Finnish Lapland is a breathtaking region located in the northernmost part of Finland, spanning across the Arctic Circle. The vast wilderness, pristine nature, and unique culture of the region makes it an absolute must visit! We chose to partner with Go North, a Dutch agency, offering unique trips to Northern Europe. Everything was well arranged and as they are specialized in the North, we got a lot of very interesting information to start our trip. (For example: what to pack, info about local nature and culture…)
What to do in Finnish Lapland?
The natural beauty of Finnish Lapland is unparalleled. It is known for its vast forests, countless lakes, and rugged hills, which create a unique landscape that is perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and skiing. An extra bonus is the variety of wildlife such as reindeer, brown bears, and wolves. (We were lucky that during the winter season the bears were asleep.)
1) Try to get a glimpse of the magnificent Northern Lights
One of the most popular attractions in Fins Lapland is the Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis. This natural phenomenon is caused by solar particles colliding with the Earth's magnetic field, creating a dazzling display of lights in the night sky. The Northern Lights can be seen in Finnish Lapland between September and April. As we visited in March it was the perfect season to see them. Between 7pm and midnight you get the highest chance of observing the Northern Lights. We saw them twice, upon arrival and on our Aurora Camp adventure. Our hotel also offered an alarm service that worked between 7pm and 1am, so you get warned to go outside on time!
TIP! Install a Northern Lights app on your phone so you can see your chances (ex. My Aurora Forecast)
2) Meet the Sami people.
In addition to the natural beauty, Finnish Lapland is also known for its unique culture. The region is home to the indigenous Sami people, who have inhabited the area for thousands of years. The Sami people have a rich culture and tradition, and visitors can learn about their way of life by visiting Sami villages and participating in activities such as reindeer sledding and traditional Sami cuisine. We visited the Inari Reindeer farm, that is run by an original Sami family. We had the chance to see some reindeer and learn more about their culture. Interesting facts:
The reindeer all live at a farm during the winter season of different Sami communities, so there are no wild reindeer in Finnish Lapland. During summer they can roam freely in an area of 70km2.
Reindeer have 5 local enemies: bears, wolverines, wolfs, eagles and traffic. (Unfortunately, traffic is the most common reason of death)
Reindeer are marked by their farmer in the ears. When a reindeer gets killed the farmer tries to find the ears as they will get a compensation from the government.
At Inari reindeer farm, they stopped using them for sledding. In fact, it has been a tourist thing since 1964, when the snowmobile was invented.
3) Go dogsledding.
Dogsledding was an amazing adventure! As we were the first people to go dogsledding of the day, the dogs were really excited to go running. The feeling on the sledge and guiding the dogs is unforgettable. Most dogs are huskies or a mixture of huskie and another breed. They are born at the dogsledding companies, where they are good taken care of and get enough food and warmth. After the ride we could hug and cuddle them all. We were again very lucky as there were small puppies to visit! The dogs start running the sledges when they are around 7 months old. Older dogs that don’t run anymore stay at the huskie farm and learn the puppies how to behave.
4) Riding the snowmobile.
Of course, a ride on the snowmobile needs to be a part of your experience too. As we stayed at the borders of the frozen Inari Lake, we had a lot of space to go snowmobiling. Go North offers a unique experience of two activities a day. And that is really a great opportunity. Our first snowmobiling adventure took about 4 hours and included an outdoor picnic (with the possibility to eat inside close to the fireplace). The ride was fabulous, we stopped at the border of the lake and our guide made a delicious dish of salmon with fine herbs and potatoes. We preferred to eat outside at the campfire. In Lapland you also learn how to make a quick campfire as it’s necessary to have one each time you make a stop and to warm up our drinks (and hands and feet 😊)
We had a second snowmobiling adventure in the evening to look for the Northern Lights. Unfortunately, we were not lucky that evening.
5) Walking in the deep snow with snowshoes
Snowshoeing is also a must do in Lapland. We had so much fun walking in the deep snow.
Snowshoes are provided of course, and this was the only activity we didn’t feel the cold anymore. The landscape to walk through is truly amazing. As we had a sunny day the snow was shining like diamonds and the trees were glittering as well. Such a magical experience. The good part is when you fall (and believe me you do) it’s like crashing on a soft cloud. At the end we even did a snow glide downhill.
Fun fact: do you know what this picture is? It’s a snow bunny’s toilet. Never knew they made it like this in the snow! Did you?
6) Taste the local cuisine.
Finally, the cuisine in Finnish Lapland is a unique experience. The region is known for its traditional dishes such as reindeer stew, salmon soup, and smoked fish. As we were staying at the border of the immense Inari Lake, we had full board at our fabulous hotel: Wilderness Hotel Inari. There isn’t much to be found in the neighborhood and as it was extremely cold it was good to have all meals at the hotel. We had the opportunity to taste the typical cuisine and there were also vegetarian and vegan options.
7) Where to stay?
There are quite some resorts and hotels in the neighborhood. As we booked with Go North, we chose to stay at the Wilderness Hotel Inari and stayed in an Aurora cabin with a glass roof. The cabin was comfortable and had underfloor heating. There is also a sauna available that you need to reserve at the reception desk. Upon arrival we received all necessary information, the Aurora alarm and warm suits, snow boots and gloves to use during our stay. We even received a welcome drink in our cabin of two small bottles of cava. Great to start our adventure.
Note: for snowmobiling it is not allowed to drink any alcohol
In conclusion, Finnish Lapland is a magical place that offers a unique combination of natural beauty, culture, and outdoor activities. Whether you want to witness the Northern Lights, learn about the Sami culture, or visit Santa Claus Village, there is something for everyone in this stunning region. It's no wonder that Finnish Lapland has become a bucket list destination for many travelers, and I highly recommend adding it to yours.
Do you have any questions about visiting Lapland? Please ask me in the comments!