The 411 on Visiting Lapland

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Oct 10, 2013 / 0 comments

Have you ever wanted to visit Lapland? If you were raised on the children’s books of LaplandEven the Devil is Afraid of a Shrew, The Secret Journey of the Silver Reindeer, and of course d’Aulaire’s Children of the Northlights (and the attendant d’Aulaires’ Book of North Myths) – then this cultural and geographic area in Finland and Sweden has been calling you for ages. Perhaps you’ve wanted to explore the lands of the Sámi people (indigenous to this area), view the Aurora Borealis, see if you can find Santa, and experience white nights in the land of the midnight sun. Visiting Lapland is definitely off the beaten track – which makes it well worth visiting.


But what to do, see, pack – and how to get there? Here’s the 411 on exploring deep into the Arctic Circle.


The 411 on Visiting Lapland

Polar night. While the Sun doesn't rise above the horizon, it does come close to doing so. Instead of the pitch black many imagine it to be like, you get a blue light much of the time during the days of the polar night. Photo: Wikimedia Commons: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen


How to get to Lapland

Some travelers fly into Helsinki to start this journey, then catch another flight north. Or, it’s very easy to utilize Lapland holidays from Cosmos, which access Lapland directly from the UK.


How to get around

Rent a car, ride the rails on a train, or take a bus or taxi. Most ski resorts offer ski buses.


Where to stay

Resorts abound in Lapland. Be sure to explore all your options – including this Very Cool Kakslauttanen igloo village in Saariselkä, Finland


Very Cool Kakslauttanen igloo village in Saariselkä, Finland

Photo: Wikimedia Commons: Tarja Mitrovic



Lapland uses the Euro. There are ATMS in some places (such as Levi Fell), and credit cards are widely accepted in restaurants and shops.


Yeah. The temperature.

While Lapland is warm(ish) in the summer (June – August, above 10°C), the temperatures fall below 0°C in the winter. According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the coldest temperatures in winter range from -45°C to -50°C. There are theoretically four seasons, although the Sámi people count eight seasons.



Photo courtesy flickr creative commons: Heather Sunderland


What to wear

If you’re traveling in the winter (which is the most magical time), you’ll definitely need to pack well. HerPackingList has a wonderful guide to packing for a visit to Lapland – including a swimsuit, which I never would have thought to bring.


Where to go

Many visitors love to explore either Levi Fell (a busy resort in the heart of Finnish Lapland, below the stunning Levi Fell Mountain) or Olos (a quieter location, closer to the Swedish border, near a National Park). Thos are both in the Tunturi-Lappi (Fell Lapland) region. Others head to the North Lapland district, or to South Lapland. Wherever you go, you’re sure to soak in the beauty of the area, unlike anywhere you’ve ever been.


Lapland panorama

Photo courtesy flickr creative commons: Mark Woodbury


What to do

Now here’s the hard part – deciding what to do! There are, of course, activities for all seasons. But I think most people would love to visit in winter, when they can take a husky adventure, ski, snowmobile, meet reindeer and take a sleigh ride, snowboard, snowshoe, go ice fishing,  experience (and photograph) the kaamos (polar night), and, of course, see the northern lights.

Maybe, though, you’d like a little arts and culture thrown into the mix? Lapland has a long and rich arts culture, including music, arts and art galleries, theatre, literature, and, of course, amazing food (the provincial fish is the Atlantic Salmon).



Photo: Wikimedia Commons: Harmonia Amanda


What will you do first, when you head to Lapland?





Visiting Lapland: what to do, see, pack – and how to get there. Here’s the 411 on exploring deep into the Arctic Circle.

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