- Amazing hikes through nature at the Arctic SnowHotel
- Watching the Northern Lights
- The huskies at Safartica - Husky Safari
- Building snowmen
Prepare in advance
Ensure you have warm clothes! Nothing in any other country, except for Scandinavia or Nordic regions, can prepare you for the temperatures here. We recommend bringing the following for each person in your group: Heavy winter coat, light layers for top and bottom (Cuddlduds or similar for base layer), ski or other waterproof pants, waterproof gloves, wool socks and a hat that covers ears.
Good to know
Finland is a Nordic country and temperatures can be very cold. Weather can also change rapidly during the day and night. What starts out as a comfortable sunny day can quickly turn nasty. Prepare for this by having your heavy clothing with you at all times.
I recommend starting the adventure with the early morning husky ride. Usually, places will have two rides per day. The morning ride is best as the dogs are eager to go, and have rested the longest amount of time between rides.
Recommended time of the year
We recommend visiting Rovaniemi in winter or very early spring to get the most out of your trip. This way, you'll have snow, the snow hotel, and potentially, even the Northern Lights. In summer, nearly everything will be closed due to the lack of snow, so plan accordingly.
Finland is a very expensive country. Lapland thrives on the winter tourism since they close during the months there’s no snow. There are very few opportunities for discounts or coupons, so if you see one, grab it and book right away as you will not likely find another. Bring your own snacks and refillable water bottles. This will save a tremendous amount of money because even refreshments add up!
About This Day
If you are looking for something a bit different than anything you've ever done, a family day of exploring Lapland with kids in the snowy town of Rovaniemi, Finland, is just the ticket! A magical ride through a winter wonderland on huskies followed by a visit and overnight stay at the SnowHotel is something you're sure to regale friends with for years to come. Enjoy one of the best dog sledding vacations for families!
When you arrive at the farm with Safartica during your dog sledding vacation, the guide will teach you how to work the sledge and basic safety guidelines. You're then escorted to the waiting sledges. Don't approach your dogs at this time, they're eager to run! There will be time to meet them later.
The husky ride is about 2 hours long. Depending upon the age of your children, where they ride will change. Typically, a sledge will carry two adults or two adults and a child. If there are four of you, the guide will rearrange things. Riding through the silent forest with banks of snow all around you is incredible. The rhythmic pounding of the dogs’ feet and the slide of the sledge rails is all you'll hear as you wind through the trails.
The experience is magical and unlike anything else! Halfway through the ride, you can switch places to either drive or sit in the sledge. At the end of the ride, with warm drinks and cookies in hand, you will learn about huskies and meet the dogs.
DIRECTIONS Safartica is located in the center of town. There is no free parking in town, but the agency will pick you up from most local hotels. We stayed at an Airbnb and they even picked us up from there. The building is on the corner of the main street in town and has good signage.
Safartica is a tour company in Rovaniemi that offers many tours including husky safaris, reindeer rides, snowmobiling, ice fishing, ice floating, etc. There are many other companies in town that offer similar tours, but Safartica was the best value (with the highest reviews as well as the smallest group sizes) for dog sledding vacations. They were also extremely nice. For the husky ride, they will provide you clothing to keep warm, including arctic coveralls and wool socks.
TIP Use the bathroom before you put on all the clothes and get into the sledge! The husky farm also has a bathroom, but it is hard to get all your clothes off. Book in advance. Your credit or debit card may have issues booking online due to Verified by Visa. Calling the tour company to book directly will ensure your card goes through without an issue.
The Arctic SnowHotel is a luxury resort situated on the frozen lakeshore. You have the option of staying in the SnowHotel or simply visiting it. If you stay in either the SnowHotel or the Glass Igloos on-site, your entrance to the SnowHotel is included and there is no charge. Staying at the resort also includes the use of snowshoes at your leisure to hike in the woods. You can also sled on the hill or hike across the frozen lake.
The resort has two restaurants, as well as a lodge with a bar and breakfast area. They also have two reindeer you can visit.
It is a winter wonderland and a great place to relax for a day and night.
DIRECTIONS Outside of Rovaniemi about 30 minutes, the SnowHotel is located on the lakeshore. Take Road 79 north out of Rovaniemi, and turn onto Road 83. Take a left onto Lehtoahontie, and you will see signs for the hotel. It is pretty remote.
TIP Staying in the SnowHotel is challenging! It's -5 °C (23 °F) inside at all times, so sleeping in an arctic sleeping bag is required. They are provided, but if you've never slept in one, it can be difficult. Small children are permitted, but must be watched carefully to ensure they don't slide out of their bags at night! It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but don't book more than one night.
WE LOVEDWhether you choose to say in the glass igloos or the snow hotel, the rooms are truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience to go along with your dog sledding vacation, plus they have a great family igloo.
WE DIDN'T LIKEIt's expensive, but it's worth it. There were some minor housekeeping things we thought could have been better, but Finland is not known for luxury customer service.
TIPStaying in the SnowHotel is challenging! It is -5 °C (23 °F) inside at all times, so sleeping in an arctic sleeping bag is required. They are provided, but if you've never slept in one, it can be difficult. Small children are permitted, but must be watched carefully to ensure they don't slide out of their bags at night! It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure, but don't book more than one night.