You don’t need to pre-book the “taster” activities but if you choose to do longer safaris then you can go to the main reception and book there or online. Don’t get a fright, the cost for the longer safaris are crazy expensive so do your research.
We had a wish list going so knew exactly what we wanted to see and do. If you’re like us and you just want to fit as much as you can in then the taster activities give you a little taste of everything at a more affordable price.
Activites in Santa Claus village
First on our list was snowmobiling – Ideally we thought we could do it as a family but you can only drive or be a passenger on one of the larger snowmobiles if you hold a driver’s licence. Fortunately, there are mini ones for kids to ride on a track at the Santa Claus Village. They get 10 laps for €20 and also get their driver’s licence when finished.
Next on our list was the Reindeer Safari. This is also located at The Santa Claus Village and there are lots of different packages available. Our guide led us over to two beautiful wooden sleighs lined with a large fur to use as a blanket, which was lovely and cosy. We chose the 1 km safari which cost €127 for the 5 of us and it lasted about 20 minutes. It was a magical experience and well worth doing.
One of the many highlights of our trip was our visit to the husky park. The husky park, again based at The Santa Claus Village have various different safari combinations.
Entry to the husky park was €20 for a family ticket and you can stay as long as you like to see more than 80 dogs. While in the park you also have the option to go on a husky safari. This is a must. We picked the 500m husky ride which cost €110 for the 5 of us. Next time I would definitely go for a longer safari as it was fantastic experience.
There are many restaurants dotted around the village and a small shopping centre with another restaurant upstairs. Eating and drinking in Finland is generally more expensive than Ireland, however supermarkets were similar prices to home so if you are self-catering or have fussy eaters you have that option too. We did mostly eat out but we weren’t very adventurous and stuck to places we knew like Subway or Pizza Restaurants. Be prepared as you will see a lot of Reindeer dishes on the menu – poor Rudolph. We did have dinner at The Santa Claus Village at Restaurant Napatapuli on one occasion and I couldn’t fault it. To give you an idea on price for 5 main courses (3 being child portions which were good sized portions) it came to €75.
You could spend so much time in The Santa Claus Village exploring all it has to offer.
Snowman World was another place to visit at The Santa Claus Village but unfortunately it didn’t open until the 1st Of December, the day we left. Our girls absolutely loved the little plastic sledges that were free to use while at the village, they probably had more fun on them than anything else during our stay.
Exploring the city arctic circle
Next on the list was SantaPark, located just 8km from Rovaniemi and 2km from The Santa Claus Village SantaPark is a Christmas themed amusement park. It’s all underground in a large cave with 40m of rock overhead as you enter. The only place in the world that you can under-cross the Arctic Circle is at SantaPark. You could easily spend the whole day here as the list of activities is endless.
Another item on the wishlist was skiing. Shane and the two older girls had never been and were keen to try it. The Ounasvaara Ski Resort is a ten minute drive from the centre of Rovaniemi and we booked a 45 minute lesson with 2 hours of skiing for €180. We did book this in advance by email.
We were a short walk to the City of Rovaniemi so we took advantage of this one evening and strolled down the town in true Finnish style. There is a lovely Irish Bar called “Olivers” not far from our hotel. The average cost of a pint in Rovaniemi was €8 and a glass of wine €9 so if you fancy a few drinks pick up some duty free before you fly.
Another evening we went to see an Ice Hockey match. The girls had never been so it was a novelty to go see it. We got a family ticket for €25 and the game was played at the Lappi Areena, just outside the City. A great way to spend an evening in Rovaniemi. Most other evenings consisted of making snow angels, building a snowman and sledding right outside our cabin.
Lapland on a budget
On Friday the 1st of December, it was time for our Lapland adventure to end. We flew back to Cork on Saturday the 2nd on the Ryanair service, which arrived in Cork at 1800.
Now the bit that everyone is interested in. I know the title of the blog is “Lapland On A Budget” but our initial aim was to get better value for our money. The tour operator package to Lapland for 1 night for 5 people was quoted at almost €5000. For 4 nights accommodation with B&B, plus one night at Gatwick on the return, plus all flights, plus the car hire came in at €1700. The activities, which I’ve listed above came in at €715. You don’t have to be a genius to work out how much we saved! We flew to Lapland on 27th of November until December 1st. We did notice the following week flights almost doubled in price so December is obviously in high demand. Another advantage to going late November is that the attractions are less busy and queuing for activities isn’t an issue. And of course it was so handy to depart and arrive back into Cork Airport (sure I’d have to give it a plug).
All in all it was a fantastic trip, a trip of a life time. One that will be remembered for ever. I hope this blog gives others the confidence to plan their Lapland trip. There is some planning involved but take it from me it is so worth it!
Article by Ciara Daly