The most northern region of Finland offers a magical getaway to fulfil all your snowy North Pole dreams. A bit off-the-beaten trail, this region borders Sweden, Norway, and Russia giving it a variety of Nordic cultural influences. From seeing the Aurora Borealis on a husky sleigh ride to trying the favourite local pastime of taking sauna, Lapland is sure to be a destination worth adding to your bucket list.
The Northern Lights
Lapland is one of the rare places in the world that you can see one of the earth’s most beautiful phenomenon. Between the months of August and April, visitors can head to a number of places to view the Northern Lights. This benefit of viewing the lights from Finland, is that the area is less crowded and more affordable than Iceland or Sweden. If the Northern Lights are high on your list, it is suggested to research and plan ahead of time as factors such as the new moon and others can impact visibility and give you a better chance at a real show.
Skiing and Snowboarding and Other Winter Sports
For those seeking a bit of chilly fun, Lapland is the place for all your winter sports. If you are ready to shred some Finnish mountains, there are plenty of ski resorts in Lapland. For newbies that aren’t looking to learn a new skill, you may prefer trying out a snowmobile or 4-wheeler. Any of these winter sports are also a great way to see some of the breathtaking landscapes while staying active.
Try a Husky or Reindeer Safari
If you want to see the wilderness of Lapland in a more relaxed manner, then you may want to consider a sleigh-ride, with a twist. A winter safari is a sled led by reindeer, moose, or huskies and allows you to see the raw beauty of this rural province from a unique perspective. Sights to be seen include wild reindeer, snow-capped mountains, and untouched wintery woods. Giving off some Disney Frozen vibes, this activity is one for the books.
Visit The World’s Biggest Snow Fort – The Snow Castle of Kemi
One of the most unique attractions in Lapland has to be Lumilinna. This is the world’s largest snow fort which is rebuilt every single year and dubbed the Snow Castle of Kemi. The castle includes a chapel, a restaurant, and even a hotel. Should you desire to stay the night, you’ll be set up with a thermal sleeping bag to keep you warm on your ice bed. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time as this site draws thousands of visitors every year and books up quick. And if the hotel sounds a bit too chilly, the restaurant serves hot beverages and world class food, so you can still get a ‘taste’ of the snow castle.
Santa Claus Village and Park
Whether you are looking to make your childhood dreams come true for yourself or for your family, the Santa Claus Village and Santa Claus Park is the place for you. Hailed as the official home of St. Nick, this village has Christmas festivities all year long. Beautifully decorated and lit up, the village also includes the Santa Post Office, where letters to Santa are sorted. The Arctic Circle also runs through this village and by crossing it, you can even earn a certificate to make your accomplishment official.
The Arktikum Science Center and Museum
Nothing makes you appreciate your vacation spot more than learning a little bit about the history, culture, science, and art that make this place special. The Arktikum Science Center and Museum is the perfect warm place to spend an afternoon learning about the arctic. Stroll through the permanent exhibitions to hear about the history of Lapland’s people, animals in the arctic, and how climate change is affecting this area’s natural resources. This museum draws scientists and experts from all around the world, so it is definitely worth a visit!
Indulge in a Fresh Salmon or Reindeer Meal
Whenever traveling, it is a must to try some of the national cuisine. A traditional dinner in Finland uses freshly caught salmon. With Lapland’s close access to the sea, this is one the best places for this meal. For those foodies a little more daring, Lapland locals hold up reindeer meat as one of their favourites! You can find delicious salmon or reindeer stew in most local restaurants or hit up the Snow Restaurant in Lumilinna above for an all-around experience.
Finland: Home of the Sauna
One of the biggest Finnish traditions is the sauna, and we can thank the Finns for the invention. Nearly every household in Finland has an attached sauna and this activity has become an integral part of daily life for both health and enjoyment. If you are looking for a cozy escape from the cold, Lapland has many interesting saunas where you can enjoy this local pastime. Many offer a yoga session or massage beforehand to really maximise the relaxation from the sauna. You can even book a sauna tour in which you will try five different saunas across Lapland over a week.
Hiking (With Chocolate!)
Hiking through the snowy wonders of Lapland is an experience that is worth bundling up for. Finland is big on outdoor activities, such as hiking and ice swimming (for only the very brave of heart!) There are plenty of options of great trails to choose from and eight beautiful national parks. Once you’ve scoped out your target, you will definitely want to try an old Finnish secret of making sure you have a chocolate bar packed with you. A Finnish friend explains, they always hike with a bar of chocolate to give you both energy and a boost of happiness towards the last stretch of the hike.
Things to do in Lapland
If you’re looking for a unique and cozy trip with breathtaking landscapes, Lapland is your place. It is definitely recommended to research and plan beforehand so you can make sure you knock out all the activities you’re interested in. Dress warm, pack a camera, and get ready for a magical snowy adventure!
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Written by Annie Quinn