When I think of Lapland I think of glass hotels and thick white snow blanketing the ground. I think of scattered pine trees as far as the eye can see. And in the winter night, the Northern Lights acting as the sun does during the day – showing you the way under the dark sky. I think of thick coats, runny noses, and hot blueberry tea to get you through the long, dark, cold days. I think of couples visiting on their honeymoons or families going to meet Santa Claus. Reindeer rides and husky sledding. Floating in the lake at night, looking out at the millions of stars twinkling, lighting up the night sky.
On one hand I have always thought of Lapland as this sort of elusive romantic destination that you can only enjoy with company. You go with your significant other to lie in your glass igloo and lay awake at night watching the stars burn. Staying in bed all day only to get out for your Finnish sauna experience. Drinking wine by the fire and feeding each other chocolate covered strawberries… (Just me?).
On the other hand I’ve also thought of Lapland as a family destination during Christmas time. Bundling your kids up and flocking north to meet Santa Claus. Swearing to your significant other that NEXT Christmas you’ll be spending it somewhere warm versus in the Arctic Circle. Introducing your kids to Santa Claus, and spending the short daytime hours drinking hot cocoa and feeding reindeer. Sending letters to your loved ones back home from Santa Claus’s official post office.
The highlight of arriving to Finland wasn’t visiting the capital of Helsinki. Or eating the most delicious, crispy brussels sprouts tossed in a garlicky pesto sauce from Restaurant Basbas. It wasn’t the anticipation of arriving to a country I’d never been to. And it certainly wasn’t seeing the sun set at 3pm. It was visiting the ever so dreamy region of Lapland.
Since learning of Finnish Lapland I had continually been waiting for someone else to visit with me. Year after year passed, my desire for seeing Lapland never wavering. When suddenly I grew tired of waiting for “someone else” and decided to take me, myself, and I to Lapland. So I bit the bullet and booked a flight north to this winter wonderland. Upon arriving to Finnish Lapland my heart dropped. While there was no thick snow coating the ground, it was still all that it was hyped up to be.
*I would like to note however, that I went to two separate towns in Lapland. Originally I had booked a flight from Helsinki to fly into Ivalo – which I wouldn’t recommend. I journeyed back south to the capital of Lapland – Rovaniemi, which I highly recommend.
What to Know When Visiting Lapland
Where – Lapland is a region. While it mainly spans Finland, it also spans Sweden too. So if you hear someone say, “Finnish Lapland”, they aren’t adding the Finnish part to sound fancy. There’s truly a difference in places!
Seasons – In the summer months the sun can shine for up to 24-hours! This is called the midnight sun and it happens because of Lapland’s position – being in the Arctic Circle. Which also means that at winter Lapland experiences one-day of no sunlight at all.
Weather – Generally very cold. In the winter expect below freezing temperatures; and in the summer very cool temperatures.
Cities – There are different places that Lapland is composed of. Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland, but other popular cities are Ivalo, Saariselka, and Inari.
Money – All of Finland uses the Euro.
Lapland Bucket List
Eat Salmon – While they get theirs from Norway, it is some of the best salmon I’ve ever tasted.
Drink blueberry tea – Blueberries are widely popular throughout Lapland. Not only are they used for typical foods such as cakes and pastries; the Fins also crush them up for delicious blueberry tea.
Stay in a glass hotel/igloo – Where else in the world can you do this?! If you’re headed this far north you might as well get the full experience. I stayed in the Arctic Treehouse Hotel. Not entirely glass but my bed faced a big floor to ceiling window that made me feel as though I was outside. If I ever go back a bucket list item would be to head to Saariselkä to stay in the infamous igloo hotels.
Experience a Finnish Sauna – Finland has so many saunas that they could fit one person in each sauna. I was told that they are so widely popular because 1) the weather; and 2) back in the day “You are born and die in a sauna”.
Visit Santa Claus Village – The only place in the world! If only for a few hours, roam around this cute area. Make sure to stop in the post office to have Santa write your loved ones a letter back home!
Chase the Northern Lights – Correctly! Click here to avoid my mistakes.
While yes, Lapland is an incredibly romantic, and even family driven destination. But there’s so much more to this region than what meets the eye. Solo or not, I encourage you to visit so that you too can see the magic of Finnish Lapland.
Want to see more Lapland? Make sure to check out my Instagram posts/highlight reel for a visual look at Finnish Lapland.