by Kirsty Hill
1. Visiting Santa Claus
Travelling with three children under 9, our first stop to Rovaneimi had to be to visit Santa Claus. We travelled in Ruska, which is Finland's autumn.
Although this may seem like an odd time to go visit Santa, I actually think it made the experience even better. Not only did we avoid the crowds but we got a much more personal adventure.
Each time we visited Santa at the Santa Claus Village (yes, we visited more than once), we were either the only family there or joined by only one or two other families.
Considering that over 300,000 people visit here annually, I'd say we hit the jackpot! Our children all got to have a long chat with Santa with no feeling of being rushed or moved on.
- Entry to see Santa is free, with the option of professional videos or photographs for a fee.
- You can stay in Santa Claus Village. Cabins have a great festival feel all year long with Christmas tree and you'll have access to your own personal sauna.
- Travelling in off-season means some stores and restaurants will be closed. Santa Park was also closed this time of year.
2. Chasing the Northern Lights
One of the top things to do in Finland is seeing the Northern Lights. At the information desk in Santa's Village, it is possible to book a variety of day trips and adventures. Being on limited timeframe, we booked all of our tours from here.
Our first adventure was chasing the Northern Lights!
Even in autumn, the temperatures drop below 0 degrees Celsius at night. Luckily, with our tour, we were provided with full thermal suits which kept everyone toasty warm.
The lights usually appear mid August until the beginning of April and can be seen on over 150 nights of the year. Unfortunately, it is still a game of chance and we did not see any lights our first evening. We did, however, get to cook sausages over an open flame and enjoy listening to our guides tell us local folklore and stories about the aurora borealis.
Luckily, we had an extra evening in the area and we lucky enough to catch a glimpse of these amazing lights the second evening.
3. Up Close with the Reindeer
There were a wide variety of reindeer options available. We chose to head out to one of the local reindeer farms at Seiriporo Safaris.
In the winter, this family-owned business takes you out on a reindeer sleigh. As there was no snow, we got to meet the reindeer who normally pull the sleigh.
These gentle giants came out the surrounding woodland at the call of our guide and we got to feed them by hand. All the while, our guide explained his long family history in the area and even showed us the sauna he was born in!
4. Having fun with the Huskies
No matter what time of year you choose to visit Finland, Husky rides are available and one of the best things to do in Finland with kids. And if think that because there is no snow your ride won't be as exhilarating, think again.
Hooked up to the back of a quad bike, our teams raced at speeds that took our breath away. At Huskypoint, we got to play with adorable pups and learn about the extreme races the huskies take part in.
Depending on the time of year you visit Finland, you can enjoy anything from a 10-minute ride to a 5-day Husky safari. This was truly one of the highlights of our Lapland adventure and you could hear the children whoop for joy the whole ride.
Our adventure to Finland will be one that our children will talk about for many years to come. It has also stretched out those magical beliefs in our household just a little bit longer because now they've seen the real Santa at home!
Disclaimer: I received free entrance to the Santa Claus Village in exchange for my honest review. Although writers are often provided with complimentary goods and services for the purpose of review, we at inCredible Canuck only recommend places we would stay ourselves and things we would use.