The Jolly Bearded One

There remain certain opportunities in life for which there is a window. Young children have imaginations that are primed to accept enchantment and Christmas is the ultimate season of magical occurrences. The moment has finally arrived in a parent’s life – it’s time to visit the elves!

Father Christmas, as any child could tell you, lives with his wife and a cluster of elves, deep in a snowy forest in a cosy log cabin where he builds any toy a child deserves (for free of course!). He has a broad face and a little round belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly. This epic trip gives you the chance to get close to the big man himself. We would also suggest a spot of husky sledding, reindeer sleigh riding, tobogganing, biscuit baking, gift making and tree decorating wouldn’t go amiss.

After fun-filled days settle down in your cosy cabin with its roaring log fire and enjoy a truly memorable Christmas. ‘Bah Humbug’ to all the Grinches of this world.

What's included

  • Flights: Return flights from UK airports to Kittila or Ivalo
  • Transport: Private return transfers or winter car hire from airport pick-up to airport drop-off
  • Accommodation: 7 nights in a log cabin, cottage or apartment (shorter trip durations can be arranged)
  • Meals: Self-catering basis
  • Trip Pack: Key family-friendly information about the country you are visiting with links to reviewed activity providers, places to eat, driving tips plus essential information such as visa requirements, weather, what to pack, medical advice etc.

Trip highlights

  • Staying in a cosy log cabin near the ‘real’ home of Father Christmas
  • Exploring isolated forests and fells covered in crisp white snow
  • Building snowmen and whizzing down mile long sledding hills
  • Following family-friendly snow-shoe trails such as Varkaankuru trail in Äkäslompolo and Ylläslompolo Nature Trail in Yllas
  • Learning about the Sami culture, the original inhabitants of Lapland
  • Venturing out at nightfall to catch a glimpse of the dancing Northern Lights
  • Witnessing lakeside fireworks and lively restaurants at New Year
  • Adding on as much adventure as you want from traditional activities such as husky sledding, reindeer safaris, visiting Father Christmas, snowmobiling and skiing to more left field ones such as ice fishing and ice floating

Key facts

  • When can we go? November to January
  • What type of tour is it? Resort based
  • Who is it suitable for? For those with a heart full of Christmas cheer. No grinches allowed.
  • What is the minimum age? For all that believe!

Guide price

We publish ‘guideline prices’ for both the high and low season to give a reasonable estimate of what you might expect to pay per person based on a family of four (two adults, two children). To get an accurate price based on your estimated departure date and party size please contact us directly.

Guide Price: Nov to Jan - £625pp


  • Wandering Tribe offers true wilderness trips to the very north of Finnish Lapland where there are no mass Santa crowds. Just lots of trees!
  • We provide you with the fabric for a memorable family holiday – flights from the UK, your accommodation in a 4* log cabin or cottage and winter car hire or private transfers.
  • These essentials give you the freedom to tailor-make your own trip. We can arrange adventure activities on your behalf or simply provide the information to book these independently. We can also provide part or full catering service to your cabin.
  • We also provide you with an information pack containing links to reviewed activity providers (in terms of past customer ratings, safety and value for money), recommended family-friendly places to eat, tips for driving and any recommended cultural activities. Your entire trip research presented to you in a handy pack.


The road to Yllas is considered one of the most beautiful in Finland, weaving its way through valleys filled with fir trees whilst stark white snow dazzles against an intensely blue sky. This area with its wintry fairy-tale beauty has stayed true to its traditional roots and is considered by many to be the real home of Santa. In winter it is the epitome of a picture-postcard Christmas scene: pretty wooden houses surrounded by a landscape of white.

The first snow falls here in November and continues until May. There are a range of activities available including a magical visit to Father Christmas’s secret cabin, sledding with huskies, snowmobiling, reindeer safaris, and visiting the snow hotel. The ski area is one of the largest in Finland with over 60 slopes and 53km of pistes across two sides of the mountain. Most of these are at a forgiving gradient perfect for learning to ski on. Higher up the mountain enjoy the spectacular views of the snow-laden fells of the Pallas-Ylläs National Park.

Saariselka, is located some 250km within the Arctic Circle, in the Sami heartland of Finnish Lapland. This small village sits at the very edge of a vast wilderness where taiga forests lead to snowy fells offering incredible views of infinite landscape. Make no mistake there are no mass Santa crowds situated here. This is true authentic Lapland with its simple honesty and warm hospitality. Saariselka also enjoys ‘big skies’, far away from artificial light pollution meaning lots of potential for aurora sightings.

Among Saariselkä's attractions are an extensive network of ski trails, a vast toboggan run (we’re talking huge!), Urho Kekkonen National Park with its beautiful aurora hiking trails and opportunities to take a reindeer sleigh ride, go snowmobiling or husky sledding. At night time, settle into cosy & inviting restaurants for dinner inspired by local traditions.

The winter wonderland resort of Levi is surrounded by dense pine forest and glittering lakes. It could easily double up for the fictional kingdom created by C. S. Lewis. There are miles of fabulous ski runs and boundless fresh powder. Throw in the Northern Lights, ice hotels, snowmobile safaris, Sami reindeer farms, ice karting, husky sledding, and search for Santa trips and it is a perfect world of wintry dreams.

The resort centre is located at the foot of the main ski lift with 17 uncrowded floodlit pistes. Next to the ski slopes a sledging run leads into the forest for magical Narnia-esque adventures whilst Kota huts complete with log fires and warm berry juice dot the mountainside. Out in the woodland, hibernating bears doze surrounded by complete silence under a mystical blue twilight.


Wandering Tribe has travelled to all of the destinations that we feature and we like nothing better than talking about them. If you would like further information about these tours or a tailor-made quote then please contact us on 07392 742333. Alternatively you can fill in the contact form and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.


You will be greeted with a huge wet lick by ten adorable pure-bred Siberian huskies before driving through the snowy wilderness and vast empty spaces at the helm of your sled. Part of a noisy canine caravan of sleds, skirt forests and lakesides, reaching speeds of about 12mph. Feel pure exhilaration having heard the call of the wild. ‘Yip’ ‘Yip’.

With matted horns that stand like a fanciful hair-do atop its head, the reindeer is a hardy creature of the cold. Being pulled in a sleigh by a "poro" ("reindeer" in Finnish) is one of the quintessential Lapland experiences. Travelling through the snow-covered forests is an enchanting and magical experience, wrapped up with a cosy blanket and dreaming of Narnia. Reindeer have a reputation for being stubborn so fingers crossed “Dasher” doesn’t stop too many times to munch on moss or lichen.

Watch your children’s eyes sparkle as they set foot on a 'secret path' through the forest, following the elves and the twinkling lanterns to Santa's log cabin home. Father Christmas will be waiting to greet them personally and your children can sit and discuss their hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Without doubt the most magical experience in Lapland.

Boondocking over a frozen lake at 60mph without a seatbelt might not sound like the most appealing (or safe) activity, but if you pluck up the courage to try snowmobiling, you'll be rewarded with a huge adrenaline rush. Unlike husky and reindeer sledding, this activity requires a driving license and a large pinch of guts. You will be given a full safety briefing but rest-assured the snowmobiles are easy to manage and even have heated handle bars to keep you warm. You will be guided away from the main roads passing moonlit forests and lakes. Remember to keep checking the skies for any sightings of the Aurora Borealis.

This is hiking on an elevated level. Snowshoeing is one way to build up thighs of steel as you strap snowshoes (racket-shaped frames) onto your feet and start climbing a fell. Check for animal tracks from hares, willow grouse, Arctic foxes and of course reindeers. Feel like you are bouncing off clouds on your hike back down. It will be a slippy & slidey affair but loads of fun!

Skiing in Lapland is a world away from the crowds of the Alps. Expect wide pistes, tree-lined runs and tons of snow. It’s a fantastic place to learn to ski, with excellent English-speaking ski schools and plenty of beginner’s slopes. For more advanced skiers there are World Cup slalom worthy slopes and off piste runs through magical forests. In winter the sun sets around 3pm so you'll spend the late afternoon skiing through shafts of golden light. There are also plenty of options for a steaming cup of cocoa to warm your boots!

If you fancy something different, why not have a go at cross-country skiing - it’s practically the national pastime in Finland and the perfect way to delve into the amazing landscape around you.