Things to do in winter
Stay with us in winter to experience the magic of Swedish Lapland. Watch the Northern Lights from the frozen lake, take a five-minute drive to the nearest ski centre or join a range of local tours and activities.
There's a reason we called our house 'Lapland Lights'! It was because we were chasing the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) that we first visited the Lapland region. We never get tired of seeing them.
Whether you will get to see them depends on the time of year, the weather and solar activity: you need clear, dark skies and for the aurora to be active. All being well, you should be able to see them right from the house - and there is a convenient north-facing balcony you can use to keep watch.
If conditions are more challenging, you may need to drive in search of clear skies - but the chase is part of the fun! You can also go on an organised tour, which will take you more off the beaten track and help you to get good photos if you want to.
Skiing and snowboarding
Lapland Lights has the huge advantage of being literally five minutes' drive from a small but wonderful ski centre. Svanstein Ski Resort, much loved by snowboarders, has 16 slopes including blue, red and black runs and a children's slope. Though it has a rental shop, restaurant and all the facilities you'd expect, it is not overdeveloped. The slopes and scenery are very natural, the staff friendly, and - best of all - the huge crowds you get at larger resorts are nowhere to be seen.
Of course if it's a big resort you're after - no problem! With 63 slopes, Ylläs Ski is the largest in Lapland, and only 1h 30m drive away. And just past Ylläs, with 43 slopes and a reputation for family-friendly skiing, Levi is well worth the two-hour drive.
There's nothing else quite like being hauled across a frozen lake or through a wintry forest by a team of beautiful huskies. It's a thrilling experience and if your trip to Lapland is a once-in-a-lifetime event then a Husky safari is a must.
You can book a safari with Mountain Madness Wilderness Tours, who are based about 20 minutes' drive away in Soukolojärvi.
Or if you fancy something a bit different, how about sledding with a team of Samoyeds? SAM Arctic are based in Ylinenjärvi, less than half-an-hour away.
Reindeer and Sami culture experiences
Winter is the best time to get up-close and personal with reindeer, as the herd is kept together in a corral. You can also learn about the Sami culture and traditional ways of living. There are several opportunities nearby, including The Reindeer Herd, Pyhäjärvi Renfarm and Camp Torne Valley Experience (see photo), where you can feed the reindeer and take a sleigh-ride.
And just across the Torne in Finland (35 mins in summer, 15 mins in winter when you can cross the frozen river) is Pörröporo - Reindeer-themed restaurant and shop where you can buy Reindeer skins and eat Reindeer meat.
In summer, the Reindeer roam free in the forests and have even been known to pass through our garden! Watch out for them crossing the roads.
Simple pleasures! Wrap up extra warm, drill your hole, bait your rod and see what you can catch. There is an abundance of fish in Swedish Lapland and you could catch anything from a tiny perch to a monster-sized pike!
Because ice fishing safely requires special equipment and local know-how, we recommend you book onto an organised tour. Guided ice fishing tours are available from Active Norberg in Övertorneå, less that 30 minutes' drive away.
Give kids a magical Christmas experience by paying Santa a visit. Though an obvious thing to do in winter you can actually meet Santa all year round - and in summer when its quiet you'll have more time to rattle off that four-page Christmas list!
The most convenient airport for Lapland Lights is Rovaniemi (Finland), which is also Santa's official home town. So it's easy to work a visit into your trip. Santa Claus Holiday Village even provides a free shuttle bus from the airport. It's free to meet him but you need to pay if you want a photo (sorry, no selfies). It's the same deal in Santa Claus Village, and both have restaurants and gift shops open to the public.
Santa Park is a bit different: you pay to get in but then rides, shows and most activities are free - and you can take your own photos.
Celebrate the New Year... twice!
Just a few minutes' drive away in the village of Juoksengi you can see in the New Year in the most spectacular way.
Just across the Torne river from Swedish Juoksengi is Finnish Juoksenki, and on New Year's Eve the two villages come together right on the frozen river itself, which is the border between the two countries for 'We do it twice'.
This double celebration takes place because Finland is in a different time zone to Sweden. So you can raise a glass and cheer for Finnish New Year and then do it all again an hour later, literally dancing from future to past and back again all night long!
Visit the ice hotels
We hope you will want to stay with us during your visit to Swedish Lapland but that doesn't mean you can't experience the amazing ice hotels in the area. You can drop into them as day-visitors and see all the sculptures and rooms, drink in the ice bars, and then go home to a cosy house instead of braving the sub-zero temepratures overnight.
The three main ice hotels in the area are all close to airports, so you can combine a trip to one of them with your journey to Lapland or back home again. The closest to Lapland Lights (and one of the biggest in the Nordic countries) is Arctic SnowHotel. This is just one hour's drive away and on your way if you are flying to or from Rovaniemi. Then there is the SnowVillage near Kittilä. And finally there's the one that started it all - the original Ice Hotel near Kiruna.
Find out more
Being right on the border, you get to experience the best that both Swedish and Finnish Lapland have to offer. You can find more information about activities and attractions by following the links below.