Snowy forests, dancing northern lights and cosy hours in your own log cabin with a book in your hand by the fireplace. This is Finnish Lapland from November to March. 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, even sports enthusiasts get their money's worth. Whether cross-country skiing, alpine skiing or snowshoe hiking - there is something for every taste. Those who prefer something more exclusive can book a reindeer sleigh ride, go dog sledding or climbaboard a snowmobile for a guided tour.
The journey to the far north of Finland is noticeably easy, as there have been direct flights from Switzerland to the north of Finland for a few years now. Arriving at the airport it is best to rent a car suitable for winter and only half an hour later you will find yourself in the winter wonderland. The destination Äkäslompolo has developed into a real tourist magnet in recent years. Luckily, the place offers a lot of space and vastness, so that one does not feel constricted at any time. Not far from the village rises the 700-metre-high mountain Ylläs, a ski and recreation area at the same time, rising from the otherwise flat tundra. 61 slopes, which are also ideal for beginners, invite you to ski here. But the real paradise is the snow-covered forests, frozen lakes and rolling hills that await snowshoe hikers and cross-country skiers. 330 kilometres of cross-country ski trails are waiting to be discovered, many of them are illuminated at night and all of them are well marked. Thanks to a perfect infrastructure, it is possible to stay in Äkäslompolo for a week or more - it is best to rent a traditional log cabin in the middle of the forest, most of them not far from the nearest ski trail. For shopping you can take your own kick sled or cross-country skis and in no time you are in the centre of the village, where you will find everything you need for everyday life - a big supermarket, rental service for sledges, skis and snowshoes, clothes and souvenir shops - there are also some nice cafés and restaurants in the village. In "Julli's Bar & Restaurant" they serve reindeer steak or delicious pizzas at humane prices.
Kaamos - that's the name of the time in Finland, where the sun doesn't make it over the horizon anymore. Nevertheless, even in the darkest time around Christmas and New Year you have at least five hours of daylight, and this in the most beautiful shades of red and blue. In Äkäslompolo the kaamos season lasts from the beginning of December to mid-January. After that, the daylight is rapidly increasing: In February, it is already about eight hours of daylight - by mid-March, the days are already longer than in Switzerland.
The village is also an ideal starting point for excursions in the nearer and further surroundings. How about a speedy snowmobile tour through the woods including a visit to a traditional reindeer farm. Extra snowmobile tracks take you to neighbouring villages and across frozen lakes. If you don't dare to go it alone, you can join a guided tour: Whether auroral safaris or all-day tours, the tour programme is extremely varied. After a warm meal in a Sami tent, you will take a snowmobile up Ylläs. It takes a little bit of courage to drive up the high Ylläs on a snowmobile. Up there it often winds, but the view is unique! Or you can take a tour as a musher of 6 or 8 sled dogs through the picturesque landscape - everything is possible in Finnish Lapland.
For those who like to drive a little further and have fun driving on snow-covered roads, a detour to Rovaniemi is recommended. With studded tires it is easy to drive through the enchanting winter landscape. In Rovaniemi you can visit Santa Claus Village, where Santa Claus himself lives, or get to know the arctic animals in Ranua Wildlife Park.
In the surrounding area it is worth visiting the Snow Village near Kittilä. Every year, 20 million kilos of snow and 350,000 kilos of crystal clear ice are transformed into a snow and ice village where you can marvel at all kinds of sculptures and figures. How about a dinner - surrounded by ice or a cocktail at the Ice Bar and an overnight stay in an ice hotel? Even getting married is possible in the specially built ice chapel!
And when you return to the cozy log cabin in the evening, tired and full of new experiences, the in-house sauna is waiting for you, where you can relax wonderfully and then sit in front of the open fire and read a good book.
How you get there:
with Edelweiss non-stop to Kittilä
How long am I supposed to go:
from 7 days, better 14 days
Best travel time:
November to March
Northern lights, log cabin, snowmobile and sled dog rides, cross-country skiing paradise, sauna