EER141: Lapland Holidays - Things to Do in Northern Finland with Kids


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Lapland Holidays - Things to Do in Northern Finland with Kids

Lapland holidays are all about ice, snow, and Santa. Have you been to northern Finland with kids? After listening to this episode, you may start planning a Lapland holiday of your own. Listen in as we discuss Lapland safaris, Lapland reindeer, the Lapland Santa and Christmas in Lapland. All this and other exciting topics related to visiting northern Finland with kids.


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Dogsleds. Ice hotels. Reindeer pulling sleighs, and a town where it's Christmas every day of the year. Welcome to Lapland Finland, a place of wonder, and a fantastic idea of a family holiday. Today's guest is Katja Gaskell. The last time we spoke, we talked about Mexico City for episode #86. Today, we talk about something completely different: Lapland for kids.

Katja recently visited Lapland during winter and had an amazing time. Today she fills us in on Lapland holidays and all the fun things to do in Lapland with kids.

Have you been to Lapland Finland? Have you been to Lapland with kids? If so, tell us about it in the comments. If not, then listen in, read everything below and start planning your Lapland holiday now!


  • 02:34 Intro
  • 03:55 Why Finland with Kids?
  • 06:40 Lapland Holidays: The Nuts & Bolts
  • 07:38 Package Holiday to Lapland VS. Planning it Yourself
  • 09:30 More Nuts and Bolts
  • 12:21 Where to Stay in Lapland Finland
  • 13:47 Things to Do in Lapland
  • 16:21 Cross-Country Skiing in Lapland Finland
  • 18:05 Lapland Culture: Kids in Public
  • 19:12 Lapland Reindeer Sleigh Rides
  • 20:46 Lapland Santa
  • 25:17 What to Bring to Lapland


  • Name: Katja Gaskell, her husband and three kids (now 10, 8 & 3 years old)
  • Hold passports from: The UK
  • Type of travel: Living abroad & short-term travel
  • A few places they've been: Lived in Australia, India & Mexico, traveled all over Asia, Central America, and Europe



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Where is Lapland?

Lapland is in the far northern part of Finland, bordering Norway, Sweden, Russia, and the Baltic Sea. Most of Lapland Finland is within the arctic circle.

Lapland has been associated with Santa Claus and Christmas since the 1920's. When you see the landscapes and the herds of Lapland reindeer in the area, it's easy to see why!

Lapland Weather & Arctic Travel

As you might have guessed, Lapland is quite cold for most of the year. Winters last approximately seven months, and most of that time in darkness. Because of Lapland's proximity to the north pole, concepts like day and night take on new meaning. Visit northern Finland in January and there are around three hours of daylight. Visit in June or July and the sun literally never sets.

This can be tricky to get used for some people, but Katja says that life goes on in the dark. Visiting Lapland during the polar night was a magical experience for her entire family.

Getting to Lapland Finland & Lapland Tours

Katja talks about the many package tours to Lapland from the UK. In fact, there now are direct flights from Heathrow to two cities in Lapland. In the Uk, there are many package tours to Lapland — especially near the Christmas holidays. These "Meet Santa" Lapland package tours are usually for only a day or two. They provide all the winter clothing you need — boots, snowsuits, etc. — making it as easy as possible for your kids to meet the Lapland Santa.

Katja feels that these Lapland package tours were too rushed for her family. In fact, they chose to build their own Lapland itinerary so they could see and do more in the region. "To rush through [Lapland] and not stop and savor it would be a real shame," she told me.

Things to Do in Lapland with Kids

If you're going to Lapland with kids, then visiting the Lapland Santa is probably on your list. That said, there is so much more to do in Lapland, and that's what Katja told me about first.

Cross-Country Skiing in Finland

She and her family love skiing, so they tried cross-country skiing in Finland. "The Fins make it look very easy," she says with a laugh. Skiing also gave them the opportunity to see the stars and hear the silence like few places in the world have. Katja has lived in Sydney, Mexico City, and New Delhi, over the last decade or so. Having lived in megacities for so long, she explained, gave the darkness and the silence a new meaning.

Snowmobiles & Sleigh Rides in Lapland Finland

Katja and family explored this winter wonderland by any means. Lapland holidays usually involve reindeer, so a Lapland reindeer sleigh ride was in order. They also rode snowmobiles on a Lapland Safari, as well as taking a dogsled.

Along the way, they would stop at a Kota (Finnish-style hut) for a warm drink and some treats before heading back out into the snow. They also spoke to an old Finnish reindeer herder, who told them about his life through a translator. More info on this in the podcast.

Christmas in Lapland

In the town of Rovaniemi, Finland Christmas is every day of the year. Here is where you can visit Santa's "village," and get a chance to meet Lapland Santa himself. Out of all the things to do in Finland with kids, this may be on the top of many families' lists.

How about for Katja. As she explains in the episode, her kids are at different stages belief and disbelief. Listen in to see how they reacted to Lapland Santa's visit.

More About Lapland Holidays & Lapland with Kids

Listen in to hear more about Katja's family holiday in Lapland. We talk more about Lapland food, rental cars in Lapland, where to stay in Lapland and what to bring with you. Listen in!

Have You Had a Lapland Holiday?

What did you do? Where did you stay? Tell us all about your Lapland holidays in the comments below.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you, we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you plan the best Lapland holiday, Have you been to Northern Finland with kids? Have you ridden a Lapland reindeer sleigh and met Lapland Santa. Have you ever experienced Christmas in Lapland? Tell us about it!

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