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Christmas in the Arctic Circle 2017

18 days in Finland Lapland Helsinki
created by

Jill Freeman

31st January 2019
Our family escape to visit Santa Claus and have a white Christmas! It was an amazing trip and we have booked to go back 2018!
FiRent Car Rental, Rovaniemi Airport
Picked up rental car
Drive to Rovaniemi
Kotimaailma Apartments
Santa Claus Village
Santa Claus Village is an amusement park in Rovaniemi in the Lapland region of Finland. Went to see Santa Played in the snow! Sent postcard to Mom from Santa's Office. Went to gift shop. Had lunch.
Bearhill Husky
Picked up at city hotel. Did "Call of the Wild" morning trip. This is the best company to do this with. You can book online. The staff were great. We got to take turns driving! They provided all the warm equipment you would need. Overalls, hats, gloves, boots etc...
@ Arctic World Did the .. 1. Elf school (got a certificate & Santa cert!) 2. Santa sleigh ride 3. Post office 4. Elf show 5. Christmas crafts (for kids!) 6. Angry birds play area 7. Ice sculptures 8. crossed underground Arctic circle (tickets valid for 2 days)
Ranua Zoo
Ranua Wildlife Park (Finnish: Ranuan eläinpuisto, better known as Ranua Zoo) is a zoo that opened in 1983 in the municipality of Ranua, Lapland, Finland. It is the northernmost zoo in the world. The zoo's animals consist of approximately 50 wild animal species and 200 individuals, including top predators such as lynx, brown bears and wolves but also European moose and deers. The zoo has Finland's only polar bears in artificial snow. The Ranua Wildlife Park is an accredited member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Kids really loved the Polar Bear & the owls! Kids got pulled around in sleighes.
Snowman World
Okay place with slides for bigger kids. An ice skating ring, nice cafe, ice bar & ice rooms and restaurant.
Northern Lights Photography
We went with the Beyond Arctic company. Great for lone rangers who get their other half to babysit (yeah!). Really good company, highly recommended!!
From Rovaniemi, we drove to Äkäslompolo. It is about a 2 hour drive. It is a small town but one of our top favs!
Ylläs Lodge 67 ° N
Nice lodge but, would be better having a cottage or a chalet for a family. Note: Book early! Places here get booked out a year in advance. You can fly here from Helsinki - nearest airport is Kittila.
Reindeer Farm Visit
We did this with Lapland Safaris West Oy. Great company, friendly staff! We met at their office 5 mins walk from our lodge. Short bus ride took us to the Reindeer farm. A nice little reindeer ride through the forests for about 1/2 hour. It was so peaceful and quiet that the kids fell asleep for most of it!
Levi Ski Resort
Kids area here - made snowman, went sledging down the slopes. Slightly busier here so we would ski in Yllas instead.
Lapland Safaris. Jill watched the kids whilst Nick went racing!
Drove back to Rovaniemi from Akaslompolo.
Santa Claus Express
All aboard at the Rovaniemi Train Station. It's the Santa Claus Overnight Train to Helsinki. Got the 2-double sleeper cabin with ensuite. It was the best! Kids loved it, highly recommended. Costly, but is a must do!! Note: You can only book tickets for this train 60 days prior to train departure.
Aallonkoti Hotel Apartments
We checked out of Aallonkoti at 12pm. What a great apart hotel for families. Highly recommended. I rate them 10/10! Near the railway station and shopping malls. Finnair Bus to Helsink airport is close by too about 5 mins away!
Hakaniemi Market Hall
Small market hall. Quite a few stalls shut because of the festive season.
Old Market Hall
Great place for food! Worth paying a visit to!
SEA LIFE Helsinki
Quite a small place and fine to give a miss. The kids enjoyed it though. Took us an hour to go through. We wanted to go to Linnanmaki Amusement Park but it was shut.
Stockmann Helsingin Keskusta
Great shopping mall! Spent a good 1.5 hours here. Toy section was brilliant, so was everything else!
Museum of Natural History
Finnish Museum of Natural History Great couple of hours here with the kids. Cole and Sadie had a great time! It's not big but fun enough! Kids are Free! Closed on New Year's Eve and New Years Day. 14 Euros per adult.
Hard Rock Cafe Helsinki
Nice little place. Food is the same standard as other Hard Rock's in the world. You can book online in advance. I would recommend doing so as it gets booked up.
The rest of the time in Helsinki we just went out as and when we wanted to. We could have done the Zoo but didn't. You could also take a ferry to Estonia, Tallinn. We heard lots about Suomenlinna island which is meant to be beautiful but we didn't get to it this time. Maybe in 2018 :)
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