From nights spent in ice suites and stays in glass igloos to thrilling dogsledding trips and snowmobiling tours, in the depths of winter, Scandinavia is a region dusted with snow and no little magic. Where else could you spend the festive season in an outdoor jacuzzi surrounded by an ice-laden forests, or tucked away in your own log cabin gazing out at the kaleidoscopic Northern Lights? These once-in-a-lifetime experiences understandably get booked up fast, so book now to avoid disappointment. Here are our top picks, chosen by our Scandinavian specialists, for next year's winter season.
On the shores of a spectacular fjord, Malangen has all the components needed for an enchanting winter break. With a new direct transfer from Tromso, it’s easier than ever to reach the rugged wilderness of Arctic Norway. Perhaps the shining star of this trip is Camp Nikka, where you’ll sit around a roaring fire while waiting for that famous lightshow. If you fall asleep, though, fear not – a ‘Northern Lights alarm’ in the form of traditional Sami song will gently rouse you so you don’t miss a second. Or perhaps you want to pull out all the stops and spend Christmas Day itself in this Arctic wilderness – the dream of a white Christmas is more or less guaranteed. Children and adults alike can enjoy husky safaris, cross country skiing or snowmobiling, with of course, an evening sauna and hot tub to look forward to after your adventures.
Camp Nikka, Malangen Resort
For the ultimate winter break, it’s hard to beat a stay at ICEHOTEL, situated 200km north of the Arctic Circle. With thermal clothing and Arctic sleeping bags on hand to keep you warm, your first night will be spent sleeping on a bed of ice in your own, immaculately carved suite. The next day, grab a drink at the ICEBAR before hunting the Northern Lights via snowmobile, or enjoying a more leisurely horseback ride. Husky sledding to and from Kiruna airport is also an option to begin or end your adventure in true Scandi style. The ICEHOTEL is extremely popular, so book now for next winter to avoid disappointment.
King Kong suite at ICEHOTEL (image: Asaf Kliger @ICEHOTEL)
Lying in bed in a glass igloo is one of the most magical ways to watch the Northern Lights, and Finland has a wonderful offering in the form of the heated glass-domed rooms at Levin Iglut. Situated deep in the Lappish wilderness among forests and fells, you’ll stay in an insulated cabin under the stars, hopefully catching sight of the celestial aurora. Then, hop across to Hotel Harriniva. Situated in the snow-covered forest, it features cosy, pine-clad room, some with their own private sauna, the ideal base for optional tours out into the Lappish countryside, including cross-country skiing, dogsledding and wilderness cooking lessons.
Levin Iglut, Finnish Lapland
The word Lapland may evoke scenes of Santa’s permanent home, but this authentic experience provides so much more than that – though of course, you're just a stone’s throw away from SantaPark and the Santa Claus Secret Forest, if meeting Father Christmas is high on the agenda. This wonderful wintry trip includes the chance to learn about indigenous Sami history, visit a husky farm, spend a morning dogsledding, and tuck into tasty Lappish food around the a roaring fire. You’ll finish your holiday with a night at Rovaniemi's spectacular Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, which offers everything from lakeside spa treatments to fin-filled reindeer rides. And, from your designer room, you'll enjoy floor-to-ceiling views as you look out onto the snow-covered wilderness, and with luck, the ethereal light show of the aurora borealis.
Arctic Treehouse Hotel, Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland
It's hard to imagine anything more festive than a visit to meet Santa in his forest home. Staying in a cosy log cabin in Rovaniemi, deep in Finland's Arctic wilderness, this fun-filled family adventure not only brings you face to face with St. Nick and his team of helpful elves, it also includes everything from reindeer rides to trips out on husky sleds and snowmobiles – a true celebration of winter in Lapland. We've even included half-board dining in the price, so you'll have the chance to try all manner of delicious Lappish delicacies. And, with Rovaniemi's location right on the Arctic Circle, you'll be perfectly placed for spectacular displays of the Northern Lights.
Snowmobiling in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland