Traveling in Finland with kids

What does responsible travel recommend?

The Finns are extremely welcoming to children, and provided you keep them warm and well fed they should be content to hang out with huskies and reindeers, build snowmen of every shape and size, and toboggan down fells until you are too exhausted to haul them back up again. And don’t forget if you're traveling in Finland with kids – in parts of Lapland, it’s actually Christmas every day. Older kids will enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, canoeing and rafting. Thousands of islands, virtually endless lakeshores and beaches offer room to stretch out and relax during the lengthy summer days. There are many activities which the whole family can enjoy together, and ways for curious minds to learn – about reindeer herding, traditional lifestyles, wilderness ecosystems and astronomy. Finland is well worth wrapping up for.

Activities for families

What to do in Finland with kids

Learn about Lapland’s unique nature and its culture with a visit to a reindeer farm. These gentle creatures do more than just pull Santa’s sleigh – they are pivotal to life in northern Finland, and the herders are always keen to share stories of their daily lives and reindeer husbandry, before taking you on sleigh rides wrapped in warm blankets.
Finnish Lapland is the official home of Father Christmas – and you can meet the busy man himself in his “office” all year round. Letters addressed to Santa arrive here from around the world, and kids can help the elves with their tasks, ride on a reindeer-pulled sleigh and send their own postcards from the world’s most famous post office.
10 percent of Finland is made up of water – and its lakes, rivers and rapids are fantastic fun for canoeing and kayaking. Older children and teenagers will enjoy the independence this activity brings – as well as the chance to explore the northern wilderness from a new angle, with its unusual wildlife, log cabins and welcoming local communities.

Tips for families

responsible travel asks the experts

Aki Käräjäoja, founder of our supplier Routa Travel, shares his tips on traveling in Finland with kids:
"It’s better not to have a very strict timetable and to understand that you are doing things differently than at home because it’s not always easy to plan. Parents often have high expectations but it’s better to be open-minded and see how the kids are and how cold it is. So we can make tours shorter, and instead of a full day sledding, we can go indoors and take a few of the huskies. Thinking flexibly is good – if, after 2km, it’s cold and the kids aren’t happy then you have to work around that."

Urpo Heikkinen, from our supplier Upitrek offers advice for visiting Finland with kids:
"Families need to pick activities carefully. Kids can do softer treks but if they get tired you may need to take a short cut so that no-one gets left in the forest! They can see reindeer and sometimes elk on the walks, but bear watching is a problem as in the hides you sometimes have to be silent for hours. It depends on the nature of the children and how active they are. Sometimes it works, but it’s not for everyone."
Photo credits: [Snowshoeing girl: Upitrek] [Children running into lake: Upitrek]
Written by Vicki Brown
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