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10 BEST things to do in Lapland with kids

10 BEST things to do in Lapland with kids

Lapland is the most incredible destination for a winter holiday. We loved it so much that the moment we returned from our DIY Lapland Christmas holiday, we booked to return for a New Year Lapland holiday 2024.

With sub zero temperatures, incredible scenery and so many things to see and do, it is the ultimate Winter destination for families.

We visited Finnish Lapland with kids for a week in mid-December – just before Christmas and fell in love with the country – so much so we booked to return again in 2023

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We flew from Manchester to Kittilä, hired our car from Kittilä airport, and headed over to the village of Äkäslompolo, north of the arctic circle. Äkäslompolo is just a short drive from the ski resort of Ylläs.

We stayed in a traditional log cabin for the duration of our holiday, and this allowed us to book the activities we wanted to do independently, and generally come and go as we pleased.

Click here for our Ylläshilla log cabin review.

BEST things to do in Lapland with kids

Of course there are a number our tour operators that offer one day, two day or three day breaks to Lapland that include all your lapland excursions and everything you need for your trip – including you clothes. Everything is organised for you, and this can take the stress out of your holiday, but the itineraries can be really busy and jam packed, and may not always offer plenty of downtime.

What to do in Lapland in Winter

We organised our holiday ourself, and I can tell you it is worth it. We were able to book the activities that we REALLY wanted to do, and we factored in plenty of downtime. Remember that the temperatures can be as cold as -30, and having travelled with three children, I can tell you that downtime is needed, and it is lovely to slow down. Short bursts out in the snow really is enough.

We planned our own itinerary, and arranged various activities including;

  • Husky sleigh ride
  • Reindeer ride
  • A visit from Santa
  • Snowmobiling
  • A visit to the farm – Konijänkkä

Best things to do in Lapland

As I mentioned, we visited Lapland in December, and then returned again for New Year (we loved it that much!) During the peak winter months, daylight is limited to a few hours between 10am and 2pm. The lack of daylight doesn’t stop the activities though when you are visiting Lapland with kids.

There is nothing more magical than snowmobiling under the light of the moon and toasting marshmallows on a roaring fire in the forest. Or maybe a swim in an ice lake? (Read more about ice swimming here).

If you ask the kids what their favourite holiday has been, without a doubt they would answer Lapland. We made memories to last a life time.

If you are planning a visit to Lapland with kids, then here are our top 10 things to do in Lapland with kids. We stayed in village of Äkäslompolo, and therefore have listed the things to do in (and around) Äkäslompolo.

Ylläshilla log cabin invillage of Äkäslompolo, Lapland, Finland

1) Lapland husky ride

This is by far our kids favourite activity in Lapland. So much so we booked this excursion for both of our lapland holidays.

We booked the lapland husky ride through Snow Fun Safaris and I can highly recommend them. This tour company is based in the village and is really polished and organised. They really look after you all. Even though we ensure that we wore plenty of layers and snow suits, the team ensured that we were fully equipped for the husky ride, and provided high quality snow gear and hand and feet warmers.

We were taken to a husky farm, and greeted by over 140 Alaskan huskies. We were able to meet the huskies and have a cuddle before hitting the forest on a husky safari.

After the ride we warmed up with a with a hot drink in a Lappish tepee and learned about the beautiful huskies.

You can read more about the husky ride here.

10 BEST things to do in Lapland with kids including  a husky safari

2) Reindeer ride in Lapland

We couldn’t visit Lapland over Christmas without a reindeer ride out in the forest. We were collected from our traditional log cabin, and taken out to meet the reindeer. Wrapped up on the sleigh we took a 3 kilometre ride out in the wilderness pulled along by the beautiful reindeers.

After the ride, we warmed up with a hot berry juice next to an open fire in a Lappish tepee kota, and learned about the reindeer and their annual cycle of life.

We booked this excursion through SnowFun safaris – do check as the tour departs on set days and times and can get booked up during peak times.

3) A visit from Santa Claus

For a December visit to Lapland with kids, then a visit from Santa may be on your list. We looked in to meeting the big man himself from a visit to the lodge, to visiting Santa out in the forest.

We oped for a visit from Santa to our traditional log cabin during our stay and it was incredibly magical. He spent an hour with us all, told the children stories about the Northern Lights, and sang traditional songs in Finnish.

It was so memorable and a once in a life time experience.

4) A visit to the farm – Konijänkkä

During our second trip to Lapland we booked a visit to Konijänkkä to meet the local horses, reindeer and huskies.

Although we only booked to meet the animals, you can also book more riding, reindeer and husky sleigh rides.

We booked an hour visit, and it was lovely meeting the animals, although on the day we visited it was -26 and even though we wrapped up in plenty of layers, it was COLD. An hour was definitely enough!

10 BEST things to do in Lapland with kids including visiting a reindeer farm

5) Sledging in Lapland

There are so many excursions on offer, but don’t forget the free activities! The snow is incredible and kids love nothing more than an hour sledging or building a snowman. You can purchase sledges from the local supermarkets and our traditional log cabin had plenty of sledges and two fat bikes in the wood store available for use during your stay.

10 BEST things to do in Lapland with kids including sledginf near Yllas

6) Snowmobiling in Lapland with kids

During our second trip out to Lapland we booked an evening snowmobile tour in search of the Northern Lights and it was an incredible experience.

We all loved the snowmobile tour and although we didn’t catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights (it was snowing on the night) it was such an incredible once in a life time experience heading out in the wilderness under the stars.

The snowmobile safari took around 3 hours, and we were collected from our log cabin, offered more clothing in addition to our snow suits (the balaclavas were a saviour in the sub zero temperatures).

We were in a small group with our friends and it was a brilliant experience and I can highly recommend.

7) Visit the SnowVillage

As we hired cars during our trip to Lapland it allowed us to drive out to visit a few different areas. We took a drive out to visit the Snow Village near to Kittilä airport.

Each year, around 20 million kilos of snow and 350 000 kilos of ice are used to build the Lapland Hotels SnowVillage and includes ice sculptures, snow suites and an ice bar.

Lapland Hotels SnowVillage is located in the Western part of Finnish Lapland, and you can book a tour from Levi and Ylläs to the SnowVillage, or you can drive over and purchase your entry tickets from the reception (Entrance fee: 23 € / adult, 11 € / child aged 4–14).

SnowVillage Address:

Lapland Hotels SnowVillage
Lainiotie 566
99120 Kittilä

8) Cross-Country skiing

So let me tell you….this looks way easier than it looks!

We booked a family cross-country ski lesson with Sisu Outdoor and it was great. I can tell you we didn’t get very far though. Maybe about five metres! It is definitely a skill.

The session took us to uncrowded tracks and we learned to basics of cross-country skiing in beautiful Lapland.

9) Skiing in Ylläs

You can’t come to Lapland and not try skiing right?

We booked a ski lesson on the coldest day of our trip, it was cold (minus 30) and we decided to rearrange at the instructors recommendation. It was cold out on those slopes, and as much as we wanted to learn how to ski, we wanted to get the most out of our lesson.

You can book a private ski lesson direct at Yllas ski resort as they offer teaching to both beginner and advances skiers.

You can also hire your ski equiplment too. Although you can’t hire balaclavas or ski goggles so you will need to bring these with you if you need them.

skiing in Yllas, one of the best things to do in Lapland with kids

10) See the Northern Lights

Winter is the perfect time to spot the aurora borealis in Lapland.

Having the car meant that we could chase the Northern lights and keep an eye on the Aurora watch apps and jump out in the car if the chance was high. It was a little more difficult to head out late at night with younger children as they need their sleep – but if you do head out onto the lake in Äkäslompolo (just near to the Supermarket) you may be lucky enough to spot the Northern Lights during you Lapland holiday!

BEST things to do in Lapland with kids including spotting the Northern Lights

So there you have our favourite things to do in Lapland for families. I also tried my hand at Ice Swimming in Lapland. – more on this later!

Do pop over to our Facebook or Instagram and let me know if you have any questions.

I hope this has helped to book your Lapland holiday!

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