There's little doubt that Lapland is one of most magical places in the world. The snow-covered scenery, reindeer, cosy log cabins and candlelit forests make it Christmassy all throughout winter, but visit during the festive period and you'll have all the ingredients for a perfect Christmas: Santa Claus, snowman-building and stories around crackling fires.
Stretching along the Arctic Circle, Lapland spans Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Finland and Sweden are the most popular destinations for holidays in Lapland, and offer husky sledding, Northern Lights displays and even skiing.
So where, how long and how much does it cost for a Christmas break in Lapland? Levi, Yllas and Rovaniemi are popular places in Finnish Lapland, while Abisko, Kiruna and Jokkmokk are some beautiful places to visit in Swedish Lapland.
Christmas breaks start from around £600 per person for three nights (flights and accommodation; activities extra), which is enough time to meet Santa, go snowmobiling and experience a reindeer sleigh ride or two. But real Christmas lovers may opt for a four, five or seven-night break to give themselves more of a chance to catch the Northern Lights, meet the Sami people and spend a night in an ice hotel. Inghams, Simply Northern Lights and Nordic Experience offer a range of festive holidays covering the best winter activities.
For those who want to get active and explore the breathtaking landscape, there are some adventurous things to do when you're not relaxing by an open fire sipping hot berry juice. Activities Abroad tells us that one of the top trends this winter is families getting active on holiday. Family trips are increasingly about unforgettable shared experiences, such as getting out and hunting the Northern Lights, rather than kids clubs. The travel company's Family Northern Lights Hunt at Christmas in Finnish Lapland includes snowmobile sleigh rides, husky safaris and snowshoe treks - ideal for fussy teens who don't want to spend all of their time with the man in red.
There are some great deals for Christmas holidays in Lapland too. Inghams is offering seven nights' half-board accommodation at the three-star Hotel Crazy Reindeer in Levi from £999 per person, saving £89 per person on a 21 December 2014 departure (includes flights), plus a free snowshoeing experience to see the Northern Lights.
While there, families with young children can visit Santa's private hideaway deep in a candlelit forest and enjoy a private meeting with Santa, an afternoon of games and activities at one of Santa's workshops, and cooking on an open fire in the spectacular wilderness.
If you're after a Santa-free holiday this Christmas, try responsibletravel.com's Magical Christmas without Santa in Lapland trip, which costs from £1,695 for seven days including flights on 20 December. Ideal for families with older children, you can still be surrounded by a winter wonderland and try all of the best activities without the meet and greets with Santa. The unique holiday is about getting to know the real people of Lapland, their culture and the landscape in which they live, with snowshoeing, husky sledding, learning wilderness skills, ice fishing and a reindeer sleigh ride on Christmas morning.
For a super luxurious family holiday with tiny tots, head for Kakslauttanen in Finland to the magical Hotel Kakslauttanen and Igloo Village. With Tots Too, young families travelling with children can have a bespoke itinerary created and take advantage of the Nanny Too service for a few hours' downtime. A three-night stay costs £3,416 for a family of four on a half-board basis.
Lapland isn't just for kids either. Adults can experience a holiday in Sweden that will really make their friends jealous - by staying at the famous ice hotel. Located in the idyllic village of Jukkasjärvi, the original ICEHOTEL is lit with twinkling lights and decorated with snow-laden trees. On Christmas Day, a special torchlight procession and traditional carol concert takes place in the picturesque village church, plus there is husky sledding and snowmobiling to experience, as well as the iconic ICEBAR. Four nights from 23 to 27 December 2014 costs from £1,289 per person, including one night in a Snow Room and three nights in a warm Kaamos room, plus flights with Discover the World.
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