Essential information for Lapland
When to go
The best time of year to visit is undoubtedly the winter, and especially around the Christmas season, as Rovaniemi‘s Santa Claus Village brings a little extra magic to family holidays to Lapland. Lapland is the northernmost region in Finland – a country that’s already pretty far north – so the snow here falls thick and stays put. It’s not uncommon to see snow lingering in the summertime.
Winters in Lapland regularly dip down to temperatures of 0°C, and have been known to get as low as -35°C. Around November is when temperatures begin to plummet, and often hit their lowest in January. With this comes a thick layer of snow and fantastic ski conditions.
Daylight is also scarce in the winter, with some days only seeing the sun for around four hours. For many, this is seen as a plus as more darkness provides more opportunities to view the Northern Lights glittering overhead.
Come March, thermometers see a spike as Lapland shifts into spring and flowers begin to emerge. Temperatures are kept slightly warmer with the Gulf Stream flowing into the coast, often keeping the climate around 10°C to 12°C. And during the summertime, the snow begins to melt and Lapland shines in greens again. The region is also blanketed by light from the Midnight Sun, a phenomenon which means it stays bright all day long.
Health and safety
As with any holiday, you should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself and your family on your trip.
It’s also a good idea to apply for a free European Health Insurance Card – EHIC before leaving the UK as this entitles you to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Finnish nationals. It won’t, however, cover you for medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or non-urgent treatment.
Passports and visas
British citizens don’t need a visa to enter Lapland but must have a valid passport. By law, you must carry your passport with you and may need to show it when paying by credit card. For the most up-to-date passport and visa info, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/finland/entry-requirements.
Flights land at Rovaniemi airport and, as the majority of people visiting Lapland stay in the city, your transfer time will be short. Most tour operators include transfers as part of a holiday package so getting to your resort is easy.
Going so far up north, you should expect icy road conditions. Unless you’re confident and comfortable driving on potentially icy roads, avoid hiring a car and instead make use of the public bus services that travel around Finland’s snowy resorts. Should you want to hire a car and travel around Finland by your own accord, be advised that equipping your car with winter/snow tyres is legally required from 1st December to 28th February.
Rovaniemi is only a 10-minute drive from the Santa Claus Village, so if this is your primary destination, you won’t need to worry about hiring a car anyway, as taxis are readily available.
Advice for travellers with children
In terms of holiday destinations, Lapland is essentially every child’s dream. With the Santa Claus Village anchoring most family holidays here, it’s a resort that’s almost specially designed for kids. Because Lapland is such a popular destination for family holidays, facilities in hotels and across the region are well-equipped for accommodating children.
The weather, on the other hand isn’t always as accommodating, and the cold temperatures can sometimes be difficult on little travellers, especially those three or under. For this reason, it’s always important to make sure you bring a wealth of warm clothing and layer every member of the family up, especially if playing in the snow is on the agenda.
Connector type: Generally round two-pin plugs
Voltage info: 220 volts, 50 Hz
Call 112 for all emergencies and the operator will put you through to the police, fire brigade or ambulance service.
If you’re a victim of crime, affected by a crisis overseas or if something happens to a relative or partner, contact the British Consulate in Helsinki in southern Finland. It is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm, and accept visits by appointment only.
Address: Itainen Puistotie 17, 00140 Helsinki
Telephone: +358 (0) 9 2286 5100
On the whole, Lapland is sparsely populated, so medical attention is best sought in the district’s capital, Rovaniemi.
Lapland Central Hospital
Address: Ounasrinteentie 22, Rovaneimi