Around the world, there are a few stand-out destinations that seem to add that little bit of pixie dust to childhood.
Disney may specialize in creating this magic but to us, the remarkable memories we created in Finland have been one of our stand-out family travel adventures so far.
From having the hairs raise on the back of our necks when we were surrounded by over 200 huskies howling with excitement, to feeding reindeer by hand or the look of wonder and awe when our daughter met the Real Santa Claus in the Arctic Circle.
These are moments I will forever treasure from our family holiday in Lapland.
Here are some of our favorite things to do in Finland with kids.
4 Fun Things to do in Finland with Kids
After spending a day exploring Helsinki we jumped on a flight to Rovaniemi, the Capital of Finnish Lapland, and arrived at the Official Airport of Santa.
1. Visiting The Real Santa Claus
Traveling with three children under 9 our first stop in Rovaniemi had to be to visit Santa Claus. We traveled in Ruska, which is Finland’s Autumn.
Although this may seem like an odd time to go to visit Santa I actually think it made out experience even better. Not only did we avoid the crowds but we got a much more personal adventure.
Each time we visited Santa at the Santa Claus Village (yes we visited more than once…in fact on our first day the children wanted to go see him twice), we were either the only family there or joined by one or two other families.
Considering that annually over 300,000 people visit here I would say we hit jackpot! Our children all got to have a long chat with Santa with no feeling of being rushed or moved on.
- Entry is free to see Santa with the option of professional videos and photographs available for a fee.
- You can stay in Santa Claus Village. Cabins have a great festive feel all year round with Christmas trees. We also had our own personal sauna.
- Travelling in off season means some stores and restaurants will be closed. Santa Park was also closed at this time of year.
2. Chasing the Northern Lights
One of the top things to do in Finland is seeing the Northern Lights.
At the information desk in Santa’s Village, it is possible to book a variety of day trips and adventures. Being on a limited time frame we booked all our tours from here.
Our first adventure was chasing the Northern Lights!
Even in Autumn temperatures go below 0 degrees Celsius at night. Luckily with our tour, we were provided with full thermal suits that kept everyone toasty. The lights usually appear around mid-August up until the beginning of April and can be seen on over 150 nights of the year.
Unfortunately, it is still a game of chance and we did not see any lights on our first evening. We did, however, get to cook sausages over an open flame and enjoy listening as our guides told us aurora borealis facts and local tales.
Luckily we had an extra evening in the area and were lucky enough to catch a small glimpse of these amazing lights on our second evening.
3. Up Close With Reindeer
There are a wide variety of reindeer options available. We choose to head out to one of the local reindeer farms at Sieriporo Safaris.
In the winter this family owned business takes you out on a reindeer sleigh. As there was no snow during our stay we instead got to meet the reindeer who usually pull the sleigh.
These gentle giants came out of the surrounding woodland at the call of our guide and we got to feed them by hand. All the while our guide explained about his long family history in the area and even showed us the sauna he was born in!
4. Having fun with Huskies
No matter what time of year you choose to visit Finland, Husky rides are available and one of the best things to do in Finland with kids. And if you think that because there is no snow your ride won’t be as exhilarating, think again.
Hooked up to the back of a quad bike, our team raced at speeds that took our breath away. At Huskypoint we got to play with adorable husky pups and learn all about the extreme races this team are involved in.
Depending on the time of year you visit Finland you can do anything from a 10-minute joy ride to a 5-day husky safari. This was truly one of the highlights of our Lapland adventure and you could hear the children whoop for joy the whole ride.
Our adventure to Finland will be one our children will talk about for many years to come. I think this place would be amazing any time of year and has so much to offer in any season.
It has also stretched out those magical beliefs in our household for just that little bit longer because after all, they’ve seen the real Santa at home.
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