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Finnish Lapland

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Europe : Northern Europe : Finland : Finnish Lapland

Finnish Lapland (Finnish: Lappi) is the Arctic far north of Finland, strictly defined as the province of the same name but in practice starting near the Arctic Circle.

Temperatures can plunge as low as -50°C in the winter and the sun is not seen for days on end during kaamos. By contrast, summer brings out the Midnight Sun and temperatures can (very) occasionally rise to 30°C, although summer temperatures in the 10-20°C are the norm.

finnish lapland Travel Guide :

Finnish Lapland

Cities

  • Inari — the center of aboriginal Sámi culture
  • Kemi — bleak paper industry town best known for the world's only Arctic icebreaker cruises for tourists and the world's largest snowcastle
  • Rovaniemi — province capital and the only city of any size, home to Santa Claus
  • Saariselka — a popular winter sports resort
  • TornioTornio — the Swedish half of this town is HaparandaHaparanda
Finnish Lapland

Other destinations

Finnish Lapland

Understand

Lapland (http://www.lapland.fi/indexe.html) is the Wild North of Finland and the last refuge of the aboriginal Sámi people, who subsist on reindeer herding and (increasingly these days) selling trinkets to curious visitors.

Finnish Lapland

When to go

Christmas with Santa Claus in Lapland sounds appealing, but it's not; it's the coldest (-40°C at worst) and darkest time of the year, since the sun quite literally does not rise at all. (This is, however, a good time to see the aurora.) By the end of February both the weather and the lighting improve, with temperatures on the better side of -10°C and nearly 12 hours of light a day, although the sun is low and it still feels like perpetual dusk! But the Finns only start to pack in at Easter, when things really start to heat up and it's possible to ski in bright sunshine wearing only a T-shirt. It takes quite some time for the accumulated snow (as much as 2 meters) to melt off, and skiing may well be possible as late as May.

Summer and fall bring on the curse of the Lappish mosquito, and if you think this sounds like a trivial nuisance you have never had to face up to the hordes that inhabit Lapland. Only hardcore hikers and fishermen visit the region then - or people in possession of a mosquito repellent, available in supermarkets.

Finnish Lapland

Talk

Finnish Lapland

Get in

Finnish Lapland

By plane

Flying is the most practical and fastest means of reaching much of Lapland, but for most destinations services are sparse and prices steep. There are airports in EnontekioEnontekio, IvaloIvalo, Kemi/TornioTornio, KittilaKittila, Rovaniemi and SodankylaSodankyla.

Finnish Lapland

By train

Trains will get you as far as provincial capital Rovaniemi, at the edge of the Arctic Circle.

If entering from Sweden, there is a gap in the network between the Swedish border at TornioTornio and Kemi, but the connecting bus is free with Interrail.

Finnish Lapland

By bus

Long distance buses cover practically all of even the smallest places. They are the cheapest and slowest means of transportation. Although there are bus stops of course, they can also be stopped by hand sign when you happen to meet one as a hiker on a lonely countryside road.

Finnish Lapland

Get around

Distances in Finnish Lapland are great and train service extends only to Kemijarvi (a little northeast of Rovaniemi) and Kolari, so the independent traveller will thus have to rely on slightly cheaper but infrequent buses to get around. Hitchhiking is also possible, but traffic is sparse even on the main highways and this can only be recommended during the brief summer season. On the other hand the likeliness of getting a lift is quite high once a car passes.

Finnish Lapland

See & Do

Bitterly cold in winter, not very warm in summer, and sparsely populated, the main draws for visitors are the desolate yet majestic nature and the unparalleled opportunities for trekking and winter sports. Several national parks can be found in Lapland with marked hiking paths and log cabins open to the public for free. But in contrast to Norway e.g. they are only equipped with an oven and wood for heating, no food is provided.

Bear in mind, however, that Lapland consists of largely flat, treeless tundra, vast forests and a lot of swamps: there are no soaring mountains or Alpine skiing pistes here, just gentle, rounded fells (e.g. arctic treeless mountains, tunturi). Even Finland's highest mountain, the Halti (1328m) in the farthest north west end of Lapland is not much more than a higher hill of loose rocks, the lower summit of a mountain with its top on the Norwegian side of the border.

Finnish Lapland

Eat

Lapland is the place to sample reindeer (poro) dishes, not too common even in Finland itself. The traditional way to eat this is as reindeer hash (poronkaristys), usually eaten with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.

Other Lappish specialities worth looking out for are snow grouse (riekko) and the delectable cloudberry (lakka), the world's most expensive berry. It grows in swamps, unripe it is red, ripe it is light orange, it contains a lot of vitamin C. In shops you find it most likey as jam (lakkahillo).

Finnish Lapland

Drink

Finnish Lapland

Sleep

  • According to the Everyman's Right (jokamiehenoikeus) one can set up a camp anywhere in the forest, no matter who owns the land. Making a fire is allowed only in extreme occasions.
Finnish Lapland

Stay safe

Know your limits. The winter environment is perfectly capable of killing the unwary tourist who gets lost in the fells. The rescue service works well - each year several tourists are rescued and only rarely any serious injury is sustained - but taking your chances is not recommended.

If you plan to travel alone or, for example, in your own car, remember that distances are great and getting help for any unexpected situation may take time. Plan accordingly; take extra warm clothes in your car and tell the hotel staff where you are heading and when you expect to come back.

Otherwise, there are few serious dangers to your well-being. Tap water and even water of lakes and creeks is potable (in most places, bottled water contains more harmful compounds than tap water) and foods are almost without exception safe to eat. Crime rates are low and people are helpful and nice in general but noisy foreigners on friday night in a local pub/discotheque are sitting ducks for harassment (in extreme cases; violent attacks) by drunken male villagers.

Finnish Lapland

Get out


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