More Lapland Sights and Activities
If your dream is to one day catch a glimpse of the mystical Northern Lights, there are few places better than Lapland to do so! The long, clear nights and almost complete lack of light pollution combine to make some pretty perfect viewing conditions. Seeing them often requires a fair bit of patience, as well as a sprinkling of good fortune but if you do manage to spot them you’ll instantly understand what all the fuss is about. Few experiences can compare to a trip into the silent, snow-covered Lapland forest, in the dead of night, via reindeer or husky sled, snowmobile or snowshoe in search of the Aurora.
This is fishing as you’ll have never experienced it before. Take a husky, reindeer or snowmobile safari out to a remote, frozen lake – don’t worry, the ice in Lapland is thick enough to hold a huge amount of weight! Here you’ll be able to drill holes through the ice, drop a line in, then settle in next to a warm fire and wait for that rod to wiggle. Lakes in Lapland are home to pike, trout, grayling and perch, amongst many other species, so who knows what you’ll get. Once you make a catch, your expert guides might even be kind enough to prepare the fish for you and cook it over an open fire. Of course, you can also choose to let them go if you’d prefer.
Lainio Snow Village
The incredible Lainio Snow Village, near to the resorts of Yllas and Levi, really has to be seen to be believed. Around the end of October each year, the work starts to turn 300 tonnes of natural ice and 1,500 tonnes of snow into a real, working village. The size and layout of the village changes slightly each year as it’s built from scratch but common features include a restaurant and bar, a hotel and even a chapel! This great range of facilities means that you can enjoy a meal, stay overnight and even get married, all in buildings made completely from snow and ice.
Kakslauttanen Igloo Village
Have you ever dreamt of spending a night sleeping in an igloo in Lapland? How about spending a night under the stars, searching the skies for the elusive Northern Lights? At the Kakslauttanen Igloo Village near Saariselkä, you can do both at the same time - the incredible glass igloos here have got to be one of the most unique bedrooms you’ve ever stayed in. Each igloo is insulated with thermal glass and sleeps two people, with twin or double beds available – perfect for both couples and friends. We’ve heard rumours of new new four-person igloos, so you could even bring the whole family. We can usually arrange for a one night stay here during your Lapland holiday – just check with us for more details.
Lake Inari & SIIDA Museum
Lake Inari is the largest lake in Lapland, covering a staggering 1,040 square kilometres. The most amazing thing about this lake isn’t its size but the fact that it has over 3,000 islands contained within it. These include Hautuumaasaari – an ancient Sami burial ground – and Ukonkivi, a place where historical inhabitants used to carry out sacrifices. During the winter it’s possible to take snowmobile safaris across the frozen surface of the lake and have a go at ice fishing. In the lakeside town of Inari you’ll also find the fascinating SIIDA museum, specialising in Sami culture and Arctic nature. The nearest resort is Saariselkä, and we can usually arrange for you to visit the town and lake with your booking.
In Rovaniemi you’ll find the Arktikum - an incredible example of Finnish architecture and one of Finland’s most popular museums and science centres. There are usually a number of fascinating exhibitions here, and one of the main themes is the amazing culture and history of Lapland. Other exhibitions often showcase current Arctic research and show how the people of Lapland have adapted to cope with life in this extreme environment. There are generally loads of interactive activities for kids and adults alike, and even a 3D Northern Lights theatre! Our nearest ski resorts to Rovaniemi are Pyha, Yllas, Levi and Ruka.
Sauna & Ice Swimming
The sauna has an almost holy status in Finland. Women here traditionally gave birth in saunas and they were also used for marriage rituals and even the preparation of bodies before burial. On average, there is one sauna for every household! Finland has three main types of sauna; the smoke sauna, the wood-heated sauna and the electric sauna. For real enthusiasts there are also mobile saunas, which can be built into buses, cars and, in the case of one famous sauna in Ylläs, a ski gondola! Saunas are also commonly found on the banks of lakes in Lapland, combining perfectly with another popular pastime – ice swimming. The tradition is to sit in a sauna – at up to 130ᵒc – for as long as you can bear, before plunging into freezing water to cool off. It’s said to be a great way to relieve stress...
Finland has a vibrant freestyle scene and, despite their generally small ski areas, lots of Lapland’s resorts are well known for the quality of their snow parks. The Finnish freestyle team are often based in Pyha, where there’s a 600m park with a variety of obstacles to suit all abilities. Ruka is also great for park rats, with two snow parks, a superpipe and a freestyle mogul run. The freestyle world championships were held here in 2005, too, so it must be pretty special! Other ideal resorts are Saariselka, which has a whopping 1200m park and Levi with its two separate freestyle areas.
If you really want to feel connected with nature, there are few better ways to do so than by taking a peaceful ride through the wintery forests of Lapland on horseback. Our favourite Lapland resorts for horse riding are Levi and Yllas, both of which have riding schools that usually offer lessons and guided excursions in winter as well as summer. Horses in Lapland are specially adapted to the snowy conditions with thick coats, bushy manes and big hooves – just make sure you wear all the right gear as well!
Tobogganing has to be one of the most popular winter sports for families and kids, and there’s no shortage of chances to give it a go in Lapland! Most of the Lappish resorts have specific tobogganing areas on their piste maps. These are usually close to the main village or at least a café or two, and some have magic carpet lifts to take you back to the top. As if you needed any more reason to give it a go, a few of the resorts even offer free toboggan hire. For some record-breaking tobogganing, Saariselkä has the oldest and longest slope in the region. These great little contraptions aren’t just good for sliding down hills, either – they can also be used to drag tired kids around the resort with minimal effort!
Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi
What visit to Lapland would be complete without a trip to see Father Christmas? Rovaniemi, situated right on the Arctic Circle, is often said to be Santa’s home town and it’s here that you’ll find the famous Santa Claus Village. This magical village is always beautifully decorated with lights, ornaments and Christmas trees - kids and adults alike are sure to be completely enchanted by it. Meet Santa Claus in his office, have photos taken with him and even send letters from the Santa Claus post office – they’ll be delivered with Santa’s official stamp of approval...
Santa Park Rovaniemi
15 minutes from Rovaniemi city centre (the city that Santa calls home!) is a magical world of underground caverns, filled with Christmas activities that will delight kids and adults alike. This is Santa Park, and if you’re having a holiday in Lapland you owe it to your inner child to pay a visit! There are all kinds of incredible things to do here; in past years you’ve been able to go to elf or calligraphy school, visit an ice gallery, take a magic sleigh ride and even help Mrs. Claus bake gingerbread. Of course you’ll also get a meeting with the big man in red, , so make sure you’ve been especially well behaved and have that Christmas list to hand!