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15 Best Autumn & Winter things to do in Finnish Lapland

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Lapland is arguably one of the best winter holiday destinations in the world, and should definitely be on your bucket list. From husky sledding in the snow and relaxing in a Finnish sauna, to northern light hunting and Reindeer spotting; there are so many amazing activities you have to do while in Finnish Lapland. Some of these activities you can do all year round, but quite a few are limited to colder temperatures and snow, and therefore best to do between December and March.

1. Husky Sledding

This is by far one of the most fun and unique activities to do while in Lapland, and is great for families, couples and travelling solo. We took a husky tour with BearHill Husky, which is a family run husky kennel in Rovaniemi. You will get a tour of the kennels to learn all about the life of working huskies, followed by a 45 minute sled ride experience, both in the front seat and as the driver!

It is definitely a must do activity when visiting Lapland and  it’s also a great photo opportunity, with a chance to cuddle with the huskies after the ride! Husky tours are available all year round, however, Husky rides are only permitted in temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius, as otherwise it’s too hot for the dogs.

It is definitely a must do activity when visiting Lapland and  it’s also a great photo opportunity, with a chance to cuddle with the huskies after the ride! Husky tours are available all year round, however, Husky rides are only permitted in temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius, as otherwise it’s too hot for the dogs.

2. Snowmobile Driving

If you’re an adrenaline seeker and love adventurous activities then Snowmobiling might be the perfect pick. Passing through snow-covered forests and frozen lakes, snowmobiles are the best way to see the untouched parts of Lapland. There are snowmobile tracks all over Lapland, as this is how the locals get around during the winter.

3. Ice Climb a Waterfall

If you really want a thrilling adventure, you should try ice climbing – just as it sounds, you’ll hike out into the frozen arctic landscape and scale a frozen waterfall. Obviously this is only something that should be done with a tour guide but there are plenty of options that offer ice climbing tours ranging from a few hours to a few days!

Alternatively, if you don’t feel like climbing (I don’t blame you) you can book a tour to visit Lapland’s largest frozen waterfalls at Korouoma Canyon.

4. Aurora Hunting

There’s not many places in the world where you can see the Northern Lights, so if you’re travelling to Lapland it’s a no brainer. This is another absolute must do activity, as seeing the lights dance in the sky is a magical experience.

However, it does require a bit of planning to increase your chances of seeing them. To increase your chances of success you should travel between the months of September – October and December – March, and book a Northern Lights Hunting Tour. The tours will give you a the best chance of catching them, as you’ll be driven through Lapland in search of clear and dark skies.

5. Skiing

It goes without saying that Finland is a fantastic place to go skiing in the winter. There are plenty of Ski Resorts to choose from, such as Levi or Saariselkä, with everything you could need for an amazing winter holiday.

After reaching the beach, there is the option to continue hiking above it, giving you a breathtaking view of the dramatic landscape below. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to hike above it, but we’d recommend you do if you have the time!

6. Sauna & Arctic Swim

Perhaps one of the most Finnish activities you can do is a Sauna session paired with an ice plunge. Saunas are a big part of Finnish culture, and are a great way to relax and improve your physical and mental health. Challenge yourself with dipping into the arctic water, which compliments the hot sauna and its health benefits.

We did the Lakeside Sauna and Artic Bath at Apukka Resort, which we highly recommend as you have the opportunity for an ice plunge in the frozen lake, which definitely makes the experience more unique.

7. Fat Bike Adventure

Another great activity to make the most of the winter wonderland, is to take a scenic Fat Bike ride through the snow. Most resorts have fat bikes available for rent, or you can head out on a guided tour.

8. Stay in a Glass Igloo

One of the best ways to experience winter in Lapland is to stay in a glass roofed Igloo – the ultimate cosy experience of watching the northern lights from your bed while wrapped in blankets and drinking hot chocolate. 

Lapland has no shortage of beautiful resorts that have all different sizes of Igloos and luxury accommodation. One of the most luxurious Igloo’s we stayed in had its own sauna and fireplace, which is especially relaxing after being out in the cold.

9. Reindeer Sleigh Ride

It doesn’t get more Christmassy than having a Reindeer sleigh ride in the arctic and the home of Santa Claus. These tours are great to get up close with the Reindeers and learn about the life of Reindeer in Lapland. The Reindeers will take you through the snowy and arctic landscapes where you can enjoy the beautiful and peaceful Lappish nature.

10. Stay in an Ice Hotel

If you want to make the most of the arctic temperatures, staying in an Ice hotel has surely got to be the best way! Spend a night or two in a beautifully sculpted ice room, before rewarding yourself with a night in a warm igloo. Ice hotels are rebuilt every winter, which means you can only stay there during the winter months.

Alternatively, if you want to save some money or don’t want to stay the night, there are a number of tour options to visit the ice hotel and sculptures.

11. Hiking

Hiking and walking in Lapland is great during any season, but I’d especially recommend it in the snow. Walking through Lappish forests covered in snow is so peaceful, and the perfect place for photos.

We visited the Arctic Circle Hiking Area just outside of Rovaniemi. There are a wide variety of trails and trail lengths to choose from, with lots of firepits and huts dotted around to warm up. We’d definitely recommend taking equipment to start a fire and have a hot drink. Remember to research the trails you are walking or go with a guide if you don’t feel comfortable, it can be easy to get lost when everything looks the same and the signs are covered in snow.

12. Ice Fishing

Another traditional activity that is unique to the arctic landscapes is Ice Fishing, where you will travel to a frozen lake or river and drill a small hole to fish through. The tour guides will then cook your catch of the day over an open fire! This is another great way to see the Arctic landscapes and learn more about the way of life in the Arctic Circle.

13. Snowshoeing

If you’re visiting in peak winter, you should choose to go snowshoeing over hiking. Essentially, It’s the same as hiking but snowshoes allow you to walk over the snow instead of through it. This is great for when there’s deep snow in Lapland, and makes walking much easier.

14. Visit Santa Claus Village

If you want to feel Christmassy or travelling with children then you should definitely check out Santa Claus Village to meet Santa and his elves. There are shops, cafe’s, restaurants and plenty of activities based here. You can see Reindeer, Huskies and other arctic animals at the Elves FarmYard. You can also dine in an Ice Restaurant that’s rebuilt every winter!

15. Ranua Wildlife Park

If your interested in wildlife, why not learn about the northern and arctic animals which you can do at Ranua Wildlife Park. The park is home to the only polar bear in Finland, and has around 50 arctic animals, such as the Arctic Fox, Lynx and Brown Bear.

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