Finnish Lapland | My tips for planning your trip

Finnish Lapland | My tips for planning your trip

Discover this detailed guide to Finnish Lapland: climate, activities, northern lights, culinary specialties, souvenirs, and even prices, I give you all my advice.


Lapland is a name that makes people dream, talk and fantasize, even if they don’t always know where it is! No, it’s not in Argentina (that’s Patagonia), but well and truly above the Arctic Circle. I’m not going to hide it from you, but after staying there for almost 5 months, my eyes still sparkle when I talk about it!

Welcome to Finnish Lapland. A trip to Lapland takes preparation, so here’s our practical advice on how to organize your trip: how to find all-inclusive packages for a stay in Lapland, the best times to go, what to pack and what to eat! You’ll love this region, land of the Sami and the reindeer, with its picture-postcard landscapes, its northern lights, its many saunas, its kotas, its ice fishing, its peace and quiet, its charming and unusual hotels. You’ll understand why I fell in love with this place!

I fell in love with this vast region of 400,000 km2, which spans 4 countries: the Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Lapland, which occupies 30% of Finland’s surface area but is home to just 3% of its population, is made up of vast, impressive natural spaces that lend themselves to exploration on foot, skis or toboggan. I’m captivated by this region: between the polar night, free-roaming reindeer, the Sami, the Northern Lights, the snow-covered immensities of winter, the midnight sun and nature’s triumph in summer, there’s something elusive about the magic of this region.

It’s essential to plan your trip to Lapland carefully, as there are many parameters to consider. I invite you to read all my articles on Lapland, as there’s little room for improvisation when it comes to this destination.



Located 3500 km from home, in the far north of Finland and above the Arctic Circle, the most popular tourist destination in Lapland, populated by reindeer and the nomadic Sami people, now attracts 500,000 tourists a year from the four corners of the globe in search of nature at the heart of adventure and an extreme change of scenery! You can ride your snowmobile along trails through birch and pine forests, feel the cold in your face when you’re on a dog sled, enjoy the peace and quiet as you contemplate these white immensities and listen to the sound of snowshoes or cross-country skis in the still-fresh snow. It’s a complete change of scenery here, believe me! More than the cities here, it’s the feeling of space, fresh air and the immense sky that are memorable. Lapland just feels right!

You often write to me to find out where to go in Lapland, but you should know that the most touristic and developed remains Finnish Lapland. It offers the most activities and accommodation;

The Swedish Lapland is less popular, but it’s a much wilder place, and should be chosen if you’re looking for unspoilt nature with far fewer people. Many dog sled safaris are organized over several days, and I have a few small structures to suggest that offer multi-activities. If the structure is solely Swedish, the currency will be the krona and not the euro like Finland (the price is therefore variable since it depends on the exchange rate). You can contact me by email to request a quote. Because of its higher price, the far north of Norwegian Lapland is less in demand and Russian Lapland is virtually undeveloped.

However, we do have a few programs that will take you to Norwegian Lapland especially on the Kirkenes for Arctic crab fishing or long-distance snowmobiling. We can also offer holidays around Tromso and its magnificent islands for aurora borealis viewing, winter activities and orca encounters. A short passage through Honningsvåg, and the North Cape, the most northerly place in Europe, will not leave you indifferent! We don’t forget Lofoten and Karasjok islands to contemplate unique landscapes. You can contact me by email to request a quote.

As for Finnish Lapland, it has a strong reputation today. I’ve seen this region and attitudes change in just 8 years! The main regions of Lapland are listed below.



Rovaniemi is both the capital of Lapland and the home of Santa Claus. Located on the Arctic Circle, the town offers visitors a wide range of services, modern facilities, restaurants, bars, stores and a variety of activities available all year round. I only have 2 more authentic structures around Rovaniemi (1 hour’s drive from the capital). These programs are necessarily family-friendly, since they include a Santa Claus outing.

If you’d like to see Santa Claus, there are a number of options I tell you about it in this article where I detail the various services.

  • or from him visit Rovaniemi. You’ll enter his huge, beautiful home and head for the grand wooden staircase. The word magic will take on its full meaning, and your heart will begin to beat wildly. Santa Claus is so handsome and real, it’s a magical, fairytale experience that takes us back to childhood!
  • or you’ll spot it in the numerous Christmas villagesl located in various parts of Lapland, created for the occasion to delight young and old alike.



For the first time in Lapland, many parents and families want to immortalize their encounter with Santa Claus, spend time with him and waste no time. Santa’s house being highly sought-after by travelers from all over the world, I still recommend booking this Rovaniemi landmark. You can meet his reindeer, get a certificate for crossing the Arctic Circle, visit Santa’s village and meet him, and enjoy a delicious traditional Christmas buffet for lunch.

➡️ Information and reservations here


I say it every time, and you’re often surprised, but demand is so great in Lapland that places are becoming expensive and limited. I’m getting used to this destination, but when I tell you that everything goes fast, believe me! I don’t want to frighten you, but just make sure you book your activities and accommodation in advance to guarantee your place.



Dog-sled safaris are very popular in Lapland. In fact, it’s one of the most popular winter activities. I therefore recommend that you book this activity in advance to guarantee your place and avoid missing out.

Book your dogsled safari now.


  • LEVI

Levi is the biggest ski resort in Lapland. It’s a popular weekend destination for Finns. If you’re looking for a full range of activities, bars, spas, restaurants and nightlife, we’ve got you covered, Leviis the place to be. Once again, this is not the place I suggest to my customers, as I find it sorely lacking in authenticity. I prefer to get away from the city center and spend more time in nature. Levi has the advantage of being close to Kittila airport, which now offers direct flights from Paris.



The far north of Lapland, known as Sápmi, is the territory of the Sami people. (most of them live around Inari, Utsjoki and Hetta). Ivalo is a small town I know very well, having lived there for a few months. It’s a beautiful region with a magnificent lake, the Lake Inari, 3rd largest lake in the country. Punctuated by over 3,000 islands and islets, it offers an idyllic setting for snowmobile safaris, dog sledding and summer fishing. You’ll love its beautiful white immensities and its wilder, more natural feel. However, you have to look out for small, secluded spots, as mass tourism has also affected this area. The landscape is a little different from that of western or eastern Lapland, with more birch trees and fewer large firs. The region is more vaunted, so the snow often holds less well at the summit, but Ivalo is reputed to be a suitable place for observation of northern lights.



I loved this ski resort, about 45 minutes’ drive from Ivalo, and have many wonderful memories of it, including a delicious burger eaten at altitude at the top of the slopes, and a great toboggan run that gave us a lot of laughs! At the time, I tried to go 2 or 3 times a month and I had my little habits there. Now I think it’s still a smaller ski resort than Levi, a little more charming but very popular with Asian travelers.



It’s a pretty, unspoilt corner of Lapland, on the border of the Arctic Circle and close to Russia. The region is even said to be at the northernmost tip of Finland. The ski resort of Ruka is very nice and less touristy than Levi.



These are two places I know less about because I haven’t had the time to go there, but there are skiing areas and national parks, but from what I’ve seen, a lot of tour operators have set up there, so I don’t yet have any small structures to suggest.



There are 3 airports:

  • Rovaniemi, Finland, the main
  • Kittila for the western part
  • Ivalo for the northern part

Depending on the structures you choose, I’ll land you at one of these airports. On average 5h30flight with compulsory stopover in Helsinki unless you have a direct flight to Kittila. The company Finnair often serves this destination, but Air France, Lufhtansa and British Airways are also available.



Lapland can be visited in all 4 seasons. It’s well known in winter, but more and more travellers appreciate it in summer for the midnight sun (the sun doesn’t set) and in autumn for its magnificent hikes through these flamboyant forests. J’ai déjà testé autumn in Finlandand I invite you to discover my little cocooning trip with sauna, mushroom and berry picking, lakeside cottage…

Winter generally begins around mid-November and lasts until around May. Structures are generally not ready for the opening of activities, and lakes are often not frozen enough for snowmobiling, ice fishing or dog sledding. The season therefore often starts from the mid-December to early April. Year after year, it’s hard to say whether it’ll be very cold or snowy at the start of the season, because Lapland’s climate is changing: snow arrives late or much too early! When I lived in Lapland, December temperatures hovered around – 5°C. In December 2018, it was -25°C over Christmas week.

December to mid-January, you’ll be in the polar night period “Kaamos” . The days are very short, with only a few hours of daylight. Allow around 3 hours of grayish light on the Ivalo side, between 10:30 and 13:30. The rest of the time you live in near-darkness, but it’s a truly unique experience! The further north you go, the more pronounced the phenomenon becomes! If you only go to Rovaniemi, you’ll hardly see this phenomenon, as this city is located at the edge of the Arctic Circle. I assure you, lights and street lamps are installed everywhere, which doesn’t stop the practice of activities.

In February you normally have “the great cold” temperatures of up to -40°C, but I can reassure you that everything is bearable when you are well supervised and prepared for the activities by your guides. Between February and March, the days are also longer, and sometimes the sun comes out to warm you up and give you magnificent sunsets.

Early April is the best month for sledding, ice fishing and Nordic skiing. There’s plenty of light and more reasonable temperatures! It’s also a less expensive time to discover Lapland.

The most popular periods for travellers remain December with Christmas festivities and February school vacations. Prices are often higher for both land and air travel.

If you can, I’d advise you to come from mid- to late-January as there are fewer people and the cold has set in to make way for frosty landscapes just the way I like them.


Polar night | daylight between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. | light after 1:30 p.m.


Polar night landscape in December – Color photo not taken in black and white


The extreme cold of February



Because you often ask me this question, I’ve written an article specifically about the northern lights. It’s important to know a few things about this unique, natural phenomenon. You’ll learn how to photograph them, what equipment you need to take outside to avoid freezing, tips and tricks, and what equipment you need to take with you… I’ve also uploaded lots of photos of the aurora I observed during my 5 months in Lapland.



Forget your preconceptions and believe me, nothing is impossible when your stay is well prepared. The extreme cold can be frightening, and that’s normal, but you should know that interiors are very, if not overheated, and that children are born in Lapland. They even take naps on the balcony at -30°C to get used to the extreme cold. To find out what you need to pack and which brands to buy for your trip to Lapland, read this to dress in Lapland for more information.



It’s important for me to tell you a little about snow conditions in Lapland, because you often ask me this question. Year after year, Lapland’s climate is changing. Snow cover varies from year to year, making it difficult to practice certain activities, such as ice fishing, which requires a certain depth of snow and ice. To give you an example, in 2018 the snow arrived far too late, almost in mid-December, whereas in 2019 it arrived at the end of September. In 2020, there was a lot of snow but hardly any severe cold! As you can see, we can’t predict the best periods and conditions, given the uncertain climate. It’s exactly the same concern as for our French ski resorts.



That’s the question on everyone’s mind! It all depends on the length of your stay and the time of year, but a trip to Lapland comes at a price. With the rise in wood and electricity prices, Lapland is experiencing a fairly significant increase.

An average stay in Lapland takes 8 days/7 nights i.e. 6 days on site to do the activities. Arrival and departure days are not counted. Activities take place in the morning and/or afternoon, depending on the weather and the program. Some facilities offer 5-day/4-night or 7-day/6-night programs.

The best way to make your first discovery is to book a week of multi-activities. It’s important to note that each program is totally different and specific to each owner, but there’s often the same basic activity: snowmobiling, dog sledding and a reindeer farm. Programs are non-modulable and non-modifiable. You won’t be able to choose the activities you want to do, except for the two programs I’m proposing. That’s why it’s important to prioritize.


The average cost is difficult to give, as it all depends on the period, availability, the price of flights (which rise very quickly), the type of accommodation and the number of activities. The destination is very popular, and prices are rising every year. Today I can’t find any program for less than 2400€/person for a week of 8 days/7 nights. If your budget is lower, unfortunately I won’t be able to help you! Some structures offer prices or discounts for children, while others do not.

This price of 2400€/p corresponds to the first prices when you book your trip in advance and often out of season, i.e. between 9 months and 12 months in advance. Every year, my waiting list gets longer and longer! People receive an email from me to notify them of booking openings. First come, first served. Average prices in 2024 range from €2,500/p to €3,000/p per week in a small, authentic structure far from mass tourism. Higher-end structures start at around 3300€/p.


  • December and February are often very popular and more expensive because of the magic of Christmas and the school vacations. If you want to be in an authentic structure, you have to book almost 1 year in advance for Christmas.
  • If you don’t have children, I recommend the period just after the Christmas holidays and before the February break, i.e. the 3 weeks of January.
  • Late March – early April remain the months that are often the cheapest, but sometimes there’s less snow!
  • Smaller chalet structures often offer weekly programs Saturday to Saturday, Sunday to Sunday or Sunday to Saturday. If you book on your own, it’s harder for me to find something for you, as I’m constrained by your inflexible dates. Unfortunately, you’ll have less choice of programs.
  • The package includes: plane tickets from Paris or the provinces, subject to availability, chalet or rooms in the main building, full board, transfers, activities mentioned in the program and loan of thermal clothing.
  • You may find cheaper packages on the internet, but either the dates are fixed, or it’s a short stay, or you’re often staying in a large hotel that attracts a lot of people, so the prices are lower (bigger accommodation and larger groups for the activities), but you’ll very rarely be in a cosy little chalet by the lake in a great setting with no pollution around.
  • Authenticity and low prices no longer rhyme with Lapland. If you want an authentic trip, you’ll have to realize that it’s bound to be more expensive than one you buy from a tour operator.
  • I offer at least one a dozen programs suitable for families with young children, sports enthusiasts, couples, nature lovers, adventurers and more. I also do dog sledding and snowmobile tours. All prices are variable.


What you need to know about travelling in Lapland:

  • A made-to-measure travel is virtually non-existent because everything is sold as a package. It’s very difficult to compose a few days here or there, as everything is often booked up 1 year in advance. I can sell you a tailor-made trip if you’re a dozen or so people and you want to rent a large chalet, and in these cases I can arrange for a private guide. But this comes at a considerable cost to the trip, as independent guides are not as easy to find.
  • It’s very difficult to sleep in a local’s home, as it’s hardly ever done. Finns are welcoming, but you have to get to know them well before they’ll open their doors to you.
  • There is no orcas or Fjords in Finnish Lapland. Norway is where you’ll find them.
  • You won’t see polar bear in winter in Lapland, as this is not their habitat. They live in the Arctic. On the other hand, brown bears can be found in summer.




  • because the destination is very much in demand, and organizers sell their programs by the week. You can’t arrive at a small structure without a reservation!
  • because there are no signs to tell you where the reindeer and husky farms are…
  • because no roaming in Lapland. We stay in the same place all week.
  • because everything can be fully booked the day you arrive and the days after! Beautiful facilities are often booked months in advance!
  • because a guide is essential for snowmobiling on frozen lakes or in forests! I’ve often heard stories of travelers lost and trapped on an icy lake! And yes, you don’t just go anywhere in Lapland, you have to know a few basic rules.
  • because you’ll miss out on some things if you do it yourself: tasting local dishes, meeting the Sami, discovering customs and traditions, etc


However, if you plan ahead, have time in the evenings to relax, do some research and take the time to organize the trip, you can manage on your own when you get there. You may lose a little time, and you won’t be able to discover Lapland like the Finns. You’ll fly over it because you don’t know the corners.

A few tips to avoid running around:

  • Book a dry flight in advance from France (approx. 450 euros/p) to Rovaniemi, Ivalo, Kittila.
  • Stay close to a nerve center where everything can happen around it without spreading yourself too thin.
  • Find a car to cover the roads (you can rent one at the airport, but I don’t know of any local agencies that rent second-hand or inexpensive vehicles, as this is not very common). Be careful on the roads as those are frozen over and reindeer cross at any moment….usually it’s a herd of reindeer right in front of your eyes! We had a bus accident and accidentally killed a reindeer. The bus was badly damaged and the front door had been kicked in, so we were stuck inside!
  • Book accommodation in advance, but you’ll be hard pressed to find prices below 70 euros per night/p. Focus on 100 euros/ night (unless you find a special offer or a great deal). Lodgings are often full months in advance, as groups flock in droves and Asians disembark!
  • If you’re driving to Finland from France, do your shopping in advance. You’ll save a lot of money on meals. Otherwise, you should be aware that life there is expensive, so you’ll either have to cook or have a good budget.



Lapland has come a long way since I was there in 2012 – it’s even chaotic! Hotels are expanding, tourists are flocking in and the mass tourism has arrived! It’s important to realize that to find authenticity, you have to go about it the right way well in advance and favor small structures such as small chalets. If you don’t want to end up in a hotel and tourist trap, in large groups of at least 30 to 40 people, etc., you need to be careful about what you find on the Internet and in the agencies that sell this destination.

As a creator of made-to-measure trips, I only work directly withmore family-oriented and intimate structures, owner-operated throughout Lapland. Activities are often carried out in small groups of 8 to 15 people (sometimes 4 for one structure). I don’t work with tour operators and all my addresses are secret and revealed on the day of booking. For this destination, I’m selling you a package: air tickets, chalet, full board, transfers, activities mentioned in the program and loan of thermal clothing.

I do my utmost to find the right program for you and your family.

If you’d like to find out more about the programs and receive a quote, you can write to me at leaving me the dates of travel, type of trip, activities desired and above all the budget per person or for the family.

I invite you to click on the customized travel in the menu to discover the agency, read the general terms and conditions of sale and the financial guarantee.

Discover all our other articles to help you prepare your trip to Lapland.




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