In the far north of the Nordics, we find Lapland, a very special region, which is characterized by the seasons and its special landscape. In Lapland, you can cross the Arctic Circle, meet Santa Claus, enjoy the midnight sun and watch the northern lights.
The magic of Finnish Lapland is most apparent in its contrasts: between summer and winter, between the hustle and bustle of the cities and winter sports resorts and the peace and quiet of the endless wilderness. Two natural phenomena really bring out the contrasts in the region: the northern lights and the midnight sun.
After summer months with midnight sun are over, the nights get darker and spectacular northern lights start showing in the autumn night skies. The magical lights can be seen in the sky up to 200 nights a year. Although you may be lucky in more southern areas, high up in the Finnish north, sightings are guaranteed and the colors are even more beautiful. Visitors can enjoy this unique natural phenomenon by snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and husky sledding or comfortably from one of the specially equipped accommodations.
Normally we speak of four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. However, in Finnish Lapland, these are not enough to describe the very different times of the year. Therefore, there are eight seasons.
From Christmas at the beginning of the nature calendar to the Frosty Winter, when the days are short in the south and not yet existent in the north and when snow covers the land in thick flakes, the late winter season starts. The winter wonderland is the best time for winter activities before the seasons "Crusty Snow" and "Departure of Ice" come and the sunlight in late spring finally defeats the snow and cleaves the ice.
In the "last night" the Midnight Sun rises, there is light 24 hours a day – summer is here. But summer is also short and is soon followed by the Harvest Season before autumn shows its most beautiful colors, the Finns call this time ruska – the season Colourful Autumn has arrived. By now you can see the northern lights in the sky. The last season before everything starts all over again is the First Snow, welcoming the cold months in late autumn and early winter increasing the chances of seeing northern lights in the longer nights and soon getting into the Christmas mood.
Finnish Lapland is not only known for its nature, but also for its very special culture. The Sámi, the only indigenous people in Europe, live here. In the north of Finland, but also in Sweden, Norway, and Russia, the Sámi preserve their traditions, which include music, traditional costumes, folk festivals, and their own language. They even have their own parliament in Inari to protect their culture. The Sámi are known for breeding reindeer, but otherwise, they live like any other people. During your stay in Lapland, we recommend getting familiar with Sámi culture for instance by visiting the Sámi Cultural Centre Sajos in Inari.
Finnish Lapland also has a culture of gold. Many myths and legends surround the gold regions of Lapland, as the purest gold in the world can be found here. People still search for it on the Lemmenjoki and Ivalojoki rivers. In the 1870s, the first gold rush began on the Ivalojoki, it is the most legendary river in Lapland, the largest nuggets were found here. Today there is an open-air museum about the history of gold mining. On the Lemmenjoki, however, live still professional gold miners. Tankavaara is the gold prospecting village where the international gold panning championships are held and where a gold museum is.