Finnish Lapland is an incredibly beautiful place where nature has been kept unspoiled thanks to the rough conditions. Only brave travelers make it up above the Arctic Circle! Read further to see why you should be one of them.
Winter is actually the best time you could come to Lapland! Most of the traditional Lappish activities involve snow, so you’ll need to come from December till April to experience the real thing!
Must-dos In Lapland
You can’t just come to Finland and leave out the sauna! Even if you don’t crave for it, you’ve got to try it at least once if you find yourself in the motherland of saunas. Almost each hotel provides a nice sauna, so you’ll have plenty of options. In winter, Finns roll around the snow for cooling off, will you be that brave too?
2. Northern Lights
The magic Aurora Borealis can be sometimes spotted on the sky even if you’re not trying. Given that it’s a rare sight and even most Finns have never seen one in their life, you might want to help your luck and get a tour that specializes in chasing Northern Lights. They usually know the best spots for spotting it where the sky stays clear and can guarantee up to 70% chance of seeing it!
3. Husky safari
This safari was my fave! It involves riding through beautiful landscapes, trying to slow the dogs down a bit, as they have an insatiable desire to run at the speed of light. The silent ride, interrupted only by the dogs’ barks and excited shrieks, makes for a great adventure. Your dogs will pull the sled happily and will occasionally turn around to check who’s at the helm 🙂
One warning: reindeer are rather slow animals. If you take a reindeer sleigh ride after a husky safari, you’ll be bored to death. Separately, though, it’s incredible fun too! You can nicely relax in the sleigh padded with reindeer skin and watch the peaceful scenery around. If you take kids with you, they might fall asleep (isn’t that a plus?)
Driving a snowmobile will get your adrenaline levels up! Let your engine roar and carry you over snowy hilltops and frozen lakes. You’ll need a driver’s license, though. All snowmobile providers wrap you up in a warm overall and do a break with hot beverages in the middle so you won’t get too cold.
6. Santa Claus & Arctic Circle
Did you know Santa Claus’ official base is in Rovaniemi, a little town on the Arctic Circle? You definitely should stop by if you’re on your way further up to Lapland. Santa’s main post office looks really special and you can even check out how many letters came in from any country in the world. There are elves instead of shop assistants and you can meet Santa (for 30 EUR), he’s available every day! Don’t forget to cross the Arctic Circle a few times, just for the fun of it.
Other fun Lappish adventures
7. Snowshoe hike
Walking in the snow is suddenly much more fun if you’ve got the snowshoes on! You can often get on nice evening hikes through the forest, where your only source of light is the moon, stars and the pure white snow.
8. Cross-country skiing
If you’re into sports, you’ll enjoy the long tracks there are around all major resorts in Lapland. Occasionally, you might spot a reindeer or two! What can beat that?
9. Skiing & snowboarding
You know, Finland is a flat country. Any bigger hill is unique so to take on some good skiing or snowboarding action cannot be done just about anywhere. The resorts that have slopes are all great, with Alps-like level of service.
10. Ice hotel visit
Visit especially if there are no ice hotels where you come from. A hotel made of ice is unique to Finnish Lapland and only a few more Northern spots on the Earth. Fancy a vodka shot in an ice glass? Head to the ice bar! A cool hotel is e.g. Arctic Snowhotel just outside Rovaniemi.
11. Tank riding
Did you know you could ride a monstrous Russian tank near Rovaniemi? Yep, one company offers that kind of activity. They might even let you hold the steering wheel! It’s rather pricy, but hey, we’re talking once-in-a-lifetime experience here.
12. Icefall climbing
For the wild climbers among you, get your spikes on and go climb some icefalls, or rather rappel down them! This type of excursion is always led by an experienced professional. Just around 1,5 h far from Rovaniemi, in Pyhä, is where climbing like that can be done.
Lapland might seem way too remote, but it’s not as bad. The Arctic Circle and the city of Rovaniemi are about 10 hrs drive from Helsinki. There are airports in Rovaniemi and several more cities further up north. Flying into Rovaniemi is usually the most convenient. Buses work pretty well too.
For tours and trips into the wilderness, the easiest is to check what activities your hotel provides. There are also many independent providers, whose tours you can book online or by phone. Their prices usually include a pickup from a hotel, depending on where you stay.
Another option, to have a pre-booked activity that’s been tested and reviewed, check out those offered via GetYourGuide.
I totally fell in love with Lapland in winter, even though I usually tend to avoid really cold places! I’m confident you’ll have no chance of resisting its charm either 🙂
Have you been to Lapland? What activities did you do?
For you, fellow Pinterest fans, here’s a pin!