You can’t get much further north than Saariselka. Hidden away at the top of Finland, the small town is buried deep inside the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Ocean is just a two-hour drive away and the border with Russia is even closer. What’s more, Saariselka is the nearest holiday resort to the Korvatunturi fell – said to be the very spot Santa Claus himself is from. So, if you’re looking for an authentic winter wonderland, there’s nowhere better.
The town itself is tucked between two rolling fells – Kaunispaa and Lisakkipaa – and surrounded by snowy countryside so, unsurprisingly, winter sports are big business here. You can get to grips with out-of-the-ordinary activities like snowmobiling, husky safaris and reindeer sleigh rides, and try your hand at skiing and tobogganing.
Another popular attraction is Santa’s Resort, where you can meet Santa in his very own log cabin. You’ll be introduced to his reindeer, too, and get to listen to one of his elves tell their favourite Christmas tales. In the town centre, meanwhile, you’ll find souvenir shops stacked with Christmas goodies and a good mix of restaurants serving everything from pizza and burgers to Lappish specialities like reindeer steak.
Finally, because Saariselka is so far north, it’s one of the best places in Lapland for catching a glimpse of the famous Northern Lights. These dazzling natural flares light up the sky some 200 nights a year, so keep an eye out when the weather’s good.
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