Tag: Family

Things to do in Lagos: Caves Kayaking and more

Things to do in Lagos: Caves Kayaking and more

Portugal’s southwestern coastline offers amazing views to the Atlantic Ocean over scenic beaches and impressive sandstone rock formations. Seeing the beaches, caves and grottos from the sea is something you shouldn’t miss if the weather permits! Also the Lagos old town is a charming place […]

Hong Kong Disneyland memories

Hong Kong Disneyland memories

We visited Hong Kong Disneyland on a Friday afternoon in November. The weather was surprisingly warm and it was crowded with long lines to almost all rides. We ended up mostly just walking around and admiring the parades and enjoying the Disney atmosphere. I’ve visited […]

Top 5 Tips to Skiing with Kids in Pallas National Park, Lapland

Top 5 Tips to Skiing with Kids in Pallas National Park, Lapland

March to April is the best time to visit Lapland because the darkness and freezing temperatures of the deepest winter are over and the sun is often pampering the winter wonderland’s visitors. In April the days are long already – if you are lucky the sun is up on the cloudless sky and shining till late. Easter is the top season when it’s most crowded and expensive but at other times it’s possible to find good deals on accommodation. However, Lapland is huge and very sparsely populated so even at the busiest time outside the biggest resorts you will find plenty of peaceful nature. Downhill skiing slopes may get busy in the weekends but on the cross-country tracks are unlikely to be very crowded.

Last Easter we enjoyed a skiing holiday in Salla “In the middle of nowhere”. This year we headed to an even more remote and secluded location in Lapland: the northern part of Pallas-Yllästunturi national park, the 3rd largest and most popular national park in Finland based on number of visitors – over half a million annually – and which just turned 80 years.

Pallas Nationalpark

Unfortunately public transportation isn’t easily available and the most convenient way to get there is by car. It is possible to take a train to Kolari or fly to Kittilä or Enontekiö (closest airport but Finnair flights only once a week on Saturdays in the winter) and take a taxi to your accommodation.

Pallas Top 5:

  1. Lots of snow, peacefulness and the cleanest air
  2. Cross-country skiing in the natural park and on ice
  3. Snowshoeing
  4. Breaks at wilderness huts and cafes
  5. Downhill skiing on natural snow in Pallas

Lots of snow, peacefulness and the cleanest air

If you are looking for snow you can’t go wrong with Lapland where snow covers the ground for at least half of the year from October to May. The snow is at its deepest in March and can even exceed 1 meter depths. It’s claimed that the air in Pallas is in the top 3 of the cleanest air in the world and it really did feel wonderful to breathe. The snow is usually so clean that it’s possible to melt it into drinking water (just watch out where you take it from!) and you might find also a stream or a spring with fresh drinking water straight from the nature – if it’s not frozen.

Pallas panorama - Nexstoptbc.com

Cross-country skiing in the national park and on ice

There’s lots of skiing tracks to choose from for all skill levels. We were mainly skiing in the Raattama area where it’s possible to choose hills or flat ground, open fields or forest. In any case you can enjoy beautiful pristine nature. Lakes are frozen with thick ice so you can ski over the ice. The weather can be quite windy and change quickly from sunshine to fog or snowfall so it’s good to be prepared with warm layers (although not too much as little ones get hot easily), sunglasses, sunscreen and a backpack to carry everything.

How to keep the little one motivated to ski all day? This was my main concern before this trip. Kids often enjoy outdoors activities but would need to have variety, fun and lots of breaks with snacks built into the day to keep on going for hours. Here’s our favorites:

Snacks: juice, granola bars, sandwich, fruit, nuts… I always look for healthy snacks but pack along also a bit of chocolate and some sweets in case of most critical moments.

Some games to play:

  • I spy: “I spy, with my little eye, something that is…“ Based on something that you see around you. We played it only with colors but you could play it with first letters, shapes, etc.
  • Vocabulary games: thinking of different words starting with the same letter (in Finnish “laiva on lastattu”), compound words, finding words that start with the same letter as the previous ended, poems – coming up with rhymes…
  • Reindeer names: think of the funniest/cutest/strangest names you could have if you were a reindeer – like “Silver sparkle foot”, “White yawning runner” – let your imagination fly!
  • Picking a focus point: “look at that funny looking tree, let’s have the break after we’ve reached it”
  • Skiing ball – this was a brilliant idea borrowed from here. We used a floorball instead of a golf ball which was good size but a bit heavier ball of the same size might be the easiest for kids to keep on the trail.
  • There’s some more fun ideas here – I like especially the Alphabetical trip and Guess who

Cross-country skiing games

Don’t forget lots of encouragement and praise – it usually does miracles!

Snowshoeing in deep snow

We experimented snowshoeing for the first time. The snowshoes really helped walking on deep snow where without them you might fall waist deep in snow! But it’s a pretty heavy exercise if the snow is deep and soft. Actually, it turned out that it was easier for my daughter as she is lighter. Finding the right calm pace is helpful. Note that moving on roads or paths with snowshoes is slower than in winter boots – in the end we ended up taking the snowshoes off to go faster. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and nice variety to the skiing.

Snowshoeing in Pallas nationalpark

Breaks at wilderness huts and cafes

It’s a good idea to get a ski track map of the area where you are going to ski. A good practice is to plan the day’s trip based on breaks (our favorite part of the day!). Select at least one ski hut or café to be your destination and always pack along plenty of snacks, water and hot drinks. We visited Varkhaanjärven kota, Porokotajärven Kotakahvila and Montellin maja (on top of a very steep hill – so proud of my daughter for not giving up despite the long 3km/2miles climb!).

Montellin maja

Downhill skiing on natural snow in Pallas

Ski resort Pallas is only open about 10 weeks in a year from mid-February till the end of April. We started our visit from the Pallastunturi visitor center which is open to visit free of charge. We watched a short, about 20 minutes interesting and educational video about the history and special nature of the area.

Ski resort Pallas is focused on offering a genuine experience of skiing on natural snow – which felt very pleasant, softer and less icy than artificial snow. It’s a popular place for off-piste skiing but we were careful to stay on the slopes. There’s 9 slopes with the longest run being 2,4 kilometers (~1,5 miles) but just two anchor ski lifts. At Easter time there were lines to the lifts but I would imagine that other times and especially during the week it there wouldn’t be waiting – even in the busiest time of the year there was plenty of space in the slopes. There was a good variety of slopes for beginners and families as well as more advanced skiers.

There is a very small café in the back-slopes with some tables and benches outside where it’s really nice to take a break and relax for a moment with a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

Pallas cafe

Summary of the best tips for skiing with kids:

  • Take lots of breaks and remember the snacks
  • Clothing: Layers, sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Variety: different activities to ensure the kids don’t get bored
  • It doesn’t need to be so serious – let’s make it fun and play games 🙂
  • Lots of encouragement and praise!

Pallas skiing with kids

Saved for next time…

Arctic Spa Jeris sauna and ice swimming

Hetta-Pallas hiking trail (55 kilometers)

Kite skiing – we saw many people kite skiing and I thought it would be impossibly difficult until I met two ladies in the sauna who were active kite skiers and convinced me that I should go on a course and learn it!

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Top 5 things to do on an active family holiday in Corralejo, Fuerteventura

Top 5 things to do on an active family holiday in Corralejo, Fuerteventura

It was my second time to visit Corralejo, Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. The weather was quite windy which seems to be typical, so  be sure to bring also warm clothes in addition to sunscreen if traveling there. However, I found the climate to be ideal for sports: mostly sunny, dry but not too hot due to the refreshing breeze.

I had a bit of mixed feelings about returning there because three years ago the signs of the financial crisis were visible everywhere: half-built abandoned constructions, “For Sale” signs on windows… Although the abandoned construction sites were still there, I was happy to notice that the atmosphere now felt more optimistic.

Top 5 things to do in Corralejo, Fuerteventura

  1. Jogging along the coast
  2. Renting bicycles
  3. Watersports – Stand Up Paddling
  4. The beaches and restaurants with a view
  5. Morning yoga

We stayed at Ananda Resort Fuerteventura Hotel Mirador de Lobos booked via TUI. The Villa was spacious with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen and living room, and a big outdoor area with the pool. Booking in advance, it was possible to get the small pool heated which was definitely worth the investment. On the downside the resort is quite far out, about 3 kilometers from the center and beaches but it is easy to drive if renting a car and taxis don’t cost much. I actually found the slightly remote location to give good motivation for jogging and bicycling! WP_20170404_001The hotel is built around a Par 3 golf course that looks very nice even for non-golfers like us. Upon arrival, we were offered a nice deal on half board for 4 days including breakfast and dinner and decided to take it. The breakfast selection was very good while the dinner varied from a day to another, including three courses and drinks. I would recommend the local fish of the day, served with baked vegetables and canary potatoes.

1. Jogging along the coast

My favorite jogging path was the about 4 kilometer route along the coastline from the harbor up to the Dunes. The mornings were beautiful and very peaceful with very few other people on the path.

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2. Renting bicycles

In Corralejo there are sidewalks on almost every road (some in a bit bumpy condition though) and lots of bicycle paths which makes it very easy to go bicycling – it’s safe even with kids. We rented our bicycles from Pierre Shop and were very happy with the superb service.

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We enjoyed especially the most peaceful paths around our hotel and at the harbor.

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3. Watersports – Stand Up Paddling

Corralejo offers lots of opportunities for watersports. Surfing and kiteboarding for example are very popular due to the windy coast. I signed up for my first ever Stand Up Paddling practice, a 2-hour private class with Salty Life. I was at first a bit nervous how it would go. Luckily Pierre is a fantastic teacher and I was amazed how quickly I started to feel confident on the board and it exceeded my expectations on how much fun it was!

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I would have liked to go kayaking too and Kayak Fuerteventura’s kayak-snorkel excursion to Lobos Island would have sounded perfect. Something for next time!

4. The beaches and restaurants with a view

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Fuerteventura is famous for it’s beaches and there’s lots of them. Even if you prefer a more active holiday the restaurants with a view are wonderful places to take a break. Our favorite spot was Waikiki Beach Club Restaurant – it was easy access with a relaxed atmosphere.

5. Morning yoga

Yoga on the beach is a perfect way to start the day. I really enjoyed Ocean Yoga’s gentle flow yoga class. I wish I would have found it earlier than on my last day in Corralejo!

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Corralejo Fuerteventura Spain acctive Family holiday


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