I get it. Not everyone wants to go on holiday to somewhere that’s minus 24c. It’s easy to think of cold, damp days at home and want to escape to the sun. But with a bit of planning, you can make the most of your cold holiday adventure, get to experience something truly magical and not like anything you can experience at home.
Whilst the thermal suits are great, if you’re being active, layers are better as you can remove a layer as you warm up. You can rent thermal suits for around €10 a day or €60 a week. Or, you could get a few pairs of base layers and some salopettes online for about the same cost, and you get to use them on future trips. I also use thin running socks as a second layer as they’ll wick away moisture from your skin.
Invest in a decent hat & gloves!
I have thinsulate gloves with a thin secondary pair for when it got really cold, but mittens are recommended as your fingers will keep each other warm. A hat that covers your ears is a must unless you want your ears to snap off.
I only wore trainers when arriving and leaving and skidded about on the ice like Bambi, so you will need something with decent grip. Normal walking boots or shoes should be fine as long as they have good grip.
Hand and foot warmers!
Put inside your shoes and gloves on really cold days will make all the difference. I’d especially recommend on excursions such as huskies, reindeer or horse safaris and definitely on something like ice karting when you’re flying through freezing air at speed. They also come in handy during aurora hunting and will enable you to stay out for longer. Skidoos have heated handles so unless you want your hand to melt, you won’t need hand warmers but foot warmers will keep your toes toasty.
The air is really dry (expect static shocks off everything!) so you’ll need to moisturise regularly to look after your skin. A decent hand and face cream and lip balm will stop your skin drying out and cracking, and I recommend carrying lip balm out with you so you can reapply on the go. Whilst it wasn’t very sunny during our trip, when the sun is out, it is very intense reflecting off the snow so SPF creams are a good idea.
Lapland isn’t the cheapest place to eat and drink! Tap water is perfectly safe to drink so bring a canister and refill it for days out. If you like an alcoholic drink, bring a bottle from duty free or visit an alco shop to have in your room. Bottles of wine start around €10 and spirits about €40, for a full bottle. The alco shop in Levi has half bottles too. To be fair though, I found bar and restaurant prices in line with a touristy city in the UK, around €8-€10 per drink and €20 for a main course. I also found portions to be large so dishes could easily be shared between 2. Staying half or full board at your hotel can also be really cost effective. In our case, staying half board was no more expensive than self catering so we were effectively eating for free.
Book a room with a sauna!
Saunas are really common in Finland and a lot of hotel rooms will have a private sauna. After a cold day out or hard day on the slopes, there’s nothing better than a relaxing sauna.
Honestly, a beach is a beach anywhere in the world. The far north winter really is something else and a trip you’ll treasure forever.