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Lapland |Public Domain /Pixabay
Lapland |Public Domain /Pixabay
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An Essential Guide to Finland's Serene Lapland

Picture of Jessica Wood
Updated: 13 March 2017
Finnish Lapland may be one of the more remote holiday destinations on the planet but those who make the journey find it full of culture, mythology, and history with multitudes of activities unique to the region. Lapland stretches across the northern parts of Finland, Sweden, Norway, and a small part of Russia, but you can gain the full experience in Finnish Lapland alone.

When to visit

There are draws and setbacks to visiting Lapland in both the summer and winter. Close to 24 hours of daylight in the summer can cause insomnia, but Lapland in summer still has spectacular views and chances for hiking and cycling. The winter is, of course, incredibly cold with potentially dangerous ice and only a few hours of daylight which can result in winter depression. But it also comes with the Northern Lights, winter sports, dog sledding, and reindeer sleigh rides among other things. The time of year you choose to visit will depend upon your own preferences over the things you want to do and the weather extremes you can handle.

Riding a snowmobile in Lapland / Pixabay
Riding a snowmobile in Lapland | © Public Domain / Pixabay

Santa Claus Village

This is a big hit for tourists throughout the year, regardless of their age. The Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi just outside of the Arctic Circle is the capital of the Lapland province and the official hometown of Santa and his reindeer. Not only can you visit Santa and get a photo with him in his hut, the village and the city it is based in has shops, hotels, restaurants, and winter activities too.

History and culture

The Santa mythos isn’t the only important part of Lapland’s culture. There is a lot of history and mythology to explore as well. The native Sami people are spread across all parts of Lapland and traditionally herd reindeer, sell handmade crafts, and share their stories and folklore with visitors.

Sports

Lapland is a heaven for sports lovers, particularly winter sports, with many available throughout the year. In the summer there is canoeing, hiking, and cycling through a serene landscape. In the winter when the ground and lakes are frozen, there is dog sledging, skiing, snowboarding, and multiple other sports and physical activities. It is an ideal spot for professionals, enthusiasts, or even those who just want to try something new.

Wildlife

The Sami, and all Finnish people, are particularly proud of their natural wildlife and go to great lengths to protect them with some of the best ecological policies in the world. This means you can see a fascinating range of wildlife during your time in Lapland, and perhaps even a few rare or endangered species, so long as you are careful to avoid the dangerous animals.

Herds of reindeer can block the roads in Lapland / Pixabay
Herds of reindeer can block the roads in Lapland | © Public Domain / Pixabay

Lapland Safaris offers opportunities to spot these animals in the wild by dog sled, snowmobile, boat, fatbike, or on snowshoes. Or to see all of the Arctic wildlife at once you can visit Ranua Wildlife Park, the northernmost zoo in the world. In November 2016, the zoo welcomed a rare polar bear cub, the second ever to be born in Finland. The zoo also holds Arctic foxes, brown bears, owls, wolves, moose, beavers, wolverines, and many other Arctic animals from all parts of Lapland.

You can clearly see why Finnish Lapland is quickly gaining a reputation as a holiday destination with something for everyone. No matter what time of year you visit, you are always guaranteed to find something that will interest, inspire, and amaze you.