Written by: João Santos
Lapland is a very special corner of the planet. With a strong and peculiar personality, it is the home to Santa Claus, reindeers, Siberian huskies, moose, polar bears, salmon and the Saami people. Their scenarios change completely according to the seasons.
It has northern lights in autumn and spring, blue twilight in the winter fort and in summer it is the land of the midnight sun. This region, north of the Arctic Circle, is inhabited by the Lappers and encompasses part of the territories of Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia.
Temperatures usually range from 15 degrees Celsius, in the hottest seasons, to minus 40 degrees in the winter. Therefore, the demographic density is very low, few people are able to live there.
The real home of Christmas
Here children can see Santa Claus all year round. It is a magical space and full of attractions for kids. In addition to the typical photo with Santa Claus in the main house, in the village you will also find the post office, where you can find letters written from all over the world. You can also buy and write your Christmas postcards to send to family and friends.
Outside, children can have fun playing in the snow, in the playground, watching reindeer and Sami campsites. It is possible to take reindeer rides, as well as rent snowmobiles; however, these two activities have a high price.
There is also a well-known amusement park called Santa Parque in the middle of the forest and inside a huge cave. Inside, you can relax and let the children dream a little more! An ice bar, the post office, merry-go-rounds, the Elves’ school and workshop and even some themed shows are things you can see and do in Finland’s most enchanted cave.
There are also activities like decorating gingerbread cookies and Santa Claus drawings for kids who don’t like to be standing still!
The astonishing wildlife
In addition, there is another park where you can observe arctic animals in their natural habitat – Ranua wildlife park. About 200 animals of 50 species inhabit this park, which is open every day of the year. Polar bears, red squirrels, otters, gray wolves, lynx, reindeer and elk are some of the animals that can be seen. Reindeers might not be as fast as the horses from the Kentucky Derby race, and they surely can’t fly, but they are majestic animals.
Apart from Santa Claus and reindeer, Lapland offers breathtaking scenery for those who like to travel through nature in its splendor. In the summer is the period indicated for this exploration. The opportunities for outdoor activities are endless, from hiking, mountain biking, fishing, canoeing or rafting.
What activities to do?
The hills of the far North are a perfect region for great hikes and mountain biking. The waterways from Kilpisjärvi in the north to Tornio in the south are ideal for canoeing and rafting.
The main points of interest are: the village of Raajärvi located in a fascinating geographic region rich in minerals and known for the extraction of iron and the famous mine: Mainari.
Kemijärvi is the first large city north of the Arctic Circle, located on a stunning peninsula, on the Kemijoki estuary and surrounded by the Kemijärvi, Kuumalampi and Pöyliojärvi lakes; the Sami culture museum in Inari; and Luosto.
Lastly, at the end of each day there is an infallible recipe to warm up your body and ensure the true feeling of tranquility and relaxation: a Finnish sauna session. The sauna will be perhaps one of the most striking features of Finns – there are almost as many sauna stations as there are inhabitants.
For them it is the place par excellence where, at least once a week, the family gathers for hygiene, health and socializing. As they usually say, and with veracity, Finns were born in the sauna and died in the sauna.
Here you have it, a small tour around Lapland. Finland is an amazing country, with much more to offer, but if you have a chance to come during the holiday season it surely will be an extraordinary moment for your family.