Finnish Lapland is the official home of Santa Claus, but Finland itself has a big, wonderful and exciting life above and beyond the snowy Christmas season.
From Helsinki to Tampere, the country’s cities are deeply cultured, creative, forward thinking and techy-to-a-fault. Northern Lights, midnight suns and vast expanses of wilderness are just a few of the more famous natural wonders to hail from this deeply mysterious and enthralling Nordic land. And friendly is the default position of the naturally good humoured and welcoming Finns. Will kids be enchanted by a holiday here that doesn’t include reindeers and elves? Without a single shadow of a doubt.
Year round direct flights to Helsinki from the UK take less than three hours.
The city of Rovaniemi is home to Santa’s Village and direct flights from the UK during winter take just over three hours.
Direct flights to Kittilä from November to February put Finland’s top ski resorts within four hours flying time of the UK.
Finland has 40 national parks. Almost every one has marked hiking and walking trails, campsites and cabins to rent.
Finland’s Archipelago National Park has more islands than any other archipelago in the world and is under three hour’s drive from Helsinki and an hour’s drive from Turku.
Urho Kekkoven National Park on the edge of the Arctic Circle is the home of Father Christmas and one of the best locations in the world to witness the Aurora Borealis.
The Midnight Sun is one of Finland’s most famous natural phenomena and the country can have almost constant daylight in June and July – longer the further north you travel.
Stretching out into the Baltic, surrounded by over 300 islands and as famous for churches as it is for enormous green spaces, Helsinki might not be the best known Nordic capital, but it’s a strong contender for most idiosyncratic in almost every way.
Never heard of Tampere? If you’re travelling with kids, right that wrong as soon as possible. This is the city which was bequeathed Tove Janssen’s archive, it’s home to the world’s only Moomin Museum and the undisputed capital of magical Finnish Lakeland.
The capital of Finnish Lapland, hometown of Santa Claus, keeper of Northern Lights in winter and summer-long Midnight suns, Rovaniemi is an incredible city in its own right and a gateway to the remote and magnificent wilderness of northern Finland.
Places to stay in the city range from four and five star hotels in the centre, self-catering chalets and cabins in and around Santa Claus Village and even an Arctic Snow Hotel – fun to visit.
Finland’s a large country with an excellent road network supported by extensive ferry services and domestic flights. Hiring a car’s the best way to explore outside towns and cities, see the fantastic national parks and explore areas like the Lakelands and Archipelago Sea. Public transport in all cities is reliable, inexpensive and easy to use but most centres are compact and fun to walk around too – unless the weather’s freezing.