All you need to know about visiting Lapland
Lapland is the land of mystical reindeer, Santa, and his cheeky elves. What more could you want in the world of Christmas? Let's not forget the enchanting pine forests, frozen lakes, and streams.
This magical wonderland has inspired many generations of families the world over to visit in search of that perfect Christmas spirit.
Join us in this other-worldly location, deep in the arctic wilderness, where a once-in-a-lifetime experience awaits.
Where is Saariselkä?
Santa’s Lapland takes you 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, to the small village of Saariselkä which is set against the beautiful backdrop of Urho Kekkonen National Park.
This resort is a world away from the rest of Lapland, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the magic of Northern Finland. You’ll see plenty of snow, huskies, and reindeer!
There’s Lots of Snow
Although Lapland has significantly milder winters compared to other arctic areas, the climate is still sub-arctic. Typically, the snow starts to fall in September and continues to fall all through September to May. The snow normally stays on the ground until early May, so we can guarantee a white Christmas!
We understand that the Santa experience wouldn’t be complete without endless snow to play in. If we think there's not enough snow, we will let you know so that you can choose to move your holiday to a later date in the same season. Or, you can choose a full refund.
Experience Sámi culture
Explore the ancient sounds, traditional handicrafts, and long-standing reindeer culture of Saariselkä on your trip to Lapland.
Sámis are Finland’s and Europe’s only recognised indigenous people. They have their own languages and culture, which differs from local Finns. In total, they speak three languages: North Sámi, Inari Sámi and Skolt Sámi.
Historically, they used to roam free as peaceful Reindeer herders, never once claiming possession of the land. The ancient Sámi believed that all objects in nature had a soul, whether that be people, animals, plants or stones.
On your trip, you’ll be encouraged to explore this vibrant culture for a truly authentic experience. You’ll get to say hello to one of the Sámi people as they lead you on your very special reindeer ride.
See The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights are one of nature’s most amazing spectacles. And on your stay in Saariselkä, there is a chance that you’ll see them in all their full glory.
The best time to see them is from December to March, however, there are no guarantees on a cloudy day. Our trips run from late November to December, the prime time to catch a glimpse of this stunning display.
Did you know it’s now easier to predict when they’ll appear? This is all thanks to clever satellites keeping tabs on the sun’s activities.
You can download the app, ‘My Aurora forecast’ which will provide you with up-to-date predictions when you’re in Lapland. You’ll have lots of fun searching for them and getting out into the remote, snowy parts of Saariselkä.
There's many different ways to experience the Aurora Borealis, discover our Northern lights adventures.
Fun Facts About Lapland
Lapland is considered one of the most beautiful regions in Finland. It has been the subject of many children's books, movies, and songs for decades. At Santa’s Lapland, we bring this magical place that exists in these books to life.
Lapland is huge!
Lapland covers a lot of ground. It's a region, not a country. In fact, it makes up about one-third of Finland's total area! Lapland stretches from the Arctic Circle in the north to the borders of Norway and Sweden and from east to west all the way down to Finland. It’s huge!
There’s More Reindeer Than Humans in Lapland
Lapland is the land of reindeer. The human population is tiny, with just over 200,000 reindeer compared to 178k humans. The ratio makes it a little easier to spot one of those antlers in the wild!
Every reindeer in Lapland has an owner, who may be a Sámi or someone from a reindeer husbandry family.
Reindeer are semi-wild, they are allowed to roam freely in the summer but are kept in more specific fenced areas in the winter period.
The National Costume of Lapland is Called Gakti
If you’re looking for a way to tell your Sámi friends apart from each other, the key things to look out for are their national dress. The gákti, or traditional dress, is worn by Lapland’s Sámi people and contains clues about all aspects of their lives. Everything from where the wearer is from, to whether they are married or not.
The colours and patterns of today's clothing are more colourful than the original clothing that was made from reindeer hide.
- Northern Finnish costumes (gakti) are primarily bright blue and red. Traditionally it is worn with reindeer-skin boots, colourful shawls and hats.
- The traditional colourful costume is brought out on festive ceremonial occasions, although rarely worn in everyday situations.
- In the winter the Sámi (and the Finnish people in general) wear boots made of reindeer hide because of the warmth this material provides.
Lapland Has 8 Seasons
If you visit Lapland, you'd assume it only has one long, cold season of snow.
Well, actually, it doesn't. But you’d be forgiven for thinking so. Lapland is a place that has more seasons than most people realise.
The local Sámi people have gone with 8 seasons to describe the changing conditions throughout the year. Along with spring, summer, autumn and winter, they have broken the year down to include the transitional periods. For example, winter moving into spring and summer moving into autumn.
Why? This is due to the close tie between the Sami culture and reindeer herding. The 8 seasons of this cycle are directly related to the annual behavioural patterns of their reindeer.
Finnish is The Main Language Spoken
Finland is the land of snow, but it's also a land of languages.
Finnish is the main language with some people also speaking the Sámi languages. The official language of Finland is Finnish and is spoken by around 5 million people, mainly in the western part of the country.
Sámi is a minority language that is spoken by around 2,000 people living in the North of Finland.
Learn Some Finnish Phrases!
The letter Y is pronounced as a U. The letter J, pronounce as a Y. Where there are the same two letters in a row, emphasise the sound.
- Hyvää Huomenta - Good Morning
- Hyvää Iltaa - Good Evening
- Hei! / Moi! / Morjens! - Hi! / Hello!
- Moikka! / Hei Hei! - Bye
- Mitä Kuuluu - How are you?
- Kiitos, Hyvää - Good thanks
- Anteeksi - Excuse me
- Kiitos - Thank You
- Ole Hyvä - You are Welcome
- Kippis - Cheers
- Kyllä - Yes
- Ei - No
- Saisinko yhden oluen? - Can I have a beer please? (A vital one to learn).