FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT VISITING LAPLAND IN DECEMBER
You probably want to know more about what it’s like to go on a Lapland holiday in December. To help you decide if it’s the right time of year for you to visit, read on. Our regional travel experts have answered frequently asked questions about Lapland in December below.
You’ll also find itinerary suggestions for Finnish and Swedish Lapland for ideas on how to make the most of your December tour.
WHAT’S LAPLAND’S WEATHER FORECAST LIKE FOR DECEMBER?
Lapland’s climate is subarctic to continental, with cold winters between December and March. This means that you’ll experience heavy snowfall and temperatures below freezing when you visit Lapland in December.
In general, temperatures in Lapland range from -7°C (20°F) to -12°C (10°F) at this time of year, but the dry, crisp air has a moderating effect on the cold. These weather conditions are prime for short winter breaks, with opportunities for exciting activities in the snow.
WHAT’S THE TEMPERATURE IN LAPLAND IN DECEMBER?
In Kiruna, Swedish Lapland, the average temperature in December is -9°C (16°F). In Finnish Lapland, Kemi also experiences average temperatures of -9°C (16°F), and if you visit Rovaniemi, it’s -7°C (20°F).
WHAT TO WEAR IN LAPLAND IN DECEMBER?
In the Nordics there is a saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes”.
This is especially true of Lapland in December, when you will experience low temperatures, northerly winds and snowfall. That said, if you wrap-up warm you can forget about any bad weather and enjoy the sights.
Be prepared for Lapland’s chilly December conditions by wearing an insulated jacket, warm thermals, a cosy hat and pair of gloves. You’ll also find a sturdy pair of walking boots with good grip indispensable for the snowy terrain.
Find a list of what to bring with you in the Lapland Travel Guide.
IS THERE SNOW IN LAPLAND IN DECEMBER?
December, along with January, are the snowiest months of the year in Lapland. On average there’s 20 centimetres (8 inches) of snowfall in December. This creates perfect conditions for skiing holidays and winter activities like dog sledding and reindeer sleigh rides.
WHAT ARE LAPLAND’S DAYLIGHT HOURS IN DECEMBER?
You’ll find that daylight hours are short in Lapland in December. The winter solstice takes place in mid-December, and at this time of year, the sun doesn’t rise at all in most parts of Lapland. This is because much of the region lies within and near the Arctic Circle.
You’ll have between 2.5 and 4 hours of daylight at the start of December. In Kiruna, Swedish Lapland, daylight hours are shorter because it is located further north than Kemi and Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland.
By the end of December, daylight hours decrease to 0 hours in Kiruna, 2 hours 40 minutes in Rovaniemi and 3 hours 20 minutes in Kemi.
CAN YOU SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN LAPLAND IN DECEMBER?
Since December falls in the middle of winter in Lapland, when the nights are at their longest, you have a good chance of seeing the northern lights. The darkness provides 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:
Best time and place to see the northern lights in Sweden
Best time and place to see the northern lights in Finland
What are the northern lights? Aurora borealis explained
CAN YOU VISIT SANTA IN LAPLAND IN DECEMBER?
Visit Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland, at any time of year to meet Santa. Magical festive landscapes covered in glistening snow make the middle of winter the best time to visit for soaking up the winter-wonderland atmosphere.
Meet Father Christmas and his elves in their workshop, visit Mrs Claus at her Christmas Cottage, and send a postcard from Santa’s main post office. You can also ride on a reindeer sleigh, go snowmobiling, or glide through the forest in a dog sled.
Discover more fun things to do at Santa Claus Village on our experts’ blog.
WHAT ARE THE TOP THINGS TO DO IN LAPLAND IN DECEMBER?
Lapland offers outdoor adventure and indulgent experiences in equal measure, such as meeting Santa, aurora hunting and sophisticated dining opportunities. 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 in December:
Go mushing through the snow on a dog sled
Marvel at the otherworldly northern lights
Explore the countryside by snowmobile
Visit Santa Claus in his homeland
Sleep in an ice room or a glass igloo
Try cross-country skiing, ice fishing or snowshoeing
Experience local Sámi customs and cuisine
See Arctic animals in their native habitat
Warm up in a traditional Finnish sauna
When you book a Lapland deal in December 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.
WHERE ARE THE TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN LAPLAND IN DECEMBER?
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:
SHOULD I VISIT SWEDISH OR FINNISH LAPLAND IN DECEMBER?
Take your pick from visiting Swedish or Finnish Lapland for your December break. Both destinations offer similar experiences at this time of year, such as the chance to hunt for the northern lights, go snowmobiling, and ride in a dog sled.
However, Swedish and Finnish 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 Sami 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.
DO YOU RECOMMEND A LAPLAND HONEYMOON IN DECEMBER?
If you’re looking for a winter honeymoon in Lapland, December is one of the best months to visit. Highlights include husky sled rides, snowmobile adventures and northern lights safaris. After exploring in the day, come evening you can retreat to a romantic hideaway.
For the quintessential wintry experience, stay in cosy cottages or log cabins. Imagine sitting by the fireplace together, with views of the snow-laden scenery outside your window.
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 an experience you’ll never forget. You are kept cosy thanks to thermal sleeping bags and reindeer hides, with the chance to step into a hot sauna in the morning. Or 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:
For Lapland honeymoon inspiration, find out why Lapland is so great for adults (and not just for kids) on our experts’ blog.
WHAT TO WEAR IN LAPLAND IN DECEMBER?
As December is a cold month in Lapland, you’ll need to prepare for the winter weather by packing plenty of warm clothing. We advise that you wear thermal layers and protective boots with good grip.
Outerwear is provided on outdoor excursions, but do bring an extra coat just in case you want another layer.
Check this recommended packing list for your Lapland trip:
Thick woollen socks
Thermal base layers
Warm woollen jumpers
Snowproof jacket or coat
Thin wool or fleece gloves (ideal as a base layer under snowmobile gloves)
Thick gloves, scarf and hat
Heat pads for hands and feet
Power adaptors with two round prongs (Europlug Type C and F)
Find out more about what to bring in this Lapland packing guide.