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Best resorts in Lapland

We offer holidays to six fantastic resorts in Lapland: Levi, Pyha, Ruka, Saariselka, Salla & Yllas. Each resort presents its own respective charm and highlights. The resorts on offer range from quiet wilderness villages to more built up and lively towns. Fantastic wilderness excursions can be pre-booked or arranged locally in most of these resorts including: Snowmobiling, Husky & Reindeer Safaris, Trips to see Santa (Nov/Dec time), Northern Light adventures and Sleigh Rides to name just a few.

When choosing the best resort for you there are number of factors to think about. What is the main reason you are going? To see Santa, to Ski, to see the Northern Lights? You should prioritise your group requirements, are you looking for a shorter transfer, would a wilderness village be suitable with younger children bearing in mind you have to suit up to go outside and walk further than if you were in a town where everything is much more easily accessible. Each resort is detailed out below to help you make this decision, if you have any further questions just give one of our experienced sales team a call who will be more than happy to help.

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Levi is a perfect resort for most parties offering pretty much everything you could want from a Lapland experience. Levi is just a short 20-minute transfer from Kittilä airport. It is more built up than some of the remoter villages, but this does mean there is lots going on with plenty of restaurants, shops, and cosy bars. You can walk from one end of the town to the other within about 15 minutes so no matter where you stay everything is within walking distance which is great with little ones.

Levi is a top choice resort if you are looking to hit up the slopes with a ski area of 44km and 43 runs - 18 Blue, 23 Red, 2 Black, 15 of which are floodlit from December through to mid-February. There are 230km of cross-country skiing trails, plenty of excellent walking paths and over 800km of marked snowmobile routes allowing a wide range of different ways to explore the wilderness. The Frozen Immeljarvi Lake is a perfect spot to search for the Northern Lights and is only a short walk from the main town.

Top 3 Accommodations: Levi Hotel Spa, Crazy Reindeer Hotel, K5 Cabins


The resort of Pyhä, pronounced Poo-Ha, is a very small uncommercialised village offering a very authentic experience of Lapland. It is a 2-hour 30-minute transfer from Kuusamo airport, so one of the longer transfers of the resorts offered.

Pyhä is an incredible place to learn to ski with 14km of family friendly slopes with 8 Blue runs, 4 Red runs and 2 Black runs. With the Ski area being smaller than most other resorts the slopes tend to be very quiet adding to the peaceful serenity. There are 150km of Cross Country pistes offering routes for beginners through to those more advanced with the challenging 20km trail along to the next village over – Luppo. Many of the excursions available here head out into the Pyhä-Luosto National Park which is truly beautiful.

Top 3 Accommodations: Pyhalinna Apartments, Phya Suites, Hotel Pyhatunturi


Ruka is the southernmost resort that we offer in Lapland, but do not let that put you off, it is still covered in snow for an average of 200 days a year. Ruka is fast becoming a Lapland family favourite resort with a short transfer time of 25 minutes from Kuusamo Airport and offering one of the largest beginner ski areas with 24km of pistes and 15km of these being blue runs. There are 159km of cross country pistes and 500km of marked snowmobile routes.

There is a town style feel in Ruka with an abundance of shops & restaurants giving the opportunity to try out several local dishes –including reindeer if you fancy it! Excursion highlights in Ruka include: Ice Karting, Outdoor Ice-Skating Rink, Snowmobiling, Husky and Reindeer Safaris and Ice Fishing. Do not forget the all-important trip to Santa’s Secret Cottage if you are visiting in November/December.

Top 3 Accommodations: Ruka Suites, Scandic Rukahovi Hotel, Aurinkorinne Apartments


Saariselkä is a small village and is the northernmost ski area in Europe which also makes it a great place to spot the Northern Lights. If seeing the Northern Lights is top on your list then this would be the resort for you, we’d recommend staying in the newly built Star Arctic Hotel which is located approximately 2km from Saariselkä centre and the excursion pick-up point, which can be reached by ski bus or 30-minutes' pleasant walk. The Hotel is away from the light pollution of the village centre and is an excellent spot from which to view the Northern Lights.

The Ski area offers 12km of skiing with 7 Blue runs, 5 Red runs and 2 Black runs – there are also extensive cross-country routes some of which are floodlit during the darker months. Saariselkä is a short 30-minute transfer from Ivalo airport and is situated in a fell area in the Urho Kekkonen national park which offers incredibly snowy landscapes. Be sure to check out the Toboggan run here; it is one of the longest in Europe!

Top 3 Accommodations: Star Arctic Hotel, Holiday Club Spa Hotel, Gielas Hotel


Salla is a very small town, everything is within a 5-10-minute walking distance, so it is a great option for families. Salla offers a modest ski area with 10km of slopes, it is a perfect place to learn to ski with plenty of nice wide-open runs.

Salla is known as the birthplace of cross-country skiing in Finland so if that is top of your list then this is the resort for you – there are 160km of crowd free cross-country trails, 43 of which are flood lit during the darker months and a number of campfire spots and wilderness cabins to warm up in along the way. Salla is a 2-hour 30-minute transfer from Kuusamo airport and is close to the Russian border. Salla has the Oulanka National Park to the South and the Tuntsa wilderness to the North presenting breath-taking scenery so be sure to book lots of adventure excursions.

Top 3 Accommodations: Salla Villas, Revontuli Cabins, Hotel Revontuli


Ylläs is a very quaint village where things are a bit more spread out, there are two Lappish villages Äkäslompolo and Ylläsjärvi, they are set 15 minutes apart and are connected by a resort bus. This does offer more of an authentic winter wonderland feel however do bear in mind that with little ones there is a lot more suiting up and walking about to get to places.

The fantastic ski area ranges over 53km with some of Finland’s longest runs reaching up to 3km, there are 33 Blue runs, 24 Red runs, 6 Black runs and 4 snow parks. There is also 330km of cross-country skiing with 35km of floodlit routes. Ylläs is an hour transfer from Kittilä airport and is situated in the stunning Pallas–Yllästunturi National Park. Activity highlights here include Husky & Reindeer safaris, Snowmobile excursions and an overnight stay in the Ice Hotel can be booked including a guided tour of the Lainio Snow Village with hot berry juice and a buffet breakfast.

Top 3 Accommodations: Ylläs Log Cabins, Akas Alp Hotel & Apartments, Ylläs Saaga Spa Hotel & Apartments

Santa Breaks in Lapland

Santa Breaks are a once in a lifetime trip with your family where you can experience the wonderful magic of Lapland with the Big Three excursions: Snowmobiling, Husky and Reindeer Safaris and of course the all-important private family meeting with Father Christmas himself. There is also an abundance of other activities to take part in including Tobogganing, Gingerbread baking with Santa’s Elves, Snowball fights with an endless supply of snow and you can even try a day of skiing if you are booked on a 4-night stay. Santa Breaks start at the end of November with the last short breaks running over Christmas itself.

Resorts with Santa Breaks

We do not sell day trips or 1-night stays as we do not believe this is enough time to gain the full Lapland experience. The options that we offer are 2, 3 or 4-night breaks. The 2 or 3-night breaks operate in the magical resort of Saariselka and the 3- or 4-night breaks operate in the wonderful resorts of Yllas and Levi.

Accommodation available on these trips range from 3-5* Hotels and Log Cabins are available in Yllas. The trips include direct flights from several UK airports and short, shared coach transfers all under 1 hour. All packages include thermal suits and boots for everyone over the age of 2, a private meeting with Santa during a trip to his Workshop where you can also take part in further Lapland activities with his elves. The Big Three excursions are optional extras which we would highly recommend adding on. Please note that most activities are suitable for children aged 2+ and Snowmobiling has a minimum participant age of 4.

Resorts in Lapland FAQ:

Here at SNO, we love Levi as it ticks every Lapland box. The town has so much to offer with several shops, restaurants, and bars. If skiing is on your list the 44km of pistes will keep you occupied plus the 230km of cross-country skiing. All types of overnight stays are bookable from Levi including Luxury Glass Igloos and Aurora Cabins. If you are lucky enough, what a memorable way to see the Northern Lights. All other winter excursions here explore the breath-taking winter scenery including Snowmobiling, Husky & Reindeer Safaris. There is even a Winter Laser Tag World that poses great fun for all the family.

The resorts that we offer in Lapland are all magical winter wonderlands with equally exceptional scenery and surroundings. The answer to this question depends on what your main reason for visiting is. We have listed out the resorts into categories below for you:

  • Best for skiing: Levi, Ylläs or Ruka
  • Best for Northern Lights: Saariselkä or Pyhä
  • Best for Santa packages: Levi, Ylläs or Saariselkä
  • Best for overnight igloo stays: Levi or Saariselkä
  • Best for smaller wilderness resorts: Salla, Phya or Ylläs

The best resorts to see Santa are Levi & Yllas. We would recommend the Santa Elves Hideaway excursion. This takes place in a hidden magical forest where you can meet Santa’s reindeer, ride around on the snowmobile train, bake gingerbread biscuits with the elves, go tobogganing and most importantly every family gets a private meeting with Santa himself. There are also candlelit log cabins dotted around the forest to roast marshmallows and warm up in.

Seeing the Northern Lights relies heavily on luck. Other factors include the amount of cloud cover. Ideally, you want a clear sky, and to spend as much time as possible away from humanmade city light. Phya has a great track record with a 65% chance of seeing the Northern Lights. We would also recommend booking an overnight stay at a remote igloo or cabin location. These can be booked in Levi or Saariselkä.

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