From far away, the cold, soft light of the moon cuts across the lake to rest on fresh, fluffed snow. The lake I knew only by name, Torassieppi, disguised as it was beneath winter's thick, glass ice and glutinous chewy snow. A snort and a puff of ice-crystal air revealed the breath of reindeer, while their wool-bundled passengers found oxygen through mittens and many, many gloves. Here in the Arctic Circle, Finnish Lapland's white landscape plays tricks with a monochrome mind. The view at night, awash in white and reflecting a full moon, takes time to adjust to.

Sleigh Ride: Santa Claus Holiday Village

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There are so many options for sleigh rides in the Lapland area. If you are staying away from the park, you can actually do a sleigh ride into the village and then back as a form of transportation. Since we were staying at the Santa Claus Holiday Village, the main post HERE, we decided to pick the company that was located directly in the park. Click the image below if you want to read about our entire trip to the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland.

Santa Claus Reindeer (at the Santa Claus Holiday Village):

You have three choices with Santa Claus Reindeer. If you choose the 400m (5 minutes) or 1,000m ride (15 minutes) at the Santa Claus Reindeer Park, you can just show up. However, it’s just a small loop around the track. Instead, we chose the 3,000m ride (35 minutes). It required a reservation, which worked out well because the line was really long for the two shorter rides. We checked in at the window, paid for our reservation and were pulled into a separate gate to get into our sleighs within a few minutes.

If you have to wait for your ride, there is a nice open wood-burning fire to keep cozy.

A reindeer attached to a sleigh full of blankets
Reindeer sleigh ride

Each sleigh had thick reindeer pelts to keep you nice and warm. Of course, still, bring your winter gear!

The sleigh ride was really nice. They take you on a path into the Finnish forest. We ended up being in the first sleigh with the “driver” walking and riding alongside us. You are tied together with other sleighs, so there was another reindeer breathing in my ear, but all of the groups behind us were quiet and we all enjoyed a peaceful┬áride.

Evening ride on a sleigh pulled by a reindeer
An early evening ride through the Finnish forest

After your ride, you can have a family photo taken and pet the reindeer. If you want to feed a reindeer, you’ll have to book a different tour since they don’t normally offer to feed with the rides.

Family sitting in a reindeer sleigh

Detailed information:

The starting times for 3 km in December are either at 9 am or 4 pm. Kids 3 and under are free. The 4 pm ride is usually much less busy than the 9 am sleigh ride.

It looks like the company has updated the 3,000m ride according to their website. They’ve added a hot drink, guide and sausages to roast over the fire.


Overall, we were happy with our sleigh ride experience. It didn’t require a long drive or a process of borrowing winter gear (like some of our other tours). We showed up early and had the first sleigh in the row. The ride was the perfect length at 35 minutes, which meant our 3-year-old stayed nice and cozy snuggled in with his parents. I don’t think a longer ride would have been enjoyable and we would have bored with the same scenery.

Looking for more activities? Head back to our Lapland Guide with Kids! Or if you want to explore more destinations that we’ve traveled to? Head back to our interactive map!

4 thoughts on “Sleigh Ride: Santa Claus Holiday Village”

  1. How far in advance do you recommend making reservations for the excursions you did while in Lapland?

    1. Great question! It really depends on when you are going. We booked about two months in advance, but we had friends wait until they arrived and then booked. I think the big thing is finding the right tour for your family. Lapland Safaris was great and they offered a wide range of options. I hope that helps! When are you going?

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