Travel and visas in Lapland

Getting there and away

Given the tremendous distances involved in reaching Lapland, even from elsewhere in Scandinavia, the only feasible way of getting there is by air. Naturally, it is possible to drive to Lapland as part of a greater European tour, but consider just how far it is: London to Kiruna, for example, is 3,000km one-way.

By air

The main airports to aim for in Lapland are Kiruna (KRN), Luleå (LLA), Narvik/Harstad (EVE), Tromsø (TOS), Rovaniemi (RVN) and Ivalo (IVL), but flying to Lapland will generally entail first reaching one of the Nordic capitals and then changing planes for a domestic flight to one of the airports listed above.

The best transit airports to aim for when heading for Lapland are Stockholm Arlanda (ARN), Oslo Gardermoen (OSL) or Helsinki Vantaa (HEL). Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport, although the biggest hub in Scandinavia, has no direct flights to Lapland and is worth avoiding for that reason. The duration of the flight from one of these hubs up to Lapland is roughly 1 ½ to 2 hours, depending on destination. If bought in advance, it is possible to pick up a single domestic ticket from around £50/ US$75.

The UK has direct winter flights to Lapland; Norwegian fly four times weekly from London Gatwick (LGW) to Tromsø (TOS) and Rovaniemi (RVN) three times per week, while easyJet also fly to Rovaniemi from both Gatwick and Manchester (MAN) twice weekly, though the season for Manchester only runs from late November to early January. Reaching Lapland otherwise entails changing planes in Stockholm, Oslo or Helsinki for a connecting flight north. A return ticket usually costs from £250/US$330.Useful websites are:

Entry requirements

European Union, American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand nationals need only a valid passport to enter Finland, Norway or Sweden – and, hence, Lapland – for a maximum period of three months. All other citizens should contact the appropriate embassy for visa information.

Embassies

Since Lapland crosses national borders and is not an independent country, it has no embassies or consulates of its own. Instead, the national governments of Finland, Norway and Sweden are the point of contact for all affairs relating to Lapland. For full lists of embassies in each of Lapland’s countries, visit:

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