A trip to Santa’s snowy winter wonderland is a dream for kids big and small. But how much does it cost to go to Lapland? This budget post breaks down the costs of a four-night trip to Rovaniemi, Finland.
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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 like a Christmas card come to life.
But Scandinavia has a reputation for being one of the most expensive places to visit in Europe, so how much does it cost to go to Lapland? Here’s my budget breakdown for a four-night trip to Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, which shows the costs for accommodation, transport, activities and food to help you plan your own trip.
Note: these costs are based on my mid-range travel style – keeping costs down where I can to splash out on special experiences. This post was first published in 2019 but prices have been updated wherever possible to show costs as of October 2023.
What does accommodation in Lapland cost?
Accommodation prices in Lapland are really mixed. On one end of the spectrum you can find an inexpensive hotel room in central Rovaniemi for around €110 a night. And at the other there’s an array of bucket-list-worthy places to stay like log cabins in the forest and glass-roofed igloos, where you won’t get much change from €500 a night.
Prices vary hugely through the winter too. The period leading up to Christmas is peak season in Lapland so you’ll pay a premium versus visiting between January and March. We travelled straight after New Year and found most of the festive attractions stay open until the end of the season so you don’t miss out if you visit after Christmas.
House or apartment rentals are good value if you’re travelling as a group, and mean you can cook some of your meals. We were a group of eight and rented a five-bedroom house through AirBnB which was only 10-minutes’ walk to Santa Claus Village with its activities and restaurants, and cost €2180/£1900/$2310 for four nights (including fees).
Accommodation total: €274/£238/$289 per person – €68/£59/$72 a night each.
How much is transport in Lapland?
We travelled to Lapland from the UK, where there are direct flights from London Gatwick to Rovaniemi with easyJet, and indirect Finnair flights via Helsinki. We paid £108 for return flights with easyJet, booked three months in advance. But prices rose to over £300 a month before, so it’s good to book as early as you can as flights are limited.
You can easily pay £400 or more for return flights from the UK before Christmas, so if you want to visit Lapland on a budget then I’d recommend travelling in January.
Rovaniemi airport is only around 9km outside of town and 3km from Santa Claus Holiday Village. There’s a bus service connecting all three and an airport shuttle, but we pre-booked a minibus taxi for eight to take us to our rental house, costing €25 each way.
To travel into central Rovaniemi from Santa Claus Holiday Village you can either catch the Santa’s Express or number 8 buses or take a taxi. We did each once, with bus tickets costing €3.60 one way per person and a taxi costing €25 one way for four people.
Transport total: €146/£127/$154 per person – €37/£32/$39 a night each.
What’s the price of activities in Lapland?
I don’t usually spend a lot on activities when I travel, but Lapland is one of those places with a ton of great 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 €110 per person for a half-day excursion or €65 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 – visit the Husky Park (€10) with a short 500m ride on a husky sled (€35) and a 15-minute reindeer sleigh ride (€33).
We also visited the Moomin Snowcastle ice sculpture park (€30) and the Arktikum culture and environment museum in Rovaniemi (€18). Unfortunately we missed out on seeing the Northern Lights because of the weather, but a tour would’ve cost €99 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 sleds you can use), build a snowman or have a snowball fight.
Activities total: €126/£110/$133 per person – €32/£28/$33 a night each.
What does food and drink cost in Lapland?
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 €466/£406/$494 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 €36/£31/$38 per person).
If you want to eat out more, an average main course at the restaurants in Santa Claus 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 pizzas or burgers around €15.
This wasn’t my first trip to Scandinavia, so I knew that alcohol was going to be pricey and stocked up on a couple of bottles of wine in duty free on the way out (€20/£17/$21). 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.
Food and drink total: €114/£99/$121 per person – €29/£25/$30 a night each.
The grand total
So how much does it cost to go to Lapland? The overall cost for our four-night trip to Rovaniemi in January came in at €660/£574/$697 per person, including flights from the UK. This works out at around €165/£144/$174 per person per night.
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 under £600. It was a magical holiday with some of the most beautiful scenery I’d ever seen, so was well worth it.
Lower budget? It’s not very easy to visit Lapland on a budget. Rovaniemi has a hostel but dorm beds are €50 plus a night, so unless you’re travelling solo, apartment rentals are likely to be cheaper. 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 Northern Lights if you’re lucky) in a glass-roofed igloo*, spend a day on the slopes at Ounasvaara Ski Resort or take a private aurora hunting or husky tour.