This is my guide to easy planning for Santa Claus Lapland. When to go? Where to go? How to travel? Where to stay?
A bit about us… As travel restrictions lift, I’m now thinking about our next family trips. Visiting Santa Claus in his Lapland home is on the list. But when to go? With a 6 year old and a 2 year old it is tricky to time it so that the older one still finds it magical but the younger one gets it too. 2022 will most likely be the year!
But we are also on a budget. A quick research suggests that an organised trip with be upwards of 3 or 4 thousand pounds. And that’s before spending money in a pricey country. Way more than we spend on a holiday. But perhaps it can be justified. I have always wanted to see the Northern Lights. And we ski. So perhaps a trip combining activities to maximise value.
And then there’s timing. I don’t see the point of visiting Santa Claus after Christmas. But with school holiday restrictions that leaves us with what is most probably the most expensive week; the one just before Christmas. So perhaps I need to get creative here. How about October half term?
And where to stay? Somewhere with indoor pool, hot tub and sauna would be lush. But at what price?
Here is a summary of my research…
Where to see Santa Claus:
The most important part of the Santa claus trip! Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland is open every day of the year. So whether we go in October or December, he is in his office waiting for a visit. Free, but there is a change for photos. Starting from a whopping 32 euros. There are lots of other expensive activities at the village too. Seeing some of his reindeer would be a must for us. A reasonable option is Elf’s Farmyard at eur 8 for adults and eur 5 for children (prices until 12 November 2021).
Where to see the Northern Lights:
According to the Finnish tourist office, the Northern Lights are visible around 200 nights of the year from Finnish Lapland. Clear nights between September and March are the best nights to try. So both October and December look to be good bets. Because our kids are young, late night organised trips wouldn’t really work. And are inevitably expensive. Hiring a car and finding a spot away from light pollution ourselves will be the best option. And October a better option in terms of coldness and ease of driving on the roads. Car hire: approx £44 per day.
Where to ski:
Ruka ski resort in Finland is open from October to May, so even on an October trip we would be able to see some snow and do a little skiing. Of course not all slopes will be open. But it would give us an early season fix. Anf of course not as cold as the main season for the little ones. At the moment, booking your lift pass online in advance gives you a 5% discount.
Price comparison October to December:
(approximate costs for a family of 4)
I was surprised to find that flight prices in October and December were pretty similar at time of looking (£1200-1300 for 4 on an indirect flight from London to Rovaniemi). And of course the costs of activities, car hire, food and general expenses are the same for both months. Where there are huge savings in October is on accomodation. At the lower end (airbnb/budget hotel) accomodation is half the price compared to December (based on 2 nights Rovanienmi, 4 nights Ruka). There are even bigger savings at the mid range (indoor pool in Rovaniemi, ski chalet with sauna in Ruka), with October a third of the price of December.
So whether in budget accomodation in December or in mid range accomodation in October, a family of 4 could certainly travel for around £2000, around two thirds of the cheapest package holiday quotes. And I’m going to keep tracking those flight prices for October. Research suggests that average flight prices are £220 return. Which should be achievable at that off peak time. So another potential £300 to £400 saved… Watch this space to see how we get on…