Lapland: Winter Wonderland Activities

For many South Africans, Lapland falls into a category of mystical places like Timbuktu in Mali, Dracula-inspired Transylvania in Romania, and Lhasa in Tibet, home to the Dalai Lama and nicknamed the ‘Roof of the World’. Ease of travel today makes these places quite accessible but no less mystical. 

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While the origins of Christmas go back more than 2000 years, the modern day celebrations date back to Victorian times when simple gifts of handmade toys, nuts and biscuits were exchanged. Our portly and bearded Santa Claus with his red suit and bag of toys is based on the fourth century Saint Nicholas who was known for his generous gifts to the poor. 

Today's celebrations include elaborate decorations centered around a sparkling tree with brightly wrapped gifts strewn around it. While commercialism has hijacked much of the original intentions there is still much to be said for the awesome story of Father Christmas riding his sleigh into town and improbably descending down a chimney to deliver gifts! 

Sadly in the Southern Hemisphere this picture couldn’t be further from this tradition as we have hot December weather, definitely no snow, no need for thick red coats and the nearest beast to a reindeer is a kudu which is unlikely to be drawing a sleigh. 

There is however hope for fans of traditional Winter Christmas celebrations in the form of a Lapland Christmas Village holiday. Rovaniemi in Finland is the capital of Lapland and the official home of Santa Clause. 

Thompsons Holidays offers Lapland holidays that are thrilling for all ages. Once you have set your dates you need to make a booking to visit Santa in his home, set deep in the heart of a forest. Once this important visit is behind you, the burning question is what is there to do in Lapland in Winter?  

A whole lot actually. Here are some ideas to whet your appetite. 

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Reindeer Safari 

Take a relaxing reindeer drawn safari into nature with local herders. You won’t get a more authentic Lapland experience than this! 

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Snowmobile Safari   

For a faster pace take an adrenaline packed ride on a snowmobile with a choice of a coffee stop or lunch in the forest. 

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Husky Safari 

Learn the art of steering huskies and soon you will be sledding through the wilderness drawn by a team of friendly and eager dogs. 

Snow Tank Ride 

Stay snug and warm in any weather conditions in your enclosed sleigh drawn by a unique snow tank. 

Horseback Ride Safari  

Soak up the charming landscapes from the back of your trusty steed. Leave your worries behind you and experience the joy that horse-riding brings. Little or no experience required to ride these friendly and gentle horses.  

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Aurora Hunting  

Go in search of the amazing aurora borealis with a choice of transport modes: Horse, husky or reindeer drawn sleigh or a mechanical snow tank. 

Arctic Ice Floating 

Lose yourself to nature as you float in the freezing Arctic waters in a specially adapted rescue suit. This must be one of the most unique experiences on earth – or rather, in water.  

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Ice Fishing 

Learn how to lure fish from a frozen lake – all equipment and thermal clothing provided, And you are supplied with steaming hot drinks while hauling in your catch. 

Finland is not just a winter destination, Father Christmas is ready to receive visitors all year round and there are many other exciting outdoor activities in the warmer months.  

The spectacular Aurora Borealis is a magnet for travelers wanting to experience a unique and wonderful natural phenomenon, as the sky becomes a kaleidoscope of spectacular colour. This experience is possible from August through to April. The Midnight Sun – the night-less night or the polar day can be experienced from June to early July – when the sun never sets. You can also cross in and out of the Arctic Circle – one step at a time..  

The more active can go hiking in the breathtaking scenery in 40 national parks. Be sure to send your friends a post card from Santa Claus’ Main Post Office which bears its own special post mark and handles more than half a million letters from around the world every year.  

Start planning now your Lapland holiday now and contact Thompsons Holidays to plan an itinerary to one of the most mystical places on earth. 

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