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Lapland: For The True Santa Fans

December 12, 2013

Spreading Christmas Cheer Year Round in Lapland

Want to be a true believer in Santa this Christmas season? Just like bands have groupies and celebrities have fan clubs, you can see Santa in his natural habitat and have a holiday experience like none other. For a truly unforgettable trip, bundle up and head north to Lapland. Here are a few of the area’s highlights as told through your favorite Christmas carols.

Where Are You, Christmas?

Lapland is the region that stretches across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia and is almost entirely within the Artic Circle. It was named after an indigenous group called the Sami and still maintains many of its old traditions and practices. You can experience Lapland from any of the four countries, but the best activities are in Finland.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

There is no beating around it—Lapland is cold. The winter is a top time to go because of Santa, but that’s when the average temperature is -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Bundle up for your chance to truly experience the region, even though it will be dark—sun time is short during the winter. The summer months are slightly warmer, with an average of around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The days seem to be never ending, as the sun never sets in the summer months.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

Visit Santa Claus in his natural habitat in his official hometown of Rovaniemi, Finland. Santa is home year round to greet children and visitors from around the world, but the most authentic time to visit is in the winter, when things are bustling around Christmas. Visit Santa in his village, send a letter through his official post office, and even feed his reindeer and see where the magic happens—it’s all here.

Rovaniemi also offers the Artic Circle Husky Park and Snowmobile Park, as well as reindeer encounters and a chance to enjoy real Lappish cuisine (reindeer is a delicacy) at the Sirmakko Reindeer Family farm.

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

Lapland is known for its amazing natural beauty. But unlike the Alps or the Amazon, there aren’t many landmark features here—most of the region is forests and swamps. There is a maze of rivers and lakes across the region, which provides some quality hiking and camping if you can handle the weather. Even better, you can camp just about anywhere you want without a permit. Get out there and experience some of the beautiful nature for yourself.

Your best bet for a tame wildlife encounter is to trust the locals and head for an animal park. The Salla Reindeer Park in Finland is home to two hundred hectares of natural beauty. Take your pick from a reindeer or husky ride, skiing or snowshoeing, ice-fishing, or feeding reindeer, plus many more activities. Staffed entirely by locals, the goal of Salla is to expose tourists to the Lappish countryside and way of life. Experience the outdoors or learn about the history indoors, there is something for everyone. Book early to stay at the Starry Sky Kota shelter for an extra special experience.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

On the Gulf of Bothnia is a magical snow castle that only appears in the wintertime. A new SnowCastle of Kemi will open in January 2014. Each winter’s creation is truly a unique feat of engineering and architecture. Tour the castle and enjoy fun winter activities like ice fishing, snow curling and snow slides. If you come at just the right time, the SnowRestaurant and SnowHotel will be open for business so you can experience a night in a luxury igloo. Looking for an extra cool place for a wedding? The SnowChapel is now taking reservations for just three months in early 2014. Talk about putting your guests on ice!

Start planning now for your once in a lifetime trip to the artic wonderland of Lapland! Plan your trip right here on Trekeffect.

-Michelle Kaiser

Michelle Kaiser