Get in the Christmas spirit with this customizable 10-day itinerary. It starts in Finland's capital, Helsinki, where you'll visit a UNESCO-listed fortress before checking out the nearby medieval town, Porvoo. Then take an overnight sleeper train to the Lapland region, above the Arctic Circle, where snow is practically guaranteed. Here you'll ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, dogsled, relax in a sauna, and let reindeer take you to Santa Claus himself—this is his official home, after all.


  • Shop for gifts and souvenirs in Helsinki's Design District and food market
  • Hit the slopes where Finland's national ski team trains, followed by dogsledding
  • Let a local guide show you the best spots in Lapland for seeing the northern lights
  • Take a tour of a hotel made of ice where you'll have a three-course dinner

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Helsinki, Explore Helsinki
Day 2 Old Market Hall & Suomenlinna Tour Helsinki
Day 3 Porvoo Christmas Tour, Transfer to Pyhä Pyhä
Day 4 Skiing at Pyhä Resort, Husky Safari & Farm Visit Pyhä
Day 5 Snowshoeing to an Amethyst Mine Pyhä
Day 6 Transfer to Rovaniemi, Northern Lights Tour Rovaniemi
Day 7 Snowmobile Safari to Santa Claus Village, Visit SantaPark Rovaniemi
Day 8 Reindeer Ride to Meet Santa, Finnish Sauna Experience Rovaniemi
Day 9 Finnish Christmas Experience, Arctic SnowHotel & Ice Dinner Rovaniemi
Day 10 Depart Rovaniemi  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Helsinki, Explore

Check out Helsinki's walkable streets and festive decorations

Welcome to Helsinki, the capital of Finland! Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will meet you in the arrivals hall to transfer you to your accommodation.

Get settled at your hotel and then explore Helsinki at your own pace. This colorful city features some of the most distinctive architectural styles in Europe with a mix of neoclassicism, Finnish Art Nouveau, called Jugend, and modernist works from a local architect named Alvar Aalto. Helsinki is even recognized by UNESCO as a City of Design and offers innovative boutiques, workshops, and galleries in the Design District, which encompasses 25 streets around the city center.

After some window shopping, satiate your hunger in one of many quality cafés and restaurants. Before the day ends, try one of the many traditional Finnish saunas—a perfect way to get over jet lag and guarantee a good night's sleep.

Day 2: Old Market Hall & Suomenlinna Tour

Sample local delicacies in Helsinki's Old Market Hall

Today is your chance to see more of Helsinki's city center and the UNESCO-listed fortress island of Suomenlinna on a half-day tour with a local guide. Your first stop is the Old Market Hall, where you can experience and taste fresh Finnish cuisine displayed in all its colors, tastes, scents, and nuances. You'll also have the opportunity to purchase items to take with you as souvenirs.

The tour continues with a 20-minute ferry ride to Suomenlinna, an 18th-century fortress and one of the top attractions in Helsinki. Your guide will reveal the history and secrets of this mysterious UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'll then part ways with your guide and enjoy free time to explore the island and fortress on your own, with six individual museums and several walking trails. Stay on the island as long as you wish and travel back with the ferry ticket given to you at the beginning of the tour.

Day 3: Porvoo Christmas Tour, Transfer to Pyhä

Porvoo is a charming village less than an hour from Helsinki 

Today is a fun and festive trip to the second-oldest city in Finland! In the morning, a driver will pick you up from your accommodation and take you to the bus station for your departure to Porvoo, a journey that lasts just under an hour from Helsinki.

Once there, a local guide will meet you at the bus station to start the walking tour. Along the route, you'll hear tales about Christmas in the olden days in Porvoo and learn how locals prepared for the holiday, how they celebrated, and what they ate. This is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit with twinkling lights and decorations all over town. After the tour, you'll have free time to explore Porvoo on your own before catching the bus back to Helsinki.

Later in the evening, you'll transfer from your hotel to the train station for an overnight sleeper train to Lapland, the northernmost region in Finland. 

Day 4: Skiing at Pyhä Resort, Short Husky Safari & Farm Visit

Learn how to guide huskies on this short dogsledding excursion

When your train arrives in Rovaniemi, a driver will meet you at the station and take you to your accommodation in Pyhä, about 1.5 hours away. Since you'll arrive early in the morning, check-in at the hotel won't be possible, but you can leave your bags and hit the slopes at Pyhä Resort

Situated north of the Arctic Circle, Pyhä is a reliable winter wonderland with 8.7 miles (14 km) of wide, peaceful ski runs. There's also a reputable ski school on-site with English-speaking instructors, so if you've never put on a pair of skis before, this is an excellent place to learn. More experienced skiers can enjoy the fresh powder and head for Huttu-Ukko, the steepest slope in Finland used by the national ski team for training.

The adventure doesn't end with skiing. In the afternoon, you'll take a fun sled ride with huskies in Lapland's wilderness! During this 1.5-hour excursion, you'll learn the secrets of mushing, ride a sled, and visit a small private farm where you'll hear stories about the adorable husky dogs while sipping hot beverages in a cozy hut. The guided tour can accommodate two adults or one family per husky team. After learning the ropes (literally), one adult can start mushing the team while the other members sit in the sled. At the halfway point, the adults can change places, so each gets a turn. 
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Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Snowshoe to Amethyst Mine

Spend a half-day snowshoeing in the peaceful winter surroundings

Besides skiing and sledding, Finland's sparsely-populated Lapland region is also a great place to discover the pleasures of snowshoeing. This cold-climate activity was borne out of necessity since, for centuries, it was the most practical and efficient way for residents to hike between locales. In the morning, you'll meet your guide and head into the wilderness, where you'll strap on snowshoes and embark on a four-hour cross-country trek through the snow.

This scenic route passes through the snowy wilderness of Pyhä-Luosto and ends at Lampivaara. This amethyst mine on top of a hill is unique in that it's open to the public, and you can even go digging for the prized purple stone yourself. Afterward, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 6: Transfer to Rovaniemi, Northern Lights Tour

Your chances of seeing this natural phenomenon are very good in this part of the world

At the appointed time today, a driver will pick you up from your accommodation in Pyhä and take you directly to Rovaniemi, a small city with a population of about 63,000 people. This is the capital of Lapland and the official home of Santa Claus, so there's plenty to look forward to in the coming days. 

After dark, bundle up and meet your guide for a 4.5-hour excursion into the wilderness outside Rovaniemi. It's in these dark outskirts of Lapland, free of light pollution, where you'll have an excellent chance of seeing the northern lights. Your guide knows how to observe the weather patterns and can find the best spots to stop and check out the unique phenomenon exclusive to this part of the world. They will also share stories and local knowledge of the area, as well as snacks and hot drinks. For an additional fee, you can upgrade to a tour that includes a professional photographer.

Day 7: Snowmobile Safari to Santa Claus Village, Visit SantaPark

Snowmobile yourself to Santa Claus Village for lunch and shopping 

Get ready for an exciting snow safari that combines snowmobiling and the possibility of meeting Santa Claus! Departing from Rovaniemi, you'll rent a snowmobile (18 and older with a valid driver's license) while other members can ride in a warm, covered sled. With your helmet on, make the snowy journey to Santa Claus Village—about 12 miles (20 km) from the starting place—where you can have lunch in a cozy restaurant. Then pay a visit to Santa Claus, go shopping, and send postcards and letters with a unique Arctic Circle stamp from the post office. At the end of the excursion, snowmobile back to where your day started.

In the afternoon, you can visit an indoor year-round Christmas theme park in Rovaniemi called SantaPark, located deep beneath the ground. Once inside, travel through enchanting worlds with a ride on the Magic Train, get your own diploma at the Elf School, feel the crisp winter air in the Ice Gallery, and watch the jolly Elf Show on the main stage.

Day 8: Reindeer Ride to Meet Santa, Finnish Sauna Experience

Let the local reindeer show you the way to Santa Claus

If you've ever dreamed of meeting reindeer, today is your chance. The adventure starts on the edge of the forest outside of Rovaniemi, where reindeer will be waiting to lead the way to Santa Claus. Take a seat in the furry sled and start the journey through the Magic Forest. The elves will also help you find a secret trail in the snow that leads to Santa's Secret Hut. Warm drinks and cookies will be served, and the entertaining elves will keep you busy with their program while waiting for your turn to meet the man himself!

In the early evening, you'll experience an authentic Finnish sauna away from the city, in the middle of the remote Arctic landscape. Spending time in the sauna is a substantial part of Finnish culture. It's not only a place to kick back with your friends and family but also a place for physical and mental relaxation.

Keep in mind that the cottage has separate dressing rooms and bathrooms for men and women, but you'll use the same steam room—like the Finns do. Wearing a swimsuit or a towel is allowed in the sauna even though the locals often go without it. After your sauna experience, you can cool off outside and gaze up at the Nordic sky. Try and spot the northern lights while you are served an evening snack with beverages in the cottage's lounge.

Day 9: Finnish Christmas Experience, Arctic SnowHotel & Ice Dinner

Take a tour of a hotel made of ice, followed by a three-course meal

Today is a wonderful way to experience a Finnish family Christmas! From Rovaniemi, you'll transfer to a forest farm and start the Christmas activities by offering seeds to the birds in the area. Next, head inside the cottage and make traditional Finnish Christmas decorations and gingerbread cookies with the heat of the fireplace. Then take part in decorating a Christmas tree, just like a real Finnish family. You'll also write a letter to Santa, which will be delivered to him by an old friend.

After the activities, it's time to set the table and enjoy a traditional Finnish Christmas lunch with rice porridge, prune soup, a fish dish with sides, and beverages, including coffee or tea. At the end of the meal, you'll return to your hotel in Rovaniemi for a little rest.

In the early evening, you'll visit one of the most unique accommodations in the world: the Arctic SnowHotel. During this guided tour, you'll walk around the snow structures, marvel at ice sculptures, and visit ice rooms, including a sauna, complete with ice furniture. After the tour, warm up with a sip of the local liquor at the hotel's ice bar before enjoying a three-course meal in the on-site gourmet restaurant. Then return to your hotel in Rovaniemi, which, you'll be glad to know, is not made of ice.

Day 10: Depart Rovaniemi

Until next time, Lapland!

It's time to say goodbye to Finland's winter wonderland! As your adventure comes to an end, a driver will pick you up from the hotel and take you to the airport for your departing flight. Safe travels!

More Great Finland Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Finland? Check out these other Finland itineraries, explore different ways to spend 10 days in Finland, and learn about the best time to visit Finland.


Map of Finland Ultimate Christmas Adventure - 10 Days
Map of Finland Ultimate Christmas Adventure - 10 Days