Get your skates on for a La­p­land es­cape

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Cover Story - Fam­ily fun in a win­ter won­der­land Au­tum­nal aurora time

One of Europe’s last true wilder­nesses and still home to the indige­nous Sami no­mads fa­mous for their rein­deer herds, La­p­land is two dif­fer­ent places de­pend­ing on when you visit. A land of lakes and en­chant­ing birch for­est be­tween May and Septem­ber, it is the place to savour end­less summer days, pack­ing them with out­door pur­suits such as hik­ing wild moun­tain trails, float­ing down river on a raft made of logs, fish­ing on pris­tine lakes, for­ag­ing for the fabled cloud­berry or sim­ply tak­ing in the colours of late Au­gust as the days shorten and ru­mour of win­ter grows.

When win­ter has taken its long res­i­dence, the si­lence among snow-laden trees can be ab­so­lute and the beauty of the land­scapes and the win­ter light has an ethe­real fairy­tale qual­ity only added to at night by the cos­mic storms of the North­ern Lights.

This is the time to snow­shoe into the for­est still­ness, test your legs and lungs on Nordic ski treks or mush the huskies pulling your sled along wild for­est trails, sleep­ing in an ice ho­tel or a glass-domed Aurora view­ing cabin. It is also a mag­i­cal fes­tive des­ti­na­tion ideal for cou­ples want­ing to es­cape the usual yule­tide at home and un­for­get­table for kids who can feed rein­deer, get towed by snow­mo­biles and meet Fa­ther Christ­mas.

Both Swedish and Fin­nish La­p­land are pretty well served with flights, MEET­ING SANTA Want to take your chil­dren to see Santa Claus in La­p­land this win­ter? See our ex­pert tips at tele­graph.co.uk/ tt-xmasla­p­land rail and road con­nec­tions but al­low time for chang­ing planes and air­port trans­fers. Get­ting in and out of this re­mote re­gion eas­ily takes a day each way from the UK, so three or four nights spent here are a min­i­mum for most, per­haps com­bined with a Nordic city break. her­itage coastal town. Abisko Na­tional Park and the ski lift up to the Aurora Sky Sta­tion should be high­lights, weather per­mit­ting. Great Rail Ad­ven­tures (01904 521 936; greatrail.co­mom) of­fers eight days from £2,695, in­clud­ing flights, ac­tiv­i­ties, rail travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion, most meals. De­par­tures Jan­uary to March 2018. Re­spon­si­ble Travel (01273 823 700; re­spon­si­ble­travel.com) of­fers five days from £1,410 in­clud­ing flights, ac­tiv­i­ties, ac­com­mo­da­tion, meals. De­par­tures be­tween Septem­ber and Novem­ber 2017. hearty, tasty buf­fet lo­cal fod­der and evenings in front of roar­ing fires. Ex­o­dus Trav­els (0203 131 2008; ex­o­dus. co.uk) has eight days from £1,399 in­clud­ing flights, ac­com­mo­da­tion, all listed ac­tiv­i­ties and all meals. De­par­tures be­tween De­cem­ber 2017 and April 2018.

North­ern Lights over La­p­land, above; go rein­deer sled­ding, right; Ou­lanka Na­tional Park, bot­tom right

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