How to Spend 3 Days in Lapland
Three days in Lapland give you enough time to see cultural highlights, explore Arctic landscapes, and take part in outdoor adventures. To make the most of your time and money, choose day trips that combine several activities. Here are some ideas for how to spend three days in Lapland.
Day 1: Meet Santa and Reindeer
The regional capital of Rovaniemi is the starting point for most Lapland vacations and home to its star attraction—the Santa Village. If you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss the chance to meet Santa, explore elves’ workshops, and shop for Santa-themed souvenirs. Tours tend to include round-trip hotel transfers and a private meet-and-greet with Santa, with some featuring a reindeer sleigh ride or a visit to a reindeer farm. Don’t forget to post your Christmas cards at Santa’s official post office before you leave.
For your first night in Lapland, plan a Northern Lights safari. Though tours maximize your chance of spotting the natural phenomenon, sightings aren’t guaranteed, so planning a tour for your first night means that you’ll still have time for a second outing if you don’t get lucky the first time. Summer visitors can also enjoy the magic of the Arctic nights—opt for a guided hike, picnic, or bike ride beneath the Midnight Sun.
Day 2: Arctic Adventures
On day two, head to the ski resorts of Levi or Ylläs, where you can spend an action-packed day exploring Lapland’s Arctic landscapes. If you’re visiting in winter, you can take a husky-sled ride or snowmobile tour; go trekking through the snow on a snowshoe excursion; or hit the ski slopes. Summer visitors can hike, bike, or go horseback riding.
Alternatively, the Pyhä-Luosto National Park offers a dramatic backdrop for outdoor activities. Day trips typically cover the Isokuru gorge and the Pyhä Waterfall, and include either a hike or the chance to go cross-country skiing. Some tours pay a visit to the Lampivaara Amethyst mine, Europe’s only active amethyst mine, where you can try digging for gemstones.
Spend your second evening at the Snow Village in Ylläs. Made entirely of snow and ice, the complex includes ice sculpture galleries, an ice chapel, an ice bar and restaurant, ice slides, and offers you the chance to sleep in a bed carved from ice.
Day 3: Discover Sami Culture
Three days in Lapland mean that you can venture further afield and discover the wild landscapes of Northern Lapland. The small village of Inari serves as the gateway to the north and is an important center of Finland’s indigenous Sami people. Learn more about Sami Culture on a tour that covers the Siida Museum and the Sámi cultural center of Sajos, home to the Sami Parliament Hall.
Another highlight of Inari is Inari Lake, which is best enjoyed from the water—set sail on a cruise or try your hand at ice fishing. The area around Lake Inari is also a prime spot for viewing the Northern Lights, so if you didn’t get chance to see the Aurora Borealis on your first try, it’s worth booking a second excursion. Spend your final night in Lapland at a traditional Finnish sauna, where you can relax in a wood-fired steam room before cooling down in a lake or ice bath.