Lapland

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How To See The Northern Lights Through Your Own Glass Igloo

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Seeing the Northern Lights is pretty spectacular no matter where you are, but to see them from your very own glass igloo is the ultimate bucket list experience. 

I had a few requests from people asking how to get to ‘the place with the glass igloos’. It seems many people want to turn their dreams into reality, or spoil their partners for special birthdays or anniversaries. So I decided to do some investigating and find out how to see the Northern Lights through your own glass igloo. 

how to see the Nothern Lights
 

 

 
Kakslauttanen is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights, during the aurora season from late August to late April. It is situated 250 km north of the Arctic Circle, so you can expect to find the cleanest countryside, the purest water (you can drink straight from the stream), and the freshest air from almost anywhere in the world.
 

 

 
However Kakslauttanen is not all about the igloos and the aurora. There are so many activities available, you will be spoiled for choice. Think snow mobiling, husky or reindeer safaris, ice fishing, tobogganing, cross country skiing and lots more. For a truly unique experience try their ice swimming and smoke saunas combination.

how to see Northern Lights in a glass igloo
 

 

 
There is a wide choice of accommodation, including log cabins, chalets, snow igloos and of course their famous glass igloos. They also have large glass igloos with a fireplace and sauna, that hold up to six people, if you want to bring a few friends or family along. 

Northern Lights
 

 

 

How to get there?

Kakslauttanen is located in Finland, but it is so far North that it is actually a 90 minute flight from Helsinki. Finnair fly from Dublin to Helsinki almost every day, but to get the connecting flight to Ivalo you need to take a morning flight which only operates three times per week. You will find alternative flights, but be careful, they will involve multiple stops with flying times over ten hours.

Another option is to spend a night or two in Helsinki before flying to Ivalo, this will give you more options with flights. Ivalo airport is only a short thirty minute transfer to Kakslauttanen and the hotel will arrange transport for you.

Northern Lights
 

 

 
I found a great deal on flights over St. Patrick’s weekend for four nights, for just €327return. This should give you optimum time to see the Northern Lights and try some of the many activities available, including snow mobiling, cross country skiing etc.

There are various room types to choose from, but the price for four nights in a glass igloo is €870 per person – this brings the total cost to €1097 per person for a four night stay, based on two sharing. Larger igloos for groups or families are also available.

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So now you know how to see the Northern Lights through your own glass igloo, the question is will you scratch one off the bucket list to experience a trip of a lifetime?

 

 

View flights here €327pp

View hotel here €870pp

 

 

Like this post? You might like:

25 Bucket List holidays to inspire your next big trip.

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Note some of the links in this post contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

DestinationsEuropeFamily Holidays

Why Lapland Is One Of The Most Magical Trips You Will Ever Take

santa in lapland

I have teamed up with Sunway, who offer more packages to Lapland from Ireland than anyone else. Our Sunway holiday to Lapland was magical. I still vividly recall my son lying with his ear to the snowy ground, telling me he could hear the elves making toys underneath…..

 

It’s been nearly four years since our visit, but it might as well have been yesterday. Our photo with Santa is still perched right in the centre of our living room and when a new visitor comes into the house, irrespective of the time of year, they inevitably hear how ‘we saw the REAL Santa’.

packages to Lapland from Ireland

Words that we learned during our trip are still recounted in high pitched Finnish accents four years later, particularly ‘Joulupukki’ (Santa in Finnish) – if only they remembered their Irish words so well! We have been very fortunate to go on many great family holidays, but Lapland is still the most talked about trip in our house. We took a short video while we were there and it is religiously watched every year after we put up the Christmas tree and again on Christmas Eve. It’s part of our ritual now, along with putting out the milk and cookies for Santa before bed time.

People often say to me about the cost. I know it is expensive. You could easily get a week in the sun for the same price, but ask yourself which will the kids remember more? Will they talk to their kids about the week they spent in Majorca when they were 8? I don’t think so. I have no doubt that my kids will share their memories of Lapland with their own children one day. It is lifetime memories like this that are priceless.

packages to Lapland from Ireland

We travelled with Sunway.ie who have sent thousands of families to Lapland over the past twelve years  – suffice to say they know what makes the perfect Santa experience. They offer one and two night trips to Rovaniemi and three and four night trips to Kittilä. Sunway have packages available from Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Kerry. It is important to note that they have payment plans in place, so you don’t need to pay in full at the time of booking, a deposit of €100 per person will secure your place. If you can’t afford it this year, don’t worry, you can even book now for 2019 at 2018 prices!

packages to Lapland from Ireland

Believe it or not, the magic actually starts long before you arrive in Lapland. Imagine your kids faces when you tell them they are going to see the ‘real’ Santa? That’s when the fun starts! This is enhanced further when you arrive at the airport and see the  ‘North Pole’ as the destination at the check-in desk. It seems every child is wearing a Christmas jumper and Sunway’s elves are on hand with goody bags for all the children. It is a magical start to the journey and is typical of the attention to detail and service that Sunway provide throughout all of their packages.

packages to Lapland from Ireland

While a private meeting with the ‘REAL’ Santa might be the reason you book a holiday to Lapland, it is not the only thing that is memorable about the trip. Just being in a winter wonderland, with snowy forests all around, is something pretty special too. All of Sunway’s trips offer husky and reindeer rides, as well as snowmobiling and a trip to Santa’s village and Santa’s post office  – not your typical holiday experiences!

packages to Lapland from Ireland

Which package to choose?

Sunway offer four packages to Lapland from Ireland. If you are short on annual leave or if cost is a factor, the one night Santa’s Sleepover trip, priced at €979 per adult and €819 per child. may suit you. This is available from Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Knock and Shannon airports – you can see details here.

 

We went on the two-night Sleighbell Spectacular trip, currently priced from €1329 per adult and €1129 per child from Dublin airport. This includes a snowmobile safari through the forest, a visit to Santa’s command centre and elf school, tobogganing, and a festive dinner with a show. This show is a great opportunity to meet Santa for a second time and get a souvenir photo – just in case the first one didnt work out so well in the command centre! See more details here or read all about our trip to Lapland here.

 

packages to Lapland from Ireland

 

For those who want to experience the winter wonderland for a bit longer, Sunway also offer three and four night trips to Kittala from Dublin airport. These include all the favourites as the other trips but you will have some more free time to build snowmen, go skiing or simply relax and take in the magnificent surroundings. You can read all about them here.

 

packages to Lapland from Ireland

 

When looking at the costs note that all of above prices include flights, accommodation, transfers, all activities, meals and arctic clothing. You really only need spending money for souvenirs. And if this year is too soon to travel, why not want to plan now for 2019? Simply place a deposit now to secure your place at this years prices and talk to Sunway about their payment plans. For more details on how to plan this trip of a life time visit Sunway.ie

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Sunway but all views as always are my own.

 

Sarah

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Family Holidays

Lapland is on Sale Now

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Lapland is without a doubt one of the best trips you can do with your kids, I can not recommend it highly enough! Lapland is on sale now, book it before its too late!

The magic starts at the airport. You are greeted by representatives in costume when suddenly you see that the destination on the check-in desk is the North Pole. The magic never stops! A winter wonderland covered in snow is enough for most kids, but meeting the ‘real’ Santa Claus, is sensory overload!

A trip to see Santa in Lapland by The Travel Expert

You can choose a one night sleepover trip or the two night Sleighbell Spectacular trip. I was lucky to be able to go on the two night trip two years ago with my children. Prices start at €899 per adult and €799 for children from Dublin and Cork for the one night trips and €1259 per adult and €1059 per child for two nights. I loved the two night Sleighbell Spectacular and I would say beg, borrow or steal to do it! I stayed in a luxury log cabin and had a winter wonderland experience. Enjoy a snowmobile ride through the forest, husky and reindeer rides, a trip to Santa’s command centre and a trip to Santa’s village! All activities, food and arctic clothing are included in the price. You really only need spending money for souvenirs. With memories that will last a lifetime and possibly go on for generations, they really are priceless. For more information on my trip to Lapland, you can read my blog here.

 

Click here for more details or email me for personal quotations.

 

Sarah

 

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As Seen on TV3’s Sunday Am – 8th Nov 2015

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Here are my top picks for pre Christmas breaks as seen on TV3’s Sunday AM.

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Christmas Market Breaks

The winter price war between Aer Lingus and Ryanair means there is still great value in Christmas market breaks. The Irish Travel Agents Association has many advertised in their offers section, with packages to cities such as Prague, Krakow, Berlin for less than €200 with flights and hotel.

The Travel Expert offers a Copenhagen Christmas market break

I particularly like the Copenhagen Christmas market, it offers something different to the eastern European markets. Tivoli Gardens is one of the world’s oldest amusement parks and is situated right in the heart of the city. It is filled with over 500,000 fairy lights and decorated to look like a winter wonderland. There are light shows, concerts, fantastic restaurants and over 60 market stalls. You can take a spin on a rollercoaster or sip some mulled wine, while catching a top class concert. The market itself is the destination. Its also a great place to bring children, with lots of amusement rides for all ages and you can even combine it with a visit to Santa, who is on site! Note that the Tivoli Gardens market is open until the 2nd of January (most of the others are closed by Christmas Eve), so it is a ideal place for a post Christmas break too. ClickandGo are offering a great deal to Copenhagen in December, with Aer Lingus flights and two nights in a 4* Hotel for only €219. For more details click here.

 

Christmas Shopping Breaks To New York

Another holiday that has made a huge come back this year is the Christmas shopping break in New York. Despite the exchange rate there are still plenty of bargains to be found.

A Christmas shopping weekend in New York by The Travel Expert

 Century 21 department store (an American version of TK Maxx) is open from 730am so its an ideal place to start. Inevitably with the time difference you will find you are wide awake at 6 am the day after you arrive. Its also easier to find bargains when the store is neat and tidy – don’t try to go in the evening time, its like a jumble sale! Most of us love Macys and Bloomingdales and there are plenty of bargains to be found coming up to Christmas. My personal favourite is the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. They have all the top designer clothes for a fraction of the price you would pay at home. It is also a really nice place to shop, like a massive Kildare village. Of course if you don’t want to venture outside of Manhattan you can always pick up the latest designer bag or jewellery on Canal Street for $20! For more details on shopping in New York, read my blog here.  The Christmas tree at Rockefeller centre is illuminated on the 2nd of December so I chose a package on the 4th of December. The price for flights and hotel for three nights is €695 per person, click here for more details.

 

Lapland

I went on a two night trip last year with my husband and two children and loved it. It was by far the best family holiday I have had, and one that I will never forget. It is not just about meeting the ‘real’ Santa, the whole experience is magical. The excitement starts from the minute you arrive at the airport to check in, the sign reads The North Pole, the excitement never goes away. There is entertainment on the short three hour flight and when you arrive at your log cabin in the snow, its like a winter wonderland. The trip included snowmobiling, husky & reindeer rides and a visit Santa’s post office and village. I would say to anyone to beg, borrow or steal to go, the memories will last a lifetime for you, and your children. For more information on my trip, read my blog here.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert offers an over night trip to Lapland

Sunway have the largest number of flights with 8 operating between Dublin and Cork. The two night trips are full and there is very limited availability on the 1 night trips. Likewise Cantebury Travel’s two and three night trips are also full. The good news is that Falcon Holidays still have availability left on their day trips. Prices are from €639 for adults and €579 for children and there is availability on the 5th, 12th and 18th of December. I would recommend anyone who is planning for next year to book well in advance. Use it as a savings club perhaps, pay a small deposit and pay in monthly instalments.

Like what you see, click here to see my best travel deals:

 

Sarah
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DestinationsEuropeFamily HolidaysFeatured

Our trip to see Santa in Lapland

From the moment I told my kids that we were going to Lapland, all they wanted to know was were they going to meet the ‘real’ Santa? I guess it is every child’s dream to meet him and my kids were no exception.

 

 

As soon as we arrived at the airport and saw the North Pole on the departures board the excitement was palpable. We were met by the lovely Tinsel Tina, the Sunway representative who gave the kids goodie bags filled with colouring books, crayons, Santa hats and the very much appreciated Cadburys selection boxes. Not that we need any of them, because we received a lovely hot breakfast free of charge on the flight (a rarity these days).  The flight literally ‘flew’ by as we were entertained throughout with Christmas carols and games. We arrived in Lapland within three hours.

 

A trip to see Santa in Lapland by The Travel Expert

We were whisked away immediately and brought to get our snowsuits and boots for the duration. This was brilliantly organised, we were back on the bus fully loaded with clothing to combat the cold within ten minutes. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and cleanliness of the clothing. I had purchased snow boots and clothing for my kids beforehand but really there was no need. What was supplied was more than adequate and in retrospect I would have travelled lighter!

We were brought to our accommodation at the foot of the ski slopes which was another welcome surprise. The standard was really high, with a really spacious cabin with all mod cons, including a sauna and most importantly it had underfloor heating! I guess I expected an old cabin where we would have to wear layers in bed but it was the opposite, in fact another place where I could have saved on the packing – no need for the kids ‘onesies’!

Lapland, The Travel Expert

It was then that the adventure began. As the moderate daylight faded, we were brought off in the dark to our our first activity which was snowmobiling. I thought it would be like a theme park ride around a purpose built track. It was the opposite. We were led deep into the snowy forest to meet our experienced guides. We were then given a brief lesson, supplied with helmets and given amazing snowmobiles to ride. It was like a scene straight out of a James Bond movie!

Lapland, The Travel Expert

The adults drove the snowmobiles while the kids were pulled behind in traditional sleighs, lined with reindeer hides. It was magical! We drove deeper and deeper into the dark forest for a leisurely thirty minute drive. It was full of Christmas trees covered in snow, it was like a fairytale. Don’t tell anyone, but I think the adults enjoyed it every bit as much as the kids! We had worked up an appetite at that stage so we welcomed the buffet which was laid on in the hotel beside our cabin. It wasn’t exactly Michelin star quality but there were clean plates all around! We had just enough time then to try some tobogganing before bedtime. Each cabin came equipped with kids toboggans and my two kids loved going down the hill beside our cabin, it was great fun.

A trip to see Santa in Lapland by The Travel Expert

The second day in Lapland was the big one! Our first port of call was a trip to a husky farm, once again very well organised. Half of the group enjoyed a brief chat about huskies while sipping hot berry juice around a cosy fire. We learned about their role at the arctic circle and had the opportunity to meet and pet some eight week old husky puppies. The other half of the group took a ride in the sleigh pulled by eight husky dogs. It meant no one was waiting in line for too long in the freezing temperatures. The dogs were remarkably fast and it was great that all of the family could go together in the same sleigh and that we could get the obligatory family picture.

Husky dogs, travel expert,lapland,christmas,santa clause

A short drive later and we were at the reindeer farm. This was another beautiful setting at the edge of the snowy forest. Once again, the group was split in two. A brief chat about reindeers and some more hot berry juice was given while the others took the reindeer rides. They are beautiful creatures, almost mystical, but the ride itself was quite slow and not as exhilarating as the previous two. In fact, there was a huge snow slide at the farm, basically a steep hill covered with ice and I think the kids actually enjoyed sliding down that more than the reindeer ride itself. They did receive a reindeer driving licence afterwards, a nice touch and a lovely souvenir to bring home.

A trip to see Santa in Lapland by The Travel Expert

It was then time to go to see the man himself, the excitement was exacerbated by the lovely Elphina, on our coach. Elphina was our honorary elf guide throughout and she made each journey effortless, with plenty of Christmas songs and games being played. We also got to learn a little Finnish too. We arrived then at Joulukka and were warmly greeted by two rather large elves. Complete with pointy noses, beautiful clothes and fantastic accents – they were the real thing! We were brought into their village and had lunch in a beautiful elf cabin made of logs.

A trip to see Santa in Lapland by The Travel Expert

We were served by more elves, all equally as impressive. We then went to see Santa’s secret command centre. It’s hard to come up with words to describe this, suffice to say I believe again! We were shown how Santa receives the letters, how Santa sees the naughty and nice children and where the elves were working underground making all of their presents. One of the elves then asked us to sing a Christmas carol and as my daughter duly obliged, the wall behind us magically disappeared.

A trip to see Santa in Lapland by The Travel Expert

We peeked around the corner and there he was, the answer that has perplexed us all for so many years, Santa was real! His immense size complete with a beard that touched his knees, you could tell there was something different about him, compared to his helpers that you see in other places. He knew Luke and Alex’s names and what they had written in their letters. The expression on their faces is something that I will never forget, it really was priceless.

They came out of the command centre with a lovely toy husky dog from Santa. Somehow I think that toy will be tucked under sleeping arms for many years to come. As I relived the experience with my husband I turned around to see my once sceptical son lying on the ground with his ear to the snow and ice. When asked what he was doing, he said he could hear the elves underground, making toys – it doesn’t get much better than that!

Lapland

Our day wasn’t over yet! We then went to elf school and learned many tips from how to be kind to others to how to decorate gingerbread cookies. We were allowed bring our iced cookies home to granny, another nice souvenir. It was time to go back to the cabin then for some much needed rest. Although with three hours of free time, you could choose to go tobogganing or in our case build a snowman, a request that was promised to my daughter before we left Ireland.

We were collected again at 7.30pm for a trip to Santa Park. This completed an already fantastic day with a nice meal, a show and another appearance by the man himself. Santa posed for pictures with everyone, which gave you the opportunity to capture another shot in case the earlier one didn’t go as planned. We went on an indoor train ride, made our own elf decoration as well as making a wish by banging three times on the ‘Drum of Dreams’.

A trip to see Santa in Lapland by The Travel Expert

The last day had come, and time to say hey hey (goodbye in Finnish) to our beautiful cabin in this winter wonderland. We had a final stop at Santa Village where we sent our postcards complete with Santa’s official stamp to friends and family at home. There was also a chance for some souvenir shopping, (the necessary Christmas decoration from Lapland), and a chance to cross the arctic circle line. There were also two ice slides here so it gave the adults time to souvenir shop or grab a hot chocolate while the kids played on the ice with their new found friends. A quick stop to return the borrowed thermal clothing and off to the airport we went.

As we queued to check in, the honorary elf guides played with the kids, telling stories and singing songs. The entertainment continued on the plane home with Tinsel Tina singing more songs and painting faces after our inflight Christmas dinner. Tina then asked kids to go up to the top of the plane, speak into the microphone and tell everyone about their favourite part of our trip to Lapland. While most kids said meeting Santa, as many said ‘everything’ was their favourite thing. This really summed it up for me because while you initially think the trip is all about meeting Santa and the elves, it’s really not. Lapland is about family time, building a snowman, tobogganing, husky rides, snowmobiling, snowball fights and reindeers.

A trip to see Santa in Lapland by The Travel Expert

Lapland is a magical place that until now only belonged in fairytales. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough so try to go before its too late. Sure, you could get a two week family sun holiday for the same price and no doubt you will have a good time, but which holiday will have memories that will last with you for a lifetime?

Sarah

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I went on Sunway’s two night sleighbell spectacular trip. Please email me: sarah@thetravelexpert.ie for personal quotations or  Visit Santa in Lapland with Sunway

 

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