Things to Do in Lapland
Explore the history and culture of Lapland and the Arctic at Arktikum, one of Finland’s most impressive museums. Peruse exhibits dedicated to the Sámi culture and history of Rovaniemi, as well as a section on the flora, fauna, and peoples of the Arctic. Lucky visitors can glimpse the Northern Lights from the museum’s modern glass tunnel.
As Finland’s most popular ski resort and host of the annual Alpine World Cup Race, Levi is a top choice for winter sports. Take on the downhill runs, cross-country trails, and the country’s largest snowboard park in winter, while getting your thrills mountain biking, dry-slope sledding, and zip-lining in the summer months.
Finland’s SantaPark Arctic World may be as close as you can get to actually visiting Santa at the North Pole. Located near the town of Rovaniemi in northern Finland, it offers the quintessential Christmas experience. Children and adults alike can attend Elf School to learn elf secrets and decorate gingerbread made with Mrs. Claus’ secret recipe in the Gingerbread Kitchen. Visit Santa Claus in his office and hand him your Christmas wish list or drop by Calligraphy School to practice old-fashioned elf writing and write your own Christmas card. Then, drop it off at Santa’s Post Office and watch the elves hard at work sorting out all of Santa’s mail. Your card will be stamped with a special stamp and you can even get a head start on next year’s Christmas mail.
Don’t miss the opportunity to cross the Arctic Circle through a tunnel 50 meters underground and get your own Arctic Circle Undercrossing Certificate. Finally, ride a sleigh through the winter landscape around Rovaniemi and through the Elves’ Toy Factory before stopping at the Elves’ Workshop to make your own Christmas decorations.
The city of Rovaniemi, in Lapland, is home to Santa Claus Village, a unique theme park located right on the Arctic Circle. The ultimate destination for kids looking for a private word with Father Christmas, the park includes Santa’s workshops, a reindeer petting area, gift shops, and Santa’s official post office.
Home to more than 200 animals from 50 species native to the Arctic, the Ranua Wildlife Park offers a close look at polar bears, reindeer, elk, arctic fox, lynx, and wolverines. Take a turn around the park’s outdoor trail to watch the animals frolic and feed, visit the petting zoo, and ride ponies and Finnish horses.
One of Finland’s northernmost resorts, Inari-Saariselkä is a pristine jumping-off point for exploring Urho Kekkonen National Park. The area is popular for winter sports, hiking and biking during the summer, and northern lights sightings.
A wild landscape of ancient pine forests, lakes, and hills stretching between the resorts of Pyhä and Luosto, Pyhä-Luosto National Park is the highlight of central Lapland and a popular day trip destination from Rovaniemi. This paradise for outdoor sports enthusiasts offers hiking and biking trails, ski slopes, and snowmobile runs.
Formed more than 2 billion years ago, the Amethyst Fell of Lampivaara is one of Finnish Lapland’s most unique tourist attractions and home to the only active amethyst mine in Europe. Learn about the history of this semi-precious stone and traditional mining techniques, and even try digging for amethysts inside the mine.
A winter wonderland sculpted from over 2,000 tons (1,800 metric tons of snow and ice, Lainio SnowVillage in Lapland is even more impressive when you consider that the 215,000-square-foot (20,000-square-meter complex is completely rebuilt each winter. Visit the hotel, bar, and restaurant, which are all made entirely of snow and ice.
With 63 slopes covering more than 200 miles (330 kilometers, 28 lifts, as well as hundreds of miles of snowmobile, snowshoeing, and hiking and biking routes, Ylläs is a winter sports paradise. Finland’s largest ski and snowboard area, Ylläs is also renowned for scenic hiking and mountain biking during the summer months.
More Things to Do in Lapland
For a ski break not far from Rovaniemi, the Suomu Ski Resort (Suomutunturi offers 10 slopes for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, as well as cross country skiing and snowshoeing excursions, snowmobile adventures, reindeer and husky sled rides, and ice fishing. During the summer, explore the fells and pine forests on foot or by bike.
A circle of latitude and the southern boundary of the Arctic, the Arctic Circle is the gateway to one of Finland’s most scenic regions: Lapland. In winter, shred the slopes at Suomu resort or use Rovaniemi as home base for snow sports, tours, and a visit to Santa Claus Village to see the circle’s exact location marked on the ground.
With its drawbridge, looming watchtowers, and ramparts topped with Finnish flags, SnowCastle of Kemi is the world’s largest fortress constructed entirely of snow and ice. This winter stronghold is rebuilt each winter based on an original design by famous Finnish architects, but always includes a hotel, restaurant, and chapel.
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