Feel the magic of Lapland
Updated: Dec 26, 2020
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Lapland is not only a beautiful and unforgettable place to visit all throughout the year but also a magical destination because of its amazing landscape that transcends across all seasons and its unique natural phenomena; the Northern lights or the Aurora Borealis as the popular one, polar nights, autumn colors, and arctic cites nestled among ice age fells.
Depending on interests you and in which season, the largest and northernmost region of Finland provides a wide range of attractions, travel services, and activities to enjoy. During winter, fall in love with white snow and special polar nights. Spring showcases the beauty of nature waking up and illuminating with summer lights and then changing to the beautiful colors of autumn. All these calls for a one-of-a-kind trip to Lapland throughout the year.
Lapland covers 30% of Finland's land area, but only 3% is populated. This means that more than the cities, Lapland's nature has a lot to offer. To make the most out of exploring, go to the vast open area and enjoy peace and quiet of the wild wilderness on foot, skis or sled. Most people know Lapland for its snow and cold temperatures, but it is also the land of amazing rivers and lakes, various typical plants, trees, and animals. The Lappish soil is also enriched with gold.
Summer in Lapland gives the visitors a special experience of the natural phenomena of Midnight Sun or nightless night. This means that the sun does not set. There is also the spectacular Finnish Lapland’s Pyhä-Luosto National Park, where visitors can enjoy hiking on the hill to get the most of the 24-hour daylight in the middle of June. The place is well-marked through the forest and after climbing to the top, one can enjoy the astonishing panoramic view of the hill, forests ,and lakes on the horizon in solitude.
The Sámi people live in the Northern parts of Finland, as well as in Norway, Sweden, and North-Eastern parts of Russia. They are the only indigenous people of the European Union with a large population of almost 10,000 in Finland. Their language and culture has been maintained and their parliament is governed in Inari. The interesting way of how they live can be experienced by visitors through activities and festivals throught the year.
Here are several possible events to join: Indigenous Peoples' Film Festival in Inari at the end of January and visitors can go to Skábmagovat for celebrating the end of the polar night. One could also join and enjoy the Sámi National Day celebration on 6th of February. And in August, visitors could participate at the Music Festival of indigenous people. Visit the official travel guide of Finland for more details if you want to experience the Sámi culture.
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
The absolute astonishing phenomena of Northern lights is best seen in a dark and clear night. The months October, November and March are usually the best time for this observation. To see the lights, patience is necessary as you need to wait outside from 9pm to 2am. There are also useful websites for predicting the aurora activity, or perhaps worth to pay for an aurora-watching trip.
The lights appear like dancing and rotating in the night sky for thousands of kilometers in greenish-white colors extending from east to west. Sometimes red, blue, and violet colors can be seen as well. The ancient residents of Lapland believed that these lights were caused by a huge fox that moved its tail above the Arctic tundra. One Finnish word of aurora is revontulet which means fires of the fox.
The number of reindeers in Finnish Lapland is almost the same as that of people which is why sleigh rides for tourists is a popular way to get around and to get closer to reindeers. For the ancient Sámi, reindeers were important and used for moving around.
The travelers usually enjoy the ride with the wooden sleigh and go through the snowy forest in peace usually considered as a spiritual trip in nature. The rides can last from 10 minutes to a few hours.
There are also other arctic animals and places to visit such as Konttaniemen Porotila which is a reindeer farm 8 kms from Rovaniemi, Husky Point at Sinettä which provides guided kennel visits, and sled rides in summer and winter as well; Arctic Circle Husky Park near Santa’s grotto which offers a great way to meet dogs and also have some sled rides. For more information, visit Lonely Planet Finland.
When you hear the name of Santa Claus, the same image of a white-bearded man probably comes to mind. But because Finland is the home of Santa Claus, seeing him in person should be one of the highlights of the trip. His office is situated at the Arctic Circle open everyday in the city of Rovaniemi.
Children would perhaps want to have a personal chat with him to ask why they never received the gift they wanted last Christmas or if they are in the good or naughty list this year, or know more about the annual mission of delivering message of happiness around the world with the help of his reindeer friends and his team!
Children are curious and interested in questions like: how long is Santa's beard, what are his secrets, how he works with his team, or maybe where is Mrs Claus. To answer all those questions and what has been wondered about, there is a data archive preserved by the Professor Elves. There is also a secret recipe file available published as a cookbook that lists the recipes and delicacies of Santa and Mrs Claus.
How to get to Lapland
Lapland is a broad and wide ranging area in the Arctic, but operating in the region and getting there is easy unlike Siberia, Alaska or other exotic Arctic locations. This is due to the extensive transportation, service, and cellular networks. Although Lapland is one of the most remote places in the world, it has been a popular holiday destination and therefore has created excellent transport services which are efficient, reliable and safe. It's possible to reach the place by airplane, train, bus or car easily.
There is an airport close to the Arctic landscapes and a comfortable hotel to lodge in. There are 5 airports available in Lapland and also daily connections to Helsinki, capital of Finland. Kittilä has also direct flights within Finland, from Tampere and Turku. There are also direct international flights in high season at the airports of Rovaniemi, Ivalo, and Kittilä which offer flights to Europe and Asia. For example, there are flights from London, Paris, Zurich, Tallinn, Munich, Dublin, Brussels, Geneva, Istanbul, Tel Aviv. For more information visit Finavia.fi
Driving with personal car or from a rental place is another option to reach Lapland. Some people may prefer to use car since in Lapland even in winter, the road network is vast and kept in good condition.
There are good train connections from all around Finland to Lapland. There are train stations in Helsinki, Kolari, and Kemijärvi. Depending on the connections, traveling from Helsinki to Rovaniemi takes about 8 -12 hours. When traveling overnight, you can get comfortable sleeping cabins. For timetables and tickets for trains, visit VR.
Taking the bus is another practical option for a trip to Lapland since buses cross through Finland from southern cities to far north. All big cities and towns are connected by bus and pass through most villages as well. For detailed information on how to find travel options and bus companies, visit Matkahuolto.fi.
Lapland offers local fresh traditional food such as soups, stews, mushrooms, and wild berries. One can enjoy a meal in restaurants, hotels or in the beautiful market-place offering the traditional Lappish food which is cooked sometimes on an open fire while watching traditional musicians too.
There is a known market which arrives in Lapland in early September each year and stops is Rovaniemi and Torino. This International Grand Market attracts so many shoppers from across Finland where different countries around the world bring international cuisines, crafts, and gifts to Lapland such as French, Spanish and Australian.
Events and markets happen at the Rovaniemi's main square on summer days and some winter days. It's where one can find food and coffee as well as products of local farmers such as arctic fruits and vegetables, berries, and flowers.
Every visitor should try cloudberries (lakka) in the market, the famous small berries in beautiful yellow orange color native to the arctic regions and used in Lappish cuisine such as jams, liquors, or to be eaten accompanied with the food. There's also a lot of traditional Lappish food to enjoy during Christmas time with the festive atmosphere, either from the marketplace or in restaurants and cafes. For more information on restaurants visit