To experience the magic of Christmas, there is nothing better than spending an exceptional stay in the land of Santa Claus. A trip to Lapland rhymes with wide open spaces, exuberant nature and privileged moments of encounters and discoveries in an authentic setting made of lakes and ice.
Prepare your trip
Officially, Santa Claus lives in Lapland, a vast region of 400,000 km² which straddles 4 countries: Russia, Norway, Sweden and Finland. It is Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland, which has the privilege of hosting the workshop and the house of Santa Claus.
This city, located on the polar circle, is 2,375 km from Paris. Five airlines connect Paris to Rovaniemi , namely Finnair, Air France, SAS, Air Berlin or even Flyniki. If you go during the Christmas period, which coincides with school holidays, the ticket price is generally higher. Depending on the companies and the number of stopovers planned, the price of a return ticket varies between €700 and €3,600. If you take a flight with a stopover from the capital, it takes at least 5 hours by plane.
There are also flights that connect the major cities of France to the city of Santa Claus such as Marseille, about 8 hours by plane from Rovaniemi, Bordeaux at 8 hours 30 minutes, Lyon at 7 hours 30 minutes and Lille at nearly 10 hours (with stopovers).
Before even embarking on your trip to Lapland, you should inform yourself about the administrative formalities necessary to enter the country of Santa Claus. As Finland is a member of the European Union, you do not need a visa or a passport to enter (if you are European), the valid national identity card is sufficient. However, the passport may sometimes be required by a number of establishments such as banks or hotels.
The climate in Lapland is subarctic with very cold winters. In Rovaniemi, the temperature fluctuates between 0°C and -25°C during this period. It is therefore important to wear clothes that will effectively protect you from the cold and ambient humidity. In addition to the woolen hat, gloves and socks, remember to choose your underwear, clothes and coats carefully so as to respect the 3-layer rule (breathable clothing, insulating clothing and protective clothing).
From a health point of view , no vaccine is required to enter the land of a thousand lakes. However, given the particularly harsh climate that reigns there, it is recommended that you keep your vaccination record up to date by checking whether you have been vaccinated against poliomyelitis, viral hepatitis B, tick-borne encephalitis, tetanus and diphtheria and redo a booster if necessary.
Even if Santa Claus evokes the magic of childhood, a trip to Lapland, like anywhere else, does not completely protect you from possible risks such as an accident, the loss of your luggage, cancellation of your flight or illness. Taking out travel insurance remains a good idea to obtain optimal coverage in the event of a problem and to enjoy the great snow-covered spaces of Finland with complete peace of mind.
Activities to do in the land of Santa Claus
Whether you are going as a family , as a couple or with a group of friends, Rovaniemi and its surroundings offer you a large number of activities that will fill your days and, sometimes, even your nights.
If your children are on the trip, they will be delighted to visit Santa Claus’ office which is located in the village of Santa Claus, less than 7 kilometers from Rovaniemi. Even if he is very busy, he will always take a moment to chat with them and take some souvenir photos. You can also take a trip to the official Santa Claus post office . This will allow you to send postcards to family and friends. These cards will bear the specific seal of the Arctic Circle, which is sure to please their recipients.
Rovaniemi Santa ClausAnd for the children’s joy to be complete, you can take them to Santa Park , an underground amusement park related to the theme of Santa Claus. You will find there the bakery of Mrs. Gingerbread where the secrets of making gingerbread will be revealed to you or the Hall of Mirrors whose sculptures will amaze you, without forgetting the Ice Bar to refresh you.
Adults are not left out during a stay in Lapland. If you’re looking for alternatives to skiing , snowmobile getaways in nature are ideal. The wide open spaces also provide an ideal setting for tobogganing down the snowy slopes and excursions in the forest.
You can also take advantage of your stay to learn about ice fishing , also called hole fishing, and thus discover the methods used by the indigenous population to survive in this particular universe. In the evening, it is possible to prepare and cook your catch, with the help of a guide or a local, in order to make the experience even more interesting. This will be an opportunity to get to know the local culture.
If you visit Lapland in the summer , you can go mountain biking and canoeing on the many lakes around Rovaniemi or learn to spoon fish for salmon. The more adventurous have the opportunity to go rafting on the tumultuous rivers of the region.
There are also a number of activities that children and adults can do together during their trip to Finland. What could be more original than staying in a hotel made entirely of ice and sleeping like an Eskimo? You can even try relaxing in the property’s ice spa. Attention, chilly abstain!