My time hop popped up on Facebook today “We booked Lapland 1 year ago today!!” as I mentioned this to my husband, My mum in the room said “is that you hinting?”
Before I could say “of course” my husband said he would go back in a minute, for earlier this month our family fell in love with Lapland. Our children are aged 4 and 6 and I felt there was a short window of time for us to take them and for them to truly believe in the magic of Christmas and of course Santa!!
So 1 year ago today we put down a deposit at Thorne Travel. Before I tell you about our family adventure let me start by saying our trip was affordable! Friends & Family have since asked how much is cost and each one exclaimed “No Way!!!!” “I thought you would have payed at least 5 grand” another said “That is less than we paid for Tenerife in November”. Booking a week long holiday was the same cost as a day trip, and having being there I am so glad we went for the 7 night duration, I don’t know how you would get to experience the magic fully in such a short time. Especially waking up at 3am for a 7am flight and fully expecting a 4 year old not to be grumpy!!
Our flight departed from Manchester flying on a Jet2 aircraft. however before we had boarded I had already cried!!. As we were waiting to board all passengers ended up singing Jingle Bells, When Santa got stuck up the Chimney and a few more. There was Christmas Magic in the Air along with a lot of Christmas Jumpers.
We were pretty astonished when we landed at Kittila airport as the Pilots landed on what looked like an ice rink! It was -4 degrees and with his Santa’s hat on he landed with ease. The transfer to our resort Levi took around 30minutes but I would have happily driven longer to get to look at the amazing snow filled forests.
We stayed at the Levilehto Apartments as we got a Free Child Place (If you are thinking of going, don’t leave it long as these go quick!!!!!!) If I am honest with you my first impression was they were not as nice as some as the other properties we seen people get dropped off at, however 1 day in I totally changed my mind! They were perfect for us. The location; I don’t think could have been in a better place, The in-apartment Sauna was fantastic, the space, the heated floors and the drying cupboard (Which was more like an oven?) helped us keep all our winter gear toasty and dry and the WIFI was fantastic, which really helped when having an evening in.
We went self catering as I felt being able to cook and eat when we wanted with young kids suited us, and luckily the KMart was straight across the road. The kids absolutely LOVED travelling anywhere! The reason being that kids don’t seem to walk anywhere. The get pulled on a sledge and I have to admit it was a great way to pull back your groceries as well.
The resort of Levi is a ski town, and is busy with bars and restaurants. One of our favourites was Colorado, Tex-Mex food suitable for everyone. My favourite “item” was the Honey Bee – Honey Jack Daniels, Lime & Ginger beer. I would happily go to Levi for a ‘Non Santa” ski trip. I used to work for a Ski Company and have been to resorts al over Europe and I would confidently say that Levi is up there with my favourites.
When we booked with Thorne Travel, we had the option on booking our Santa visit – (There are 2 options) We choose Elves Hideaway and we were not disappointed. In all honesty Santa wasn’t my favourite part of the day and what made it magical was collectively the snow, the twinkly lights, the snow tunnel, the making and baking of gingerbread cookies with Mrs Claus and the kids loved playing in the play park – Knee deep in snow and loving the swings and slides.
The hideaway is only 15minutes from Levi and when booking your excursion with Inghams your transport will be included.
We decided to also book a night in a Glass Igloo……This was our extravagant excursion, It is 100% something to tick of the Wanderlust List. At 690 euros we probably could have booked a separate holiday for us or at least a city break for my husband and I. However Lapland was never a destination we felt we would go back to (We do & WE WILL!!!) We stayed at Levin Iglu and the excitement from us all was real!! The temperature had dropped to -29 which surprisingly was bearable (the 7 odd layers did help!!)
It was a full moon and the sky was beautifully pink with snow laden trees – It really was theee most beautiful view I had seen (Outside Scotland of course!!!) The Igloo was toasty warm with heated glass, We all lay on the cosy bed looking out to our spectacular view, watching the snow melt away. We were on the lookout for the Northern lights – The KP was strong however the full moon was causing lots of dust which isn’t ideal. We did get glimpses though and through my camera using long exposure. Were we disappointed we didn’t get to see a full light show, Yes a little but did it take away for our experience? Not at all!!! The Igloo has cooking facilities so we came prepared with snacks and food. The resort has a lovely restaurant but we felt we wanted to make the most of our time in the Igloo (At 690 euros I was making the most of it!) Along with snacks we also brought along bubbles??!!!! We wanted to see if our bubbles would freeze!!….They did and the kids had so much fun doing this and watching the little frozen bubbles roll across the glittery deep snow. After leaving did I think it was worth the money – The answer is probably not, but was I glad we did it? -100%
Now to my favourite trip…..The Husky safari. To me this was amazing!! Sometimes you have to have all the right elements to be combined to get the perfect day, almost like a recipe! On this day for me that happened. We didn’t book this trip until we got there as we didn’t know until we got there what day our Santa trip was. I messaged Tundra Huskies for a particular date, however it was full but they were able to offer alternative which we snapped up. It was -29 degrees and we were up to 8 layers, 3 pairs of socks and 2 pairs of gloves!
The owners were lovely and were attentive, friendly and most importantly loved their dogs. We were allocated our dog pack and sleighs. I naively thought we would be driven by a member of staff – Nope it was my husband, I’m not going to lie – This worried me to start with but it all turned out ok. The dogs were barking, raring to go – you could see they were excited and loved what they did. It was snowing, we were in a forest that looked straight out a scene from Narnia – It was beautiful. When we first set out we slowly winded out way through a forest – With me and the kids in front, wrapped in blankets to keep us a little warmer and my husband guiding the dogs it was a family moment I will never forget. Once through the forest we sleighed onto a white expanse where we continues our safari alongside the frozen lake. Levi Lapland gets around 2 hours of sunlight a day, and on this day the skies where clear and the sun was providing the pinkest of skies – Paired with the snowy scenery this was stunning – After the 5k safari ended we warmed up in the Hut with hot juice and cooked sausages over the open fire, Before we left we were able to clap the dogs and meet some of the reindeers. This was my favourite day ever and I’ll forever remember this as an adventure me and my family had.
Overall, We had the time of our lives – Not all our experiences cost. Sledging was an everyday thing to do, Snow bubbles were great fun and we even made our own snow one day as it was so cold we throw a kettle of hot water in the air and it instantly turned to snow. I could easily book again and have when my niece and nephew are older I hope they can come as well. Next time the kids can try skiing and maybe we’ll visit the ice hotel but what I do know is we will have an amazing adventure again.
A few tips:
- We never booked the Snowsuits, My husband and I already had Ski Jackets and we bought the kids their own sets from Trespass which cost roughly the same as it was to hire.
- We did book Snow boots as we didn’t want to have to carry them in our luggage. However in the end my husband and I ended up wearing our walking boots for the duration.
- Layer, Layer, Layer – Lots of thin layers are better than big wooly jumpers, Merino wool is perfect for thermals. A few good sets will last.
- Don’t take too much clothing as if like us and you book an apartment you will have laundry facilities.
- Buy duty free – A bottle of Rum costs 35euro’s
- Book Early and try get a free child place.
- Get your your sledges as soon as you arrive (We bought for 10 euros at the K Market)
- Download weather app’s to keep an eye out for the Northern lights
- If taking cameras take a few batteries – The cold drains them so quickly.
For more information on booking a private tour at the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi click here
For more information on booking a heated Aurora sleigh ride click here