10 Top Tips for visiting Lapland on a Day Trip
Booking a trip to the most magical place at Christmas time was a little daunting. We had so many questions. I remember searching in hope for tips on Google, wondering if my questions about a day trip to Enontekio would be answered. Alas they were not. It would appear that day trips aren’t that popular. Based on our experience, they really are.
We wondered, would a day trip be enough? Would it feel rushed or impersonal? Would it be too commercial? Will we be too tired to enjoy it? Would Santa have a fake white beard or would he indeed look like the brochure portrayed. Would we still feel the magic in just a few hours?
So many questions.
We considered a trip to Lapland for months however we never considered a day trip. And then we saw a great deal and well I am so glad that we did. It cost £1,200 for 3 of us. We knew that with George being 8 years old, now was the perfect time. The magic was real and we didn’t want to leave it any longer. We had to make our gorgeous boys Christmas wish come true. Meeting Santa and his Reindeer in Lapland. As we struggled to find the answers to our questions, I thought I would share our…
10 Top Tips for visiting Lapland on a Day Trip
1. What’s the best age to take kids to Lapland? Personally I think the best ages would be between 6-10 years old. For two reasons really. Firstly, it is so cold, when we visited it was -20. Your little ones need to be comfortable with the cold and not afraid to embrace it. Secondly, you want them to really appreciate the experience and not be fearful of meeting Santa or riding the husky sled. George was 8 years old when we visited Lapland and I can honestly say that he was the perfect age.
2. Is the day trip long enough? The day trip was perfect for us. I only wish they offered a 1 night stay as it would have been lovely to wake up in Lapland and see daylight. We saw less than an hours daylight, and whilst it certainly didn’t ruin our experience more daylight would have been nice. That was our only, what if.
3. What should you wear in Lapland? OK, so we all wore a thermal layer (top and bottom), 2-3 pairs of thermal socks, a pair of jeans/trousers and chunky winter jumpers. And then there was our coats, a snood for George, scarfs, thermal hats, thin thermal gloves and waterproof mittens (waterproof ski gloves). The loaned snow suits and boots were incredibly warm. You don’t need your own. We didn’t wear our coats underneath. If it was colder than -20 you might need to. Top tip: take spare clothes, hats & snoods for your little ones. George’s trousers were wet around the ankles at the end of the day and he got through 3 hats due to playing in the snow. And don’t forget to pack head torches!
4. Take charging banks as you won’t want to risk not being able to capture the moments on your camera. I took 4 charging banks for our phones and one additional battery for my big camera. We also took our Go Pro Hero 5 with a full battery just in case. Due to the freezing cold temperatures you will find that your batteries run low very quickly. I used two charging banks and Mr H one.
5. Take snacks with you. We packed snacks and bottled water and very much needed them. It’s such a long day, you need the boost but also the times you eat are a little out of routine. Our main meals and drinks were included with the trip, the food was great with many options both adult and child friendly. And by packing snack foods it meant we didn’t need to buy any food in Enontekio. I did look in the shop and found it to be reasonably priced. The airport was however very expensive.
6. Who to book with? We booked via a local travel agent, travelling with Transun Travel and flew with Enter Air. And whilst Transun were super our local travel agent were quite appalling in their knowledge, therefore I would recommend booking direct with a company that specialise in organising these types of trips. The trip was seamless and really great. The Transun rep was always nearby to help with questions. I have heard that TUI offer great packages, they entertain the children on the flight with Christmas songs. We didn’t get that with Enter Air but they did hand out festive colouring packs.
7. If you are travelling to Lapland for a day trip then be prepared for only 4 hours in the snow. Your day will go something like this: we left Liverpool John Lennon Airport at 8am, landed in Finland around 1pm, boarded our coach, drove 30 mins to pick up snowsuits and boots which took 45 mins (far too long and a little frustrating), we then made a 5 minute journey to Santas Village in Enontekio. This was just before 3pm and we boarded our bus again at 7pm. Our travel agent advised me that we would have 7 hours in the snow. We did not. But that was OK, if you read this post you’ll know why.
8. Booking in advance – you don’t need to book in advance so don’t be fooled that you’ll get the best deals in January. We booked our trip in October for December 20th 2019 with a special price. We pondered over our decision for months and honestly I’m glad we did. By asking questions and reviewing our options meant we had the best trip for our little family.
9. What part of Lapland should we visit? We weren’t given a choice when booking so I’m not sure how you would go about choosing or if certain locations are marked for day trips and short breaks. You can see the map below which highlights the locations available. I know that the short breaks are often at Rovaniemi. One friend commented on how commercial and busy they found their trip to Rovaniemi to be whereas we didn’t feel this at all. There was just our coach trip, which was less than 50 people.
10. Don’t forget to explore. Once we had taken part in all the activities George was desperate to have a little wander. And so we set about exploring. We found areas that were deserted, wooden lodges and tree houses, there were huge snow drifts perfect for playing in as well as beautiful views across the frozen lake whilst sat by a log fire. As these areas were away from the centre of the village they weren’t as well lit so be sure to have head torches.
If you’re still wondering whether to visit Lapland as a day trip or a short break then maybe these extra points might help. Real comparisons after speaking to several friends who have taken the 3 – 4 day break.
Whilst the day trip meant an incredibly long day for us, our friends commented that they found the arrival and departure days of the short break to be a bit of a waste. There were no planned activities on these days. You have one day of included activities with the additional excursions being very expensive. Although some of them looked fabulous especially the reindeer farm.
They also found the short break to be very expensive. As it’s predominantly a self catering holiday (you can book full board) they hadn’t budgeted for the food and drink to be as expensive as it was. On the day trip, we actually didn’t spend any additional money as everything was included.
And lastly, due to the very cold weather they struggled with the length of the included activities. As an example the sleigh ride to meet Santa on the day trip lasted around 15-20 minutes, inclusive of meeting the big man himself. Whereas on the 3 – 4 day break it was around 45 – 60 minutes. I personally feel in such freezing cold temperatures we would have struggled. My friends children only remember crying at this point. They were so cold on arriving to see Santa that it ruined the experience for them. Whereas that wasn’t the case for us. It was magical.
And that’s my 10 Top Tips for visiting Lapland on a Day Trip. Do let me know if you have any extra tips in the comments.