Lapland is a beautiful, sprawling area that covers the northern regions of Finland, Norway, Sweden and even part of Russia’s Kola Peninsula. It is home to less than 200,000 people but covers a huge 100,366 square km, making it comfortably bigger than the whole of Ireland.
While the name Lapland has become synonymous with a jolly man who generally wears a red suit (more on that shortly), the region has been home to the traditional Sami culture for considerably longer than the existence of Christmas.
These indigenous people may number less than 80,000 today, but their fascinating way of life, colourful costumes and deep connection to this harsh yet stunning environment shouldn’t be missed on any visit to Lapland. This is a region that effortlessly blends the mythical and fantastical with a rich history and traditional culture that makes it a wonderful place to visit for people of all ages.
For many, Christmas has simply become a time of buying gifts and then fretting over whether you made the correct purchase. In many ways, materialism has overtaken the spirit of Christmas. Often we forgo life-affirming experiences for gadgets that we will quickly tire of anywhere – but this Christmas, why not go against the grain and create memories that you’ll be coming back to for years to come?
Visiting Lapland for Christmas is an experience that no child forgets in a hurry – or adult for that matter – and that moment when your sleigh pulls up outside Santa’s house in the forest will leave people of all ages with that warm magical feeling inside that we all have as children but which gradually fades as we grow up.
But this is no Disneyland Christmas. Lapland’s remoteness and ruggedness provide a glorious setting for an experience that remains intrinsically linked with the natural world. While there is plenty of time to curl up next to a cosy fire, a few days in Lapland promises plenty of outdoor fun and a truly unique Christmas experience.
While visiting the Big Man will probably sit high on every wish list, there’s plenty more to do while you’re in Lapland. Whether you’re looking for high-octane fun as you thunder through ancient forests or the more sedate as you make use of the saunas and amenities in the town of Pyhä, there’s plenty to keep everyone happy.
Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of learning to drive a snowmobile or maybe it’s the idea of riding on a sleigh pulled by either huskies or reindeer as your hurtle through a frozen wilderness quite unlike anywhere you’ve ever experienced that you’re looking forward to the most. Tobogganing is also available as is a visit to a real-life igloo where you’ll experience what it’s like to live within walls made entirely of ice.
Then we come to one of nature’s true wonders – a sight so mesmerising that it’s almost worth making the long journey to simply stare up at the sky in amazement. The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis to use its more scientific name, is quite simply spellbinding if you’re lucky enough to witness it. There’s a good deal of fortune involved when it comes to seeing these dazzling lights so keep your fingers crossed and stay up-to-date with the Northern Lights Forecast app.