Lapland in northern Scandinavia, stretching nearly 400,000 kilometers, is covered with azure lakes, snow-topped mountains, and deep forests. Lapland is vast and spreads over four countries. But what interesting hidden gems can be found the Finnish part of Lapland?
- Rovaniemi - the Capital of Lapland
Rovaniemi is the administrative capital and commercial center of Lapland, the northernmost region of Finland. The city is located just 5 kilometers from the Arctic Circle.
- Santa Claus Village
Rovaniemi is the official home of Santa Claus. In the Santa Claus Holiday Village, you can find Santa Claus and his elves in person any time of year, have a photo taken with them, and they’ll greet you in your native language.
- The northernmost McDonald's in the world is in Finland
In Rovaniemi, you can also find the northernmost McDonald's in the world. In the city, apart from fast food, you can find various cafés, restaurants offering world cuisines and local bars, as well as night clubs providing guaranteed entertainment well into the night. There are two universities in Rovaniemi, bringing around 10,000 students from Finland and abroad to the city every year, so cultural experiences and urban entertainments abound.
- Saunas in Lapland
While saunas are simply an integral part of Finland, saunas in Lapland are a special experience. Try one of the local saunas on a frozen lake shore. Relax in the hot Finnish sauna and cool yourself afterwards in the -30 oC air outside, or daredevils can submerge themselves in the frozen lake’s ice hole, cut specifically for this purpose.
- Winter activities in Lapland
In Lapland, you can also discover many other unusual activities, such as ice fishing or snowmobiling. Dog lovers shouldn’t miss a visit to one of the local husky farms, which you can find scattered across Lapland, offering the unique chance to try a ride in a dogsled across the pristine countryside. Reindeer sleigh rides are also very popular. In the past, they used to be the only means of transport in the heavily snow-covered land and have remained an integral part of the original inhabitants’ way of life till today. Did you know that the reindeer population in Lapland exceeds that of humans? So it’s quite common to see a reindeer on the road.
- Land of Aurora Borealis
The Aurora Borealis is the polar glow that can be seen in the sky beyond the Arctic Circle from September till March. You might not see the aurora every day, though. But there are various apps showing the chance of seeing the aurora in your surroundings, such as https://auroraalert.fi/
- Sámi people of Lapland - one of the oldest living cultures
The Sámi are the indigenous people of Lapland. When visiting Rovaniemi, don’t miss a visit to the local museum, where you will learn more about their origins. A large part of the Sámi community can be found in Inari village, the heart of Sámi life in Finland. There, you can find the Sámi Parliament, a museum, a Sámi culture center, and Ukonsaari Island, which is sacred to the Sámi community.
- Ice hotels - iconic spots in Lapland
In Lapland, there are also special hotels made solely of ice. Take the unique opportunity to stay in one of these hotels, and walk through the hotel rooms made only of ice, like all the furnishings. Drop into an ice bar and taste one of the local drinks served in ice glasses.
- The safest region in the world
And did you know that there is nearly zero criminality in Lapland? Locals usually don’t lock their houses, have open gardens without fences, and leave their car keys in the ignition.
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