reindeer safari in lapland

Ethical Reindeer Safari in Lapland – The Do’s & Don’ts

A Reindeer Safari in Lapland is one of the most popular winter activities in this part of the world. But there are some things to be aware of should you choose to take part in this experience.

When planning a trip to Lapland in winter, a reindeer safari should be at the top of your bucket list. Dashing through the snow in an open sleigh is a childhood dream come true.

Unlike Lapland’s husky safaris, the reindeer move at an almost tranquilising pace, allowing you to sit back and fully enjoy your ride through the majestic wintry wilderness.  

 The aim of this blog is to help you book your own reindeer safari in Lapland while addressing any ethical concerns related to this activity.

So let’s get to it. Here is everything you need to know about booking a Reindeer Safari in Lapland.

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History of Reindeer in Lapland

Reindeer Safari in Finland
Reindeer Safari in Finland

Just one mention of reindeer conjures up childhood tales of flying sleighs and Santa Clause. However, in Lapland, reindeer play an integral role in Sámi culture.

Before cars and snowmobiles, reindeer sleighs were a means of transport across the region. Reindeer sleighs would help transport people or local produce between villages.

While today, reindeer sleigh tours are more of a tourism initiative than a necessity, reindeer herding and farming remain a major income source for many in the region.

Ethical Reindeer Safari in Lapland

Winter Reindeer Safari lapland
Winter Reindeer Safari Lapland

Which leads me on to my next point and the all-important question… Is the Reindeer Safari in Lapland ethical?

We had our doubts about the reindeer sleigh tours in Lapland, as we would with any animal tourism. There is a fine line between what is considered ethical and what isn’t.

We vowed to do our research before taking part and discovered that it’s less about the activity and more about how well the animals are looked after.

Encouragingly, unlike riding an elephant, who would have endured years of mistreatment to allow you to ride them, it is in a reindeers genetics to be a powerful working animal.

But that doesn’t mean some tour companies won’t exploit them for financial gain. This is why it’s important to research ethical reindeer safaris in Lapland before taking part.

How to Choose an Ethical Reindeer Safari

feeding reindeers lapland
Feeding the reindeers at Kakslauttanen Resort, Lapland

Animal tourism will never be perfect. But ethical reindeer safaris, with ethical farms, show that it is possible to combine a thriving tourism economy while still respecting the animal.

With strict animal rights laws in place, I think you would struggle to find a reindeer farm in Lapland that isn’t ethical. But it doesn’t harm to do a few checks.

The best way to do this is to contact the company directly and ask them about their general safety and reindeer-care standards.  

 Or if you want 100% reassurance that your experience with reindeer is ethical, you could choose to visit only the reindeer farm – not go on a safari.

Save Time and Book a Tour

For a more local experience, we recommend checking out the guided tours on Get Your Guide:

Reindeer Safari in Lapland FAQs

aurora lapland

This section aims to provide any info I think you might need to help with booking your reindeer experience in Lapland.

How Long is a typical Reindeer Safari?

Most reindeer safaris in Lapland offer varying lengths of safari with the longest being all day.

A half-day tour is an ideal amount of time. This way, you get plenty of time riding the sleigh, but it also includes lunch and a visit to the reindeer farm. 

We also had the privilege of going on a night time safari on the hunt for the northern lights. Riding beneath the light of the full moon was a majestic experience.

Just keep in mind when booking your reindeer safari in Lapland, that any length of time stated may include transportation, breaks and time for debriefing.

For example, a 2-hour tour may only equate to 1 hour on the sleigh. You can check this with the company when you book.

How Much Does a Reindeer Safari Cost?

Prices for a Reindeer Safari in Lapland will vary throughout the region; however, here is a guideline based on our experience:

  • 1-3 hours: €120-170 per person
  • 3-6 hours: €170-300 per person
  • 6-8 hours: €300-400€ per person
Reindeer Safari in Lapland
Reindeer Safari in Lapland

Do I Need to Book in Advance?

Booking in advance is recommended, particularly during the peak months (December & January). 

Book Your Reindeer Safari Here – Reindeer Sleigh Tours in Lapland

How Many People per Sleigh?

Reindeer Sleighs are limited to 2 people. For this reason, it’s better if you can book in groups of 2, 4, 6 etc. Otherwise, you may find it’s more expensive to book as a solo rider.

Can Children Ride the Reindeer Sleigh?

Yes! And younger children are usually charged at a discounted rate.

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Our Reindeer Safari Experience in Lapland

Reindeer Safari in Lapland, Finland
Reindeer Safari in Lapland, Finland

It was the night of the full moon, and naturally, we were excited for a magical evening in the Lapland wilderness. But first, we had to get dressed in the appropriate gear.

Most companies will provide winter gear for you to wear, such as overalls, boots, and a ski mask. But it pays to have some warm items of your own.

Dressed and ready to go, it was time for a short safety debriefing, before meeting the reindeer who would be pulling our sleigh.

Upon instruction, we gently got into our sleigh, and a herder tucked us in beneath a pile of warm blankets. e Lappish wilderness.

northern lights lapland

 The reindeer moved at tranquil pace, allowing us to cosy up beneath the blanket and fully enjoy the experience.

With the light of the full moon guiding the way, we could see for what seemed like miles across the glorious winter landscapes. It was such a romantic and idyllic experience.

Book Your Reindeer Safari Here – Reindeer Sleigh Tours in Lapland

What to Wear for a Reindeer Safari in Lapland

Reindeer Safari lapland
Reindeer Safari in Lapland – a magical experience

Winter in Lapland sees temperatures as low as -30 C, so having the right gear is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

 After surviving our reindeer safari in sub-zero climates, here’s a short list of items I suggest to take with you. Or you can check out our full winter packing list for Lapland here.

  • Thermal Underwear – Leggings, Vests, Socks
  • Skiing Trousers or Thick Joggers
  • Warm Hooded Jumper or Winter Coat
  • Thick Scarf and Gloves
  • Ski Mask
  • A Good Moisturiser for Lips & Face
Husky Tour in Lapland

Enjoy Your Reindeer Safari in Finland!

Did you Enjoy our guide to Reindeer Safari in Lapland? Let us know. We truly hope our article will help with your trip planning. But, if you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below.

Stay adventurous and Happy travels.

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Planning a trip to Finland? Check out our Finland series for more travel tips and advice. 

Charlotte & Natalie
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Charlotte & Natalie

Hi There!

We’re Charlotte & Natalie, a British lesbian couple with a passion for travel and adventure.
Here you will find everything from LGBTQ+ travel & lifestyle advice, to comprehensive guides and itineraries designed to make your travel planning easier.
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