Having recently returned from his first trip to Finland, our very own Miguel gives you his top 5 tips on must-dos in Lapland…
My recent adventure took me to Saariselkä, Utsjoki, Inari and Nuorgam! All in just 5 days of complete submergence in Lappish culture and scenery. Here are my top 5 must-do things while in Finnish Lapland.
5: DINNER IN A LAPPISH KOTA (HUT)
A Lappish Kota, Finnish for a basic log hut, is essentially very simple, but once I entered I knew there was so much more to this Finnish tradition and obsession. The fire in the middle drew me in instantly and kept me warm while our food was cooking. Mesmerised, I had a 3-course meal consisting of several types of fish, reindeer and cheesecake, all prepared by a chef. The tribal sounding folksong of the Saámi, the Joik, followed the meal, making this a completely unforgettable, cozy and relaxing evening while still experiencing something uniquely Finnish.
4: HOT UP IN A SAUNA
The Sauna is truly integral to Finnish culture, and no true Finn will go without one for any length of time. Indeed, you will be hard pressed to find any hotel, resort or log cabin in Finnish Lapland without a proper Sauna, so if you go here you will have plenty of opportunity to indulge in this Finnish past time. Some of the trips Arctic Holiday offers even feature floating saunas on Lake Inari, or saunas on sledges, so you can go right out there into the wilderness and pick your spot for a bit of snow, ice or lake bathing in between those HOT sessions! The contrast between the hot and the freezing cold outside is invigorating!
3: VISIT LAKE INARI
Lake Inari, the third largest lake in Finland appeared to be everywhere during my trip, and beautiful views across this vast lake were abundant. My favourite spot to gaze across it was Utsjoki, right next to some church cottages that were hundreds of years old!
I went in the autumn and was fortunate enough to take in the changing colours of the millions of trees surrounding the lake, but it’s also glorious in summer for swimming, boating and kayaking, and in winter it freezes over to offer up activities on the ice such as Ice fishing.
2: VISIT THE REINDEER
Being able to feed a Reindeer Herd and learn about the importance of reindeer to the Finnish and Saámi way of life was one of the highlights of my journey. The Saámi are the only indigenous people left in Europe and were previously full time nomads following their herds of reindeer on their migrations throughout the year, living in their lavvos (teepees) along the way. Nowadays they heard their reindeer on snowmobiles and usually live in house between migration times but their way of life, culture, traditions and own language is flourishing in the Northern Parts of Finland, Norway and Sweden. These animals are just as friendly as you would imagine Father Christmas´ favourite pulling power to be, but live a fairly different life than you would have imagined Rudolph leading. Meeting them up close is oddly romantic all the same…
1: STAY IN AURORA CABINS
Spending a night in the Aurora Cabin was the perfect icing on this Arctic Trip. The cabin, perfect for 2 but also able to accommodate up to 4 guests, is the ideal place to see the Northern Lights! The design is cosy, but it also seems spacious due to the huge 180 degree heated glass windows, melting any obstructive snow away that may distract from seeing the beautiful Aurora Borealis views at night. The only problem is when to sleep!
My first ever trip to Lapland and Finland was pretty unforgettable. I now want to go back, to experience the destination in winter and in summer too!
If you fancy a trip up North this winter, Arctic Holiday currently offers several hand picked tours that tick all the right boxes. I hope you have as much fun as I did!
To find out more information and book now, click here: https://www.arcticholiday.co.uk/tourcats/finland-trip/