All I can say is just go there. You may be cold but will not be disappointed. Yllas, in Finnish Lapland, far into the Arctic Circle, is the place I love.
Temperatures plummet to minus 25 degrees C – and that’s in the day, but don’t be put off by this. Dress for the weather and you will fall in love with the place. The lack of daylight hours in winter, with daytime sunrise and sunset, just adds to the beauty.
If its fun you are after, you have a choice. Downhill ski, cross country ski, husky dog sledding, ice fishing, reindeer sleighs, snowmobiles – you need a week here to do it all. Meet the local Sami people, who will invite you into their huts and make tea over an open fire in a blackened kettle.You cannot possibly get bored.
The choice of pristine snow and the silence that comes with it is another option, with miles of walking trails that cannot be beaten for peace and solitude.
There is of course the option to be a big kid and travel to Santa’s post office in Rovaniemi, Santa’s official home, where you can meet him any day of the year. Here you can arrange for the ‘real’ Santa’s letters to be delivered to the kids!
Add to this the wide range of first class hotels, romantic log cabins, blazing log fires and you have it all – well nearly. I stayed at the Hotel Akas, a very friendly and atmospheric hotel in the traditional unspoilt Lappish community of Akaslompolo, near Yllas.
The Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) are a spectacle not to be missed. Normally appearing in the night, my hotel agreed to give me a wakeup call when they appeared. Believe me; it’s worth missing some sleep for.
To me Lapland conjures up many memories – the beauty of the sky, the sparkle of the snow, and the magic of the silence. I will return.
My favourite winter wonderland in the Arctic Circle is a stay at Kakslauttanen Holiday Village deep in the Finnish countryside. Staying in a traditional log cabin it has a romantic open fire place, private sauna room and outside hot tub. You can also chose to spend a night or two in a heated glass igloo where you can see the Northern Lights from the bed when looking up through the glass on a clear night.
It's a perfect winter location for a Siberian husky sledding experience, snow mobile excursion close to see views across to the forests of the Russian border where you stop for soup around a camp fire, ice fishing with the local Sami people in their traditional costumes or a Reindeer safari in a snow-cloaked forest, all efficiently arranged through Discover the World.
The snow laden pine trees is a perfect location for Christmas, a great romantic break or adventure with your family.
I first visited Arvidsjaur when I was a young teen. My auntie and I went just after Christmas for our annual holiday together. On our first night we witness the Aurora Borealis from just outside our spa hotel - Laponia. Over the course of three days, we went husky sledging, travelled across frozen lakes on skidoos and ate fantastic local food. For those of you not interested in the Christmas side of things and just want a snowy holiday away somewhere peaceful and beautiful, Arvidsjaur is the perfect destination.
Way up in the far reaches of northern Finland, amid the snow cloaked forests of lapland, there lies an igloo village. I had travelled with my girlfriend to the home of Father Christmas for a winter break at the Kakslauttanen holiday village; a cluster of cosy log cabins and ice and glass igloos deep within the arctic circle.
We never did see Santa, though lying in bed beneath the glass roof of our igloo we were treated to a phantasmagoric light show like we’d never seen. Shimmering between stars that I never even knew existed was the spectacular aurora borealis, a sight more magical than seeing the old man himself!
Sightings of the Northern Lights can never be guaranteed, though in one week in winter we were treated to six nights of this spectacle.
Hotel and igloo village Kakslauttanen, 30 minute transfer from lvalo airport.
Although I'm a bit biased (I'm a Finn), I would still suggest people to go watch the northern lights in north Finland, Lapland.
I've spent most of my life living in Oulu, and even though Oulu is not all the way up north, we are treated every year with a magnificent display of Northern Lights. The more up north you go, the chances of seeing increase. Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland so check for flights to there.
Since the lights occur during the night, there are hotels in Lapland which will offer wakeup calls for people wanting to see them.
I can strongly recommend the Hotel Hetan Majatalo. It is one of the original tourist guest houses in Lapland where you will still find a warm welcome (in English as well as Finnish!) and delicious traditional home cooking.
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