The northern-most region of Finland, Lapland is home to Santa Claus, birch and pine forests, the polar night and midnight sun, aurora borealis and miles of stunning, Arctic wilderness.
Flights run direct between London and Ivalo airport during the winter months, and there are several flights a day between Ivalo and Helsinki. In winter an airport shuttle bus drops off and picks up passengers to and from the most popular resorts and hotels. Arrange this service directly through your resort.
Winter is magical in Lapland and the best time to see the northern lights, but temperatures regularly reach as low or lower than -35 degrees Celcius. While most hotels supply an outer layer and waterproof boots, do pack several base layers and hats, gloves and scarves.
Lapland is home to the Sami, the only indigenous people of Northern Europe. The National Museum of the Finnish Sami, located in Inari, is a tribute to the history and culture of the Sami people, and their Arctic home.
Be sure to try these traditional Finnish foods:
Blueberries, cloudberries and lingonberries Finnish forests are full of berries and free for the picking.
Munki This doughnut is sugary, pillowy goodness.
Reindeer Native to Finland, reindeer are semi-nomadic and forage through the Lapland forests for their food. Try this lean meat sautéed or in stew.
Lapin Kulta A light, local lager popular on draft.
Lapin Panimo A craft beer microbrewery in Rovaniemi. Try the dark Aihki beer which goes down smooth but warms the fingers and toes.
Laplandia Aureus vodka Try the cloudberry flavor.
Aurora hunt and camp on the Russian border An aurora hunt by van to and from the Russian border, with a stopover at a cozy campsite at the border. Wilderness Hotels can help book this trip through a partnership with Northern Lights Village.
Frozen Lake Husky An incredible, seven kilometer husky sled safari through the forest. Organize this half-day excursion directly through Wilderness Hotels. The dogs were friendly, gentle and well cared for.
Sauna A Finnish pastime. There is no greater way to warm up after a few hours outside!
Show-shoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, etc. Try it all! Book directly through your resort.
We stayed at Wilderness Hotel Muotka, about 30-45 minutes south of Ivalo airport, and loved it. The resort was remote and surrounded by taiga forests, the accommodations cozy (get a room with a sauna!), the food healthy and the staff excellent. We booked all excursions directly through the resort.
Wilderness Hotels and Safaris have three other sister resorts in Lapland.