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

Ruka

Ruka, Lapland

Holidays to Lapland don't just mean Father Christmas. On your Ruka holidays, you'll find fairytale landscapes, fun nightlife and the chance to see the Northern Lights. But the highlight of holidays to Ruka Finland is the skiing. The town is a brilliant ski resort, with world-class slopes, vibrant nightclubs and bars and gorgeous surroundings. If you're not a fan of snowsports, you can zip over frozen lakes on snowmobiles or hike through snowscapes. At night, sip cocktails and wait for the Northern Lights to appear.

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Take an Erä-Susi nature safari

If you're a fan of dogs, Erä-Susi should be your first stop on your Ruka holidays. With more than 200 dogs, from huskies to mixed breeds, this huge farm is the best place to try a husky sled trip for a few hours – or even a few days! It's the most magical way to see the snowy landscape, and you'll love the rush of the dogs' power pulling you through the flurries. Once you get back to the farm, you can meet its other residents: from sheep, horses and llamas to reindeer. It's a wonderfully family-friendly activity.

Quick Tips

  • None
  • Euro
  • Finnish, Swedish
  • GMT +2

Learn to ski

With more than 30 runs to choose from, Ruka is a great place to ski – whether you're a beginner or advanced. And because the resort has floodlit slopes, you can ski all year round, and not just when the sun's out. The resort has a good range of runs: some are small and gentle, so perfect for learning on, while others are more challenging and ideal if you're a more experienced skier.

Ruka has lots of snow, too, so you can head over for a snowsports holiday any time between October and May. Ruka has a few black runs and plenty of off-piste tracks to explore. And if you prefer cross-country skiing to downhill, then you'll love the 500km of gorgeous tracks that wind through the landscape. Some of these are floodlit, so you could even ski at night while waiting for the Northern Lights to appear.

Meet Father Christmas

Legend has it that Father Christmas himself has a secret cottage just outside Ruka – so during your holidays, Ruka is the perfect destination to get that festive feeling. You and your family can visit the man in red and enjoy plenty of fun and games with him, Mrs Clause, the elves and all the reindeer. From sleigh rides and stories to cosy cottages and warm drinks, it's a brilliant, heart-warming place to visit. While you're in the area, you'll also have access to a restaurant, a sauna and different walking trails. You should try some traditional food while you're there – the bread and pastries are delicious.

Go ice climbing in Ruka

Ice climbing isn't for the faint of heart, but the 35m Kuru Wall is an exciting place to try it. Experienced instructors will guide you on how to climb safely before you start your family adventure. And when you're bitten by the bug, there are more challenging routes further out of Ruka, Finland. Holidays filled with adventure are also order of the day at Ruka Kuusamo, where you can take an ice dip. Sit in a sauna until you're boiling hot – then run outside and jump into the freezing cold water of a lake or river. The Fins swear by its health benefits, guaranteeing you'll leave feeling extraordinary.

Try snow shoeing in Oulanka National Park

The country's famous 80km Bear Trail winds through the Oulanka National Park, which Ruka sits alongside. The entire hike takes about four days, but it's easy to don a pair of snow shoes and explore some of Ruka's Arctic landscape. From enigmatic ravines to ancient forests and fierce rivers, you'll see magical scenery, all topped by snow. Strapping the snow shoes on gives you an added level of fun – and makes it much easier to walk through the powder. There's a short 12km trail along the river, which takes you past some of the region's most unforgettable sights.

Go swimming in an Arctic river

It might seem mad, but another top activity in Ruka is swimming in an Arctic river. You'll be given a suit that resembles an astronaut's outfit, then taken to a slow-moving river. A guide will teach you how to float and how to get in and out of the water. Then you'll be given plenty of warm-weather gear: thermal overalls, wool socks and gloves, boots and balaclavas. The suits will keep you almost entirely dry, so even though you're floating along an icy river, you'll hardly feel a thing. However, the weightlessness of drifting along the water, gazing at the magical scenery is something you'll always remember. It's an overwhelmingly relaxing experience, and worth giving a go.

If you're deciding on a destination in Lapland, you can't go wrong with Ruka. From its impressive ski resort to the abundance of activities, you won't have a second to be bored! You can be active – trying ice climbing or heading to the slopes with your skis. Or you can simply settle down in the resort and enjoy hot drinks by the fire – making sure to keep one eye on the wonderful landscape outside.