Levi is the largest ski resort in Finland, and with plenty of family things to do that don’t just involve skiing, it is the most incredible destination—especially around Christmas time.
I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing every year that the UK would experience a white Christmas. But in reality, the likelihood of that happening is often minimal. One place that can guarantee you snow for the most magical Christmas experience ever, however, is Levi. Being further north than Rovaniemi, you are often likely to have snow in November too.
Family Things to Do in Levi, Lapalnd
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I was lucky enough to take my girls to Levi, Finland, in December, and to say it was one of the best festive seasons we’ve ever experienced would be an understatement.
From meeting Santa and heading out on a reindeer safari to roasting marshmallows and learning to ski, here are some of the best activities in Finland’s largest ski resort.
Meet Santa in Levi
Understandably, one of the best family things to do in Levi is to visit Santa. And luckily, there are a few Santa Levi destinations to choose from.
Firstly, there is the Northern Lights Village, which is roughly a 30 minutes drive out of Levi. Although the trip to the village is longer than other Santa experiences, they claim to be one of the best. And it was the experience we ultimately chose to do after many, many hours of researching the best Santa in Lapland.
This can vary from place to place and year on year with different ‘helpers’ so there is never any guarantee but reviews for both Northern Light Villages in Levi (and NLV a little further north in Saariselkä) were consistently good – with no feeling of being rushed, any crowding or lines or big coach tours.
We booked independently and saved £££ by booking flights, accommodation and attractions separately.
Upon arrival, if you don’t have your own thermal clothing, it is provided. Including overalls, Boots & Mittens. During your trip to the Northern Lights Village, you’ll head off on what’s called “Searching for Santa”.
Throughout the experience, you’ll help the elves, meet Santa’s reindeer, take a reindeer ride, a heated sleigh ride, make gingerbread cookies, decorate Christmas trees, and meet Santa himself and maybe receive a gift if you are good!
Kids receive a gift each, and parents one to share). It’s an intimate experience, we had two other families with us in the cabin making gingerbread and each family has about 10 minutes with Father Christmas. A magical experience in every way.
Santa’s Christmas Cabin
A second Santa experience option is at Santa’s Christmas Cabin, where you can join Santa and Mrs Claus in their home and yard. On this 1 hour guided tour, you’ll listen to stories about the elves and their workshop before going inside to talk to Santa and warm up with gingerbread cookies and a festive Christmas drink. There is a small Christmas present for children.
Elves Village – Santa’s Workshop aka Elves Hideaway
Another great Santa experience is at the Elves Village, which is around 8km outside of Levi. The Elves Village is actually a hotel.
But from 10 am to 4 pm, non-hotel guests can visit the grounds to participate in Christmas activities—including a meeting with Santa. Here you can go sledging, kick sledging, play football with an oversized football, ride snow mobiles, carved names in the ice cave, go horse riding, see some animals in a small petting area (Reindeer, huskies, horses and sheep).
Go on nature walks, meet Father Christmas, meet the elves, visit the post office and made decorations and ginger biscuits. Santa gives a small toy gift – often a small teddy reindeer. Be warned, Santa himself is great, but after your visit, you exit straight into the cafe, which dusts the magic off pretty quickly.
It does get busy with tourist coach loads so if you are visiting independently try and time it so you are there towards the middle of the day (say 1pm so you are ‘between groups’). If you plan on meeting Santa, give the elf some details to make it more magical! If you’re not doing the Santa experience there’s no hint of Santa, just a magical village – they are very good at keeping things separate! You can choose from self guided, or guided tour.
Santa is not there every day, so do check first if you are organising DIY.
Secret Hideaway of Santa – Snowmobilepark Levi
Discover Santa’s Secret Hut in Levi on a magical sleigh ride through the snowy forest. Hidden in the forest all lit by thousands of candles it is magical.
This attraction has lots of different activities similar to Santa’s workshop but also cooked sausages on a fire, can feed reindeers and make a snow castle. An expensive trip but a good one! Clothes are provided.
A private Santa visit to your cabin
You can even organise Santa to come to your cabin!
Arcandia – New for 2023!
The Elf Court is Santa’s highest council, whose main task is to declare who is nice and who is naughty. The Elf Court is also a beautiful place with many thrilling amusements where Santa can enjoy his leisure time in the company of Elves and children.
Arcandia’s Adventure Park is divided into different experience areas – Arcandia Village, Shaman Village, Action Park, Arctic Colosseum, Paths of Darkness and Light, Bridge of Destiny, etc. The Elf Court consists of Arcandia Village. 1.5 or 3 hours packages are available.
- The invite (letter)
- Ring of Truth (for to keep)
- Meeting Santa, the Elves and Reindeer
- Possibility to take pictures and videos with them
- The Elf Court Certificate
- Court experiences:
- Decorating the Christmas tree
- Decorating and tasting gingerbread
- – Christmas crafts
- – Possibility to write a letter to Santa (if not done yet)
- – Downhill sleds
- – Spider Swings
- – Target throwing of snowballs under 7 years.
- – Snowball Slingshot shooting over 7 years.
- – Archery over 12 years.
- – Knockerballs over 7 years/length approx. 120-130cm
- -Ring Toss (If over 3 years)
A couple of hours away – Rovaniemi.
And the further Santa Claus experience I want to mention is the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi. During our trip to Lapland—after arriving in Helsinki—we boarded a 12-hour Santa Night Train, which took us to Rovaniemi.
Although we didn’t meet Santa in the Santa Claus Village—because we already had the Northern Lights Village booked—this could be a great option for families heading to Rovaniemi.
Levi Reindeer Safari
You can’t visit Levi and not head out on a reindeer safari, as Levi is one of the best places for them.
One of the reasons why we booked the Northern Lights Village Santa experience was because they take you on a sleigh ride as part of the trip. But If you didn’t want to do a Santa experience, or if you just had so much fun on your sleigh ride that you want to go again, then you can just book a sleigh ride separately.
The Kittilä municipality (where Levi is situated) is home to over 12,000 reindeer meaning there is plenty of opportunities to experience Levi by sleigh. We even booked a reindeer ride with a heated sleigh which was one of the highlights of the trip!
See the Northern Lights
One of nature’s most beautiful sights—the Northern Lights—can be experienced in Levi. And December just so happens to be one of the best times to see them.
You can choose to head out on a Northern Lights Tour and combine the experience of snowmobiling with the Northern Lights, or you can head out of the town—to Frozen Lake or Hotel Levi Panorama—and hunt for them yourself.
Although it is possible to see the Northern Lights as soon as it gets dark, your best chances of spotting them are between 9 pm and 1 am. So keep that in mind when planning this experience with little ones.
Next to the main ski slope in Levi, you’ll find a little area called Kids’ Land with a picnic hut, locally known as a kota with a fire where you can warm up and grill food, usually a sausage or some marshmallows .The hut has a sign that reads “Tauk o Tupa”. You can visit the area for free, go sledging, and even take your own marshmallows to roast on the firepit.
Kids can also take the small ski lift up the mountain to practice their skiing, partake in pre-booked skiing lessons, or play in the pre-booked creche while mum and dad ski.
Snowmobiling is another popular family thing to do in Levi and it’s a fast way of getting around. Beginners are offered courses in learning the basics of driving a snowmobile. If you wish to hire your own, try the below companies.
- Snowmobile safaris & rentals in Levi. Prices from 180€ | Kelkkavuokraus & kelkkasafarit Levillä 180€
- Safari Park – Vmax Rentals | Levi | Finland
- Wild Nordic
And there are a handful of companies that will take you out on a snowmobile safari through Lapland and its remote inland forests. Kids will typically ride with you on these safaris. However, VMax Rentals and the Northern Village Lights actually have mini snowmobiles for kids to drive themselves.
Similar to reindeer rides, you can also head out on a husky sledging experience, where you take charge and drive the sledge yourself. And as two people can fit on a sledge—one driving and one on the back—it’s a great activity to do with little ones.
At many farms it is also possible to feed the animals, give lassoing reindeer a try and sample traditional Lappish reindeer dishes.
- All Huskies
- Winter | Eanan Levi Tours
Be warned, however, that riding a husky sledge can be cold for kids. And many insurance companies won’t cover you were to get in an accident.
Snowshoeing is about creating new trails and conquering the tops of the fells in good company. There are plenty of guided snowshoe hiking trails in Levi, with tours advancing according to the group’s own wishes, be it at a slow pace or challenging speeds. Snowshoeing is easy, and a perfectly suitable activity also for beginners.
- Easy Snowshoeing in the Wilderness – Wild Nordic
- Winter | Eanan Levi Tours
A great—and cheap—family activity in Levi that is guaranteed to keep your kids entertained for hours is sledging. You can purchase sledges from the local supermarkets or rent them from rental shops before heading off to the slopes to enjoy some time in the snow.
It is advisable to label your sledge there is an unwritten rule that sledges which are abandoned are free to use – some people are unaware and may ‘borrow’ by mistake. Once the ski slopes close, catch the free gondola up the slopes and sledge away! Great fun and absolutely free
Take the scenic Cabin Lifts to the Panorama restaurant.
Enjoy the view up the Gondala. The lifts are suitable for families with baby strollers and wheelchairs and dogs! Children under 6 travel for free. Enjoy a drink at the Panorama Cafe before you head back.
Café Panorama Laavu is located close to Levi front slopes. There is a 300 meter scenic path to the Laavu from the parking lot of Levi Summit. In the Laavu, you can enjoy for example hot drinks, crepes cooked by an open fire and fried sausages. The amazing views carry out all the way to Pallas fells.
Enjoy the water park at Spa Water World at Levi Hotel Spa
Splash around in indoor and outdoor pools, some with water slides! The spa has a lovely big space for kids with computers, a huge bouncy castle, ball pool, soft play area, and loads of trikes, bikes and other toys to keep them amused for hours.
There is lighting under the water so it constantly changes colour, there are projections of Father Christmas and his sleigh shooting across the sky or snow falling on the roof.
Intermittently, lights go out and the Jaws music starts with projections of sharks on the water.
Choose from a variety of different pools in different temperatures: kids’ pool with slides and water toys to use and even a water running track! There are loads of little areas where you can push buttons and jets of water pummel different body parts which worked wonders on sore muscles after a day skiing.
This spa also has sauna’s and steam rooms but it is a no swim suit policy.
Top tip: Boys and men need to wear Speedos not shorts. You can choose to stay here too – The hotel is Levi Hotel Spa!
Lastly. lots of useful information and activities can be found here
Restaurants in Levi
A huge highlight of our Levi trip that we still talk about today was the pancakes at Pannukakkutalo Levi, the Pancake Restaurant. With a selection of sweet and savoury pancakes to choose from, the Pancake Restaurant is a must-do when visiting Levi with kids—they make my mouth water just thinking about them.
The dinner starts with an appetizing cold buffet including fish and seafood selection and ends with mouth-watering home-made pannacotta. Steak is later served with sauce and potatoes on side, can be chosen from two sizes and different meats. Kids’ options are available which include lamb, beef steak or reindeer or meatballs and chips. A vegetarian option is also available.
Camp fire Barista
Try these amazing artisan hot drinks around a camp fire. The mushroom chai latte is incredible. Kids can buy marshmallows to toast too and a hot chocolate.
Renna Italian Restaurant in Levi
Delicious Italian fare, with great salads, pasta and pizza.
King Crab House in Levi
Primarily, seafood but something is available for everyone on the menu – including chicken nuggets for kids.
Skiing in Levi
Levi offers downhill skiing and snowboarding with a total of 43 skiing pistes and 28 lifts.
Where to Learn to Ski in Levi
As Levi is a ski resort, it would be criminal not to ski—or at least learn to ski—when visiting the area. Luckily, Levi is home to lots of beginner-friendly slopes, which are usually pretty quiet, making them an ideal learning ground.
If you or your kids have never been skiing before, then you can book family lessons, group lessons, kid lessons, or snowboard lessons with the Levi Ski School. Their trained instructors will walk you through the basics of skiing, helping you and your little ones build confidence before heading off to the slopes.
Booking in advance is recommended as you will be unlikely to find a lesson available on the day.
How to Get Around Levi
There are a few ways to get around Levi, and they include taxis, ski buses, and hiring a car. We found the best way to navigate Levi was by ski buses as they were far cheaper than paying for a private taxi.
Hiring your own car is also possible in Levi. But if you’re not used to driving on snow—like we aren’t—then it takes some getting used to—a risk we didn’t want to take with our kids.
Ski buses transfer you between Levi’s main ski slopes and its major accommodation areas. And as it’s €4 a ticket with kids under 6 travelling free, it is a cost-effective way to get around the resort.
Supermarkets and Lockers in Levi
- S-Market Levi open Mon – Sat 08.00 – 22.00 and Sun and public holidays 9.00 – 22.00. (Posti SmartPost parcel lockers- open during S-Market opening hours)
- K-Supermarket LeviMarket open Mon – Sat 7.00 – 21.00, Sun and public holidays 09.00 – 21.00
- K-Market LevinPoro open Mon – Fri 9.00 – 20.00, Sat 10.00 – 20.00, Sun 12.00 – 20.00 (21.6. onwards open until 20.00 on Sundays)
- Post Office, Posti SmartPost parcel lockers, Matkahuolto, DB Schenker Parcel also located in the same- open during K-market opening hours
- Lost & found email@example.com, tel. +35860015515 (1,99 + lnc/ min)
- Luggage storage: Santa’s Shop Levi, please call +358 40 1978 908
Family Things to Do in Levi – FAQs
Is Levi Finland Worth Visiting?
Levi, Finland is definitely worth visiting as there are so many Christmas and winter activities for the entire family to enjoy. From meeting Santa and his reindeer to skiing Levi’s slopes and heading off on a snowmobile safari, Levi offers a magical and unforgettable winter experience that you’ll talk about for years to come.
What Is Levi Like in Finland?
Levi is Finland’s most popular ski resort. And with 43 pistes, 27 ski lifts, and plenty of Christmas experiences amongst its spectacular vistas, it is the most perfect winter holiday destination for people of all ages.
What Is Levi Finland Known For?
Levi is known for being Finland’s best and most popular ski resort. But it is also one of the best places to meet Santa, his reindeer, and his trusty elves.
What Age Is Best for Lapland?
Although Lapland is a magical place for all ages, around the age of two is when children really begin to understand Christmas, Santa, and everything that comes with it. If you were only planning to do Lapland once in your kids’ life, then ages 5 to 9 are the best.
5 to 9-year-olds can fully grasp and immerse themselves in the Christmas magic as well as all of Levi’s incredible activities.
Where to Ski in Levi?
Of all the slope options in Levi, Northern Lights Village, Golden Crown, and Levi Way 1 are some of the most popular ski resorts in the area.
Can You See the Northern Lights in Levi, Finland?
Yes, you can see the Northern Lights in Levi, Finland. From mid-August through to mid-April, you’ll have the chance to see Aurora borealis dancing in the Levi sky. For the best chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Levi, head slightly out of the town centre or book a Northern Lights tour.
How Far Is Levi From Santa Claus Village?
Levi is 147 km from Santa Claus Village and will take you just under three hours to get there by bus.
Where to Stay in Levi, Finland?
I can’t speak for all places in Levi, Finland, but during our trip, we stayed at the Ballerole—a holiday rental with everything you could possibly need. For those who prefer to stay in hotels, however, then The Hotel Hullu Poro—also known as the Crazy Reindeer Hotel Lapland—is a popular choice. They also own Elves Hideaway.
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