Trip to Lapland, The Happiest Country in the world

A mystical white land adorned with snow, stars, birds, reindeers, and fox fires. This is how we will remember our trip to Lapland.

A few weeks ago, our friend asked us to join her on a trip to Finland, and without hesitation, we accepted. We visited Lapland in February 2024. Planning this adventure wouldn’t have been possible without her. Discover why traveling in a group adds to the fun of exploring Finland. Read on 🙂

Here’s an overview of the Lapland itinerary that we followed:

  • Day 1: Fly from Brussels Charleroi to Rovaniemi
  • Day 2: Explore Rovaniemi’s enchanting trails and visit Santa’s home
  • Day 3: Drive from Rovaniemi to Ivalo
  • Day 4: Enjoy adventurous activities in Ivalo
  • Day 5: Witness the Northern Lights from our igloo stay
  • Day 6: Return to Rovaniemi and fly back home to Brussels

Visa Process

Indian residents visiting Europe require a valid Schengen visa for short, temporary visits. As residents of Luxembourg, we held residence permits and did not need to apply for a Schengen visa.

Getting to Lapland 

Did we tell you that Rovaniemi is the official hometown of Santa Claus? We couldn’t think of any better place to start our magical journey through Lapland. To reach Lapland, we took a flight from Brussels Charleroi to Rovaniemi. Rovaniemi has a small airport and offers flight connections from various other EU cities. Many travelers also opt to visit Lapland via Helsinki, Finland’s capital, and then drive or take trains to other Finnish cities.

Day Wise Itinerary

Day 1: Settling in Rovaniemi, the official home town of Santa Claus

Our arrival in Rovaniemi greeted us with a snowy townscape, a sight we’d never forget. . We never saw this much snow ever in our lives, and we felt just so happy to be there. Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, buzzes with a population of ~65,000 people and 12,000 reindeers

On Day 1, we arrived in the Arctic city, took a cab to our AirBnB, dropped our bags, and headed straight out to enjoy some nightlife. Our BnB stay had the perfect location and was very close to some very popular pubs, cafes, restaurants, and supermarkets. We enjoyed some local beers and an absolutely delightful dinner at Gustav Kitchen and Bar. This is a pretty popular restaurant, and if you plan to visit, do make advance reservations on their website. They have an Igloo seating option as well

Day 2: Embarking on a Magical Trail Walk and Visiting Santa’s Home

After a good restful night, we started our day with the Ounasvaara Nature Winter Trail. You can find the trail route and other details here. The trail was beautiful and offering captivating views and vantage points.

Along the trail, there is an observation tower. Do not miss that as it offers a 360° view over the town and the Kemijoki River. You can find open BBQs where you can rest and enjoy some BBQ food. So do not forget to carry some sausages to BBQ.

We spent almost half a day hiking around this moderate to challenging trail. Do remember to have some comfortable snow boots; they are a must here. From our BnB to the trail and back, we covered almost 12 km distance.

In the evening we visited Santa’s home. Our recommendation will be to visit the Santa Claus village around evening when it is about to get dark so that you can enjoy the Christmas lights.

This place is perfect for families and kids. We saw so many toddlers queuing up to meet Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, getting pictures clicked with them.

Don’t forget to send a postcard to your loved ones from Santa Claus’s Main Post Office and leave them to Santa’s little elves to deliver. We penned our messages in colorful postcards and sent them to our nephews Agastya and Aarav. By the way, there’s a secret behind the red post box: all letters dropped here are held and sent for Christmas! Omg, isn’t it super exciting!!

Day 3: Experience the pristine beauty of Ivalo, the village by the golden river

After spending some good time in Rovaniemi, it was time to head to Ivalo, the village by the golden river or river Ivalojoki.

Do you know the first gold rush in Finland took place on the River Ivalojoki, which is why the name “Golden River”? This idyllic destination offers a plethora of outdoor activities and is a haven for ski enthusiasts. We rented a car from Rovaniemi and drove to Ivalo. After a few stops and around 4 hours of drive, we checked in at Artic River Resort .

After a long day, we saved our evening for the one of our most authentic experiences in Lapland. It was time to experience the Finnish Sauna. We booked the traditional barrel sauna at Aurora Village resort. The Finnish sauna experience was pure enchantment.

The wood-fired sauna enveloped us in warmth, cleansing both body and soul. Emerging from the sauna, we embraced the crisp air and plunged into the icy waters of the Ivalo River, a moment of exhilarating rejuvenation amidst Lapland’s moonlit serene beauty

It is a private sauna experience good for upto 4 people. Make sure you book it in advance as their bookings get full pretty quickly. We thoroughly enjoyed the wood-fired hot sauna and then the dips in the chilly cold river. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Do not miss this activity 🙂

Day 4: Snowmobiling on the Golden River and listen to some Sami folk tales 


After a rejuvenating sauna experience the previous night, we were geared up to steer some gears. Rohit was most excited about Snowmobiling and the first one to be out of bed and ready to just gooo. We booked the Snowmobiling via Aurora Village Ivalo. This was our first time driving a Snowmobile and that too on a frozen river. Sounds exciting enough, right. Driving the snowmobile on the frozen Ivalo River was sheer magic. The pristine white expanse, crisp air, and the thrill of gliding over the icy surface created an exhilarating symphony. Amidst Lapland’s winter wonderland, every turn felt like a dance, weaving unforgettable moments into the fabric of our Arctic adventure.

We then spent our evening hearing Sami folk songs and stories. The performer was dressed in Sami attire, which was nice to see, but we felt that this could have been a better and more authentic experience

Day 5: Stay under the Northern Lights in a glass igloo 

We started our day with visiting Saariselka. This city is know for its beautiful trails and ski areas. We walked a moderate trail named Aurorapolku. The route was beautiful more because of the birds. Birds here know people feed them, so do carry some seeds for them. They will definitely come meet you 🙂 This trail has a very good viewing spots and waiting areas for northern lights.

Well, we wont be able to do complete justice to how was our experience viewing the the dancing Northern Lights in Lapland. That deserves a separate blog.

We will wrap it up saying, that we were lucky to gaze at the stars and northern lights from our glass igloo at Aurora Village and wrapped up the last night of our dreamy vacation. We will share all the details about Aurora Borealis aka the Northern Lights or “Revontulet” in Finnish in our next blog. Stay Tuned

Day 6: Time to feed the reindeers and souvenir shopping

Still gleaming with joy as we were lucky enough to see Aurora Borealis the pervious night, it was time to head back home. We met some cutest reindeers at Aurora Village and fed them.

Such gentle animals, they were happy to be around us as they were getting to eat their favorite snack reindeer moss 🙂 While driving back to Rovaniemi, we took pit stop to at S Grocery market to buy local delicacies like berry jams, chocolates, tea and tea cup locally known as Kuksa

Stay and other details


Finland trip definitely needs a lot of planning and budget is a very important part of it. Lapland is expensive, in terms of activities, stays, food, transport, everything can be pricey. Keep a daily budget of ~170/200 euros per person when you plan your trip to Lapland. It can go higher depending on the activities and the season of the visit. Flights costs will be additional.


  1. Book all activities in advance otherwise you may not be able to find well rated operators and preferred slots
  2. Vegetarian food options are limited but good. We ate vegetarian food for our entire Lapland trip and did not struggle at all to find it
  3. Book the rented car in advance
  4. Do visit the supermarket to pick some amazing local food items
  5. Start your day early as you will have limited day light in winters
  6. Do the Sauna at night for a mystical experience and save the day for other activities

We hope you enjoyed our journey through Lapland. Share your thoughts in the comments and stay tuned for more travel tips. Subscribe via email or follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates and inspiration

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