Magical Lapland

Magical Lapland

by Zoe Bishop |

Finnish Lapland is the real deal, a true winter wonderland. No wonder visitors have been flocking here for many years to meet Father Christmas. And that’s not all this wonderful snowy destination has to offer.

Christmas special

Our four-night package deal was with Tui, so pretty much everything was included. The highlight of our trip was visiting Santa in his secret cottage, a log cabin on the side of a frozen lake. The path to his house was magical and lit by candles, and the kids were so excited as we crunched through the snow. We met Santa and Mrs Claus in a group with other families and gathered round to listen to him telling tales about his magical life and adventures with his reindeers. Each child went up in turn to receive a present from Father Christmas. The children couldn’t believe they were actually sitting with the great man himself and seeing really is believing! Afterwards, we went out into the snowy garden and had lots of fun tobogganing and playing with the elves on the frozen lake. Then we warmed up with a hot berry juice in a tipi around a firepit.

Also included in the Tui package are taster sessions for snowmobiling and husky and sleigh rides at the snow village. There is so much to do here from feeding the reindeers to sledging and also lots of roaring campfires to warm up around and toast marshmallows like we did!

Our trip came to a magical end on the last night with a festive finale dinner and fireworks.

What to do

Magical Lapland

Thrillseekers will love zooming around on a snowmobile à la James Bond – think jet-skiing on snow. And kids won’t miss out as they travel in a sidecar or go by sleigh. Do not underestimate the wind chill factor when driving these vehicles, though – balaclavas under helmets are a must!

For a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience, try a husky sled ride The huskies love to be petted and were so happy to see us. Sitting in a sleigh being pulled by a pack of excitable huskies charging through the snowy wilderness definitely takes some beating!

In Lapland, there are more reindeer than people and the magical animals are an integral part of the region’s culture, so don’t miss out on an authentic encounter by taking a reindeer ride – it’s the most traditional way to travel the area. Kick back in a sleigh to enjoy the captivating white landscape as a traditional Sami herder leads the reindeer around the frozen lake.

Snow time

Magical Lapland

It doesn’t have to all be about the big man – why not try a day at the Ruka ski slopes. The resort’s first slope was opened back in 1954, and it now boasts a grand total of 29 runs and is one of the largest ski towns in Finland. The slopes have flood lighting, so you don’t need to worry about limiting ski time to daylight hours. The après-ski is also top notch with plenty of outdoor bars to choose from. This wonderful area is home to the Rosa & Rudolph Family Snow Park (Ruka.fien/family-park), which you can access via a thrilling Gondola ride (ski lift), taking in the most amazing views of the snowy forest. At the park, we enjoyed a tubing session – sitting in an inflatable doughnut while you whiz through an ice tunnel! You can also zip-wire through the snow or take the kids to the playground. Kids can have ski lessons here, and children under six can ski for free when accompanied by an adult.

Where to stay

After arriving in Kuusamo airport, it was a short drive to the pretty snow-blanketed Holiday Club Kuusamo Resort. The hotel is surrounded by snowy woodland and the kids couldn’t wait to get outside and start sledging.

Magical Lapland

The hotel offers a huge indoor pool and sauna, which is ideal to warm up and relax in after a long cold day in the snow! Another area of the hotel we loved was the Angry Birds Activity Park. There is a small entrance charge, but it’s really worth it – you can easily send a couple of hours in here and we couldn’t get the kids to leave! The hotel has a buzzy bar with the added bonus of a bowling alley, too. Rooms are comfortable and there are two restaurants available at the hotel so you can indulge without venturing too far after a busy day.

Need to know

· The flight to Kuusamo in Finland takes just under four hours.

· In Lapland the temperatures can hit as low as -30 so it’s essentials to take lots of thermal layers, warm hats and gloves.

· Tui will provide thermal suits for you to keep for the length of your stay.

· Tui offers four-night holidays to Lapland staying at the 3T+ Holiday Club Kuusamo on a bed and breakfast basis. Prices from £724 per person when booked online. Price is based on two adults and two children sharing and includes flights departing from London Gatwick airport on 9 December 2020 and transfers. To find out more, go to Tui.co.uk, or visit your local Tui holiday branch.

· Rental gear costs from £28 per person and ski passes from £13 for four hours. For more info, visit Ski.ruka.fi/en.

· If the trip can’t go ahead due to COVID-19, Tui will be in touch with customers as soon as they can to offer the chance to change the booking to a different holiday, or to arrange a credit note or a full cash refund.

Please check Gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus for travelling advice following the outbreak of the coronavirus

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