Harriniva Santa Break – Exclusive Departures: Your frequently asked questions

Taking your children to meet Santa in Lapland is for many a dream experience, so naturally there is plenty to consider. Below, Best Served Scandinavia general manager Sue McAlinden provides answers to some of the most common questions about our most popular festive break – the Harriniva Santa Break exclusive departures.

What clothes should I bring?

As with any trip to the Nordics, packing the appropriate clothing is essential. It is far better to wear layers of relatively light, loose clothing rather than one thick, heavy item. Harriniva will provide outer thermal clothing for the duration of your stay. This will be in your room upon arrival and will consist of the following:

  • Outer thermal all in one (or two piece) snow suit
  • Heavy duty snowshoes
  • Balaclava suitable for going under a helmet
  • One pair of large mittens
  • One pair of woollen socks

About one month prior to departure, we will contact you for clothing sizes, so that your outer thermal clothing will be in your room on arrival. If for any reason your clothing does not fit, there is ample opportunity to change any item. We do recommend bringing your own thermal leggings, thermal vests, hats, scarves and thick and thin socks for layering, as well as hand warmers which can be useful for excursions (pop these into boots or gloves to keep your extremities warm). We advise against tight clothing since it leaves no room for trapped air. Indoors, Harriniva is a small, cosy, informal, family friendly lodge and the dress code reflects this. Dressing for comfort is the order of the day. Jeans are suitable for indoor wear but not whilst on safaris and excursions.

What facilities are there in the rooms/cabins and resort?

Harriniva favours the ‘all in one’ style of shampoo and body wash which is very common in Scandinavia. If you wish to have a more extensive choice, then please do bring your own. If you book one of the Riverside cabins, you'll have a small kitchenette with induction stove, fridge, microwave, kettle and coffee maker. You can obtain milk from reception should you need to, though do bring along any favourite tea/coffee/hot drink sachets as supplies are limited at the hotel. All rooms have a hairdryer.

Away from the rooms, Harriniva has a restaurant, small bar and riverside sauna and Jacuzzi (pre-booking recommended and supplement applies). There is a small gift shop which also sells some essential items and snacks. The nearest supermarket and pharmacy are 3km away.

What is the food like at Harriniva?

We would describe the food at Harriniva as hearty and plentiful – just what you need for a cold climate. Dietary requests are catered for, so just let our specialists know in advance – particularly if there are allergies involved – and these will be taken care of. Breakfast at the restaurant is a buffet with a choice of cereals, ham, cheese, bread and selected hot items. Tea, coffee, juices are also served. Lunch consists of a main and dessert, while dinner offers a selection of cold starters and soup, followed by a main course and dessert. Children’s option are of course available too.

How do I get a letter to Santa?

On our Harriniva Exclusive Departures, you will have an included private meeting with Santa. Before you travel, we will send you a questionnaire seeking some details to share with Santa so that we can make your visit as personal as possible. In addition, if your child has written a letter to Santa, please make sure you bring this along with you when you travel. We will deliver your letter ready for your individual family Santa meeting. The letters will be collected from you on the first evening at Harriniva.

How do I smuggle a present to Santa?

Please bring a small, wrapped gift. We usually recommend something from your child’s wish list costing no more than £20–£30. Please clearly label the present with your child’s first name and surname and we will smuggle this to Santa. Again, the presents will be collected from you on the first evening at Harriniva. Make sure that the children don’t see the wrapping paper you are going to use. Some savvy children have asked ‘How come Santa has the same paper as we have at home?’!

Will I see the Northern Lights?

Our exclusive Santa break at Harriniva offers far more than just meeting the great man himself. There'll be plenty of chances to  try the likes of snowmobiling, husky sledding and of course a chance to spot the Northern Lights. However, do bear in mind that the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon and as such cannot be guaranteed.

Harriniva is situated above the Arctic Circle and away from any city light pollution, so should the lights come out, you can just step outside of your room and see them. You can also subscribe to a Northern Lights alert system; details will be provided locally. If you're planning to photograph the aurora, please do remember that batteries on cameras & mobile phones tend to drain quickly in the extreme cold, so we do recommend that you bring along some spare battery packs.