Lapland straddles the northern-most regions within Sweden and Finland. Yet this place is more than merely the legendary hideout of Santa, it sparkles all year round with serene natural beauty. Whatever the reason and whatever the season, you should go there.
The spring in Lapland is brief and boisterous, with many creatures all clamouring to reproduce. Many species of birds such as cross bills and Siberian jays begin nesting. Plants begin to grow and herald the beginning of spring once the temperature hits 5 degrees Celsius. This normally occurs in April or May. The days get longer and tracks of animals are visible in the melting snow. Bears and wolverines who had their cubs during winter, take their first tentative steps as a family, out of hibernation. A cacophony of noises echo through the forest from owls, foxes, black grouse and other migratory birds. The Varanger fiord and the Tanamunningen Nature Reserve are great places to visit during this magical time.
Lapland in the summer is spectacular and surprisingly warm. The almost constant day light hours, where the sun rarely dips below the horizon, are like a heartening gift from nature to say thank you for the long and cold winter. Outdoor activities are very popular during this time. Adrenalin junkies can get their fix with white water rafting, or mountain biking across the summits of Finland’s tallest fells. Family activities during this time include horse riding, swimming, kayaking, hiking and horse riding.
The shy and elusive brown bear and her cubs can occasionally be spotted in the Pallas Yllas National Park, where the purest and cleanest air in the world whistles through the forest. This is also the best time for fishing in Arctic lakes, with bountiful salmon, Arctic char and pike.
Autumn is the time of year when nature begins to withdraw in on itself. The glorious kaleidoscope of colours in the leaves of trees, make this a bewitching time to visit and do some hiking or kayaking. The Northern Lights are still visible during this time as well. Nellim is a little village that is the historic home of the Sami people, who have lived there for many centuries. This is nestled next to the glass pane Lake Inari; it’s the perfect amphitheatre for watching the Northern lights.
Lapland was voted by the BBC in 2006, as the best winter destination. This is because it offers a vast variety of activities for people of all ages. There is snow tobogganing and visiting Santa for the young ones. And sauna and spa therapeutic treatments and cosy glass igloos for couples. Night owls will hopefully get the chance to witness the natural wonder of the Northern Lights as the refracting light Arctic winds, shifts in waves across the sky.