Few locations are as magical as Finnish Lapland in winter. The land is roofed with a blanket of soppy, fluffy snow. The air is crisp, and skies are sometimes clear, providing nice sunsets and beautiful starry skies at night time.
Sure, it’s chilly: Temperatures typically plummet under -20. However the surroundings and heat, golden gentle greater than make up for it!
To not point out the truth that in Lapland, Finland you’ll have the prospect to strive some actions that aren’t out there anyplace else in Europe.
The place is Lapland?
Lapland is within the Arctic Circle, within the northern area of Scandinavia, and covers elements of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
It’s the cultural area dwelling to the Sami Individuals who choose to name the area as Sápmi (of their native language).
Lapland, Finland contains the northernmost part of the nation. Due to the abundance of reindeer and spruce bushes the world is usually related to Christmas.
Visiting Lapland, Finland
We spent per week within the area in complete, dividing our time between two areas.
The primary was Kemi, a small city on the coast subsequent to the border with Sweden. The second was Salla, a village near the Russian border within the japanese a part of Finland.
It was per week full of dogsledding, cross nation snowboarding, reindeer sleigh rides, walks within the snow-covered forest and nights huddling in entrance of the hearth, ready for the northern lights (which we didn’t handle to see).
However regardless of: The frozen surroundings, eerie silence and winter lights have been sufficient for Lapland to develop into one in every of our favourite journey experiences up to now.
Under are our 20 favourite pictures of Finnish Lapland in Winter.
We flew into Helsinki from Italy. As soon as we arrived in Finland, we determined to journey by prepare as a result of they’re way more eco-friendly and afford better flexibility.
Finnish trains are usually comfy and dependable, and wi-fi is normally offered without spending a dime.
We had an Interrail cross, which meant we might hop on and off at will. Until you’re planning to journey at night time, reservations will not be mandatory.
Our first cease was Kemi, the capital of Coastal Lapland. Kemi is legendary for its Snow Citadel (referred to as Lumi Linna in Finnish), which is constructed yearly with ice and snow made out of frozen sea water.
They begin constructing it in December, when the ocean freezes and the temperature dips to -10° Celsius. It’s open between late January and late April, when the climate warms up and the ice begins to soften.
Then the Snow Citadel is returned to the ocean. The Snow Citadel consists of a snow lodge, a chapel, and a restaurant, and there are stunning ice sculptures and snow carvings in all places.
We had the chance to spend an evening within the snow lodge. That is our room, with castle-themed snow carvings and a mattress coated in sheep and reindeer skins.
We have been additionally given two Arctic sleeping baggage and fleece liners, because the temperature within the lodge is round -5°… and that’s COLD!
It was onerous to get to sleep, however as soon as we did, we slept very deeply. Maybe our our bodies thought we have been hibernating?
The ocean freezes in Finnish Lapland, permitting you to stroll, sled, or ski on prime of the ice.
That is the view of one of many islands off the coast of Kemi.
As you may see, the climate wasn’t all the time nice: Clouds travelled with us for more often than not we spent in Finland, which is one of many the explanation why the Northern Lights eluded us.
Kick sleds are a preferred technique of transport in Finnish Lapland.
They work equally to skateboards: You stand on the skates within the again and push your self along with your leg till you attain sufficient velocity to slip.
We borrowed some kick sleds for a day and went touring round Kemi and out onto the frozen sea. What a exercise!
Taking a cruise on the Mighty Icebreaker Sampo is a nice technique to get near the frozen sea.
After 25 years of service opening transport lanes off the Kemi coast, the Sampo was decommissioned within the mid-’80s. It was about to be offered for scrap steel, however Kemi’s residents determined to avoid wasting her.
She was become a vacationer ship, operating each day cruises at dawn, the blue hour, and at night time. This is an image of the solar rising from the frozen Arctic waters at 9:30 am.
This image supplies a more in-depth view of the mighty Sampo because it sails by the frozen sea. The ship contains a bar and restaurant providing meals.
It’s additionally potential to tour the engine room, management room, and sailors’ cabins, all of which have been left precisely as they have been within the Sixties.
The cruises final for about three hours and also you’re free to wander inside and outside at will… when you can stand up to the bitter chilly!
Taking a look at this picture, I wager you all assume we’re loopy! Midway by our Sampo cruise, the ship stopped and all of us donned thick rubber fits, then jumped into the icy waters.
It wasn’t chilly in any respect: The fits have been waterproof and we had all our garments on beneath, so it felt surprisingly cosy.
We couldn’t swim, as a result of the swimsuit was so thick that we couldn’t actually transfer about. We simply laid on our backs and watched the frozen world unfold throughout us.
We have been largely unfortunate with the climate throughout our time in Finnish Lapland, however we did see one spectacular sundown.
This picture was taken in Kemi, the place you would see a pair strolling their canine and a snowmobile crossing the frozen sea.
Every little thing turned golden for simply a short time. After which, only a few hours after it had risen, the solar set.
This image was taken in Salla, the second vacation spot of our Finnish Lapland journey.
Salla is a well-liked snowboarding resort, providing cross nation in addition to downhill pistes.
Cross nation snowboarding is taken into account a extra eco-friendly exercise in comparison with downhill snowboarding, as there’s no want for ski lifts or another form of machines.
Salla is a must-see for snowboarding fans. Some individuals imagine that is the birthplace of snowboarding as a result of it’s the place the primary skis have been discovered, relationship again to over 5000 years in the past.
This was lengthy earlier than the times of glamorous ski resorts and après-ski insanity, when skis have been the one technique to get across the frozen North.
Cross-country skis are nonetheless utilized by locals in Salla to maneuver between one village and one other.
In Finnish Lapland, reindeer outnumber people 10 to 1.
The Sami individuals, the primary inhabitants of Finland, domesticated reindeer millennia in the past, utilizing them for meals and transport.
They’re unusual wanting animals– a lot smaller than different varieties of deer, with tufty tails and candy eyes. Their horns are primarily used for mating in summer time, after which they lose them.
They don’t really feel ache when their horns fall off, however Sami herders say they do get moody and tougher to work with.
The horns re-grow in spring, coated in fur and related by blood vessels that enable reindeer to “really feel” with their horns.
Going for a experience in a reindeer-drawn sleigh is a well-liked exercise in Salla.
It’s normally a two-hour jaunt by the woods, permitting you to drive your individual sleigh (which is rather a lot simpler than it sounds).
The temperature in Finnish Lapland is sort of all the time under freezing.
So, midway by the tour, you get to cease in a kota– a Lappish wood teepee– the place a snack of scorching tea and roasted sausages is served. Then you definately’re off to courageous the frigid Arctic winds as soon as once more.
We requested our information if it’s onerous to get a reindeer to tug a sleigh. “Reindeers will all the time be half-wild,” he answered. “Some are pleasant, form of like canine, whereas others are rather a lot tougher to coach.”
The reindeer I’m posing with within the picture above is taken into account the “canine” of the group– placid, cuddly, and impossibly cute.
No marvel it’s a favourite for vacationer pics!
The reindeer sleigh tour is appropriate for individuals of all ages.
The reindeer don’t go too quick and all the time comply with each other, so braking was hardly mandatory.
We noticed numerous households throughout our tour, and some with very younger kids.
For those who actually wish to really feel the fun of adrenaline in Finnish Lapland in winter go for a dogsledding tour!
Huskies have been made for pulling sleighs, and completely LOVE operating round within the chilly.
Their want for velocity permits you to zip round at a breakneck tempo. A little bit coaching is critical to manage the sleigh, but it surely proved surprisingly simple and very thrilling.
Who might resist these cute, playful animals?
Canine sledding is one in every of my all-time favourite actions, and you may relaxation assured these animals aren’t harmed in any manner.
Pulling sleighs is completely of their nature! Learn our story on Accountable Canine Sledding in Neris Regional Park to be taught extra.
I imply, doesn’t this man look completely satisfied?
Salla’s tourism tagline is “Within the Center of Nowhere.”
That’s form of true, being situated 150 km from the closest airport, but it surely’s additionally a part of the world’s allure.
On prime of a tunturi (one of many flat-topped mountains typical of Finnish Lapland) you will discover the well-known signal pictured above. We braved a severe snowstorm to get this shot!
Whether or not you wind up seeing the famed Northern lights in Lapland or not, the nights in are nothing wanting spectacular.
Bizarre stuff occurs within the Arctic sky. Lights, flares, and flashes appeared behind the clouds, and to at the present time I can’t clarify what was taking place.
However one factor is for certain: We can be again. And naturally, I do hope that the Northern Lights will dance within the sky for us subsequent 12 months! –Margherita Ragg; pictures by Nick Burns
Margherita Ragg is a contract author from Milan, Italy. She’s keen about wildlife, ecotourism and out of doors actions, and runs the journey weblog The Crowded Planet along with her husband Nick Burns, an Australian photographer. Margherita has an MA in Journey and Nature Writing from Bathtub Spa College, and was runner-up to the 2012 Guardian Journey Author of the Yr competitors. Her different passions are mountaineering, snowboarding, homebrewing and her cat, Tappo. Observe Margherita on Fb, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
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