Hello, my travel lovers! By now you probably know how much I’m in looove with Lapland. Nope? Ok, then you missed my inspirational ‘love story’ from Lapland. So, before we “jump on” some serious itinerary & travel budget issues, read following posts and find out why I love Lapland so much (and why this incredible destination should be on your bucket list):
- Once upon a time in Finland… or how Lapland stole my heart (forever)
- Top 10 UNIQUE things to do in Finnish Lapland
- 20 Photos That Prove Finnish Lapland Is A Real Life Fairy Tale
- Aurora Borealis: Awesome Photos of The Northern Lights in Finland
Ok, now we can talk about the itinerary and costs of traveling to Finnish Lapland. Here’s a guide to help you plan your winter road trip with the most reasonable budget. Let’s start!
Places of interest:
MY ROAD TRIP ITINERARY
Day 1: Croatia – Budapest – Helsinki – Ranua
The cheapest way to reach Finland would be through its capital city – HELSINKI. You can easily find a return ticket from the most European capitals to Helsinki from 80 – 90 EUR. I paid 90 EUR for a return ticket from Budapest to Helsinki with the Norwegian Air.
From Helsinki you can flight with Finnair to almost all bigger cities in Lapland (Rovaniemi, Oula, Kemi, Ivalo, Enontekiö). As we didn’t find in January and February (high season) any cheap flight (Helsinki to Rovaniemi from 350 EUR return ticket) we decided to RENT A CAR in Helsinki upon arrival. The first day we drove 11 hours from Helsinki to RANUA, small city 80 kilometers from Rovaniemi. Sleep in a car.
Day 2: Ranua
We came to Ranua around noon, rested a bit and explored this small town covered completely in snow. Night in the Guesthouse Ranua.
TIP: accommodation in high season is cheaper a bit away from the biggest Lapland city, Rovaniemi.
FOOD: Finland is expensive for food and drinks. If you have a kitchen I suggest you cooking for yourself. This way you can save a lot of money. Average meal at a restaurant is from 15 – 20 EUR, and soft drink 2 – 3 EUR. Every city have supermarkets in which you can buy a decent meal to cook for a few euros. For example: pasta carbonara for 2 persons 2 EUR, big bottle of water for less than 1 EUR, chips, chocolates from 1 EUR.
Day 3: Ranua – Rovaniemi – Tankavaara
After early breakfast we drove to Rovaniemi (visited Santa Village, explored the city), ate at the gas station restaurant and continued to drive further north to the Tankavaara Gold Village where we stayed for 4 nights in a small, wooden cabin situated literally in the middle of nowhere. During the day we drove around to Kakslauttanen (visited a glass igloos and snow hotel), Saariselkä and Inari. Every night, from around 7 PM, we chased the Lady in Green, Miss Aurora Borealis (mostly around Saariselkä).
Day 4. Tankavaara – Purnumukka reindeer farm (near Kakslauttanen)
We visited a Purnumukka reindeer farm, 24 km north from Tankavaara, near Kakslauttanen. You can participate there in reindeer safaris of various lengths and kinds, enjoy lunch or coffee in the ‘kota’ (Lapp tepee) and meet Sami people, the oldest inhabitants of Europe.
Prices for a reindeer safari are lower if you contact a farm directly. I paid 50 EUR for a 3 – 4 hours of safari, including hot tea, snack and a story about the Sami and their long history and rich culture.
Day 5: Tankavaara – Husky Guesthouse (Ivalo)
We visited Husky Guesthouse near Ivalo, you can check their page HERE. Prices for the husky tours start from around 100 EUR.
The rest of the day we relaxed by the fireplace and enjoyed the cabin life in the snowy forest. Oh, what a life!
Day 6: Tankavaara – Helsinki
After exploring the vast Finnish wilderness and lunch in our cabin (pasta for 2 EUR from the supermarket), we checked out and begun our long drive back to Helsinki. The distance between Helsinki and Tankavaara is app 1.000 kilometers.
TIP: Roads in Finland are generally very good but during the winter be very careful and don’t drive too fast (no more than 70 – 80 km per hour) because of the snow and ice.
Day 7: Helsinki – Budapest – Croatia
We came to Helsinki around noon and explored a city centre for 3 hours. Then we drove back to the airport, returned the car and flew back to Budapest. After we came to the Budapest airport, we continued our drive to home in Zagreb, Croatia. THE END.
TOTAL COST FOR 2 PERSONS ∼ 1.200 EUR
- Return flight ticket Budapest – Helsinki: 90 EUR
- Rent a car: 200 EUR for a week
- Gas: 186 EUR (1 liter of gas ∼ 1,55 EUR)
- Local expenses (food, drinks, other): 100 EUR
- Ranua 1 night 70 EUR (with breakfast, for 2 persons)
- Tankavaara3 nights in a cabin (for 4 people), 165 EUR
- Reindeer safari at Purnumukka reindeer farm: 50 EUR
- Husky safari 1 hour: 90 EUR