WHAT TO SEE AND DO ON TRIPS TO LAPLAND FROM BRISTOL
Take a trip to Lapland from Bristol and prepare for a magical experience in this winter wonderland. Located in the far north of Sweden and Finland, this region will enchant you with its snow-laden landscapes, charming log cabins, and fun-filled activities. It’s all just a short flight away.
Read on to get top tips on visiting Lapland from Bristol, including where to go and what to do.
HOW LONG IS THE FLIGHT TO LAPLAND FROM BRISTOL?
Direct flights from Bristol to Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland take around 3 hours 30 minutes with TUI Airways.
You can also get to Lapland by travelling to London and departing from one of its airports. The quickest options for reaching Lapland from London are:
Fly directly from London Gatwick Airport to Rovaniemi. This option takes around 3 hours 25 minutes.
Fly from London Heathrow Airport to Kemi in Finnish Lapland by connecting via Helsinki. Flight time for this option is around 4 hours.
Fly from London Heathrow Airport to Kiruna in Swedish Lapland by connecting via Stockholm. Flight time for these connecting flights are around 4 hours 30 minutes.
Read more about how to get to Lapland from Bristol or learn more about travelling to Lapland from London.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN LAPLAND
Lapland offers opportunities for adventures and indulgent experiences in equal measure. This means that you can be as active or relaxed as you wish on your winter trip!
Here are the top things to do in Lapland
Go mushing through the snow on a dog sled
Marvel at the otherworldly northern lights
Explore the countryside by snowmobile
Soak up Santa magic and meet Father Christmas himself
Sleep in an ice room or a glass igloo
Try cross-country skiing, ice fishing or snowshoeing
Experience local Sámi customs and cuisine
Celebrate Christmas or New Year’s Eve
See Arctic animals in their native habitat
Warm up in a traditional Finnish sauna
When you book Lapland packages from the UK with Nordic Visitor, you can add optional activities and day trips to your itinerary. We recommend that you reserve any extras in advance to guarantee availability.
Speak to your personal travel consultant at Nordic Visitor about the excursions you’d like to incorporate into your Lapland itinerary. They will organise everything on your behalf, while you relax and look forward to your winter escape.
TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN LAPLAND
Where you go in Lapland will largely depend on the activities and sights you want to enjoy. You can read Nordic Visitor’s Lapland travel guide to learn more about each area, which will help you decide where to visit.
Here are the best places to go in Finnish Lapland:
These are the top places to visit in Swedish Lapland:
VISIT ONE OF LAPLAND’S ICE HOTELS OR GLASS IGLOOS
One of the “coolest” things you can do in Lapland is stay in an ice hotel. Marvel at the ice sculptures, imaginative themed rooms, and restaurants and bars crafted from frozen water. Since many of the hotels melt in the spring, artists start from scratch and rebuild them each winter.
Spending the night in an ice suite is on many travellers’ bucket lists. You are kept cosy thanks to thermal sleeping bags and reindeer hides, with the chance to step into a hot sauna in the morning.
If you’d rather sleep in a warm room, you can take a guided tour of these ice hotels instead.
A great alternative is staying in a glass igloo in Lapland. Snuggle up in your heated dome, looking through the clear glass up to the night sky. You might even be treated to a northern lights show from your bed!
Here are the best ice hotels and glass igloos to visit in Lapland:
VISIT FINNISH OR SWEDISH LAPLAND
For your trip to Lapland, take your pick from visiting Finnish or Swedish Lapland. Both destinations offer similar experiences, such as aurora hunting excursions, snowmobile adventures, and reindeer sleigh rides.
However, Finnish and Swedish Lapland each have particular highlights that you should know about before you decide where to go. Take a look at these itinerary recommendations for a taste of what to expect in Sweden and Finland, respectively.
ITINERARY SUGGESTION FOR SWEDISH LAPLAND:
Day 1 - Arrival in Kiruna and snowmobile safari
After touching down at Kiruna Airport, a driver will meet you and take you to your hotel. Enjoy some free time to yourself, perhaps getting to know the town or simply relaxing before you head out later.
In the evening you’ll get to explore the countryside on a snowmobile excursion, searching for the northern lights. Follow your guide through the snow as they lead you to the best spots to look for the aurora. Feel the thrill of the ride as you go.
Then, sit beside the fireplace in a wooden hut and tuck into a rustic dinner of traditional local food. Afterwards, your guide will take you back to your accommodation.
Spend the night in Kiruna.
Day 2 - Dog sledding
Today you can enjoy one of the most special activities and traditions in Lapland: husky sledding.
Meet the huskies at the kennel and learn how to drive your sled from an expert guide. Head out onto the trails, gliding through the woods and across snowy plains, soaking up the views as you go. Afterwards, fuel up with a hot cup of coffee and a light lunch by the campfire.
In the evening, you could chase the northern lights again on a snowshoe excursion.
Spend the night in Kiruna.
Day 3 - Visit the ICEHOTEL and a Sámi reindeer farm
This morning, discover the famous ICEHOTEL, situated in the village of Jukkasjärvi just outside Kiruna. This was the original ice hotel that set a trend for the many others that now exist around the world.
Begin with a guided tour of this extraordinary hotel, learning how artists build it using ice from the Torne River nearby. You’ll also get to explore the ICEHOTEL 365, a year-round structure that stays cold in the summer thanks to solar energy.
Once you’ve seen the stunning ice rooms, sculptures, church and bar, you’ll be collected from the ICEHOTEL for your next excursion. Get to know the Sami way of life by visiting a traditional reindeer farm. Drive a reindeer sled then enjoy some snacks in a lavvu, a typical Sami tent.
Then comes the highlight: sleeping in a room made entirely from ice and snow!
Spend the night in Kiruna or the ICEHOTEL.
Day 4 - Departure
Today you’ll take a transfer to Kiruna Airport where you’ll fly home from your Lapland holiday.
ITINERARY SUGGESTION FOR FINNISH LAPLAND:
Day 1 - Arrival in Rovaniemi & snowmobile safari
Upon arrival, a driver will meet you at Rovaniemi Airport for your transfer to your accommodation. You could rest after your journey or head into town to explore a little before your first Lapland adventure.
Come evening, it’s time to embark on a snowmobile safari and hunt for the northern lights. Enjoy an exhilarating ride through the snow, looking for the aurora borealis, as an expert guide leads you along the trails.
Round off your excursion with a hot drink and snack beside the campfire, then return to your hotel for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Spend the night in Rovaniemi.
Day 2 - Dog sledding and Finnish sauna
Head into the snow-draped scenery outside Rovaniemi today with a guided dog sled excursion. Learn about this traditional mode of transport in Lapland, starting with a brief lesson at the kennel. Then mush through the woods with your own sled.
Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in Rovaniemi. You could indulge in a sauna session, the typical way to relax and unwind here in Finland.
Spend the night in Rovaniemi.
Day 3 - Reindeer farm and Santa Claus Village
This morning, hop on a snowmobile and make your way to a traditional reindeer farm. Here you can learn about the culture of Lapland’s native people, the Sami, and go on a sleigh ride.
Next, prepare to meet the “man in red” with a visit to Santa Claus Village, just outside Rovaniemi.
Soak up the festive atmosphere of this Christmassy haven, which is open year-round. Enjoy a private meeting with Santa with the elves on hand, and send a postcard from the Santa Claus Post Office. Then why not browse for souvenirs at the craft shops?
Spend the night in Rovaniemi.
Day 4 - Day at leisure and visit to the Arctic SnowHotel
Learn more about the local history, nature and culture in Rovaniemi this morning by paying a visit to the Arktikum Museum. Here you can explore the intriguing exhibits about Finnish Lapland and the Arctic region.
Come evening, head to the Arctic SnowHotel in Lehtojärvi, just outside Rovaniemi. Take a guided tour of this fascinating frozen hotel, which is created anew each year. Check out the rooms, restaurant and bar, all sculpted from ice and snow.
After your tour sit down for a delicious 3-course meal at Restaurant Kota, inspired by traditional Sami architecture. Then, you’ll either return to your accommodation in Rovaniemi, or overnight in the Arctic SnowHotel for an unforgettable stay. Choose from sleeping in an ice room or a glass igloo.
Spend the night in Rovaniemi or the Arctic SnowHotel.
Day 5 - Departure
Today you’ll be transferred back to Rovaniemi Airport where you’ll fly home from your Lapland holiday.
BEST TIME TO VISIT LAPLAND
The best time to visit Lapland is between December and March, when you can enjoy the magical white scenery, northern lights, and excursions in the snow.
Certain activities are available in Lapland year round. For example, in summer you can meet Father Christmas, or even visit certain ice hotels that use solar power to keep some of their rooms frozen. However, we recommend travelling in winter for the quintessential Lapland experience.
Thanks to snowfall from mid-October to mid-May, you’ll be surrounded by snow-blanketed scenery between December and March. These are the perfect conditions for winter activities, including snowshoeing, sleigh rides, and even meeting the famous husky, reindeer and other animals that live in Lapland.
What’s more, in winter you have the best chances of seeing the northern lights. The long, dark nights provide the ideal backdrop for watching the aurora borealis.
In summer, on the other hand, there are long daylight hours in Lapland – a phenomenon called the “midnight sun”. With light skies all night long, it is too bright to see the aurora borealis.
Find out how to increase your chances of spotting the aurora borealis with these guides:
CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR IN LAPLAND
Have you been dreaming of Lapland Santa holidays from Bristol? If so, Santa trips are best timed for Christmas or New Year’s Eve to make the most of the festive atmosphere.
Spend Christmas in Lapland and you could attend a festive gala dinner on Christmas Eve, accompanied by Santa’s elves. Join in the fun and help to decorate the Christmas tree before you tuck into the big feast.
Then have the ultimate Christmas Day in Santa’s Lapland. Whizz through the snow on a reindeer sleigh, meet Santa in his workshop, and taste delicious Christmas food. Think freshly baked gingerbread biscuits and a warm glass of glögg (mulled wine).
Or visit Lapland at New Year for a celebration to remember. Attend a New Year’s Eve party in a wooden hut in the middle of a Finnish forest, experiencing local customs and cuisine. And, of course, you’d get to watch a spectacular fireworks display at the stroke of midnight.
Don’t forget, you don’t have to travel in December to get into the festive spirit. You can also travel at other times of the year with these Santa breaks in Finnish Lapland!