After spending near on 9 years repeatedly pricing up trips to lapland, but never being able to get the price under £3000 for a few nights, I started to think outside the box.
I’ve never been one for package breaks but I just didn’t know enough about Lapland to risk turning up somewhere in minus 30, with kids, and risking anything falling through. So it was either spend 3 grand on a little over 72 hours , or, wise the hell up and research everything to do with Finnish Lapland!
So obviously I went for the second option, bagging 10 days in Finland, including Christmas Day, for under £2000.
I spent hour after hour reading reviews, blogs, websites, Facebook pages, what ever information I could find. I researched transport routes and options. I looked at Instagram and Pinterest to find photos and information. This is how we did it:
Flights: we booked these in January. Generally speaking , last minute cheap flights don’t really happen much anymore. It’s best to book these early. Most airlines open the bookings up between 11 and 12 months before a departure. I believe Finnair opens there bookings up for dates up to 360 days in the future. We needed to get from London to Kittila. There are very few direct flights other than charter flights with the big tour operators, so we had a stop over in Helsinki.
I hunted out the cheapest dates to flŷ by using the search ‘whole month’ option on SkyScanner. This lets you play around with different date combinations to find a good price. Our flight was particularly cheap due to the stop over, over night, in Helsinki. There wasn’t enough daytime to go out anywhere so we booked a hotel inside the airport terminal. This wasn’t the cheapest (there were many cheaper options a short walk or cab journey away) but we were really outnumbered and had multiple kids with additional needs and a load of luggage so this was by far, the less stressful option. In total, our flights cost just under £700 return for the 4 of us with checked in luggage.
Our connecting flight left early the following morning, and we arrived in Lapland around midday.
Immediately on walking out of kittila airport it felt so exciting. We hailed a taxi, which as two women traveling alone with kids, we were pleasantly surprised to see it was a lady driver! We showed her our address and off we went.
Accommodation: This we booked through the local tourism office (www.levi.fi) We had looked at all options of hotels on the usual booking.com, ebookers etc and found some nice Airbnb’s, but the local tourism office had good reviews and had a huge select of accommodation including log cabins to rent for all budgets. The prices on these start at around €590 for 4 people, for one week including Christmas Day. What we also found really helpful was that we could pay the deposit and the remaining balance over the year, with the total being due around 8 weeks before our arrival. Staying in a log cabin, deep in the snow was an amazing way to spend Christmas.
Excusions: These we also booked through the same local tourist office as the accommodation. There was a huge amount to choose from. We opted for an entire day trip to Rovanimi (the official home of Father Christmas), a dog sledge experience, a husky farm experience and a private nighttime northern lights chasing adventure. Transport was included in all of the cost of these. The trips were AMAZING!! The husky ride was a sure favourite as was the night time northern light trip. Everyone was so friendly, welcoming and helpful. I never at any point felt like that annoying English tourist that can’t speak another language. Everyone just seemed really lovely.
Something else which we booked (also through Levi.fi) that was pretty special, was a traditional Sami Christmas dinner. At the time of booking, although it sounded amazing, I wasn’t entirely convinced as it was set in the grounds of a large commercial hotel. But when we arrived into the semi underground hut, I knew we were in for a treat. It was really pretty inside and the fire burned to keep everyone walm. Salmon was being smoked in a traditional fashion. Loads of food came out onto the buffet area and performers spent time entertaining the guests with traditional Sami story’s and music. It was a really fun and unique experience and one I’d really recommend going if you have the chance.
Inbetween our planned excursion and free days, we explored the area, played in snow, sledged down the ski slope and tried some local restaurants.
As soon as we arrived in Lapland I was certain that this could not be a once in a lifetime trip, we needed to come here again. The beauty is just too perfect. This year, we are returning. This time to a new area and this time, on an even tighter budget!