When you were a child, weren’t you thrilled every time you got to meet Santa, even if you knew he was a fake? But the experiences in shopping malls and other public or home settings can’t compare with the experience of knocking directly on the doors of true Santa’s home – in Lapland, Finland.
Visiting the Santa’s Village in Rovaniemi might be a perfect Christmas surprise gift for your precious little ones. The search for Santa is like a theater play which spans for several days and, the best part – you get to actively participate.
But that’s not all there is to it. Here are the three strong reasons to visit Santa in Lapland, and Lapland itself.
In Santa’s Village, the search for Santa is not a simple as just finding his house and inviting yourself in. The organized tours feature a complex theater-like search, which goes on for several days and includes series of clues and steps revealed by the Santa’s elves – fine English-speaking actors, who vividly tell stories, sing catchy authentic songs, and give off clues to where the bearded man is hiding. It’s your task to connect the pieces of this living puzzle and find him. The village itself is very picturesque, and there probably not a better place in the world for you if that classic Christmas aesthetics melts your heart (even at minus 10 degrees).
But getting to meet Santa is just a part of the journey. Besides the search itself, there are many other fun and educational activities on the way. For example, you get to meet a real Saami reindeer herder and hear stories about his way of life. Naturally, you may get to meet a lot of reindeer too. You should take a ride with some of them in the traditional (and also very Santa-like) sleighs.
But reindeer are not the only ones who get to pull the sleights. Hard-working, enthusiastic huskies are available to give you a faster, adrenaline-rich (but still quite safe!) ride. There are also opportunities for driving a snow-mobile and for skiing. Some programmes feature other, more traditional activities, such as ice fishing for children. In any case, a time away from Santa’s trail is promised to be filled with snow-based activities.
Be aware that the activities and their planned duration will depend upon your tour operator and the programme of your choice, so be sure to study it carefully before booking.
Rovaniemi region is blessed with six nature parks. By picking a right tour operator for you, you could arrange for your accommodation to be set in one of the parks, for example the oldest national park in Finland – Pyhä-Luosto.
All parks feature amazing scenery – geological oddities, powerful old forests and the strange northern wetlands. Deciding for wilderness as your base promises for a less commercial experience of Santa journey as well.
Brace yourself for…
Traveling that far north has it’s specifics, which need to be mentioned. Average temperatures in the „Santa season“ are around minus 10 degrees. Some warm, snow-friendly clothes and jackets will be provided to you, but be sure to bring enough of your own, so you can dress yourself and your little one in many layers. The daylight lasts for only about four hours at this time of year, and you should probably talk about it with your children prior to leaving for the trip, especially if they’re very young.
Again, be mindful that your experience will largely depend on the tour operator and the particular programme it offers. You should check that in detail before picking the right one for you.
If you’ve always wanted to go and visit Santa’s homeland, but in the end you’ve always found a reason to postpone it for another year, remember this: kids grow up fast, and their magical thinking development phase files by even quicker. By the time you finally decide it’s time to travel, it might be too late. They’ll grow out of it. It would be a pity, since Santa’s village is definitely one of the holiday destinations where you can cherish the vivid layers of human imagination, and teach it’s value to your little ones.