Tuesday, March 28, 2023

I was never a fan of winter! For some reason snow and the cold never appealed to me and for sure when I think of the perfect vacation, I do not imagine a cold place. But (there is always a but, isn’t it?) there was one place I consciously placed on our travel bucket list, meant to take me out of my comfort zone. A cold place! A winter wonderland place, as some might describe it. So when the time felt right we booked a flight to Lapland.  


In case there is any doubt left, the ideal time to visit Lapland is during winter, which runs from October to April. However if you want to truly enjoy all the snow activities, then best to visit between December and March.

One notable thing about visiting during winter, is that daylight only lasts for a few hours. We visited late November to early December, and the sunrise was at around 10:00 and sunset at 14:00. 

This is a great thing for spotting the Aurora Borealis, but it’s something to take into account while planning your daytime activities.


There are 3 main airports in Lapland and for example to Rovaniemi, where Santa Claus lives, there are daily direct flights from several countries in Europe.

We flew from Timisoara to London by Wizzair and from there we took a direct flight to Rovaniemi with Ryanair. This manoeuvre implied a change of airports in London, which was not a bother for us, but could be inconvenient for some.

The plane ticket from London to Lapland and return cost us 160€/person.  


Although there are daily buses that can take you from one main place to another, they are quite expensive and do not offer a lot of flexibility. This is why we rented a car from Europe Car. The whole process was easy, we picked up the car straight from the airport parking and dropped it off on return at the same spot. 

We paid 478€ for 5 days (full insurance) and they also took a deposit of 300€ from our credit card, which I have to admit it took quite a while to get back.


Layers! The key to any destination where cold is the main star is to wear layers. Anywhere indoor in Lapland is warm and cozy, but outside you could easily freeze if you don’t dress properly.

We were fortunate enough to catch one of the warmest winters there, with the minimum temperature of -7 degrees Celsius, but usually winters in Lapland are as cold as -20C. So ensure you have a thermic layer underneath your main clothes. Those help in keeping you warm! 

The great part is that most resorts and hotels offer complementary overalls, boots and any other equipment you mights need, just in case you din not come prepared.


This one is complicated! No doubt you have to stay for at least one night in a glass igloo, but how to choose the perfect one, that’s pretty hard. There are tons of options, so many great glass cabins or igloos to choose from that we found it difficult to stay in just one. So during our stay of 5 nights, we stayed in 5 different places!

Because we landed late evening in Rovaniemi, the first night we slept in a small traditional apartment rented of AirBnB close to the airport. Nothing to recommend here, we just needed a place to rest our heads for the night and took off early morning. The place served its purpose.

Northern Lights Village

Early morning we left the very small apartment and headed from Rovaniemi to Saariselka where we had one night booked in the famous Aurora cabin at the Northern Lights Village. 

Why Saariselka?

While searching for the best glass cabins or igloos to stay, a lot of options presented themselves. Levi and Saariselka (all bigger towns in Lapland) have many of those.

We chose Saariselka because it is further up north and there were bigger chances of seeing the Northern Lights.

Also, I had Northern Lights Village pinned on my Pinterest board for some time now, therefore it had to be done.

We loved the location. The cabin was cute and cozy with heated glass windows that would melt the snow away so you get to have the perfect view at all times.

You can book several activities here, like husky or reindeer safaris, we rented the sauna all to ourselves and Chris worked his biceps by pulling me with the sleigh.

We also had a great buffet breakfast and dinner included in the price.


Would we recommend this place and the Aurora cabin? YES

Also, because without any doubt, Lapland is a great destination to explore with kids, this place seemed really kid friendly.

Kakslautannen Arctic Resort 

The next place we stayed at was the instagram famous Kakslautannen Arctic Resort. This was very close to the one we stayed the night before, so it was no hassle getting there.

Here we also had a buffet breakfast included, but for dinner you had to choose from 2 options only. Food wise, the choices were scarce and nowhere near as good as at the Northern Lights village.

The glass igloo was small and it had one tiny bathroom (with just a toilet and sink, the showers were in a common area together with the sauna).

The decor was also incredibly outdated and quite, I would say, cheesy. 

For me, personally, it was a bit cold in the igloo and they could not turn the temperature up as the glass might shatter.


Would we recommend this place? NO

Although, I think the experience might have been completely different if we were to see the Aurora Borealis from here, as there is a certain uniqueness to the glass igloo, we found this place very expensive with what it had to offer and clearly outdated. After exploring the area a bit more, there are without a doubt better igloos than this one.

However, we each have different views on things and others really enjoyed it here. So if this is something that Instagram made you save to your wish list, go for it and judge it yourself.

Northern Lights Ranch 

The next day we left early our glass igloo and headed towards the new glass cabins at Northern Lights Ranch.

This is located in Kongas, a 3 hours drive from Saariselka, and the place is quite isolated from the main road.

We did not have food included in the price here, but they have a tiny restaurant and you could choose to have your meals there.

The cabin was spacious and incredibly nice decorated in a nordic style. The glass walls and ceiling made it perfect for spotting the Northern Lights, and thankfully this was the place where we finally did!


The ranch had a small ice skating rink on a tiny lake, we could rent snow shoes for free and the best part for us, they had a reindeer paddock where we could feed and play with the baby reindeers.


Would we recommend this place? YES

On our last night we stayed in a traditional Lapish home close to the airport, owned by a wonderful family.

You can find it HERE on Booking.


There are quite a lot of activities to try out while in Lapland. Here is what we did during our 5 days stay.


Such a great experience! I was a bit skeptic at first as I never want to do activities that might abuse animals, but you could see the huskies were all thrilled to pull the sleigh and they were literally born for this.

We booked this activity with Northern Lights Village where we stayed at the beginning of the trip. 

There are several options to book from, we went for the 2 hours safari which included one hour of playing with the puppies and an hour the actual ride. To keep us warm they served us with hot glogi, which is their traditional spiced wine drink, that we enjoyed in the traditional Finish kota.




Because we got to play with reindeers at one of our stays, we just went with a 25 minutes sleigh ride at again the Northern Lights Village. If you have to choose between the reindeer or husky safari, I would definitely go for the husky one.


Definitely a must! Although I would say it’s an activity mostly for kids, you can’t miss visiting this Christmasy place while in Lapland.

Also make sure to wave your close ones at home from the live camera HERE!





Everybody knows by now that the Finish are famous for their saunas, so it’s for sure something you cannot miss. 

It was a very different experience from the sauna we were used to at home as we got to steam at 90 degrees Celsius, get out in the freezing cold and try to dip in the ice pool. Failed attempts, but we kept on trying! I made it ‘till my knees, does that count?


Salmon at Santa’s Salmon Place - located in Santa’s village.

Finish people love their salmon and you will see why. It was fresh and delicious and at this place they cook it by the fire in a small traditional kota.


Salmon soup at Kotahovi Restaurant - located in Santa’s village.

Reindeer stu with cabbage and lapish potatoes - this is one of their traditional meals that you must try. I did not enjoy the reindeer meat, probably because of the idea of it, so Chris ate most of it and really liked it.


Because the cost question is something we get often, I’m going to leave here a few of the main costs so that you can get an idea on how to budget for yourself. 

Please just keep in mind that these were the prices on December 2022 and they might have changed in the meantime.

Flight London - Rovaniemi 160€/person return

Car rent 478€/5 days fully insured

Accommodation can range from 100 - 500/night

Husky safari 2 hours 145€/person

Reindeer ride 25 minutes 70€/person

Salmon meal @ Santa’s Salmon place 25€/piece

Private sauna 100€/hour

To conclude this article, although I am not a big fan on winter, snow and cold, I had a lovely time in Lapland and I really enjoyed the unique winter wonderland experience there. 

We got to feed the reindeers, see the amazing Northern Lights and meet Santa Claus, pretty epic I would say!

There are for sure many more great things to do and explore in Lapland, so I’ll let you discover those.

I hope this article was of help in planning your trip to visit Santa. Say hi from me!



You Might Also Like