Lapland (or Lappland) is vast, and covers a quarter of Sweden as well as parts of Norway, Finland and Russia. The fairytale snowy landscapes up north in the Arctic Circle are most famously home to Father Christmas, and this, together with the Narnia-like settings, the chance to see the magical Northern Lights, experience adventures such as dog sledding, snowmobiling and ice skating on natural ice rinks, visit Christmas markets and stay in some unique hotels (such as the Icehotel, which is created entirely from pure ice each year), makes Swedish Lapland a perfect spot for an enchanting festive family break – or a memorable holiday for young and old alike!
As well as meeting Father Christmas in his homeland, the area has plenty of other gems, allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors and breathe in the fresh arctic air, which is guaranteed to blow away the cobwebs. Explore Sweden’s largest glacier, Salajekna, on a hiking tour or a thrilling helicopter ride from above, and meet local wildlife such as Santa’s helper, the reindeer, the arctic fox and birds such as the majestic golden eagle on a visit to Vindelfjallen Nature Reserve with an expert local guide. Lapland means ‘Land of the Sami’, and you can learn more about the Sami culture over an al fresco traditional lunch, cooked on an open fire and using recipes handed down through the generations (there is some fabulous food to be enjoyed here, especially for the adventurous gourmet). After discovering this beautiful part of the world, relax in a wood-fired sauna or a soothing Jacuzzi and do some stargazing in the panoramic night skies.
It’s not just about winter in Lapland though. These dramatic, rugged landscapes, dotted with glassy lakes and dense forests, are spectacular at all times of year. In summer, take advantage of the endless daylight hours, the magical ‘midnight light’ and scenic walks around the mountains as the alpine flowers come into bloom, as well as leisurely cruises and canoe trips amidst stunning scenery.