Lapland, the north of Finland, is filled with breathtaking beauty and exotic adventures that are sure to make your winter holiday one to remember.
Arctic Adventure Holiday in Lapland
Whether you’re looking for a place to relax, or the adrenaline rush of action-packed outdoor activities, Lapland is the spot for you. Just imagine a snowmobile safari, a husky tour or a reindeer sleigh ride on fresh snow – or the silence and peacefulness of the pristine wilderness under the Aurora Borealis.
In the north you’ll also have the perfect opportunity to enjoy skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing on the glistening snow drifts, spotting reindeers and exploring the fascinating customs and myths of the indigenous Sámi people . After a long day outdoors, it feels just right to calm down in front of the crackling fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate, and let your thoughts wander.
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Seasons in lapland
Seasonal changes are very dramatic in Lapland. Far beyond the traditional summer, winter, autumn and spring, the Lappish landscape can be said to offer as many as eight seasons: Christmas, frosty winter, crusty snow, departure of ice, midnight sun, harvest season, colourful autumn and first snow. Each season has its own special delights to offer, and there’s something for everyone.
WINTER IN LAPLAND
The highlight of winter in Lapland is without a doubt the Northern Lights, which appear about every other clear night from September to March. Sometimes the bright Aurora Borealis can even light up the snowy landscape and guide skiers home. Remember to wrap up when hunting the Northern Lights though, as the winter temperatures can drop below -30 °C. If you’re looking for a more cosy experience, you can stay in one of many charming igloo hotels and enjoy the Aurora from the comfort of your bed.
Lapland is also home to the one and only Santa Claus, whose office is probably the most exciting place imaginable for children. You are welcome at the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi at any time of the year, and you can personally hand your wish list to Santa and his jolly elves. Also, keep an eye out for Santa’s reindeers – especially the one with the red nose!
A visit to Lapland isn’t complete without meeting some local animals. Reindeer and husky sleigh rides are popular winter sports in Lapland; the speed of the reindeer rides is fairly moderate, which makes them suitable for anyone. If you’re looking for something truly unique, you should visit Inari, where reindeer herders get together for the large reindeer races each spring.
Don’t let the Arctic cold scare you away – the sauna is also an important element of Finnish culture, and you can always warm up there. The sauna is a place for physical and spiritual cleansing, and the Finnish ritual is the best way to enjoy it – give yourself a good steam in the hot sauna, followed by a quick dip in an icy lake or a roll in the snow. It’s no joke ¬– people really do that! In fact, it’s said to be good for your blood circulation.
SPRING IN LAPLAND
Spring is the best skiing season in Lapland. The days are significantly brighter and longer than in the winter, turning the fells into a sunny ski paradise. The four biggest ski resorts in Finland are located in Lapland – Levi, Ylläs, Pyhä-Luosto and Ruka. They rise from 500 to over 700 metres above sea level and boast slope lengths up to 3 kilometres. Skiing enthusiasts can find everything from kids’ runs to black slopes, and from snow parks to backcountry exploring. Unlike the crowded ski hotspots of central Europe, in Lapland you can enjoy a far more relaxed and easy-going experience.
The Northern Lights season in Finland end in early April, so you will have a great change of spotting the great Aurora also in the spring. The best time to see Northern Lights in spring is around the spring equinox that is around 20th of March.
You may wish to reserve a few days for your skiing trip and rent a log cabin in one of Lapland’s ski resorts. Many resorts retain a village-like feel, filled with restaurants, bars, shops, spas and more – especially Levi, the liveliest of the Finnish ski resorts.
Spring is also the time of several important holidays, for example Easter and the 1st of May – known as Vappu – when frenzied celebrations take place across the country. A number of events are organized in ski resorts to celebrate the best time of the year for skiing and snowboarding. The traditional Ski Race, the northernmost ski-marathon in the world, is held every April on an ancient mail delivery track from the village of Hetta in Finland to Kautokeino in Norway.
Snowshoeing is another recommended sport to try in Lapland. It’s a great way to breathe in the clean, fresh air and get your blood pumping. Explore the mystique of a quiet winter forest with a hiking guide, floating above even deep snow with the help of the snowshoes. Cross-country skiing is also highly recommended for those who want to train both body and mind. It’s also likely that you’ll spot some wildlife on your tour, from squirrels and rabbits to reindeer and birds.
SUMMER IN LAPLAND
Summer in Lapland means over 70 days in a row when the sun doesn’t set. You can spend the endless days boating, swimming, fishing, golfing or attending cultural events like the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä or the folklore festival Jutajaiset in Rovaniemi. Or if you want to enjoy the summer like the Finns, just rent a cottage next to a lake and relax.
Lapland is called the land of dreams, and if you watch the Gold Rush on Discovery and still live with the gold fever, its legendary gold fields might just make your dreams come true. Test your luck at Tankavaara Gold Village, the only authentic European gold mining village!
AUTUMN IN LAPLAND
After summer has passed, the landscape is decorated by the deep, soft tones of autumn foliage. You should aim for late September to catch this spectacular natural phenomenon, which the locals call “ruska”. Hiking is the favourite activity for witnessing nature’s rich palette; the mild autumn temperature is ideal for it, and there are various routes in Lapland for both beginners and more experienced trekkers. The Urho Kekkonen National Park, the second largest in Finland, is one of the most popular hiking spots in Lapland. It covers 2,550 square kilometres and contains a wide variety of landscapes, from mighty fells to forested areas.
The Northern Lights season starts in mid-August. So you will be able to see the Aurora Borealis also in the autumn. The best time to see Northern Lights autumn is around the autumn equinox that is around 22nd of September.
The Sámi people
The Sámi are an indigenous people who live in the Arctic area of Sápmi, which covers parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. About 9,000 Sámi people live in Finland, of whom 3,000 speak various regional Sámi languages as their mother tongue. It’s estimated that there are around 50,000 to 100,000 Sámi people altogether, although many now live in cities and lead a modern lifestyle. The Sámi people, especially those still living in the Sápmi area, identify strongly with their indigenous language, unique cultural heritage and the practice of traditional livelihoods, particularly reindeer herding. The Sámi people have a close relationship with their surroundings and according to their beliefs, all natural objects have souls. Ancient shamanic ways included the veneration of several gods and goddesses, the spirits of animals like the bear, and the spirits of the dead.
There are a number of shops throughout Lapland offering everything from local delicacies and jewellery to souvenirs and clothing. It’s also easy to find fine crafts from local artisans.
In Rovaniemi you’ll find the Sampokeskus, Revontuli and Rinteenkulma shopping centres, filled with dozens of restaurants and shops selling clothing, jewellery, sports equipment and electronics. There are also inviting little boutiques in the Rovaniemi city centre. For the famous Finnish brands like Marimekko and Iittala, as well as local Taigakoru and Marttiini, Pajakylä is the place to go.
You can also buy clothes and accessories inspired by the traditional Sámi culture for example from Sámi Duodji. A very popular souvenir is the Sámi witch drum, originally used as a tool to communicate with spirits.
ACTIVITY HOLIDAYS IN LAPLAND
FOOD & DRINKS IN LAPLAND
Finnish Lapland offers a variety of local foods. Many dishes are based on the traditional livelihoods, fishing and hunting. There are also plenty of berries to pick, which is apparent in many foods, especially desserts.
Rovaniemi, Ivalo and Kittilä all have their own airports within a convenient distance. A taxi is usually the best way to get from the airport to the city or village, and there’s usually a connecting bus service to ski resorts and other destinations from all arriving flights.
- Excuse me
- Santa Claus
- Northern lights