and availability may go down. The winter season in that area is actually from November until April so you could go after Christmas but for us it was a big part of the holiday seeing Santa and we wanted it to be before Christmas.
The hotel was amazing, based at Ounasvaara Ski Resort and Santasport. Whilst it wasn't snowing when we were there the ski resort had stored snow so we were able to play in that. We were right by a forest which was amazing to go and explore. The Sky Kitchen & View is one of the best restaurants in Finland and has fantastic panoramic windows showing the view. The kids loved the sauna in our suite as well.
The highlight of the trip has to be visiting the Arctic Circle and the home of Santa. One of the reasons we chose Rovaniemi was because it is the 'Official Hometown of Santa Claus', and you can actually visit the big man every day of the year in Santa Claus Village - a fact not many people know. It is also free! Situated right on the Arctic Circle, this attraction draws more than 500 000 visitors from all around the world every year. At Christmas time I would imagine it gets extremely busy.
However in November we were able to walk straight in. We took a taxi from our hotel and went to the Village. Heading straight for Santa we were greeted by elves and walked around. I won't give away all the surprises so as to preserve some of the magic but meeting Santa Claus was amazing. You can have your photo taken with him for a charge - we felt this was definitely worth it.
There are also souvenir shops as well as Santa’s Main Post Office, and cafes and restaurants. (Tip - there is a petrol station just across the street which does incredibly tasty food which is a lot cheaper than in the Village!). Other activities include a reindeer sleigh ride, visiting the huskies, seeing animals in Elf's Farm Yard and more.
The Arctic Circle runs through Santa Claus Village, located eight kilometres north of the city centre, where it is clearly marked - a great photo opportunity.
Other things we did in our stay in Finland was go to Rovaniemi for the day and look around the shops and restaurants. We paid a visit to the Arkitikum Science Centre and Museum, which was really interesting. We explored the beautiful forest near our hotel and then sadly our trip was over and it was time to head to the airport.
All in all the trip cost around £1200 for five of us, plus food. A quarter of the cost of a package holiday and we had just as much fun. The kids still talk about the holiday and we would all definitely love to go back!
For more information about Rovaniemi, visit: https://www.visitrovaniemi.fi/ None of these links are sponsored and no activities or element of the trip was gifted.
For more family holiday ideas, see my blog post about fossil hunting in Dorset.
Have you ever been to Lapland or would you like to go? Let me know in the comments below. Or tag me on social media with some pics!
Read other Finland blog posts here: