Lapland throws a prevailing magic charm there’s something incredibly lonely and intangible here that crafts it magical. The midnight sun, the Sámi peoples, the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) and nomadic reindeer are all components of this – and the good old Santa Claus who ‘officially’ inhabit in here, along with the awesome latitudes.
Their cosmic wilderness is ripe for travelling around on foot, skis or sledge. The sense of space, pure air and big skies are what’s most unforgettable here, more so than the towns. Lapland’s far north is known as Sápmi, home of the Sámi people, whose key communities are around Inari, Utsjoki and Ruka.
I started my voyage to this wistful Winter Wonderland last October which is like during the onset of winter! I have to confess I was kind of cynical because of the cold and the twilight. Thus, crammed with hope and mixed feeling I was inquisitive how existence will be in this different side of the world.
It is an unbelievable sensation when diverse colours – green, gold, red, blue or purple – are dancing all over the sky! But be alert that you are wearing sufficient warm clothes because at times you have to wait long till northern lights are appearing and you absolutely do not want to get cold feet! You should exercise tolerance as it can take almost forever to wait for northern light until you can see them!
The Finnish double-decker night train, known as the Santa Claus Express or VR lines travels from Helsinki to snow-covered Lapland in the north. The train stops at Rovaniemi.
You can also rent a car or board a flight if you want to save time in travelling.if you want to see the beauty of Finland, then travelling by car or train is highly recommended
Go on board on a city tour around Rovaniemi and visit the Santa Claus Village where Santa Claus splurges his time every day of the year to take care of his mission in life: to enhance the happiness of children as well as thinning out the message of love and goodwill of Christmas Spirit all through the globe.
A short train ride will get you to Rovaniemi, the bustling capital of Lapland in Finland situated on the Arctic Circle and best known as the Finnish Winter Resort.
Rovaniemi is the ideal base for discovering Lapland and all it has to offer. No doubt it features a lot of the majority of itineraries of Lapland. I stayed at Santa Claus Village and loved it. The hotel’s location is just the right thing– it’s few-minute away from most of Rovaniemi’s supermarkets, restaurants, and excursion providers.
My spacious suite was modern, kitted out with a private Finnish sauna. Since I am a Halal food lover. I had trouble in finding the right food for me so most of the time I did splurge in Rye Bread and fruits. You can survive on vegetarian burgers, such as Soya, Hemp and Tofu and a great range of local bread, cakes and coffee.
If you are a vegetarian or Halal foody then you can visit Hotel Sky Ounasvaara and Kotahovi Restaurant which serves good authentic vegetarian food.
Meet Santa Claus at Santa Claus Village!
Finnish folklore says that ‘real’ Santa Claus resides in Rovaniemi’s Santa Claus Village with Mrs Claus and an army of elves. No wonder it’s Christmas 365 days a year in Lapland.
You will listen to Christmas carols and joyful music as soon as you enter the sacred gates of this dreamy village. Of course, there’s no better way to arrive at Mr Claus’ house than on a reindeer sleigh or husky sleigh, but only if you are in Lapland during winters.
During summer and other times, you find small rides of Reindeer and Huskies. Now let me tell you something.
This might not be your first brawl with Arctic Safaris but one thing is for sure – it’ll be your favourite one. It belongs in a fairytale, nowhere else.
Exhaust yourself by playing in the snow, sniggered at the little elves in the village, and hug a snowman.
Leap on a bed of ice at The Arctic Snow Hotel
After you’ve explored Rovaniemi to your heart’s content, it’s time to go to a snow shelter 30 km outside Rovaniemi. Arctic Snow Hotel is built from scratch in November every year. Arctic Snow Hotel is open to visitors from November to April. It’s huddled in Lappish wilderness and provides an enchanted experience.
Don’t fail to spot the outdoor Jacuzzi for the world – there is not anything like sitting in a hot tub in the middle of an Arctic forest and feeling warm when it’s -20°C out. You can reckon stars and if you’re lucky, you can spot the mysterious Northern Lights. Bucket list or not, an open-air hot tub is a solitary experience that NEEDS to feature on your itinerary of Lapland.
Immerse yourself in Arctic Wilderness in Saariselka, Utsjoki and spot the Northern Lights
It’s time to head north to dig deeper into the Arctic backwoods. Iced up slanting trees, ice-laden hills, and fields sheltered with unblemished snow – the landscape at the northern tip of Lapland is further than your wildest imagination.
A 3-hour bus ride from Rovaniemi will get you to Saariselka. You can stay at Saariselka resort. The bus will drop you at the gate of Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. To say, I had the time of my life here would be the understatement of the decade.
I spent my day trying to absorb the immense beauty of Finnish Lapland. Reindeer safaris present a peek into the life of Sami people and will induce you that you’re in a fairytale.
Utsjoki is a remote wilderness synonymous with the image of Lapland. The region is sparsely populated with only 0.25 inhabitants per square kilometre. It spends six months of the year under the cover of snow.
The indigenous Sámi population remains strong in Utsjoki and their culture is highly evident throughout the municipality.
There is a very strong sense of history and tradition in the Utsjoki municipality and many old ways are carefully protected and preserved. The authentic, Sami culture can be seen every day. The cultural and social traditions of the Sami, which stem from their unique historical stages, add a fine element to everyday life in this remote region. A plenty of legends and fascinating stories about the life beyond the Arctic Circle will be told by your professional guide. Nature feels that bit closer in Utsjoki, where the salmon-rich Teno River forms a natural border with Norway, and the river valley rises to high fells plumped with stubby birch trees and lichen. And if you are lucky the Fire Foxes will appear and lighten up everything around you!
For a more thorough Aurora experience, I recommend joining one of the numerous Northern Lights tours in Rovaniemi. Aurora hunts are available on snowmobiles, husky sledges, snowshoes, and in reindeer sleighs, just to name The Northern Lights commonly appear between 10 PM and 2 AM, but can at times be seen as soon as 7 PM. A show might last from only a couple of minutes to several hours. To skip waiting outside in the cold for the Auroras to appear, you can also sign in for the instant notification service that works in the Rovaniemi area: Aurora Alert Real-time lets you know as soon as the Auroras are visible.
Skiing at Ruka during Onset of winter!
Ruka, near Kuusamo on the southern edge of Lapland, gives an added dimension to ‘cool’ as temperature drop to 20 below (Celcius) in the dark months of mid-winter.
This place is a good option during summer and end of spring when there is no snow at Rovaniemi and Ruka is full of winter excitement and Lappish experiences. You can enjoy well-maintained slopes, efficient ski lifts and stunning views. The ski season lasts more than 200 days. The multifaceted ski area is suited for children, adults, beginners and experts.