Each year, Finland's snowy expanses turn into a playground for young and old alike whether you’re staying in a traditional log cabin or glass-roofed bubble. It’s also impossible to ignore the big-city pull of Helsinki with its fascinating heritage and unique, modern experiences.
Come the season, Finland’s winter wonderland opens up to snowmobiles, dogsleds and snowshoe excursions alike. And, sited in the pine-tree speckled west of Finnish Lapland, Harriniva Hotel is ideally set up for a family break. Meet the 400 friendly huskies before sledding out through snow-covered paths or head to the reindeer farm to choose between Donner and Blitzen for a sleigh ride. And, the highlight of any visit to Lapland is a trip to Santa’s grotto where elves point the way to St. Nick’s cabin. There’s also cookie baking workshops for the little ones while adults can try out their Bear Grylls knowledge with a wilderness cooking experience.
For older ones, the winter months are an ideal time to try and spot the Northern Lights. Head to Lapland’s north where the Arctic Circle brings out the brightest greens and deepest reds picked out against a jet-black sky. And, for a family-run welcoming atmosphere, share this experience with your family in a traditional log cabin at the Nellim Wilderness Hotel. It’s also the perfect launchpad into snowshoe adventures or simply evenings spent by the fire. For the best experience, book into the Aurora Bubbles – glass dome cabins that showcase the best in the aurorae. Wherever you are in Lapland, you can even chase them on snowmobiles or dogsleds and combine your visit with some education on the indigenous Sámi culture. Learn how these hardy people have carved out a way of life in these inhospitable climes with a visit to a Lavvu (tipi) or with a spot of ice fishing.
As a world city, Helsinki has so much to offer. Adults will be impressed with sights that straddle Russian and European influence in stunning neoclassic architecture while kids, on the other hand, will fall in love with experiences such as the Escape Room – a series of puzzles that you have to solve to free yourself – and the Icepark or Ski Hall where you can skate and ski in an urban setting. Of course there are also amusement parks and open-air museums while the Suomenlinna is the world’s largest sea fortress and is well worth a visit. Finally, all ages will be impressed with the exhibitions of the Design Museum which showcases the best in industrial, 19th century art and contemporary Nordic classics.