Lapland, the largest and most northern region of Finland, is notonly a natural paradise which includes eight national parks but it is also the home of the beloved Santa Clause. And here is why: the first snow falls over Lapland around the end of August (August!!!) or beginning of September and we know how much Rudolf, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen love snow. Apart from Santa’s workshop there are many other reasons to visit Lapland. Here is a list of our favourites:
1. Aurora – Borealis
Not many can say they had the chance to witness this breath taking experience and there are only a few countries from which the lights can be seen including Russia, Canada, Finland (obviously), Scotland and Iceland. Finland is actually one of the best countries to see the Northern lights, as they can be seen in just over 200 night/year in Lapland. If you prefer the traditional way of watching the Aurora – Borealis, you will put your warmest clothes and go out to watch it while snowboarding or walking but if you would rather do it from the comfort of your own PJs, you will be happy to stay at the glass igloo in Rovaniemi.
2. Midnight Sun
When I found out about this concept I started to think that the pop song Midnight Sun was starting to make more sense (or not?). In any case, Midnight Sun is very welcomed in the Finish Lapland after the darkness of the winter with cultural events, like the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä. The region gets Midnight Sun for about three months straight in summer.
3. Ski & Snowboard
With all the snow and the variety of ski resorts it is pointless to say that skiing in Lapland should be on the bucket list of every winter sport enthusiast. See also:
4. Husky Sledding
We have seen it in movies and always wanted to try it ourselves. Do your research about the company before choosing a ride. There are evil companies out there which take really poor care of their dogs and even companies who put the dogs to sleep after retirement. Hetta Huskies has some useful tips for finding the right company:
- analyse their images and see how transparent the information on their marketing materials is.
- analyse their website – they should have loads of pictures (in theory having more pictures should be a sign that they didn’t steel those photographs).
- reputable kennels can normally always offer detailed information about the care of their dogs
- you should feel their pride when talking about dog ethics. If it feels like they cover it in a couple of sentences just because it is a requirement, think twice.
- ask questions like how many people look after the dogs (both in summer and winter), how experienced those people are, how long they have worked on the farm, how often do the dogs get vet checks, etc.
5. Reindeer Ride
Not seeing a reindeer wherever you go in Lapland is quite rare. This is why reindeer rides are not only a modern invention for tourists but it is a traditional and eco friendly means of transportation. As with husky rides, be careful at who offers you the service. There are even speed lovers who adventure on reindeer racing but if you are traveling with children and you would rather do it the safe way, go for the traditional ride which is suitable for everyone.
6. Christmas Markets
I know it is useless to say that Christmas markets are superb in Santa’s home region but I thought I would mention it to make sure you don’t skip this attraction if you are ever in Lapland around Christmas. Visit the Rovaniemi Christmas market and why not stop at Santa’s office as well?
Lapland can be easily described as a wild beauty and the best way to find that out is to go for a hike after you had enough of the urban vibes. If your group is made out of experienced and less experienced hikers (like myself) Urho Kekkonen National Park will be the perfect place to start. The breath taking views will satisfy even the hikers who have seen a lot on their journeys and the fact that it is safe and it offers enough places for stopping and camping makes it appropriate even for inexperienced hikers.