photo © Safartica
For many visitors Lapland is the most exotic of Finnish destinations; certainly it is one that is not quickly forgotten by those who come here. Sparsely populated, it provides a wide range of unique experiences in nature, whether hiking across Europe’s last wildernesses, fishing some of the best salmon rivers in the world, whitewater rafting, or even panning for gold; and all the while breathing in air that has been identified as the cleanest in Europe.
Winter time brings a whole new set of experiences to enjoy in Lapland, when the internationally recommended ski resorts of Levi, Ruka, Saariselkä and Olos, amongst others, open for the season. Syöte National Park in Pudasjärvi covers almost 300 sq. metres of forests and fells, with 2 adjacent ski resorts and Ranua Wildlife Park also close by. Alpine ski slopes and cross-country trails, snowmobiles for hire, reindeer safaris, and even dog-sled rides, are just some of the many activities you can enjoy in the pristine snow. For those seeking a truly memorable experience, the chance to spend a night in snow accommodation is one that shouldn’t be missed. Whether it’s one of the magical Igloo Hotels in Enontekiö, Kemi, Kittilä or Rovaniemi, or in an igloo in Kittilä, Muonio or Saariselkä, these unique accommodations provide unforgettable experiences. Especially on those nights, and there are many, when the aurora borealis light up the skies.
However, holidays in Lapland have more to offer than just experiences in the great outdoors. Finnish Lapland remains home to the country’s indigenous Sámi people who have a rich cultural heritage which can be explored in museums like Siida and the Skolt Sámi Heritage House in Inari, or Skierri in Enontekiö. There are almost a dozen local history museums located in the region, and in Rovaniemi, the regions capital, you’ll find the impressive Arkitkum building which houses the Provincial Museum of Finland and the Arctic Science Centre, and the Pilke Science Centre.
Rovaniemi is the regions largest city in Lapland, sitting astride the Arctic Circle, and it is here that you will discover the country’s most famous resident: Santa Claus! A village devoted to the most loved character in the world is situated here, and includes the post office which handles the tens of millions of letters sent by young children to him every winter. Visitors have the opportunity to meet Santa, and have a photo taken with him in his grotto, and nearby is the SantaPark theme park, a place never forgotten by the children, or the adults, who have visited.