Best time to visit: December, January, February, March
Average high: 3˚C
Average low: -4˚C
Price of meals: 3/5
Holiday type: Adventure / Family / Romantic
For a reliable winter-wonderland holiday, look no further than Lapland! The northernmost region in Finland may be the nation’s largest province, but it is also its least densely populated, owing to its wild and natural scenery and the heavy snow which covers the landscape for seven months of the year. Inhabitants have embraced the region’s reputation as a magical, snow-filled utopia and much of the hotels and businesses in the region cater to the environment: ski and snow sports resorts are far-reaching; families and couples will delight in staying in snow and ice hotels before venturing off to the Santa Village and the underground amusement park; and locals will happily take you out on a reindeer or husky-pulled sled on Lapland’s equivalent of a safari.
Finland is one of the safest countries in the world, and Lapland is one of its safest regions, so families can visit with confidence and security. You can think nothing of popping on your snow shoes and going for a midnight stroll through the surrounding woodlands to watch the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), or of exploring the nearby villages to converse with the friendly locals.
Most of the region will see you embrace the environment but you can have fun with it, too; from throwing a cup of boiling water into the air to watch it turn instantly into vapour, to riding Ylläs ski resort’s sauna gondola to enjoy an aerial winter view in only a towel.
Lapland’s folklore can be explored from the impressively beautiful Arktikum museum in Rovaniemi. But for those wanting a more personal approach, take a ride out to a Levin Lapinkyla. This farm is full of animals to pet, saunas and reindeer rides to enjoy, and authentic Lapland meals, all while you are delighted with the tales and history of the region.
Finland’s northernmost region sees snowfall as early as September, with it starting to settle on the ground by early October at the latest. Winters are much longer than anywhere else in Finland and persistent snow cover lasts until May. Snow is at its thickest in March and April. Owing to its northerly position, Lapland only receives 2-3 hours of sunlight per day in December and January, while late June and early July see 24-hour daylight.
Cost of living in Lapland is a little higher than the UK and this is reflected in the prices of everyday goods. A meal out for one in an inexpensive restaurant will range between €8 and €13. A three-course meal for two is usually around €32 but can be a lot more, especially with alcohol. Unusually, domestic beers are around the same value as imported beer at about €4. Coffee is similarly priced, while water is available from a shop at €1 to €2.50.
Winter need not be that gloomy time of year with dark days and wet nights. Swap the fireplace for blue skies and sunshine and the gloves and scarf for shorts and sunscreen by booking a winter getaway ...
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