For more than 10 days we crossed the Arctic Circle once again, this time at the height of the workshop and post office that Santa Claus has a few kilometers from Rovaniemi where we landed. There are few times that we have done it already in our trips but it is still a strange sensation, as if it were an imaginary line of no return that moved you to a world far from men. maybe That's why Santa Claus set up his workshop, his house and his life here and that is that Lapland of Finland is a land of magic and Christmas At any time of year. Do you want to know a little more about her? We tell you in 20 questions / answers in place where we have entered these days and that serves as a perfect introduction to the stories and videos that we bring you.
Finnish Lapland in 20 questions / answers
1. What is Lapland considered?
It is a region of northern Europe that encompasses regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia and that coincides with the so-called "Saapmi area" where the first known indigenous population and the only indigenous people in Europe survive with their own traditions.
2. What makes Finland different?
For a Spanish ... !EVERYTHING! They are the largest coffee drinkers in the world, the first country to remove subjects as mandatory in schools in the best educational system in the world or also dispense with coal in the near future as a source of energy to curb climate change, one of the least corrupt and where greater security is perceived, in the EU with Euro since 1999 and independent since 1916. In addition, it has a life expectancy of 80.8 years neither more nor less.
3. Ok, I combine both but, if I decide on Finnish Lapland, what area do I go to?
If Finns are proud of anything, it's almost 70% of its territory are well-kept forests in addition to housing more than 200,000 lakes. !Pure nature! In addition, although Norway is famous for its fjords ... in Finland there are also such as a lake of 1,393 km2 (Saimaa) or a mountain of 1324 m (Halti) ceded peacefully by Norway.
We could divide Finnish Lapland into several zones according to Visit Finland He explains on his website. Rovaniemi and his nearby Ranua and Kemi could be a base, Levi or Yllas including Enontekio and Pallas could be another base, Kilpisjarvi which goes into Sweden, Salla other and Saariselka with Ivalo and Inari other. Fundamentally. We will tell you 3 of them.
4. Does this area of the planet vary greatly from summer to winter?
Totally, starting because in summer enjoy the "midnight sun" and in winter the "Kaamos or polar night" that we will talk about in the newspaper. That, together with temperature differences of + 30ºC to -30ºC make the cold snowy winter a place for wonderful landscapes for us and summer for hiking, trekking, kayaking and other equally surprising nature activities.
5. Where can I find Santa?
Let's say Santa is magical. If you decide for Rovaniemi, there you will see Santa Claus Village where he works every day to distribute his gifts. Nearby is the Santa Park where his wife works and you will also find the red-nosed reindeer Rudolf but also has a cabin in the woods where, through a reindeer safari, you can go see him.
If you decide for Levi, Santa will not miss there since he has many gifts to distribute. Finally in Saariselka has her best and most intimate house, very close to Kakslauttanen
6. Can other activities be done in Finnish Lapland?
!Of course! In fact, although Santa Claus is the claim for the little ones (and Paula, hehe) they are his snowmobile excursions, sledding of huskies or reindeer, their farms, wildlife, snowshoes, boreal camps or looking for that desired dawn, those that focus the dozens of possibilities in any of the populations, ideal for all types of travelers (whether family, couples or looking for adventure)
7. Ok, convinced but, what is the best time of winter to go? Will there be snow? and Sun?
If you are looking for Santa, you have to know that it is there all year long so you don't have to worry about going in December or March. For the rest of the activities, it is usually at the beginning of November when temperatures start to go below freezing and snowing and at the beginning or mid-December to glimpse that white steppe that we all have in the head and that lasts until the months of April or even May. Possibly March and April that already have more daylight hours are perfect months (Besides that as time improves there are more possibilities to see auroras). December, because of its Christmas atmosphere, does not disappoint.
8. Can you see northern lights? What month is it?
Since September to March (even the first weeks of April) there are possibilities to see northern lights in Finnish Lapland. All sources consulted recommend September and March as the best months
9. What is the polar night or Kaamos?
We had never enjoyed it before we arrived in Saariselka. The polar night or kaamos is a magical period between December and January when the sun does not rise above the horizon and, although there is light between 10 and 15, around 14 there is a kind of so-called "blue moment" in which for 15 minutes everything turns bluish leaving a unique natural phenomenon that only occurs in this area of the Arctic. It is one of the objectives of our trip
10. Is it expensive? Can it be done by free or by specialized agency?
Yes, it is an expensive country for a Spaniard. With telling you that they have withdrawn the copper coins (there is a rarity) and most payments are made by credit card (even small consumptions of 2 euros) almost says it all. In any case you have two options for you to look for your own budget since if you do it with specialized agency They will include most extra costs (meals, transfers, accommodations ...) while if you do For free (like us) you can adjust it even more to your pocket and it is very easy to prepare.
11. Is it cold in Finnish Lapland? What clothes do I wear?
But I laugh who says the song, haha. !Yes! The answer is yes. The temperatures these days in Rovaniemi, Levi and Saariselka have varied between -5ºC and -25ºC which is very cold but nothing that does not fix a good suitcase with a pair of thermal (t-shirts, pants, gloves and socks) and the theory of "layers" of clothes that we will tell you in the newspaper as we did in Greenland, Svalbard or Antarctica. Have an agency like Lapland Safaris that gives you thermal clothing if you do activities with them HELP A LOT (they give you a jumpsuit, scarf, hat, appropriate boots, socks and polar gloves)
12. Can you book cabins or charming accommodations? And cheaper?
What you want and how you want. The option to book with Booking As we have done, we will give you a wide range of hotels, cabins and other types of accommodation. If you wish most charming accommodations you have the mökki, cabins or cottages, vestige of the Finnish life of many years but also the ice hotels, glass igloos under nature and many other options.
In the forum of losviajeros.com, a boy with nick JoseCupernico recommends a cheap option in Levi called Levilehto Apartments. We have opted for Lapland Hotels and some little cabins called Polar Aurora Cabins but we will tell you calmly (we will add more as we find or tell us readers)
13. Any recommendations for taking photos or videos?
As has happened in other places, with these climatic conditions it is very possible that the batteries last less than you are used to Take some spare and store them in a hot area of your backpack, pants or anorak. Cameras or mobiles should be protected with a towel or backpack before entering a hot place to prevent collapse of fog.
A good idea may be about gloves of the type we wear that allows us to "uncover" the index and the thumb to handle the cameras and then cover them again
14. Are there companies to carry out activities and excursions once there or online? Do I have to be fit?
There are multiple options although in high season, such as ours, it may be better to take it online (we have done everything with Lapland Safaris and we can't have more than good words)
We will tell you in our articles about it more extensively. It is not necessary to be fit and, except for the snowmobile that reaches high speeds, are minutes for all types of families with children.
15. What is the famous Finnish sauna?
With telling you that there are more than 2,000,000 saunas for 5 million people in Finland we almost tell you everything. Is a whole tradition and way of life and very surely you have access to it in the hotel room that you book, be it normal or cabin
What if we add the contrast of the cold water of a hole with stairs that gives access to the frozen lake in which it is located? You dare?
16. Any recommended movie or book?
In addition to the usual guides you can find in "Midnight auroras. Journey to the four Lapland" by Luis Pancorbo López, an extraordinary reference for a traveler. As for movies, we have a Spanish in "The lovers of the polar circle" directed by Julio Medem and starring Najwa Nimri and Fele Martínez who won several Goya awards in 1999
17. Is there a time difference between Spain and Finnish Lapland?
At the time of the trip there is +1 hour in Finland compared to Spain for its entire territory
18. What kind of wildlife can I find in Lapland?
The wildlife in Lapland is extraordinary. Beyond the reindeer, huskies and other domesticated animals, can be observed occasionally bears, wolves, lynx, eagles, cranes, elk, swans and many other arctic species. An excellent place to see them, since the forests are so deep and it is difficult to see them, is the Ranua Zoological Reserve 80 km from Rovaniemi where you can observe them in open spaces through wooden platforms
19. Can you have contact with the Sami in this place?
Yes. As we already did in a Sami farm in Lofoten Islands of Norway, this native town coexists peacefully with the Finnish population and has acquired many of the country's advances. However, it maintains many of its traditions and is very hospitable to the traveler. You can learn a lot about them in several museums in Levi or Inari as well as enjoy some activity with them in their reindeer farms or others.
20. I want all the information to prepare it! How do I start? Where do I read the travel diary?
! Quiet! Let us return from the trip and you will have 12 video chapters with our experience, the travel stories, all the practical information and much more right here under the Finnish Lapland category. Photos? As in the rest of the article, we put some more (the auroras and cover are from the image bank of Shuttershock.com to which we subscribe)
Have we convinced you? Well, there is still much to tell you in the next few days from this distant place of Finnish Lapland where Santa Claus lives
Isaac and Paula, from Saariselka in Finnish Lapland