Know before you go: Adventures in Lapland

Land of midnight sun, freezing temperatures and long, dark nights lit up by chalk-dashes of colour, Lapland is a place of extremes. For those prepared to chill (quite literally) this Christmas, the remuneration will surpass your wildest expectations. Just bear in mind that when planning a trip to a place as justifiably romanticised as Lapland, it’s easy to get swept up in the anticipation of Northern Lights, prancing reindeer and skimming sledges. To best enjoy such heart-stopping moments, it’s good to familiarize first with the practicalities of this snowy and happy region before you set off on your Lapland holidays.
What to pack
Heading beyond the Arctic Circle can chill even those with the best circulation, so it’s important to pack, and dress, appropriately to avoid disaster. As well as plenty of spare mittens and socks, you’ll need warm, thermal layers. Avoid any heavy or water storing materials: denim will not fare well. Instead, choose a water-wicking fabric like silk for your base layer to keep your skin as dry, and therefore warm, as possible. Little faces and cheeks will get cold. While it won’t be easy to convince the kids to wear a snood or balaclava at first, when the Arctic wind first nips, they’ll soon have a change of heart!
How to prepare
Even if you’re not a dedicated skier, snowboarder or planning any specific activity, when you see the fun of ripping across the snow-dust on a roaring snowmobile or dashing on a dogsled, you’ll regret not investing in winter sports insurance. Always add it to your policy, just to give yourself peace of mind. The trip may be too harsh for infants, so if you do have little ones under the age of two, it might be worth postponing your trip for a year or two to have the best possible time in this untouched wonderland.
Have a plan
In major global cities and resorts, it’s fine just to show up; after all, there are shops, banks, hospitals and activities on every street corner. In Lapland, it’s not so easy to hail a cab, so investing in a package holiday or tour will cut out a lot of the legwork. There are only five hours of sunlight in winter months, so factor this into your itinerary. Key sights you might kick yourself if you didn’t consider? The temporary Snow Castle in Kemi, the Lainio Snow Village and Salla Reindeer Park.
Lapland is magical, and you’ll want to experience as much of this unique destination as possible when you venture into the majestic north. Just remember to plan your trip precisely, and you’ll remember it forever.
Image by Letizia Barbi and Timo Newton-Syms, used under the Creative Commons license.


  1. Janet W. says:

    Beautiful pictures! I’ve never been anywhere quite like this before with all that snow around!

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