What does it cost? 4 days in Lapland budget breakdown

What does it cost? 4 days in Lapland budget breakdown

If you’re looking for a winter long weekend break that ticks all the boxes – snow, Santa, saunas and sleigh rides included – then a trip inside the Arctic Circle to Lapland is just what you need. This part of the world is a Christmas card come to life. But Scandinavia has a reputation for being one of the most expensive places to travel, so how much does it really cost to visit Lapland? Here’s my budget breakdown for four nights in Rovaniemi, Finland.

Note: these costs are based on my travel style – mid-range with a touch of affordable luxury – keeping costs down where I can to can splash out on special experiences. My trip took place in January 2019 but prices have been updated where possible to costs at December 2020.

Read more: A winter wonderland trip to Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland

Rovaniemi's Santa Claus Village at night
Santa Claus Village at night


Accommodation in Lapland is really mixed – on one end of the spectrum there are inexpensive hotel rooms in Rovaniemi for around €110 a night. Or there’s an array of bucket-list-worthy places to stay like forest cabins and glass igloos where you won’t get much change from €500 a night. Prices vary through the winter too – the period before Christmas is peak season so you pay a premium versus visiting between January and March.

We visited Lapland as a group of eight so it made sense to rent a house so we had a lounge to hang out in and could cook some of our meals. We booked a five-bedroom house* through AirBnB which sleeps up to 11 people and cost €1789/£1620/$2169 for four nights in January (including fees). The location was perfect – quiet but only 10-minutes’ walk to Santa Claus Village where there are lots of activities, a few restaurants and a bus into town.

Total accommodation cost: €224/£203/$272 per person – €56/£51/$68 a day each on average.

AirBnB rental house in Rovaniemi, Finland
Our rental house


There are direct flights from London to Rovaniemi with Norwegian and easyJet, as well as indirect Finnair flights via Helsinki. We paid £100 return for easyJet flights from London Gatwick, booked three months in advance. But that was a new route and prices rose to over £300 a month before, so it’s good to book as early as you can as flights are limited.

Rovaniemi airport is only around 9km outside of town and 3km from Santa Claus Holiday Village. There’s a bus service which connects all three and an airport shuttle, but we pre-booked a minibus taxi for eight to take us to our rental house, costing €23 each way.

To travel into central Rovaniemi from Santa Claus Holiday Village you can either catch the Santas Express or number 8 buses or take a taxi. We did each once, with bus tickets costing €3.50 each way per person and a taxi costing €25 each way for four people.

Total transport cost (excluding flights): €25/£23/$30 per person – €6/£6/$8 a day on average.

Reindeer sleigh ride in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland
The best way to travel


I don’t usually spend a lot on activities when I travel, but Lapland is one of those places where there are a ton of cool things to do to tempt you – snowmobiling, husky or reindeer sledding, Northern Lights tours, ice fishing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

None of them are cheap though (think €109 per person for a half-day excursion or €55 for a 30-minute snowmobile safari) and prices can really add up if you want to try everything. So we picked a couple of things we really wanted to do – a visit to the Husky Park (€10) with a short 500m ride on a husky sled (€30) and a 15-minute reindeer sleigh ride (€29).

Siberian huskies at Husky Park Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi’s Husky Park

We also visited the Moomin Snowcastle ice sculpture park (€30) and the Arktikum culture and environment museum in Rovaniemi (€15). Unfortunately we missed out on seeing the Northern Lights because of the weather, but a tour would’ve cost €109 per person.

There are lots of free things to do in Lapland too – cross the Arctic Circle, meet Santa Claus and visit the Christmas Museum, go for a walk through the forest, warm up in a sauna, sit by the campfire, watch one of the gorgeous pink sunrises or sunsets, go sledging (a lot of accommodation has a sled you can borrow), build a snowman or have a snowball fight.

Total activities cost: €114/£103/$138 per person – €29/£26/$35 a day each on average.

Arktikum Museum and Science Centre in Rovaniemi, Finland
The Arktikum Museum

Food and drink

Our original plan was to mix self-catering and eating out in the evenings, but we didn’t take into account how hard it would be to drag ourselves back out in the cold after it’d been dark since 3pm and we had a roaring fire going! So instead we mainly self-catered.

We did a big shop at the large K-Citymarket superstore in Rovaniemi at the start of the week. This cost €456/£416/$552 for supplies for eight people and gave us enough food to make four breakfasts and four dinners as well as a few snacks.

Our house came with an amazing BBQ hut in the garden, so we cooked a side of salmon over the fire out there one night. We did eat out for lunch and warmed up with a hot chocolate a few times when we were out and about (total €34/£31/$41 per person).

AirBnB rental house in Rovaniemi, Finland
Cooking in the BBQ hut

If you want to eat out more, an average main course at one of the restaurants in Santa Claus Holiday Village will set you back €25–€35 in the evenings. It’s usually cheaper to eat out lunchtime when there are often special offers, with simple dishes like burgers around €15.

This wasn’t my first trip to Scandinavia, so I already knew that alcohol was going to be pricey, so I stocked up on a couple of bottles of wine in duty free on the way out (€18/£16/$22). Finland sells alcohol through state-run Alko shops, which are the only place you can buy spirits, wine and beer over 5.5%. Or a bottle of wine in a restaurant costs around €30.

Total food/drink cost: €109/£99/$132 per person – €27/£25/$33 a day each on average.

Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi, Finland
Santa Claus Village

The grand total

The overall cost for our four days in Lapland in January came in at €472/£428/$572 per person. This works out at around €118/£107/$143 a night each, not including flights.

Being a group of eight helped make it more affordable as we could split costs, but even with a group of four it should’ve been possible to do a similar trip for £500. It was a really magical holiday with some of the most beautiful scenery I’d ever seen, so was well worth it.

Lower budget? Lapland’s not easy to visit on a low budget. There’s a hostel in Rovaniemi but a dorm bunk costs €50 a night, so unless you’re travelling solo, apartment rentals are likely to be the cheapest option. You could save by cooking all your own food and avoiding alcohol.

Higher budget? If you’ve got cash to splash Lapland is a great place to do it. You can sleep under the stars (and the Northern Lights if you’re lucky) in a glass-roofed igloo*, spend a day on the ski slopes at Ounasvaara Ski Resort or take a private aurora hunting or husky tour.

Reindeer at Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi Finland
Rovaniemi reindeer

Looking for somewhere to stay in Rovaniemi?*

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How much does it cost to visit Lapland? A budget breakdown for 4 days in Rovaniemi, Finland, including transport, accommodation, activities and food. #Lapland #Finland #Rovaniemi #budget #travelcostsLapland budget breakdown – what much does it costfor 4 days in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland, including transport, accommodation, activities and food. #Lapland #Finland #Rovaniemi #budget #travelcosts

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  • Reply
    February 14, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Excellent travel report. Thank You. The wine which bought was pricy! Normally when buy the best German white wine, it costs about 10 -11 Euros.

    Very nice that You visited Rovaniemi and the Arctic Circle. You could have made a nice train trip to Kemi. There is world biggest snow castle:

    Best Snow Castle photos

    Also, if You would have been in Finland on the first weekend after mid-February, then could have participated in a unique happening in the world:

    Reindeer race 1

    Reindeer race 2

    This happening is once in the life time experience! Reading local photoblogs as mine, people get information which is told only in blogs!

    Happy and safe travels.

    • Reply
      February 16, 2019 at 4:14 pm

      Thanks for the tips – hope to get back and see more next time as this was just a taster, but the reindeer race looks amazing if I visit in February sometime.
      p.s. the wine price was from a restaurant not Alko (not one I bought but that seemed to be the going rate on the menus!)

  • Reply
    February 15, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Thanks for the detailed breakdown, Lucy – this is great! I’m actually not really that put off by the high price tag. It’s definitely over and above what I would usually pay for a four-day trip, but it’s not as if this is the kind of trip you would be forking out for again and again. I will definitely think about it for January 2020.

    • Reply
      February 16, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks John – it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected either, though did make it cheaper being in a group, and as you say it’s a special experience that you’re not going to be doing every year!

  • Reply
    February 15, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve wanted to do a trip like this but when I started looking into it all I was seeing were the 500Euro igloos and didn’t really look much further than that. Reading your post I am definitely going take your advice and look into renting a house with my friends to make the trip more affordable! Thank you for the breakdown and mentioning all of the activities you can do while there !

    • Reply
      February 16, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      This glass igloos do look amazing – maybe one day! Until then it’s definitely possible to visit on a reasonable budget and still get the amazing experiences.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Lapland looks incredible! I’ve always wanted to spend the night in one of the igloos. $528 seems really reasonable for a 4 night stay. Unfortunately I think my plane ticket from the US might cost more than £100!

    • Reply
      February 25, 2019 at 2:06 pm

      Yes unfortunately that’s going to be a bit more pricey! There are some good deals to Helsinki though from the US and you can often pick up a reasonable connecting flight.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2019 at 5:08 am

    I love your write-up Lucy.

    I went to Norway for 3.5 days in January, and the prices were pretty much the same. I’ve been to Denmark many times, Finland and Sweden, and their prices are not as bad as you’d think!

    When in the Nordic region I usually travel with our teenage son.
    I sometimes opt for a boutique hostel so that he has some young-ish company, but the prices are so outrageous, it’s cheaper to book an art hotel or boutique hotel instead! So we usually do that and at €120-€150 per night, I find it more than reasonable!

    • Reply
      February 25, 2019 at 2:11 pm

      Hostels are so expensive in Scandinavia aren’t they! For a group of us it’s been much better value to book an apartment but you do miss out on the social aspect if you’re travelling solo.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Thank you for sharing this, Lucy. Thanks for the itinerary. I always dream to go in Lapland, ‘coz I love Christmas even if it’s not Christmas season. Lapland looks incredible and relaxing.

    • Reply
      February 25, 2019 at 2:14 pm

      It’s definitely a great place for Christmas fans!

  • Reply
    March 3, 2019 at 11:56 am

    I’ve been here, this brought back some great memories! So magical isn’t it ✨

    • Reply
      March 5, 2019 at 9:48 pm

      It is a really magical place!

  • Reply
    Oman Trips
    March 5, 2019 at 10:53 am

    I went through your article and it’s totally awesome. I am searching for a blog about lapland, and my search ends with your blog. We are making a plan to go there in next week, this will hep us. Keep on updating your blog with such awesome information. Thanks

    • Reply
      March 5, 2019 at 9:50 pm

      Thanks – so glad it was useful!

    • Reply
      Saoirse McHale
      December 2, 2020 at 10:01 pm

      Hi Lucy! Great blog. The prices for the activities seem so reasonable to what I have come across! Even when looking at the activities online for Santa’s village they seem highly priced. Could you shed some light on this at all?

      Many thanks!

      • Lucy Dodsworth
        December 7, 2020 at 8:20 pm

        Hi Saoirse, I just updated the post and double checked the prices and most were still the same (though the pound has dropped against the Euro) – have added links to the places for activities at Santa’s Village so you can see which we used. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Jenny chong
    March 25, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Hello. Lucy .
    May I know which website can I pre booking / advance booking for all this activities such as
    husky farm (€10), a short 500m ride on a husky sled (€30) and a 15-minute reindeer sleigh ride (€29) ? Is this all in Artic Circle ?

    • Reply
      March 30, 2019 at 7:05 pm

      Hi these were all at the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi – you don’t need to book in advance and can just turn up on the day.

  • Reply
    Jenny chong
    April 8, 2019 at 8:35 am

    Hi. Thank you for your kind reply 😉 I’ll travelling to Rovaniemi on Dec so I just walk in to Santa Claus Village to book all this activities ? Will it fully booked ?

    • Reply
      April 15, 2019 at 8:52 pm

      Hi it does get busy in December but for the main activities like the husky and reindeer sleds you can’t book so you should be fine to just go along, though might be good to go early in the day to avoid queuing.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Hi, Could you explain on ‘crossing the arctic circle’ ?

    • Reply
      September 2, 2019 at 2:15 am

      Hi, there’s a line in the middle of Santa’s Village in Rovaniemi which marks the Arctic Circle so you can literally just cross it! There are some tours you can do with more of a ceremony too.

  • Reply
    Dubai Tours
    October 16, 2019 at 7:25 am

    is it safe to visit Lapland in December ?

    • Reply
      October 16, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      I think Lapland is pretty safe all year! The weather is cold in December but if you wrap up warm and don’t stay out too long you should be fine.

  • Reply
    November 29, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Great report! Did you manage to see the northern lights whilst there and if so, how? Would you recommend late December or late March? Really want to try see northern light!

    • Reply
      December 12, 2019 at 9:43 am

      We didn’t unfortunately – they were only visible for one night and that was cloudy so we missed out. They can be difficult to see as you never know what the weather is like but I imagine December would have longer nights so a better chance.

      • Leanne
        November 22, 2020 at 1:30 am

        Hi Lucy, can I ask what month did you go to get these prices? I didn’t see it mentioned in your article, although I might’ve missed it.

      • Lucy Dodsworth
        November 23, 2020 at 12:39 pm

        Hi Leanne, my trip was in early January (we flew out on the 2nd).

  • Reply
    December 31, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Hi Lucy! Great read! Please can you comment with the link to the AirBnB as the one on the post only goes to AirBnB itself, not the property rental.
    Many thanks,

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