No question, one of the best ways to get fired up for your Lapland adventures is to check out the amazing range of Arctic activities you can enjoy there.
From child-friendly excursions, great for kids big and small, through to more active adventures that take in the best of the region’s amazing landscape, there’s a real mix in my list of the best things to do in Lapland that I hope will inspire you to visit.
As the most popular time to visit Lapland is during the winter season, I’ve focused here on activities that are best enjoyed during the snow-covered season that runs between November and April.
Heading to Lapland out of these months will mean quite a different experience, one with very long daylight hours and a lot of mosquitoes, so honestly my best tip for enjoying the best of what this Arctic area has to offer is to visit during the winter months and take in the snowy frozen land at its most striking.
After all, just check out the best things to do in Lapland you can enjoy during this time…
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My stay in Lapland was sponsored by Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos, Ranua Wildlife Park, Arctic Borealis Huskies and Lapland Adventures but, as always, all views are my own.
This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.
#1 Husky Sledding
So in at number one, it’s one of the most quintessential things to do in Lapland and probably one that I enjoyed the most.
Using huskies to transport you through the snow (as people have done in the region for hundreds of years) is a truly magical experience, as the use of traditional sleds really makes it feel culturally authentic.
Of course, checking that the animals are treated and kept well is crucial to shoring up the ethics of this experience, but I’m certainly glad to say that the company I enjoyed husky sledding with had great caring practices.
Arctic Borealis Huskies are based in Ranua and, like many companies, offer sledding experiences that last anything between 30 minutes and 3 hours.
The shorter the trip the cheaper the price, so you’ll want to balance experience with costs and also factor in the cold and other elements of your itinerary.
Young children and older people especially are likely to get cold and you may well find that an hour-long excursion is enough.
This sort of trip gives each person the chance to both ride the sled and drive it if they wish and I’m happy to say that with Arctic Borealis Huskies I certainly felt very safe doing both.
Having been given good instructions and also a clear explanation of how things would work, I felt very confident that both us as guests, and the huskies, would be well looked after.
#2 Stay in a Glass Igloo
Next on this list of the top things to do in Lapland is a rather more sedate activity, but one that you absolutely shouldn’t miss in my opinion either.
Staying in a glass igloo in Lapland is the most iconic form of accommodation here and even, if you’re on a budget, splurging on at least a night in one is definitely something you should consider.
I totally loved my stay in Arctic Guesthouse, where the eco-glass igloos were so cosy and comfortable that it literally felt like being in your own insulated pod in the middle of a remote landscape.
From spotting the Northern Lights to truly soaking in the splendour of Lapland’s snow scenery, this is an Arctic experience I can’t recommend enough!
Learn more about my experience of staying in a glass igloo, plus my top preps tips if you plan to do this too, here.
#3 Snow Mobiling
And now we come to number 3 on this list, and another of my favourites – yes riding a snowmobile was certainly one of the most fun things I did in Lapland.
Taking rides both during the day, as well as at night, truly allowed me to get the full spectrum of snowmobile joy – with both the views that the daylight gives as well as the magical feeling that cruising along in the dark as the snow falls softly around you, allows for.
As such, I really recommend also taking more than one ride if you can and Ranua Wildlife Park can certainly help you out in this regard.
Particularly the first time you either ride or drive a snowmobile, you’ll need some good instruction about how to enjoy these vehicles safely and the great guides at Ranua Wildlife Park really made me feel comfortable and put me at ease… because it can take a few minutes to get used to a snowmobile!
You’ll need a driving license to drive one, so children can’t, but even sitting on the back seat and enjoying a ride on one of these speedy snow cruisers is well worth it!
Very fun and truly unforgettable!
#4 Snow Shoeing
In at number 4, it’s another more active adventure, but one that makes use of your own 2 feet, rather than any sort of engine to get you around.
The best form of exercise in Lapland is snow-shoeing, which is the way to walk around in this snowy landscape if you don’t want to constantly end up knee-deep in the white stuff!
The old school method involved having shoe structures that looked like tennis rackets under your feet, but the newer method involves a sort of mini ski that you simply clip your snowboot into.
This allows you to walk around in the snow without sinking and offers an amazingly peaceful way to experience the silence of the Finnish forest.
I enjoyed my snow-shoeing experience with Lapland Adventures and highly recommend the small group and personal service they provide.
They are also a local company and truly passionate about their hometown of Ranua, which makes for a wonderfully authentic experience too.
#5 Ice Fishing
And Lapland Adventures also offer the option to take you ice fishing!
As a vegetarian, I gave this one a miss (although I’m not sure anyone ever catches anything this way!), but I did get a demo of how the process works, which is pretty fascinating to say the least.
The lake near where I was staying was already a metre thick with ice in December and drilling deep down to reveal the water below was quite the sight.
#6 Northern Lights Trip
But now we get back to the sightseeing adventures and absolutely one of the major reasons many people travel to Lapland is to view the Northern Lights.
A natural phenomenon that occurs in the sky due to the combination of huge flares emanating from the sun and magnetic core of the earth, the colours of the Northern Lights are dictated by the chemical reactions that they have with the earth’s atmosphere.
Visible only during clear sky (and usually very cold) nights, it is a good idea to check the climatic conditions before you try to see the northern lights and using an aurora specific app to do just that, will certainly help your chances of spotting them!
If they are out and about, then taking a Northern Lights tour is certainly a top thing to do in Lapland.
I got to experience one with Ranua Wildlife Park and thoroughly enjoyed it!
#7 Wildlife Safari
And also thanks to Ranua Wildlife Park, I got to enjoy a wildlife safari at their amazing conservation park, which protects arctic species, too.
Giving visitors a unique chance to view these often solitary animals, who live in very remote parts of the world, made this a real one-off
Exploring the park at night is a key way to ensure you fit into the animals’ worlds, rather than the other way around, and very informative guides really help you learn more about the incredible ways these creatures (including owls, bears and beavers) have evolved to survive in an ostensibly inhospitable landscape.
#8 Reindeer Experience
And now we come to another animal encounter experience, but one that doesn’t need a conservation centre, because reindeer here are both so plentiful and useful that they are actually like semi-pets!
Visiting a local reindeer farm is a great way to learn more about these amazing Lapland creatures and to also learn about how the people of this region how interacted with the animals for generations.
Part wild, part domesticated, it’s a fascinating relationship and you can see these amazing animals being fed and even petted.
#9 Meeting Santa
A huge one for the kids, big and small, seeing Santa is a classic Lapland thing to do!
Obviously slightly more exciting during certain times of the year, Finnish Lapland is the official home of Santa and many of the destinations in this region have grottos where you visit the festive man.
The flagship spot is in the town of Rovaniemi, where you can find the official Santa Claus Village, as well as the latitudinal line that marks the Arctic Circle.
Visiting Santa here is free, and despite a short queue it’s well worth the wait to meet this most Christmassy of icons!
And last but not least, enjoying a sauna is an experience you can’t miss in Lapland… or anywhere in Finland for that matter!
From modern electric saunas to traditional wooden ones that are heated by log fires, it’s all there for the taking in Lapland and really is the perfect way to warm up in the freezing temperatures!
Many guesthouses in the area have saunas that their guests can use for free and if you want to experience a great bit of local culture, it’s a must-do.
In fact, the Finnish sauna culture has been listed-by UNESCO, which shows you just how iconic an activity it is around here!
Lapland Mini Travel Guide
Best Time to visit Lapland?
In my opinion, the best time to visit Lapland is definitely during the peak winter months between December and February – this is when you’ll see the most beautiful snow coverage and get this winter wonderland at its most scenic.
Head to Lapland during December for the full festive experience, or consider January or February for cheaper winter rates, albeit with lower temperatures.
How Long to Spend There?
I’d recommend a stay of at least 3 days in Lapland as there is so much to do here.
With 5 days you can see and do most things at a relaxed pace.
How to Get to Lapland?
Direct flights with Finnair from Helsinki arrive at all the Lapland airports – yes there’s more than one! Learn all the deets you need in this article.
Otherwise, you can also fly direct to Lapland’s main airport in Rovaniemi from London and a few other major European cities.
From the best deals on all flights, I highly suggest checking out Skyscanner.
5 Essential Packing Items for a Lapland Winter Trip
Learn exactly what to take in this article I wrote about what to pack for a winter trip to Finland.
Travel Insurance for Lapland
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
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So there they are, my list of the 10 best things to do in Lapland.
Hopefully, they’ll help you enjoy an amazing trip to this part of the world, just like I did!
Got any suggestions to add to the list?
Then don’t hesitate to drop them into the comments below… I’d love to hear them!