Europe’s northernmost ski resort, Saariselkä is 250km up from the Arctic Circle, not far from the Russian border. One of the main resorts in Lapland – the legendary home of Father Christmas – it has snow sure skiing, a Christmas-card-esque village and heaps of festive activities all in one place.
The village itself is surrounded by forest and full of winter wonderland charm, with its own little chapel, some shops and restaurants and accommodation ranging from spa hotels to traditional log cabins. Everything is pretty close-knit and it’s usually only ever a short walk from A to B.
Surrounded by wilderness, this is one of those places where you feel like you’re a world away from the rest of civilisation and can get really close up and personal with nature. Right next door, the stunning Urho Kekkonen National Park is one of Finland’s largest protected areas.
There’s lots to do here, from experiencing natural beauty at Kakslauttanen’s Igloo village or spending some time indoors at the - less traditional but kids love it - Angry Birds activity park. Famous for its gold rushes (you can try your own luck at gold digging here) it also has a thriving Sami community and the Sami Museum is well worth a visit.
If you’re lucky you’ll catch the northern lights, whether peeping out from your cabin, on a snowmobile safari or lying in a glass igloo...
The two fells that make up the ski area are 1km away. You have to take a ski bus to the slopes but it only takes about five minutes and the service is usually pretty sharp.
In terms of getting here in the first place, the closest airport, Ivalo, is only a 20 - 30 minute drive away and a bus service for the last leg of the journey is fairly frequent. You can also train it to Rovaniemi and then take a bus to the resort.