Lapland in Winter

Lapland in Winter – 17 Unmissable Winter Activities

Planning a magical trip to Lapland in Winter? This guide details all of the best Lapland Winter activities, and includes where to eat, how to plan, and all of our top tips for visiting.

Winter in Lapland is the most magical time of the year to visit. Imagine days discovering glorious winter landscapes followed by cosy evenings beneath the Northern Lights.

You see, Lapland is both romantic and adventurous in equal measure, so it’s guaranteed fun for all the family.

With all that said,  let’s get to it and jump into our ultimate guide to visiting Lapland in Winter.

Lapland Northern Lights
Watching the aurora during Lapland’s winter months

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Lapland Winter Essentials

Kakslauttanen igloo lapland
The incredible Kakslauttanen igloos in Lapland

Best Hotels in Lapland

feeding reindeers lapland
Feeding the reindeers at Kakslauttanen Resort, Lapland

Planning where to stay in Lapland will probably be the most exciting yet challenging part of organising trip.

Glass igloos, wooden cabins, ice hotels, tree hotels, the list is endless. All offer a truly unique and memorable stay. 

I will list some of my Lapland bucket list hotels below, including Kakslauttanen Resort, where we stayed. 

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort (Finland)

Lapland in Winter
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort Igloos

After spending 4 nights at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in March, I can confidently say it’s one of the most magical resorts in the world.

I am talking Disneyland on ice – A snow-ridden playground for adults and children alike.

Alongside iconic luxury accommodations such as glass igloos and cosy log cabins, the resort offers several exciting excursions.

Arctic Treehouse Hotel (Finland)

Treehotel Lapland Winter
Arctic Treehouse Hotel (Finland)​

For a slightly modern twist on the glass igloo, Arctic Treehouse hotel provide another extraordinary hotel experience in Finnish Lapland.

Elevated on stilts overlooking the Lappish wilderness, the luxury cabin accommodation is designed to allow a nest-like view.

Treehotel (Finland)

Treehotel
Treehotel

Treehotel in Swedish Lapland provides extraordinary accommodation such as a UFO, birds nest and mirror cube cabin, set high among the trees of a Pine Forest.

Each cabin allows you to watch the Northern Lights from the comfort of your bed. And during the day you can enjoy an abundance of winter activities.

You can also check out many other accommodation options here. Or use the Map below to see all your options:

Booking.com

16 Best Lapland Winter Activities

winter lapland
Enjoy these exciting winter activities in Lapland!

1. Husky Sledding Safari

Dog Sledding in Lapland
The Husky Safari was our favourite thing to do in Lapland in Winter!

I’m kicking off the list with our favourite winter activity in Lapland, and that is a Husky Sled Safari.

Led by a team of energetic mountain dogs, you’ll discover the spectacular winter landscapes moving at a nail-biting pace.

Nothing can prepare you for the exhilarating sensation until you experience it for yourself. But all I can say is hold on tight.

 Book your Husky Sled Safari here.

Tip – I go into more detail regarding this topic in our guide to dog sledding in Lapland, so be sure to check that out for more info.

2. Reindeer Safari

Reindeer Safari lapland
Reindeer Safari in Lapland – a magical experience

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a Reindeer Safari is an almost tranquilising experience.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t involve any flying, the reindeer save that for Christmas eve. But it does involve dashing through the snow on a reindeer open sleigh.

Reindeer safaris occur throughout the day during the Lapland winter; however, a Northern Lights Reindeer Safari is especially magical.

Book online here with GetYourGuide.

Tip – For more information about picking an ethical tour company or reindeer farm, see our guide to reindeer safaris in Lapland.

3. See the Northern Lights

northern lights lapland
northern lights lapland

Of course, one of the most popular bucket list experiences when visiting Lapland in Winter is seeing the Northern Lights.

Otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis, this spectacular natural phenomenon is an otherworldly experience. All kinds of colours from green to purple, and even red dance around in the twilight sky.

Unfortunately, like most natural phenomena, the Aurora is unpredictable. While the winteris the best time to visit Lapland for the Northern Lights, the conditions need to be perfect for them to appear. 

Sometimes they don’t show for days or weeks at a time.

4. Spend a Night in a Glass Igloo

Winter Northern Lights Lapland

It had been on our bucket list forever to stay in a glass igloo. And let me tell you, it was every bit as magical as we had imagined.

The concept of the glass igloo was born in Finnish Lapland, created by Jussi Eiramo – founder and owner of Kakslauttanen Resort.

The story behind Mr Eiramo and his vision for the world-famous resort is a truly inspiring one. 

After having the pleasure of meeting him, we are convinced that he’s the real-life Santa Clause!

5. Cross Country Skiing

Lake Bled Skiing Winter Activities

With Lapland seeing snow anywhere from 175 – 225 days per year, cross-country skiing plays a considerable part in the local culture. 

Historically, skiing across forests and lakes to get to work or school was not unusual, and I can’t help but feel like I was cheated by having to take the bus.

Since the invention of snowmobiles and cars, not so much; however, cross-country skiing is still a national sport in Finland. Locals insist it is a fantastic activity for both body and mind.

 Even if you’re a total beginner, this Lapland winter activity is fun for all the family.

6. Snowmobile Tour

Snowmobile in Winter in Lapland
Snowmobiling during our winter trip to Lapland.

Next up we have another of our favourite winter activities in Lapland, and that’s a Snowmobile tour.

A snowmobile is a bit like a jet ski on snow. And it’s by far one of the most thrilling ways to discover the diverse winter landscapes that make up the arctic circle.

With a variety of tours to choose from, you could spend anywhere from 1-hour up to an entire day whizzing through forests, lakes, and mountains.

Book your Snowmobile Tour Here

7. Traditional Finnish Sauna

Traditional Finnish Sauna
Traditional Finnish Sauna

Saunas play a significant role in Finnish culture. Most family homes have them, and they are considered a necessity for a happy and healthy life.

With this in mind, visiting a sauna is a quintessential thing to do in Lapland in Winter, helping you to relieve any stress on both the body and mind.

If you’re feeling brave enough, there’s a deeply rooted Finnish tradition called ‘cold therapy‘, where you take an ice plunge followed by a hot sauna.

8. Visit Santa in Lapland

Visit Santa Clause lapland
You don’t have to visit Lapland at Christmas to see Santa!

You can’t visit Lapland without visiting Santa, and the great thing is, it doesn’t even have to be Christmas time.

Santa Clause takes visitors all year round in this part of the world. So if you want to spread the festive cheer in the middle of Summer, so be it! In Lapland, anything is possible.

The official home of Santa Clause is the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi. However, he does seem to have several houses all over the region. 

Save Time and Book a Tour

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

9. Drive a Race Car on Ice

Exclusive to Swedish Lapland, driving a race car on ice is one of the most hair-raising experiences you can have throughout the region.

The winter activity, known as ice-driving, takes place in Arjeplog at the world’s largest driving centre. It is available for just 11 weeks each year when the plains of Lake Adjaur transform into 2965 acres of icy terrain.

There’s only one company that offers this one-of-a-kind experience, and that’s Lapland Ice Driving.

10. Learn About Traditional Sami Culture

Traditional Lappish Teepee lapland
Learning about Traditional Sami Culture sat around the fire in our teepee!

The entire Northern Lapland region is home to the Sámi – the last remaining indigenous people in the European Union.

The Sámi possess a rich cultural heritage and are known for their close connection to the land and nature. Time spent exploring and learning about this fascinating culture, is time well spent.

Inari, Rovaniemi, Enontekiö and Utsjoki are some of the best places to explore the Sámi culture in Lapland today.

11. Go Ice Fishing

lapland Ice Fishing during winter
Ice Fishing is one of the more relaxing things to do in Lapland in Winter!

A typical ice fishing experience involves a short hike to a nearby frozen lake, cutting a hole in the ice, and waiting for your catch to take the bait.

We didn’t get around to trying ice fishing on our recent trip, but I can imagine it’s quite a fun experience!

Ice Fishing may be one of the more low-key winter activities in Lapland, but it’s an interesting one nonetheless.

12. Stay in the Worlds First Ice Hotel

ice hotel lapland
A unique Lapland Winter experience – staying in an Ice hotel

Visiting Lapland in Winter is a once in a lifetime experience. But thanks to this extraordinary Ice Hotel in Swedish Lapland, I think I’m going to have to visit twice.

The Ice Hotel in Lapland is an ever-changing work of art. Each year a team of international artists sculpt the hotel, only for it to melt away months later.

The special ‘ice rooms‘ within the hotel come fully equipped with thermal sleeping bags and extra warm blankets so you definitely won’t freeze.

13. Discover Lapland by Snow Tank

Snow Tank lapland
Snow Tank during Winter was ideal for keeping warm!

One of the more unique ways to discover the beautiful Lappish landscapes is to travel by snow tank.

Snow tanks are an awesome piece of machinery, made even more impressive by our guide who actually built his tank himself.

Ccrawling through the wilderness and enjoying the scenery from the panorama cabin was an enjoyable experience.

All things considered, I’d say this Lapland winter activity is perfect for families with small children or those seeking a more comfortable safari experience.

14. Go Horse Riding

Horse Riding lapland
We got to see the beautiful Horses at Kakslauttanen Resort Lapland

Another winter activity fit for animal lovers, horse riding tours allow a peaceful and romantic journey through the rugged wilderness of Lapland.

Experienced riders have the option to ride on horseback. Or you can relax and enjoy the ride in a horse-drawn carriage or sleigh. Ask at your hotel for horseback riding tours in your area.

15. Polar Explorer Ice Breaker Cruise

When visiting Lapland in Winter, another once-in-a-lifetime experience is to take the Polar Explorer Ice Breaker Cruise.

Exclusive to Finnish Lapland, the 3-hour cruise transports passengers through the frozen water of the Bothnian Sea.

During the cruise, you’ll get to experience the tremendous power of the vessel, as it effortlessly cuts through the ice.

A guided tour is included, and you’ll have the opportunity to stop off and walk on the ice or take a swim in a flotation survival kit.

16. Visit a Traditional Lappish Teepee

Traditional Lappish Teepee lapland
Enjoying the fire inside a Traditional Lappish Teepee in Lapland

Historically, Teepees, otherwise known as Lavvu, were temporary dwellings used by the Sami people. They served as a place of refuge when herding reindeer across the barren winter landscapes.

Today, the teepees are dotted all over Lapland. Many of the tours & excursions include a visit to one. We got to huddle around a fire with a warm drink while hearing spellbinding stories about Sami history and culture.

17. Enjoy Traditional Lappish Food

After long days adventuring in the winter landscapes you’ll need some hearty food to help refuel.

Thankfully, the restaurant scene in Rovaniemi is thriving, where you can sample traditional Lappish cuisine. 

From reindeer and fish to a variety of vegetables and fruits, Lappish food is as fresh as it is delicious! 

When is Winter in Lapland

Here’s a fun fact about Lapland for you. Not only is it home to untouched wilderness, majestic nature, magical hotels, and Santa Clause, it’s the home of 8 seasons as well.

While Lapland’s main seasons are spring, summer, autumn, and winter just like the rest of the world, the change in weather conditions is particularly dramatic.

The lives and work of the locals are highly sensitive to the changing seasons; therefore, it makes sense for them to break down the year into eight seasons instead of four.

If you’re interested, the eight seasons are as follows:

  • True Autumn – Sami: tjaktja: September – October
  • Autumn-Winter – Sami: tjaktjadálvve: November – December
  • True Winter – Sami: dálvve: December – March
  • Spring-Winter – Sami: gidádálvve: March – April
  • True Spring – Sami: gidá: April – May
  • Spring-Summer – Sami: gidágiesse: May – June
  • True-Summer – Sami: giesse: June – July
  • Summer-Autumn – Sami: tjaktjagiesse: August – September

Lapland Winter Temperatures

While Lapland at Christmas is a great idea, it does come with inflated hotel and travel prices.

Considering there are also very few daylight hours during this time, and the Lapland winter temperatures can drop as low as -40C, you wouldn’t be missing much by pushing your trip into February or March instead.

We visited Lapland in March, and the enchanting winter vibes were still in full swing.

The landscapes adorned a thick blanket of white snow but the days were longer than the earlier winter months, and temperatures were far more endurable -5 to -10C.

No Lapland winter activities were out of bounds, and even Santa allowed us to visit him. So if you’re planning a trip to Lapland in March, I’m confident you won’t be disappointed.

What to Pack for Lapland in Winter

Packing for your winter holiday in Lapland is the final step in the planning process, but it’s not one that should be taken lightly.

With temperatures dropping as low as -40C, having the right winter gear is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

To help you prepare, you can check out our complete Lapland winter packing list here.

Lapland in Winter
Check out our Winter Packing List for Lapland

Enjoy your Winter Trip to Lapland

Well, that concludes our ultimate guide to visiting Lapland in Winter. I hope you have a magical trip to this unforgettable location.

If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comments below. We love hearing from you!

If you’re heading to Finland, check out our Finland series to help plan your trip!

Stay adventurous and Happy travels.

**Our trip to Lapland was sponsored by Kakslauttanen Resort. However, as always all thoughts and opinions are our own.

finland flag

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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