A couple of years ago we took our Best Ever Family Holiday to Lappland to visit Santa’s village in the North Pole. Our children were 4 and 6 years and this was surely their dream holiday! Here’s how our trip went.
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Getting to Lappland on Planes, Trains and Automobiles!
We flew from Dublin to Helsinki and from there, took an overnight train to Rovaniemi. The overnight train which takes 12 hours was fabulous, and we all were so excited that we found it very hard to sleep. 12 hours later, bright and early, we got to Rovaniemi.
It was -20 degrees outside, with clean snow and ice everywhere. We donned our layers of clothes, but the children never noticed the cold much when playing outside.
Where We Stayed in Lappland
We rented a log cabin for a week in the Ounasvaara Ski Resort, situated 3km from Rovaniemi Centre. Our accommodation was very cosy and had its own sauna, which we adults loved. The cabin had plenty of room for the children to play, and DVDs were available to rent from reception.
The resort also had a swimming pool, spa and children’s indoor play centre, so if you tire of the outdoors, there is plenty to keep the young ones occupied.
The Great Outdoors!
There was a winter sports rental shop where you could rent all types of winter sports equipment including ice-skates, snow shoes, sledges, snow mobiles etc but we decided to try out the the skiing and got some lessons as well for the children. We all loved it despite some sore bottoms.
Sitting in the ski cafe after the long hours of fresh air on the slopes having a cup of warm juice and delicious Finnish meat-pies was just so relaxing. The sauna back at the cottage was lovely therapy for our sore limbs and frozen fingers and noses.
Santa Park & Village
Santa Park is an underground park with lots of Santa-related activities in it. It was magnificent and we all really enjoyed it.
An amazing sleigh ride took us through the magical park, with toys and Christmas figures, and stopped in the elves workshop where our girls made toys with the elves. They made an Elf’s head, which they got to bring home with them.
Further along, the children got to decorate gingerbreads, visit the Elf’s school and take part in some of the Elves lessons. Lastly, and the most awaited, was of course meeting Santa, and the smiles on the girls’ faces said more than enough! This was their highlight.
Beside the Park is Santa’s Village with lots of Tourist shops, and some factory outlets. I enjoyed some retail therapy, while the others visited the very cool Arctic Winter Wonderland. I missed it but I heard that the slide in there was one of the best slides ever and ice figures were amazing.
Live like the locals!
A must when visiting Lappland is to travel like the locals, by husky, snowmobile or by reindeer safari. We chose a Reindeer Safari, which took approximately 1.5hrs.
Sitting in the reindeer pulled sledge, we were whisked away to a campfire in the middle of the snowy forest where we had hot drinks and barbequed our own sausage on a campfire. We really felt we were a long way from home!
At the end of our holiday, instead of travelling 12 hours back by train we flew, and spent two nights in Helsinki, which is a lovely city, before flying back home to Dublin.