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Lapland is magical at any time of the year, but there is something about snow-covered forests and frozen lakes in winter that takes your breath away. This fairytale place is the perfect winter destination if you ever dreamed of Santa Claus, reindeer, and snow. This magical part of Finland has something for everyone, from thrilling activities to romantic getaways. Whether you want to challenge yourself with a stay in an ice hotel or simply enjoy peace and quiet among the falls, there are many things to do in Lapland.

With so many different activities, it can be hard to know where to start, but here we are!

Santa Claus brings out for you from his bag 20 things you need to do in Lapland in Winter.

Meet the Finnish Sami people – Best Things to do in Lapland

Finnish Sami people

The Finnish Sami people have lived in Lapland for centuries and are known for reindeer herding and traditional handicrafts. They have lived in Lapland for centuries, and their culture and traditions are part of what gives Lapland its character. With only a few Sami villages left, it is recommended to book your visit in advance. Many organizations are offering Sami guided tours, and many of these are free. Sami culture is an essential part of Lapland, and it is easy to learn more by visiting a Sami village.

Go on a Husky safari – Best Things to do in Lapland

Husky safari Lapland

Husky safaris are a fantastic way to experience Lapland, and a great way to meet and interact with the dogs that are such an important part of the area. You can go on a husky safari in the winter or the summer, and there are many different types of tours. You can choose to go for a full-day tour and visit a reindeer farm, or you can go for a shorter tour that takes you out into the forest. When choosing a husky safari, make sure that the company is ethical, uses well-trained dogs, and has good reviews. You will also likely need to bring your food and water as well as wear warm clothes and footwear.

Go on a reindeer safari

reindeer safari Lapland

Best Things to do in Lapland: Reindeer herding is one of the oldest ways of life in Lapland and is still practiced today. Reindeer are an important part of Lapland’s culture and history, and many companies offer reindeer rides. There are also some reindeer farms where you can meet and feed reindeer. Most reindeer safaris last for a couple of hours, and the price usually includes a guided tour and a tasting of reindeer meat and fish.

Try cross-country skiing – Best Things to do in Lapland

cross-country skiing Lapland

Cross-country skiing is a great way to explore Lapland and see the forests and mountains up close. Most of the cross-country ski trails are easy to moderate and suitable for beginners, but some trails are challenging. Many hotels and other accommodation options offer packages with rentals and guided tours, or you can simply bring your skis. If you are visiting Lapland in winter and don’t know how to cross-country ski, you can join a group cross-country ski lesson, or simply ask around. There are often people who want to meet up and go skiing together, or you can join a guided tour.

Go on a cruise on an icebreaker

the Polar Explorer of Lapland

You can experience Lapland from the water with a cruise on an icebreaker. Icebreakers are ships specially designed to navigate frozen seas and lakes and are a great way to explore the frozen lakes. There are many different cruises to choose from, and you can go for a half-day or a full-day tour. Some cruises include other activities such as snowmobiling, reindeer sledding, or husky sledding, where you can sit in the sled and go for a ride. Icebreaker cruises are suitable for all ages, and there are often activities for kids as well.

Sleep under the stars in a glass igloo at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is a unique hotel in Lapland where you can sleep under the stars. It is possible to stay in a traditional wooden cabin, but the real experience is sleeping in a glass igloo. There are 12 igloos in total, and they are completely transparent so that you can sleep under the stars. You can also take part in many other activities at the resort, such as Northern Lights hunting, reindeer and husky sledding, snowshoeing, or ice fishing. The igloos are heated, so you can stay there all year, even in the summer.

Visit or stay in an Ice Castle – Best Things to do in Lapland

SnowCastle of Kemi

One of the most famous ice hotels in Lapland is The SnowCastle of Kemi. The ice castle is the biggest snow fort in the world and is rebuilt every winter with a different architecture in Kemi, Finland. For an authentic experience, you can visit the hotel and even book a room. They also have an ice restaurant inside, where you can pamper yourself with traditional dishes.

Where: Lumilinnankatu 15, 94100 Kemi, Finland

Deliver your Christmas letter to Santa at his home from Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

If you want to send a Christmas letter to Santa, you can do so at Santa’s Post Office. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is home to Santa’s Post Office, where you can send your Christmas letter to Santa. You can also send a letter to yourself, and when you visit Lapland next year, you can pick it up again. There is a small fee to send the letter, but it also comes with a certificate of authenticity. It is also possible to send a letter to the world’s last remaining polar bear, Sisu, who lives in the Arctic Wildlife Park.

Go on a snowshoeing adventure – Best Things to do in Lapland

snowshoeing adventure

Best Things to do in Lapland: Snowshoeing is a wonderful way to explore the Lapland landscape, and it is an activity suitable for people of all ages. There are snowshoeing tours for all levels, and you can go out for as long or as short a time as you want. There are often guided tours available, or you can go at your own pace. Many hotels and other accommodation options offer snowshoeing tours, or you can go on a self-guided tour. You can explore the local forests and lakes, or go on a guided tour to see other sights in Lapland.

Drink a glass of Glögi, a traditional winter treat

Glögi traditional winter treat

Glögi is a traditional winter drink that is made with hot water, spices, and sweet liquor such as rum or brandy. You can enjoy a glass of Glögi at many of the hotels and cafes in Lapland, or you can make it yourself. Most grocery stores sell premixed Glögi, but it is also easy to make your own. You can find many different recipes online, and it is a tasty and warming treat during the winter. If you are not a fan of Glögi, there are many other warm winter drinks such as hot chocolate or mulled wine. 

Admire the Northern lights (aurora borealis)

Northern lights - Best Things to do in Lapland

The Northern lights are the result of solar winds colliding with the earth’s atmosphere and creating a luminescent green or red light above the sky. In the winter months when the sky is darker, the chances of seeing the Northern lights are much higher. The best time to see the Northern lights is between November and February, so if you make the trip in winter, you’re almost guaranteed to see them! The best place to see the Northern lights is in the wilderness. You can either go on an excursion or stay at a nearby hotel. If you choose to stay in a hotel, make sure it’s close by, otherwise, you will miss the show!

Explore Korouoma Canyon and admire frozen waterfalls

Korouoma Canyon frozen waterfalls

This beautiful canyon is located in the Korouoma National Park in the Lapland region. The park is famous for its frozen waterfalls; you can walk behind frozen waterfalls, admire their unique shapes and colors, and create your ice sculptures. While exploring the canyon, you can also admire beautiful lakes, explore the nearby Sami village, and go snowshoeing. The Korouoma Canyon is the perfect place for a winter adventure, but try to avoid the weekends when there are many tourists. If you want to avoid crowds, visit the place on a weekday.

Float in a frozen lake – Best Things to do in Lapland

Float in a frozen lake Lapland

The frozen lake is a perfect place to float on an air mattress or lie down on a towel. The first thing you will notice is the silence, followed by the sound of the frozen lake cracking, which is like the cracking of firewood. You can also try ice fishing or ice golfing. For ice golfing, all you need is a golf ball, a club (preferably wooden), and a golf course. You can also go cross-country skiing on a frozen lake, but make sure it’s safe. Floating on a frozen lake is a cheap but very enjoyable activity that you can do with friends or family. Make sure to wear warm clothes, and don’t forget to bring snacks and drinks!

Go skiing at Yllas Ski Resort

Yllas Ski Resort - Best Things to do in Lapland

Yllas Ski Resort is one of the oldest ski resorts in Finland. It offers many activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, tubing, ice skating, and much more. The resort also hosts many different events like festivals, fairs, and competitions. Make sure to get there early as it fills up pretty quickly during the weekends. Yllas Ski Resort is a perfect place for beginners and families with children. You can say that it’s the best place to learn how to ski if you’re a beginner. The resort also offers many different kinds of equipment for free, so you don’t have to worry about renting skis.

Visit the Arktikum Science Museum

Arktikum Science Museum

Best Things to do in Lapland: The Arktikum Science Museum explores the culture and natural phenomena of the Lapland region. You can visit the exhibition and learn about the Sami people, reindeer husbandry, and the history of the place. The exhibition also features a planetarium, where you can explore the wonders of the universe. You can also visit the ice bar and admire the Northern lights through the bar’s special glasses. The Arktikum Science Museum is open throughout the year and is a great place to visit with friends, and family, or even on your own. It’s a great way to spend a day in Lapland, learn something new, and get excited about the night sky!

Go on a horseback safari – Best Things to do in Lapland

horseback safari Lapland

If you want to see Lapland from a different angle, a horseback safari is a perfect thing to do. You can go on a one-hour or a three-hour safari. During the safari, you will be accompanied by a Sami guide, who will tell you about Lapland, the reindeer, and their way of life. Horseback safaris are available all year round, but if you want to go on a longer safari, it’s best to visit in the summer months. A horseback safari is a great way to spend a day in Lapland if you don’t have a lot of time or are traveling with small children.

Try Lappish food

Best Things to do in Lapland - try Lappish food

Lapland is famous for its reindeer meat, but there is much more to try! You can go to one of the many restaurants in Lapland and try authentic Lappish food. The most famous dishes are meatballs and reindeer stew. Make sure to try out some different dishes, as you can’t visit Lapland and not try any Lappish food! If you don’t feel like going out to a restaurant, you can also make Lappish food at home. There are many recipes online that are easy to make and taste delicious!

Go ice fishing – Best Things to do in Lapland

ice fishing Lapland
© Juho Kuva / Visit Finland

Ice fishing is an amazing winter activity that is great for families and friends. You can either make your fishing rod or hire a rod with a reel attached. Make sure to wear warm clothes and thermal boots, and keep an eye on the time so that you don’t get stuck in the ice! Ice fishing is a great way to spend a day when you’re in Lapland. It’s cheap, you can do it wherever there is a frozen lake, and you can eat what you catch. What’s better than fresh fish for dinner?

Hop on a snow tank

If you’re looking for something a bit more extreme than ice fishing, a snow tank excursion is a perfect thing to do. You can go on a one- or two-hour snow tank excursion and explore the snowy landscape of Lapland like never before. Make sure to bring warm clothes and thermal boots, and don’t forget to smile for the camera! Snow tank excursions are available all year round. The best time to visit Lapland and go on a snow tank is during the winter months from November to February.

Relax in a steam sauna – Best Things to do in Lapland

Best Things to do in Lapland - sauna

Steam saunas are traditional saunas where water is poured on hot rocks to create clouds of steam. They are the perfect place to relax and de-stress. You can visit a steam sauna at hotels or go to a public one. If you want to visit a public steam sauna, make sure to visit it during the daytime. At night, the saunas are closed, and you can’t go in. Visiting a steam sauna is one of the best things to do in Lapland. It’s cheap and great for your health! You can go with your friends or family, so it’s perfect if you are on a budget.

Lapland is a magical place to visit any time of the year, but there’s something especially enchanting about it during the winter. Whether you want to see the Northern lights, go ice fishing, or simply relax in a steam sauna, there are many exciting things to do in Lapland. 

So make sure to explore this fairytale place and visit Santa Claus at his home during the winter months!

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