Meet the reindeer - an icon of Lapland

Reindeer excursions and sleigh rides

There’s more to Lapland than riding snowmobiles and hunting the Northern Lights. Reindeer are the undisputed icon of Lapland. From Father Christmas’ companions to the Sámi people’s livelihood, they are woven into the culture and way of life here.

How can you get up close? Reindeer rides offer a unique, eco-friendly way to explore at a gentle pace. Gliding across frozen lakes is a magical experience. They’re ideal for both adults and children as the slow speed means you can really appreciate your surroundings too. Rides usually last between 10 minutes and a few hours in either a low-to-the-ground sled or in a more luxurious sleigh. Alternatively, visiting local farms and herders on one of our optional excursions offers an insight into indigenous traditions.

Understanding the important link (which dates back to the Stone Age) between the Sámi people and their reindeer herds is a unique experience on your Lapland holiday.

The Sámi and their reindeer

Europe’s only official indigenous tribe, the Sámi people and their reindeer have lived in this harsh region for centuries. The tribe’s connection with reindeer spans millennia, from hunting through to domestication and finally herding. Lapland’s reindeer population (close to 200,000) almost outnumbers people. 

When domestication and herding began is unclear. However, historical Roman writings tell of people in the region travelling on skis, hunting reindeer and wearing fur clothes. Over the last century, reindeer herding has developed significantly, with a focus on it becoming more sustainable. The introduction of the snowmobile in the 1960s reinvigorated the industry, allowing herders to return home more regularly and travel vast distances quickly. 

Traditions of reindeer husbandry

Thought to have developed some 2-3,000 years ago, reindeer herding is an important part of life for the Sámi. Traditionally, reindeer herding has always been significant in Lapland, not only for employment but culturally and socially too. While herding covers the practicalities of caring for reindeer, the term ‘husbandry’ covers the wider industry, including the future and ensuring sustainability in the region.

The two main types of herding ‘Tundra’ and ‘Taiga’ vary greatly. Tundra herds tend to be thousands-large and migrate epic distances across harsh landscapes. Taiga herds, on the other hand, are significantly smaller with shorter migrations, often through forested or mountainous areas. 


Tours

This experience can be enjoyed as part of these tours

Winter Wonderland

Finnish Lapland

Experience all the magic of Lapland in a single day and return home in time for supper!

Daybreak from £349 per adult

Dashing Through the Snow

Finnish Lapland

Our northernmost break, featuring a husky ride, a reindeer sleigh ride, and snowmobile safari

3 or 4 nights from £1129 per adult

Snow is Falling

Finnish Lapland

Visit Santa in his secret log cabin in the forest on this pre-Christmas short holiday

2, 3 or 4 nights from £999 per adult

Wonderful Christmas Time

Finnish Lapland

Enjoy a white Christmas like you've never seen before!

3 or 4 nights from £1069 per adult

Aurora Hunter

Finnish Lapland - Swedish Lapland

Search for the fabled Aurora Borealis on this week-long break deep inside the Arctic Circle

7 nights from £1149 per adult

Festive Lights

Swedish Lapland

Combine nature’s most extraordinary Northern Lights show with the jollity of the festive period

3 or 4 nights from £869 per adult

Northern Lights

Finnish Lapland - Swedish Lapland

Search for the spectacular Northern Lights in Lapland and enjoy a host of winter activities

3 or 4 nights from £799 per adult