What to see and do on Lapland tours from Ireland
Venture to Lapland from Ireland and get ready for a memorable winter retreat. Located in the far north of Finland and Sweden, this enchanting snow-dusted region is brimming with stunning scenery and fun-filled activities. And it’s all just a short flight away.
Read on for top tips on visiting Lapland from Ireland, including where to go and what to do.
How long is the flight from Ireland to Lapland?
It’s easy to visit Lapland from Ireland with direct flights, taking only 2 hours 25 minutes from Dublin to Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland.
You can also get to Finnish Lapland by connecting via Helsinki or London Stansted. This is a good option if there are no direct flights on your preferred dates, or if it’s more convenient for you to fly from a different airport in Ireland.
These are the flight times for connecting routes:
Dublin to Rovaniemi via Helsinki – 4 hours 20 minutes
Cork to Rovaniemi via London Stansted – 3 hours 40 minutes
Belfast to Rovaniemi via London Stansted – 3 hours 30 minutes
On the other hand, you can reach Kiruna in Swedish Lapland by flying from Dublin via Stockholm in 4 hours 5 minutes.
Find out more about how to get to Lapland from Ireland.
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 like 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 riding snowmobiles
Soak up the festive 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 Ireland 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 dedicated 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 choose to go in Lapland will depend on the activities and sights you’d like to enjoy. You can read Nordic Visitor’s Lapland Travel Guide to learn more about each region, 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, imaginatively themed rooms, and restaurants and bars carved 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’ wish lists. And don’t worry, you’ll be 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.
You could stay in a glass igloo in Lapland. Imagine snuggling 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 for an overnight trip in Lapland:
VISIT FINNISH OR SWEDISH LAPLAND
For your trip to Lapland, you can take your pick from Finland or Sweden. Both destinations offer similar experiences, such as aurora hunting excursions, snowmobile adventures, and opportunities for husky and reindeer sledding.
That said, Finnish and Swedish Lapland each have particular highlights that you should know about before deciding where to go. Check out these itinerary recommendations for a taste of what to expect in Finland and Sweden, respectively.
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.
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. And enjoy the thrill of the ride as you go.
Later, cosy up 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 Lapland’s most special traditions: 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, you’ll 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 is 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 an insight into the Sámi way of life by visiting a traditional reindeer farm. Drive a reindeer sled then enjoy some snacks in a lavvu, a typical Sámi 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.
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. That said, 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 reindeer sleigh rides and snowshoe excursions.
What’s more, in winter you have the best chance of seeing the northern lights. The long, dark nights at this time of year 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’ll be 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
Perhaps you want to time your Lapland trip for December to celebrate Christmas or New Year’s Eve in this winter wonderland?
Spend Christmas in Lapland and you could attend a festive gala dinner for Christmas Eve, accompanied by Santa’s elves. Join in the fun and help to decorate the Christmas tree before you tuck into a mouth-watering feast.
Then spend the ultimate Christmas Day in Santa’s Lapland. Whizz through the snow on a reindeer sleigh, meet Santa Claus in his workshop and enjoy delicious Christmas food. Think freshly baked gingerbread biscuits followed by a warming 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.
But don’t forget, you can get into the festive spirit at any time of year with Santa breaks in Finnish Lapland!