Fancy a mince pie with Mr. Claus? Or how about hitting the slopes in Levi? For the chance to see real life reindeer, a giant’s kettle and of course the most famous fat man in the world, head to Lapland this winter. You may just be surprsied at some of the other activities this winter wonderland has to offer. Here are five festive reasons to go to Lapland:
1. Visit Santa Claus Village
Ok, so it’s a fairly obvous one, but no trip to Lapland would be complete without at least trying to track down the big man. Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi is a good place to start, an amusement park where you can meet Santa, snap up some stocking fillers and cross the Artic Circle. Sit by the fire and write your letter for the ‘Postal Elves’ who will deliver your requests directly to Father Christmas.
Read more: 5 best Christmas market cities in Europe
2. Say hello to the Sámi
The Sámi are the indigenous people of Lapland and also known as Lapps. Don your best _gákti, _a traditional leather or wool shawl, and head out in to the snow to join them herding sheep or reindeer sledding. Warm up back at camp with a bowl of reindeer stew and listen to a few of the elders share some traditional folk tales.
3. Feed the reindeer
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen; meet them all in the town of Enontekiö, northwestern Lapland. Ride a sleigh pulled along by real life reindeer, or save them the effort and jump on a snowmobile safari. If you want to travel under your own steam, then the nearby town of Hetta is home to 120km of maintained ski tracks to explore.
4. Have cuppa with a giant
Head out to Salla, eastern Lapland, to see what is according to local legend, a giant’s kettle. Well it’s not exactly a teapot, more of a pothole formed by melting glaciers or currents wearing away surrounding rock. Take a 6.8km hike from Valkea bridge through the forests to get to this mystical site.
5. Witness the Northern Lights
From September and March, head to northern Lapland to see one of the greatest shows on earth. The famous ‘Northern Lights’ or Aurora Borealis provide spectacular night time entertainment, and, according the meterologists, the 2014-15 is set to be a stellar year for them. So wrap up warm and get star gazing.