For A Family Trip
Hit The Slopes
Skip the crowds in the Alps and opt for one of Finland’s top ski resorts this winter. There are 75 to choose from – not bad for a country that doesn’t have any mountains. Instead, they’re dotted around the country’s steep hills, which are covered in snow for about 200 days of the year. Ski season starts in October and finishes in May, and Finland has resorts suitable for every level, from family friendly options where little ones can take lessons to world-class pistes for advanced skiers. Just a short flight from Helsinki, Saariselkä Resort offers 200km of cross-country skiing, while Vuokatti in Kainuu is a smaller resort that’s ideal for beginners.
Where To Stay: Pyhä Ski Resort
One of the most popular resorts in Finland, Pyhä is a short drive from Rovaniemi airport. Having recently been updated, there are nine ski lifts and 14 slopes to choose from, all of which have stunning views of the surrounding hills. The ski season starts in mid-November, when you can ski or snowboard on the family slopes, book lessons at the ski school and explore the new toboggan run. In terms of accommodation, options include cottages, igloo houses and apartment hotels – kids will love the Northern Lights House.
Visit Santa Claus
For an unforgettable holiday the whole family will enjoy, spend a long weekend in Finnish Lapland visiting Santa Claus. His headquarters can be found in Rovaniemi, where children can visit Santa’s official office and meet his reindeers. Santa Claus Village is open every day, including Christmas Day, for festive activities like snowmobiling, husky rides and Lapland safaris. Discover the World offers 3 or 7-night festive breaks in Taiga Forest where families can meet Santa, go snowshoeing, bake gingerbread and visit the Aurora Camp to see a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Where To Stay: Nellim Wilderness Hotel
Set on the shores of Lake Inari in Finnish Lapland, Nellim Wilderness Hotel has everything you need for a special trip, from cosy accommodation options to plenty of kids’ activities. Families can choose to stay in log cabins, an Aurora Bubble (made for stargazing and spotting the Northern Lights) or Nellim Suites which sleep up to five across a double bed and three singles. All options have cosy fur throws, indoor wood burners and modern en-suites. Nellim can also arrange activities like husky safaris, snowshoeing and snowmobile adventures, as well as trips to Santa’s Village.
For An Adventure
See The Northern Lights
If seeing the Northern Lights is on your bucket list, Finland is one of the best places in the world to spot the spectacular show – they are visible on roughly 200 nights of the year, though you’re more likely to see them the further north you go. Ask your accommodation to arrange guided tours or suggest local reputable companies to book with. For the best chance of a sighting, head into Lapland’s wilderness, away from the bright lights of Helsinki and Turku. You can even sign up for free alerts from the Finnish Meteorological Institute which sends out emails whenever magnetic conditions in the skies make auroral displays likely.
Where To Stay: Arctic TreeHouse Hotel
One of the most luxurious options on this list, Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is built on a forested hill in Finnish Lapland’s part of the Arctic Circle. With modern Scandi design, cabins have north-facing windows through which guests can gaze at the Northern Lights during the evening and look out over the snow-covered hills during the day. TreeHouse Suites have a cosy living area, small kitchenette and modern en-suite, while the ArcticScene Suites have a patio with a log fire, sauna and bathtub with views. When you’re not cosying up by the fire, polar expeditions await – think ice swimming, reindeer and husky rides and wild food tastings followed by Finnish fine dining served fireside. There’s also a restaurant in the main hotel building, plus a forest sauna and spa a short drive away.
Cabins from £500 per night.
Head Into The Wilderness
For a totally remote getaway, head on a guided tour into the wilderness. Luxury tour operator Scott Dunn runs a series of holidays in Finland, from action-packed trips where you can try cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice hiking, to excursions in Lapland, followed by a relaxing stay at a boutique hotel. On The Go Tours is another reputable company to book with – ideal if you’re travelling solo and want to meet likeminded people. On its Wilderness Discover tour, you’ll explore the wildlife and landscapes of Finnish Lapland, getting around on three different methods of transport – reindeer, husky sledding and snowmobiles.
Where To Stay: Octola
For a once-in-a-lifetime trip, stay at Octola, a series of wilderness chalets on a private reserve in Finnish Lapland. Ideal for groups looking for total seclusion, the resort has ten bedrooms surrounded by snow-covered forests, wild reindeer and a winding river. A private chef will cook delicious Nordic cuisine for you, using locally sourced ingredients, while a butler will also help serve meals and prepare the hot tub or sauna. Guests can also try snowshoeing, sledding and cross-country skiing with the chalet’s private wilderness guide.
From £7,600pp for three nights
For A Couples’ Getaway
Head to Helsinki
Often overlooked in favour of Copenhagen and Oslo, Helsinki is a chic Nordic city, ideal for a long weekend city break. Easily reached via a three-hour flight from London, it’s a place to discover interesting architecture on boulevards and backstreets, try traditional Finnish cuisine and visit excellent galleries and museums – the Design Museum is a particular highlight. Visit the Kajsaniemi gardens, which look particularly beautiful in winter; go to one of the city’s popular ice-skating rinks; and eat your way around a traditional Finnish Christmas market if visiting in December – there’s even an official Christmas street, Aleksanterinkatu. Michelin-starred dining comes in the form of Grön and Inari, while Kuu serves hearty Finnish fare.
Where To Stay: Hotel St George
Hotel St George is a housed in a grand building dating back to the 19th century. In the city centre, there are 148 rooms and five suites to choose from – couples should book the Atelier rooms for views of Church Park or the Coupole Suite on the 6th floor, which comes with a spacious living area and marble en-suite. Breakfast is served in the main dining room, Thai food can be enjoyed at restaurant Boon Man in the evening, and afternoon tea is served in the Wintergarden restaurant, sheltered under a glass roof in the courtyard. There’s also an on-site spa and gym.
Rooms from £200 per night.
Current Travel Info: Finland is on the UK’s green travel list, meaning you won’t have to quarantine upon your return. To enter, you will need to show proof of full vaccination or a certificate of recovery from Covid-19 within the past six months.
Flight Time: The flight from London to Helskini or Rovaniemi airports is around 3 hours.
Average Temperature: Temperatures plummet during the winter months, ranging from 0°C to -30°C between November and March.
Time: GMT plus 2 hours.
For more information, head to VisitFinland.com
*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice and entry requirements to Finland before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information