Tourists travel to the Arctic Circle in droves to see Father Christmas in his homeland. But while you can’t really miss Santa’s grotto while you’re up there, there’s a lot more to this icy wilderness than a man in a red suit.
The Northern Lights
They are elusive, but if you do see them the Northern Lights are spectacular. To give yourself the best chance of witnessing the aurora borealis, try sleeping in a glass igloo. The Kakslautten igloos in Finland are built from a special thermo glass, so you’ll be toasty even if it’s -30C outside. “All you have to do is lie back and enjoy the light show,” says The Guardian.
Visit the Ice Hotel
Just because you’re north of the Arctic Circle doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a bit of luxury. The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, is rebuilt every year. While it has been much copied, the original is still the best, with cosy cabins and the Absolut Ice Bar, where the vodka is sure to warm you up even if it is served in glasses made of ice.
The ultimate sleigh ride
Head to Saariselka in Finland to learn to drive your own dog sled. But be prepared: “I had assumed I would be the one sitting in the sled, wrapped up in toasty furs. How wrong I was”, warns Mark Frary in The Times. Learning to command a pack of eight dogs is an exhausting but exhilarating experience.
Visit Father Christmas
It wouldn’t really be fair to take the children to the Arctic Circle without visiting one of its numerous Santas. But it can be fun for adults, too, if you do it in style. The Sunday Times recommends spending five nights in a log cabin with a private sauna and an open fire in Finland. Activities include toboggan and reindeer rides, a trip to Santa’s Post Office and a meeting with the big man himself.
For more information on the destinations mentioned above, contact your travel agent. Prices change consistently and don’t come cheap. If you can afford it, go for it. It is worth every cent.