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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Lapland

Lapland Holidays

After a holiday in Lapland, Christmas will never quite be the same. That's because this Finnish region is home to the official Santa Claus Village and some serious holiday cheer. It's joined by skiing, sledding and traditional Lappish cuisine in the region's capital, Rovaniemi.

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Winter wonderland

Lapland might be chilly in temperature, but where holiday warmth is concerned, this Finnish region knows a thing or two. Lapland is found in Finland's northernmost territory, edging just into the Arctic Circle. The temperatures up here have been known to dip into the double minus figures, but it's nothing some good winter clothing can't cure.

When packing your bags for a Lapland holiday you'd be wise to bring along a Santa hat and your holiday spirit, as Santa Claus's official home can be found here at the Santa Claus Village. It's not all Christmas festivities though – as there are ski resorts to thunder down, Lappish restaurants to dine in and the Northern Lights to marvel at, too.

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Santa Claus Village

Chilled cheeks are made rosy in Rovaniemi's very own Christmas wonderland. Here the holiday spirit isn't just reserved for Christmas day – it's a year-round celebration.

Peek into Santa's office and you'll come face-to-face with the man himself. Kids will get the chance to sit with the big guy in red and tell him their Christmas wish. They can also feed Rudolph a carrot or go underground in the Santa Park and meet a few of Santa's trusted elves. It's the kind of fun that entire families can get on board with.

The Santa Claus Village is also a top spot to pick up Christmas gifts, as there's no better place than the source itself. You might even meet the elf that made them! On offer here are local handicrafts, Finnish baubles and textiles, souvenirs and Christmas toys to help commemorate your visit.

A one-horse open sleigh

Lapland sees steady snow coverage from October to May, so you'll have ample time to get out and explore this wintery playground. Unsurprisingly, skiing is a popular pastime in Lapland and there are plenty of ski resorts to show for it. You'll also have the opportunity to hop aboard a sled pulled by huskies and glide through the tundra past Lapland's iconic crown snow trees – pines heavy with snow.

The Northern Lights

The Northern Lights – also known as Aurora Borealis – are known for lighting up this part of the night sky, and many people book cheap Lapland holidays just to see them. They're a natural phenomenon that manifests itself as glittering ribbons of greens and pinks when electrically-charged particles collide.

The Northern Lights are best viewed between September and April, especially around the equinoxes. Visiting Lapland in the winter might be the chilliest time of year, but you'll have a much better chance of viewing the Northern Lights as there's very limited daylight during this time.

Though weather conditions and other factors can affect how visible the Northern Lights are, there are a number of tour groups that'll up your chances by taking you to top viewing spots.

Rovaniemi

Running right through the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland. It's the city you're most likely to visit when heading towards this icy territory, as it's a full-blown winter wonderland holiday destination.

Rovaniemi is where you'll find a concentration of wintertime activities like snowmobiling, sleigh rides, ice skating, skiing and dog-sledding, along with traditional Lappish restaurants and bars. It's also the site of the Santa Claus Village, so humbugs beware – there's an endless dose of the Christmas fever going on around these parts.

Lappish treats and chilly nights out

Nodding to its long history of ice-fishing and the nature surrounding its snowy terrain, Lapland's cuisine often involves fresh, raw seafood. Reindeer is another popular item on the menu and is commonly served in steaks or in stew.

Lapland comes with its fair share of international restaurants and pizzerias, but dining on smoked salmon in a traditional snow-covered hut at Santa's Salmon Place is definitely postcard-worthy.

The fun doesn't stop come sundown either. Lapland's nightlife scene is alive and kicking, brought to you in the form of dance clubs, ice bars and pubs. There are even adult-only spots to ensure you get a little alone time on a family holiday.