Lapland | Amazing Adventures in Finland, Norway and Sweden

Snow dog lapland


Go hunting for the Northern Lights, enjoy a dog sled ride, discover the incredible surrounding nature by snowmobile and explore Lapland on a wonderful adventure.

Lapland is a transnational region located in northern Fennoscandia, straddling Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Russian territories, whose indigenous people are the Sami.

Of unsuspected natural beauty, Lapland extends over several countries to the north of the Scandinavian peninsula. This large cross-border region often lies beyond the Arctic Circle and is largely composed of tundra and taiga.
Lapland is also the land of Santa Claus, the kingdom of the northern lights, the empire of the midnight sun, the ancestral territory of the Sami people and a province with a flourishing industry. Straddling Finland, Norway and Sweden, the territories that inhabit Lapland are unique.

Read also: Aurora Borealis and Australis | Why is the northern lights different from the southern lights?

Where to go in Finnish Lapland?

More developed than its Swedish neighbour, the options are plenty.

  • Rovaniemi

If you want to visit Santa Claus in his village. It’s a very tourist destination but away from the centre, you find yourself calming down pretty quickly. The space is so big that we didn’t step on it. This is a good choice for first trips and if you don’t want to rent a car. There really is everything on site and activities are well developed here.

  • Kuusamo / Ruka

close to the Russian border, this is an area I know little about. I spent one night there without being able to stay longer. This area seems to be well looked after and ideal for a family vacation. Ruka ski resort is great and you can also enjoy Oulanka National Park for holidays and nature activities.

  • Levi

This is a popular ski resort in Finnish Lapland. Finns love to come here for the weekend. If you are looking for a getaway surrounded by nature but also looking for nightlife (with restaurants, cafes, bars), Levi’s is the destination for you. There is everything on site for all tastes: dog sledding, snowmobiling, ski slopes, deer farm, spa, etc. If the destination is quite popular because Kittil airport is not far away, it is very convenient.

  • Inari / Ivalo

If you want to go north, Inari and Ivalo are good choices. This is an area I highly recommend, especially for observing the aurora borealis. The fact that these villages are so far north maximizes your chances of seeing them (especially in years that are difficult for aurora activity).

  • Saariselkä

The village center has a lot of tourists, but I’m not sure it’s very representative considering the time spent sightseeing. Really enough to spend a nice holiday here with the added bonus of Urho Kekkonen National Park.

  • Utjoki / Nuorgam

Finland’s northernmost point and well preserved. A bit in the middle of nowhere but really fun to go and explore the area if you have the time. The nearest airport is Inari, you will need a car to get around easily.

  • Pallas-Yllästunturi: National Park

For nature lovers. You can go and stay near Yllas for some skiing fun. The small village of Ylläsjarvi or the livelier village of käslompolo is a good starting point. I really like this area. Further north you can stay in Muonio but I found that there wasn’t much there.

Yllas ski resort lapland finland
Yllas ski resort in Lapland Finland. Photo credit: Paolo Margari / Flickr
  • Kilpisjarvi in ​​the far west of Finland in the Enontekiö region near the borders with Sweden and Norway

Here is the highest peak in Finland (Halti). This is quite an interesting area for Sami culture and hiking but far from everything and without as many cypress trees as one might imagine.

Note that with Finnish Lapland’s craze, you can quickly find lots of tourists in certain sectors. To avoid this and if you are looking for tranquility, you should avoid big buildings and opt for smaller buildings (logically enough) for your regular stay or for activities.

Note: if you choose a regular stay, find out about the agency/company that offers stays. For some time now, I’ve been looking at accommodation offers that don’t comply with regulations. If a problem occurs, this can have major consequences (in terms of insurance, reimbursement if necessary, etc.). Check whether the agency/company has a registration number and/or is on the business register.

Where and what to visit in Norwegian Lapland?

Here are some suggestions for a trip to Norwegian Lapland:

Troms and its islands: Tromso is a city famous for observing the Northern Lights. And it’s true that its privileged location allows you to often have clear skies. You can literally stay a week in the Tromso area. The city is not very big but the surroundings are enough to amaze you on the surrounding islands.

  • Lofoten Islands

Farther from Troms, the Lofoten Islands are quite an extraordinary place. For photography lovers, this is an ideal destination due to its diverse landscapes. There are also great spots for photographing the aurora borealis, which makes it a great spot if you want to take great photos. Lofoten Island is quite large, it takes a week there, more if you want to hike.

  • Honningsvåg / North Cape

Nordkapp in Norwegian, is the northernmost place in Europe. It’s a rather mystical place that I really like. We rarely stay a week in this area. If you are planning to take a road trip then it is interesting to drive to the North Cape and make the round starting from Alta for example.

  • Kirkenes

At the northeastern tip of Norway along the Russian border, Kirkenes is a great place to enjoy Lapland’s winter activities (crab fishing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, etc.)

  • Karasjok

If you want to go inland and get lost in the tundra, Karasjok can be a good choice. Close to the Finnish border, this is the perfect destination for a cultural stay where you can learn a lot about Sami. For example, you can visit the Sami parliament or Sápmi Park. On the nature side, there is also plenty to do and the temperatures here can be quite chilly. guaranteed to sink!

How to get to Norwegian Lapland?

From Europe, you can reach Norwegian Lapland via the following airports:

  • Troms Airport. It is the largest airport in northern Norway and you can often find good fares from Paris, London, Rome, etc.
  • Alta Airport: preferred if you want to go to Far North. For example, you can travel overland from
  • Alta, up to the North Cape and then down by making a circle.
  • Kirkenes Airport: international airport located in Høybuktmoen, 15 kilometers west of the city of Kirkenes, in the municipality of Sør-Varanger, Troms og Finnmark, Norway.
  • Narvik Airport: preferred if you want to go to the Lofoten Islands.

Where to go in Swedish Lapland?

  • Kiruna

This is the place we know best and a very practical one, especially if you don’t want to rent a car. It’s quite easy to find accommodation and activities around Kiruna. It is a practical goal that combines natural and cultural activities. You can also visit the famous Ice Hotel (where to stay if you are on a budget!)

  • Abisko and its national park

A place that offers everything you need for a nature getaway. You can find all the classic activities there. Abisko is famous for its observatory for viewing the aurora borealis (aurora sky station)

Multi-activity Swedish Lapland

To discover Swedish Lapland as part of a multi-activity stay. The added value of this trip: an environmentally responsible approach to best respect the environment.

How to get to Swedish Lapland?

The fastest solution is to fly by landing at Kiruna airport. Airfare prices are quite tempting.

You can also choose a train. It will take you longer and not necessarily cheaper, but it is a journey in itself.

Snow dog lapland
Dog sledding Adventures. Photo credit: Max Pixel (CC0 Public Domain)

TRAVEL TIPS: Finland, Norway and Sweden

Are you coming to Lapland in summer or winter? Would you like to experience what a wilderness safari looks like? Lapland, in northern Europe, is the continent’s largest remaining wilderness area. Many possibilities and activities are available to travelers in the most exotic destinations. No matter where you come from when you visit us, you are definitely from the South. And you certainly have countless questions: What kinds of activities can you do in Lapland?

How to dress in winter so as not to suffer from the cold? And in summer, what equipment are provided to you during the activities? How to drive a snowmobile or a sled pulled by husky dogs? We answer you through the tips below:


You will be staying near the capital of Lapland: Rovaniemi. Famous thanks to the village of Santa Claus, where you can stay if you wish, this city is marked by the beauty of the landscapes in which you will have the possibility of doing many activities. Spend your nights in superb chalets with impressive views, including a magnificent frozen river.


You can try out all kinds of activities: hiking on discovery trails or mountain treks for the more experienced, dog sledding or snowmobiling, ice fishing, rafting in the Ivalojoki river… Also fly over Lake Inari to enjoy of an exceptional panorama.

More about Norway

Language: Norwegian
Currency: Norwegian krone
Capital: Oslo

Are you hesitating to travel to Norway? First of all, you should know that most visitors go to Oslo for their first stay in this country. This capital is a very modern city, quite far from the image we have of Norway with its fir forests and fjords. On site, we find a very contemporary architecture like its famous opera. In addition, you can visit many museums such as the Viking Ship Museum, the Norwegian Folk Museum and also art galleries. You can easily spend 3-4 days in Oslo and take the opportunity to discover the surroundings of the city. For example, it is possible to:

  • go to Holmenkollen, highlighted during the 1952 Winter Olympics for the ski jumping event. Its structure is very impressive.
  • visit the Vigeland sculpture park, where there are hundreds of sculptures of men, women and children in scenes of daily life. It is both moving and exciting.
  • visit the islands of the Oslo fjords (Lindoya, Hovedoya…) accessible by boat. You will find a peaceful atmosphere and a charming environment.
  • stroll through the picturesque alleys of Damstredet and Telthusbakken with their typical houses.
    Are you more into nature and hiking? Then you can also opt for a stay in the fjords of Norway. Head for the Lofoten: Møskenes, Reine, Leknes… These islands have superb panoramas to discover on foot or during a road trip. In winter, you can even see the Northern Lights in the north of the country such as Tromsø. In addition, in Norway, you can observe cetaceans throughout the year and killer whales during the months of November to March.

Zoom on Sweden

Language: Swedish
Currency: Swedish krona. The country refused the euro.
Capital: Stockholm
The capital of Sweden, Stockholm, is a very different city from Oslo. Indeed, it is made up of several islands which gives it a very romantic side. Gamla Stan, the historic center, is made up of picturesque alleys teeming with a number of small cafes and restaurants. This is the ideal place to enjoy a Kanelbullar between two visits. Many will say that this district has a resemblance to the villages of southern France or Italy. On the other hand, near Gamla Stan, you should not miss the Swedish royal palace. An impressive building where you can watch the changing of the guard. A little further on you can visit Norrmalm, the more modern economic center of the city, with its City Hall and its shops.

In addition, on the island of Djurgarden, there are several museums to visit.

On one side, the open-air Skansen Museum, which looks like a period village. The staff welcomes you in traditional dress and will give you anecdotes about the traditions of the country.
On the other, we find the maritime museum of Vasa which houses a 17th century ship discovered in 1961 under water.
You can also discover Sigtuna, a town located 50 km from Stockholm. It is the oldest village in Scandinavia. It consists of colorful wooden houses mostly dating from the 18th century.

On the other hand, the rest of Sweden is less known to travellers. However, this country offers a great diversity of landscapes and regions that are all the more charming for being uncrowded. For example, you can visit:

Malmo, a dynamic and trendy city.
Småland: this province is full of wonders to discover such as Lake Åsnen and Kalmar Castle.
the island of Gotland, the largest in the country. It is located 80 km from the capital. There is the Gotska Sandön National Park, with its sand dunes and unique vegetation.
Swedish Lapland, a region rich in nature and traditions. You will be able to learn more about the Sami culture and observe the northern lights.

Heading to Finland

Languages: Finnish and Swedish
Currency: euro
Capital: Helsinki
Again, the most visited region of Finland is certainly its capital: Helsinki. Although, Finnish Lapland, country of Santa Claus, would almost overshadow him…

Helsinki is a fairly small city, which makes it possible to visit it entirely on foot. In two days, we can have a good overview. However, plan a longer stay if you like to take your time, take breaks and mingle with the atmosphere of the city.

During your visit, be sure to explore the National Museum of Finland in the city center and pass the imposing Central Station building. Then, you can discover in turn Senate Square, the Presidential Palace and the Lutheran Cathedral. On the other hand, you will see that a multitude of cafes and restaurants follow one another. Places that will give you a good opportunity to take a break, especially when you discover the city in the middle of winter. Those with a sweet tooth will appreciate stopping off at the Hakaniemi market. This is the place to visit if you want to discover Finnish cuisine.

On the other hand, if you dream of Finnish Lapland, Rovaniemi is the place to go. This city, elected official city of Santa Claus, has a magical atmosphere in summer and winter alike. And it starts at the airport… On site, you will discover Santa Claus’ village of course where you can meet the famous red man. In addition, do not miss to go through the Post Office of Santa Claus where there are letters from children sent from all over the world. On site, it is also possible to take part in activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling or ice fishing. It is an ideal trip to take as a family: the magic will be there.

Some travelers also choose the destination of Kittila for a stay in the land of Santa Claus. In any case, you will be ideally placed to observe the northern lights in winter. Something to add a little more magic to your trip.

Finally, Finnish Lapland will also appeal to hiking enthusiasts since there is a wild and unspoilt nature on site. For example, Oulanka National Park is famous for its Bear Circuit, an 80 km trek near the Russian border. In addition, the Nuuksio National Park will also be worth visiting to take in the sights!

Holidays in Lapland

Lapland extends over several countries: northern Norway, northern Sweden, northern Finland and the Kola peninsula in Russia. You should also know that this is the territory of the Sami, the last indigenous people of Europe. In winter, you can experience the polar night in Lapland with days when the sun does not rise. On the contrary, in summer, endless days await you.

Finnish Lapland

If you want to visit the most touristic Lapland, go to Finland. There is also a direct flight from Paris. Finnish Lapland offers a Santa Claus village at the end of the year which attracts many people. If you are a fan of less crowded places, you will also find something to satisfy you. Explore Rovaniemi to visit Santa Claus in his village. It is a good option for a first trip, especially if you do not want to rent a car. Everything is available on site. You can also visit Kuusamo, near the Russian border. You will find a pleasant ski resort there for a family trip and you can also enjoy the Oulanka National Park for nature activities.

Speaking of winter sports, we can say that Levi is the popular ski resort in Finnish Lapland. Finns like to come here for the weekend. In addition to a stay in the heart of nature, the resort also offers a pleasant nightlife with numerous restaurants and bars. On site, do not hesitate to take a dog sled ride, snowmobile ride, walk the ski slopes, discover the reindeer farm and take advantage of the spa to relax. Note that from Paris, there is a direct flight that will take you to Kittilä airport. If you want to discover Finnish Lapland in the north, go to Ivalo. There, you can observe the aurora borealis. Indeed, the further north you are, the more likely you are to see them. Saariselkä also deserves a stop. Snowmobile safaris in the mountains, excursions in sleds pulled by huskies in the Urho Kekkonen National Park are some of the activities you can enjoy on site.

For nature lovers, check out Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. You can trek from one hilltop to another on Finland’s oldest long-distance hiking trail. In winter, cross-country skiing in the heart of nature awaits you. In the far west of Finland near the border with Sweden and Norway, check out Kilpisjarvi where you can experience Finland’s highest peak (Halti).

Norwegian Lapland

Different from Finnish or Swedish Lapland, Norwegian Lapland has many fjords that give it a magical air. Temperatures will be milder along the coast, while inland it will be colder. On site, you can observe magnificent white landscapes. Northern Norway’s largest city, Tromsø, is a very popular starting point for viewing the Northern Lights and many guided excursions are organized here in small groups. These can be combined with other adventure activities (dog sledding, whale watching, snowmobiling, etc.). To contemplate the Northern Lights comfortably from the sea, the boat is an excellent choice. Also discover the surrounding islands.

Go to the Lofoten Islands which are further south of Tromsø and very large. You will find diverse landscapes and Northern Lights weather permitting. Take advantage of your time there to go hiking. Nordkapp, or North Cape, the northernmost place in Europe is worth a visit. With its cliffs culminating at more than 300 meters above sea level, the panorama is magnificent. Many also come here to observe the polar day. If you want to discover land and tundra, Karasjok is a good option. Close to the Finnish border, you can take the opportunity to visit the Sami Parliament and Sápmi Park.

Swedish Lapland

If you are looking for a certain tranquility in your stay in Lapland, go to Sweden. Indeed, unlike its Finnish neighbor, Swedish Lapland does not have the same enthusiasm among tourists because the country only promotes rarely this region. But don’t worry, Swedish Lapland is totally worth it. You will find large white forests and wide open spaces where you can enjoy winter activities such as dog sledding or snowmobiling… Stop in Kiruna. The city offers many activities combining outdoor and nature and culture. No need to rent a car if you stay on site, you will find everything you need. The other place to see is Abisko and its national park. There, you will enjoy a vacation surrounded by nature and lovers of the Northern Lights will be able to observe them from the observatory, the Aurora Sky Station. For some, it is even the best place to admire them.

When to come to Lapland?

To make the most of a winter trip to Lapland, come between December and March. Before December, some activities may not yet be open. Remember to inquire beforehand. If you come in December and January (until mid-January), you will experience the polar night. As the days are longer in February and March, it is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities. March and April are high season in Finnish Lapland for Nordic skiing. This is also the season when you can fish on the frozen lakes.

April is a pleasant period as the temperatures rise and certain activities such as snowmobiling or dog sledding can still be organized depending on the location. The lakes thaw in May or even June. In summer, you will enjoy different landscapes and a pleasant climate. To discover autumn in Lapland, come in September, but no later.

Sources: PinterPandai, Go Nature Trip, Discover the World, You Need To Visit

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