The ultimate guide to taking your kids to Lapland

A family trip to Lapland will get you much more than a few cool (or should that be cold?) parent points, if you do your research and enjoy more than just a visit to Santa. Obviously you’ll want to check in with the big guy in red, but there's so much more to do than just grabbing some presents and making sure you’re not on the naughty list.

Read on to see what you should include during a trip to Lapland with the kids, and make sure that they'll never forget their snowy adventure. You might be surprised at how much there is to see and do that doesn’t involve grottos and presents.

Visit Santa Claus
There’s no point in denying it; visiting Santa will be the highlight of a trip to Lapland for your little ones. The Santa Claus Village has been built in the capital Rovaniemi, and it’s full of festive cheer all year round. You’ll find the big guy in his office, reindeer outside, and even busy elves who will be only too happy to spend a little time with you. The reindeer will be especially receptive to some attention if you feed them some carrots!

Christmas and shopping go hand-in-hand, and in the Santa Claus Village, you’ll find a selection of beautiful boutiques, fully stocked with handmade gifts and souvenirs to commemorate your trip. Just remember to leave space in your suitcase for presents for the folks back at home.

Travel in style
With so much snow on the ground, you’d be silly not to try a few of the amazing transport options and, no, buses don’t count. After all, what could be better than leaving your hotel to visit Santa on an open sleigh? It's a memory that will last a lifetime and most Holiday Hypermarket hotels will organise the ride for you, making it ho-ho-ho so simple!

Hetta is a great spot to visit. Here, you can jump into a horse-drawn sleigh, be pulled by a pack of excited Husky dogs on a sled or power yourself along on skis, snowboards or even toboggans. Getting wrapped up and spending the day having fun in the deep mass of snow will be an unforgettable experience for both you and the kids – it's a must, given that Lapland is covered in the stuff!

Try some traditional food
Taking your children abroad is a wonderful way to teach them about other cultures and traditions, so don’t miss the chance to broaden their palettes with some unusual Finnish fare. It might seem unlikely that they will like some of the more adventurous items, but you never know, since atmosphere contributes a lot to the enjoyment of a meal and if everybody else is tucking into some traditional salmon soup, the little ones might get into the spirit too.

Similar to neighbouring Scandinavian countries, Lapland offers a mix of amazing fish dishes and cheeses, but it’s the berries that are extra special. Thanks to the hardened landscape, the annual harvests of cloudberries, cranberries and bilberries are incredible, and feature heavily in both sweet and savoury dishes. If there’s one thing you must have your children try, it’s the leipajuusto, a fried soft cheese garnished with berries that makes for a moreish dessert.

Enjoy the Northern Lights
It might not have anything to do with Christmas or Santa Claus, but taking in a Northern Lights show is something you can’t afford to miss out on. Aside from the fact that Lapland is one of the best places to watch the skyward display in action, it will definitely prove to be one of your kids’ favourite parts of the entire holiday.

Whether you decide to join a tour that will take you to the best-known spots for watching the Aurora Borealis or simply choose your own viewing area, you’ll be blown away by the dramatic streaks of neon colours whipping their way across the night sky. Given that the best time to see this natural phenomenon is between September and April, you can tie it in with a visit during the school holidays, close to Christmas.

Don’t think of Lapland as just a paradise for kids, as it’s a destination that will have the entire family caught up in the magic of the season. Once the festive sights have been enjoyed, there's so much more of the unique Finnish culture to be experienced, so don’t miss out!


  1. Oh, wow! This has been on our family bucket list for quite a while but there is even more to Lapland than we thought. The leipajuusto sounds divine. As well as trying the local food, it's good for the children to learn a few words even if it's just please and thank you.

  2. Looks wonderful - definitely something to think about.

  3. This is my dream trip! Looks utterly amazing!

  4. Must be a magical trip for a little one

  5. Must look into this thanks

  6. Looks a sheer delight for both adults and children, a fantastic trip.

  7. Anonymous21:55

    Probably a trip most families would like the opportunity to do sometime. Thanks for the information.

    Rachel Craig

  8. We never managed to do this, such a shame