Lapland travel tips

Lapland travel tips


Tips from our friends in Lapland

Swedish Lapland's charms


Maya Rao, from our supplier, Aurora Retreat, shares her Swedish Lapland travel tips
“Five major rivers flow across Swedish Lapland from the mountains to the Gulf of Bothnia – and they're so pure you can simply dip your cup and drink. Watching a free-flowing river is like sitting in front of a fire and dreaming away your thoughts. Sitting by a campfire on the riverbank is twice as good! Swedish Lapland is famous for the Northern Lights and midnight sun. But few people realise there is so much other beautiful light here in the winter months from November to February. The sun sits low or just beneath the horizon, and the colours of the sky reflect in the silent snowy landscape. It's hard to understand how breathtaking it can be until you experience it.”

Seeing the Northern Lights with kids


Ali McLean, from our supplier, Activities Abroad, shares his Lapland travel tips:
“A couple of years ago I was at a place called Lake Inari, standing on a frozen lake waiting for the Northern Lights it was -27°C and the kids were sitting inside a hut under blankets and next to a fire. About midnight the lights came out and I ran in asking them to come and see the display. My daughter looked at me and said, ‘nah dad, we’ve already seem them.’ Kids have to be a certain age to appreciate them; I’d say anyone below their teenage years doesn’t have enough of a grasp of what they are and gets too tired and too cold for the hunt. It tends to be a trip for the older generation while the kids get stuck in to all the great winter sports.”

Advice on Lapland’s seasons


Laura Greenman, from our supplier Magnetic North, shares her opinion on Lapland’s seasonality:
“There is such a big contrast between the seasons in Lapland and they all have their own unique pull. In winter and spring, you have bright white and glistening snow, which makes way for the lush greens of summer and then during autumn the landscape is a vibrant red and orange. Our general aim is to promote the wonderful seasonality of the region, so there isn’t such a big demand for visits to Lapland over a small number of weeks per year. The more that people start to understand the seasonality of Lapland, not only will it open their eyes to the incredible amount of vacation possibilities across the region, but it will also help to sustain the livelihoods of the locals there too.”

What to pack


Mikael Kangas, from our supplier, Aurora Retreat, shares his Lapland packing advice:
“The temperatures can drop to -30°C and though most companies will provide a very warm set of overalls and some suitable shoes for the snow, it’s important that you pack synthetic or wool layers to keep you warm. Your clothes don’t need to be waterproof though because at those temperatures you won’t get wet, which is a real advantage – you can jump into deep snow and you won’t feel wet at all, plus the snow just brushes off.”

Health & safety


Travel safely in Lapland

Health


  • Europeans are advised to get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before traveling. This does not replace health or travel insurance, but entitles you to any necessary state-provided medical treatment.
  • Ticks are an increasing problem in Sweden, with a significant incidence of tick-borne encephalitis as well as Lyme's disease. Take precautions when hiking and check for ticks and bites afterwards. If you feel unwell or notice anything unusual around a bite area, consult a doctor immediately.
  • Tap water is safe across the region - but do check with your guide before drinking from streams as even the cleanest-looking water may harbour parasites. Boiling will make it safe – or use purifying tablets: iodine kills giardia and other dangerous organisms better than chlorine.
  • Medical facilities are generally excellent in larger towns, and each town usually has at least one 24-hour pharmacy.
  • Mosquitoes in late June-July are vicious. Make sure you apply repellent frequently.

Safety


Lapland enjoys wonderfully low crime rates.
 
One of the main hazards is driving – especially in winter, when you must use snow tyres, preferably with studs. Engine heaters are also recommended. Black ice is a particular danger when the temperature is just below freezing.
 
Look out for wildlife – collisions with deer are common, and accidents caused by moose can result in serious injury, and even death.
 
Snowmobiles may only be driven by those aged 15 and over - research which activities are suitable if you're coming to Lapland with kids.
 
Very low alcohol limits are permitted for drivers across Lapland – just 50mg per 100ml. Attitudes to drunkenness in are also very different to the UK. You can be arrested for being drunk in public and any drink driving is likely to be punished severely.
 
Take note of the local emergency number: 112
 
Always check weather forecasts and information on other local conditions (e.g. crevasses on glaciers) before setting out cross-country – hikers and skiers have died after ignoring advice in popular hiking areas. Conditions can become treacherous almost any time of the year apart from July and August. And even then, be aware of the risk of avalanches, particularly in higher areas.
 
For further information on health and safety in Lapland, please visit the FCO website.

Tips from our travelers in Lapland


Travel like a local

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Lapland travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
It’s easy to put too many layers of clothing on when doing sporting activities such as skiing. The warm winter clothes they supply are excellent, so all you need are some thermals for a couple of days. – Thomas White 
 
I would recommend 2 pairs of gloves at least, wear one under the other if you can. – Emily Symes
 
Try all the activities, they are fun - even for the 'big kids'!Catherine McLeod
 
On the free days, get out on skis or snowshoes on your own and enjoy the surroundings and the cleanest air in Europe. We were in a group of 14 for a wilderness vacation and it was lovely to experience the quiet and solitude that you can find without straying very far from the hotel.Irene Mitchell
 
Do take head torches if you go in winter as it gets VERY dark.Karen Horridge
 
If you enjoy a drink then take your own as it is very, very expensive out there.Kathryn Haw
 
When not using your camera take the battery out and keep it somewhere warm. I kept mine in the top pocket of my woolen shirt and it lasted nearly the whole week, but do take a spare in case.Iain Roberts
 
Have an open mind and go with the flow! I abandoned my quasi-vegetarian diet for the week and found reindeer to be much more delicious than I had imagined. Cold red wine and tea without milk were normal, but the food was plentiful and delicious even in the limited cooking conditions.Emma Davey
Photo credits: [Lapland river: Hanna Sobczuk] [Autumn:alevale] [Skiing:Guillaume Baviere] [Campfire:Mt. Hood Territory]

Written by Polly Humphris

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