How to Spend 1 Day in Lapland
Finland’s northernmost district and the home of Santa Claus, Lapland offers endless opportunities for Arctic adventure. With just one day to explore, base yourself at a resort town such as Rovaniemi or Levi, keep traveling distances to a minimum, and maximize your time with a tour that includes multiple activities. Here are some ideas.
Morning: Meet Santa in Lapland
Lapland’s most popular attraction is the Santa Village just outside Rovaniemi—the “official hometown of Santa Claus”—and visiting Santa is an unforgettable experience for travelers of all ages. Visiting as part of a tour avoids the hassle of organizing transfers and means you can book activities such as a meet-and-greet with Santa in advance. While meeting Santa Claus is the obvious highlight, there are plenty of other things to do at the village, so leave yourself plenty of time to explore. Peek into Santa’s workshops, meet the reindeer, pose for photos crossing the Arctic Circle line, and shop for Christmas-themed gifts. Don’t forget to send a postcard from Santa’s post office, stamped with a one-of-a-kind Santa Claus postmark.
Afternoon: Enjoy an Arctic Adventure
Lapland’s wild Arctic landscapes are equally impressive in summer and winter, but for the best views, you need to leave the city behind and head out into the countryside. Husky-sled rides and snowmobile excursions are great fun, while families with younger children can opt for a ride in a reindeer-drawn sleigh or a visit to Ranua Zoo in Rovaniemi. For the best value, choose a tour that includes hotel pickup and transfers. End the day with a delicious dinner of typical Finnish cuisine, and perhaps try regional specialties such as reindeer or moose steak, smoked herring, and sweet desserts made with bilberries.
Night: Hunt for the Northern Lights
If you’re visiting Lapland between late September and March, set out on a northern-lights safari for a chance of spotting the mesmerizing aurora borealis. Northern-lights tours typically leave the city around 9pm, staying out until the early hours of morning and using aurora-tracking technology to maximize your chances of a sighting. Summer visitors don’t have to miss out—the midnight sun means that the sun never sets during the summer months, and the ethereal glow of the evening hours provides a magical backdrop for activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and cycling.