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Things to do in Lapland in Winter

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Lapland is the area in the north of Scandinavia. If you want to visit Lapland, you can do it from three countries – Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Which means lots of things. One of them is that there is not that many people and this area is perfect for the winter enthusiast. Another one is that there is a lot of things to do in Lapland in winter and plenty of place for it. This place is full of hidden gems and winter activities.

Things to do in Lapland in Winter

Map of Lapland in winter

Map of Lapland in winter by Iglu ski

I do believe that winter wonderland is for everyone. Or more specifically, for anyone who dresses properly. Whether you are an animal lover or winter sports junkie, there is plenty of opportunities to see things from behind the arctic circle.

For animal lovers

Even though it seems that on the roof of the world there aren’t too many animals, there is a lot of them and even furrier than the ones from south. There is a plenty of ways of how to meet the animals, whether it is in the

Husky safari

Husky's in Lapland

Husky safari is one of the most popular things to do in Lapland.

No, it is no riding through snow and watching wild huskies running around like you would do in Africa with wildlife. Here in the north, you are welcome to visit one of the farms for hard-working doggos and learn how to drive sleds with them. Even though something like “husky farm” sounds terrible, it really isn’t. The dogs are not here for eating but for working in the woods where you often cannot get with any other vehicle.

Most of the Husky safaris would teach you how to ride, and actually, go ride with you into Lappish wilderness. After that, you would hear some more information about the dogs, feed them and maybe cuddle a puppy if you are lucky.

Where to go for Husky Safari?

Husky safari

Those dogs were so excited, I couldn’t take a proper picture of them. And they stayed like this for the whole day.

In popular Lappish towns or villages like Rovianemi is a lot of tour companies that will take you there. Unfortunately, it is something that you cannot do alone. But tours are nicely organized and there is anything that you need. So for this kind of thing, you can just head to any tour office and said that you would be interested in a tour like this. There are of course different kinds of tours from going there just for an hour to a whole day trip. And because of that, the price can differ from 120 euros to 220 euros.

Another way of sledding with dogs would be to try a ride in Santa Claus village. In the village, you can try just a short ride for 15 minutes, which would cost about 30 euros.

Reindeer safari

Reindeers ride

Here is your opportunity to try what Santa does just once a year

Lapland is said to be the place where all versions of Santa Claus come from. So no wonder that there is a lot of reindeer farms. But to be honest, the reindeers have been here a long before Santa. Lived in the northern wilderness for a very long time until Suomi people came along and start to use them as a domestic animal. That is why reindeer safari is definitely one of the things to do in Lapland.

If you go to a proper Reindeer farm, people there will tell you about everything that you can actually do with reindeer and how did they domesticate them or where to find wild ones. However, here I don’t have good news like with huskies – reindeers are eaten in Lapland. They become so popular, you can have them also in the form of dry meat, hamburger, even kebabs. Most of the farms offer soup or dry meat as they usually don’t have the meat for the whole year.

Sledding with Reindeers

View from sleds

Sometimes the only thing that you see from the sleds is reindeer but and snowy nature

Similar to Husky safari, reindeer sledding is another thing to do in Lapland in winter. And there is a lot of places that offer sledding or at least visiting the farm with reindeers.

So how to visit reindeer farm or go sledding with reindeers? First of all, you can also take a tour from a travel company in one of the Lappish cities. But the truth is that if you research it, you can also just visit reindeer farms themselves without travel agents and many of them offer sledding. It is also a little bit cheaper. Sledding for 2,5km with reindeers costs about 75 euros.

The next option is again in Santa Claus village, where you have many activities like this. One km ride with reindeer cost there about 20 euros.

Ranua arctic zoo

Polar bears

This one is actually not alive, but in Rauna you have a great opportunity to see several live ones playing in the snow

If you want to visit a different kind of zoo. The kind where they don’t have any zebras but are rich on polar bears. Ranua arctic zoo is in the Finnish part of Lapland and should be one of the things to do in Lapland in winter. Especially if you love wild animals and want to see some of the ones that live around the arctic circle. Since this is an open-air zoo there are truly just animals that can stand the temperatures all year round. So here is an opportunity to see all of the animals, from the smallest to the biggest predators.

How to get to Ranua zoo

Ranua is close to Rovaniemi and you can also buy there a bus ticket, that would get you to the zoo. From other places, it is easier to rent a car for a day, because there is no direct connection that would get you to the zoo.

If you visiting Ranua in wintertime, you should enter the zoo before 2 pm, so you can see the animals before the sun goes down, which is in the winter Lapland, very early. So make sure, you will visit it in the morning, which is also when the busses are going there.

Nature wonders

Winter or summer, Lapland is full of natural wonders. From glaciers to magical forests. Or even spotting northern lights. All those things are possible to do in Lapland.

Korouoma falls

Korouoma falls winter

Very close to Rovaniemi in Finland, you can find a Korouoma canyon. It is one of the national parks in Lapland. In winter you can see here frozen waterfalls. This place might be a bit better to visit with a guide since the snow is sometimes too deep and you might need to borrow snowshoes.

Getting to Korouoma waterfalls

A lot of companies offer an affordable tour around the waterfalls with hiking in the canyon and sometimes even Ice climbing. Make sure you contact the company on time because the tours to Korouoma are not every day and getting there alone by bus is difficult and time-consuming. Prices for the tour are usually around 200 euros per adult.

Hikes in wilderness

Somewhere under the snow

It doesn’t matter where you are in Lapland, you can hike everywhere

Towns are not too big in Lapland, so getting to nature is very easy. Sometimes is easy just to ask at your hotel where can you go around. Like in Rovaniemi I found a very popular hike, up in the forest, where I met only 10 people and it had an amazing view. Just remember to take proper shoes otherwise you might freeze very easily.

Those hikes you can find close to every town or even village because Finns like to go out to nature, so it is not something special close to some region. You can also ask for a closest national parks because they are really big in up in Lapland, so there is a chance you will find some.

Northern lights hunt

Aurora borealis

Be in the right place at the right time and spot the aurora

Northern lights hunt is one of the easy things to do in Lapland. Especially in winter. Northern lights are results of solar wind reaching earth poles, both southern and northern. They are best to see when the sky is clear. Closer to the pole, the better.

Sometimes there is only a small green stain in the sky, other times you the heaven lights up in green-purple light and dance around. Lapland is generally rich in Aurora lights, but you must be at the right time in the right place. Which here in the north is a bit easier than elsewhere. You can also download an app that will tell you about the Aurora situation for today.

In case you feel unlucky, there is a lot of companies that will offer you northern lights hunt. They are specialized and can find the lights very easily. But don’t be disappointed if they don’t find a spectacular color that is spread all around the night sky. Those are rare.

Winter activities

Whether you love winter or not, there are some cool things to try once you are in Lapland. And since a lot of them are offered by companies that will dress you as well, you don’t need to worry about getting too cold.


Winter adventure with snowmobiles

One of the biggest adventure that you can do in Lapland is to go for a snowmobiling tour

If you are not an animal lover, one of the best ways how to explore Lappish nature is to go for a snowmobile tour. It is fast and full of adventure. Since this is an actual vehicle, you will get to see a lot more of nature than if you would go somewhere with dogs or reindeers, because they just cannot take that long distance. And you don’t need to worry, it is really easy to drive it. You will get all the instructions and helmets for your safety.

Often these tours are combined with some other activities like catching northern lights or ice fishing, so there is a lot to think about when you want to do something like this.

How to find snow mobiling tour?

Frozen river in Rovianemi

Frozen river in Rovianemi

There is a lot of them all around Lapland. Sometimes they are just outside of the company that does the tour, so you can just hop in and ask. Sometimes they would offer something local like driving on a frozen river in Rovaniemi or they can offer some more spectacular piece of nature, even close to some national park.

But like always, Price for a tour like this can be rather expensive and you can spend around 200 euros for a day tour on a snowmobile. But the great thing about it still is that the people there are trained experts for any situation, so you don’t have to be afraid of anything.

Cross skying

Cross Skying

Lapland has a lot of great places for learning how to cross sky and learn some more about nature

One of the best-known activities to do in Lapland is cross skying. Combined with shooting (biathlon) it is a reason why they won the winter war against Russia. However, nobody here wants you to sky and shoot. Just go and rent the sky. It is something that even beginners can do and this could be one of the more interesting ways of exploring nature. If skies are not your friend, think about hiking with snowshoes or ice climbing. Those are the activities that you just cannot do if you go to Italy, so let’s just enjoy the snow.

There is a lot of places where is possible to cross the sky. In general, you can do it outside of the town or in town suburbs with nature around. But make sure you will get some proper clothes for doing that. And you can always ask in your hotel where they rent the cross sky.


Very Finnish! But there is nothing better after a cold day outside that sweat in a super hot room with the nice warm from the fire. It is very relaxing and healthy. And Finns are masters in these activities. A normal healthy person should be able to say in the sauna for about 15 minutes. And most of the people can because it is so cold outside. After that feel free to roll around in the snow or take a dip in ice water. It sounds terrible, but you will feel great about it. It is simply an activity that will get your blood running!

And where to find a sauna? I was accommodated in a hostel and they had a sauna there for free. So most of the Finnish hotels have that as part of their services. There is only one thing to be aware of. Most of the Finnish people are going to sauna naked and for that reason, hotels either have separate saunas for women and men or separate hours of use.

Where to live in Lapland?

lapland Igloo

There is a lot of places, where you can find a good accommodation, depends on where in Lapland you want to go.

In Finland, the most popular places are probably Rovaniemi, which is also where is most of the attractions around the arctic circle and there is also an airport, so it is easy to get there. Another popular place in Finland is Ylläs, a smaller town located closer to the Swedish border but easy to get to with buses and trains.

In Sweden is probably the most popular Kikuma a town just inside of the arctic circle, because it is one of the bigger places, you can easily get there by buses or by train as well

Norway has Tromso, probably the most popular place and not just for being part of Lapland but for nature around. Tromso has its airport but there are also buses and trains. Tromso is very popular for often northern lights show and the sea view, but also lots of hiking trails around.

If you want to find a hotel that is just different than anything else, lots of Lappish towns or villages offer accommodation on the farm, which can be spectacular in winter. People in finish Lapland came with an idea of a hotel, that basically looks like an iglu and has a window on a roof as well, so you can watch northern light from your bed. These hotels are usually really nice, but also kind of expensive. But if you are a luxury traveler, why not?

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Things to do in Lapland in winter


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