Lapland often refers to the northern parts of Sweden, Finland and Norway that are inside of the Arctic Circle. The area is mainly considered a winter destination with many international visitors coming to visit Santa Claus and experience other winter activities.
The area of Lapland also has a lot to offer during the summer, that’s right, even within the Arctic Circle there is a summer. The landscape is varied and breathtakingly beautiful with a history and culture unknown to most.
I have compiled a short list of 5 things to do in Finnish Lapland in the summer from what I have experienced during my time in the Arctic Circle.
Finland has many superb National Parks with miles and miles of marked and maintained trails, fireplaces and overnight cabins. Among the best are Urho Kekkonen, Lemmonjoki, and on my doorstep Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park.
Take a walk over the fells and enjoy a sausage cooked over an open wood fire in the Finnish nature. Be on the lookout for wildlife, Finnish Lapland is home to around 200,000 reindeer that are allowed to roam freely.
Visiting the Three Nations Border Point
The Three Nationals Border Point can been reached from Kilpisjärvi by a 11km one way walking trail, a ferry then a short walk, or a combination of the two. The monument marks the point where Norway, Sweden and Finland’s borders meet.
Even though the walk is long the terrain is fairly easy. Once elevated the route is flat, you are then presented with views in all directions and across three different countries. Using the ferry connections allows even the less able to visit the the Three Nation Border Point monument.
If you are visiting Kilpisjärvi it is also worth a walk to the top of Saana, a three hour walking route that consists of 742 steps! The Saana fell towers over Kilpisjärvi providing great views and its unique shape dominates the surrounding landscape.
Experiencing the Midnight Sun
The Midnight Sun can be experienced all over Finland with Midsummer celebrations being a large part of Finnish culture. Usually people will spend it at a cabin with friends and family while they watch the sun never completely set. In Lapland 24 hour daylight lasts for well over a month!
Pielpajärvi Wilderness Church
From the town of Inari Pielpajärvi Wilderness church is a 7km walk, but if you have access to a car you can park further up the trail, shortening your walk to 4km each way. The path winds through the forest littered with rocks then follows the lake until you come to an open area that was once the town center many, many years ago.
The first church was erected in this area in 1646, while the present church that still stands there today, after some restoration, was built in 1760. When the nearby town of Inari grew a new church was built there, leaving this church unused for many years. It wasn’t until after World War II, when the Inari church was destroyed, that Pielpajärvi Wilderness Church was used again.
While you are in Inari the Siida Museum is well worth a visit, with exhibits that detail the history of Lapland centered on Sami culture. Sami culture is very important in the history of Lapland and it is impressive to see how people survived in this remote area with difficult weather conditions during those early years.
Finland is a firm believer in the Everyman’s Right, this means that everyone is allow access to Finland’s beautiful and secluded nature with as little restrictions as possible. People are free to walk, camp and collect berries, mushrooms and other edible treats that grow from the forest floor.
During the summer months many people will be out collecting what nature has to offer, but you have to be quick as the herds of reindeer might beat you to it. Long sleeves are a must if you want to avoid the mosquitoes.
There are still many other activities available in Finnish Lapland that I haven’t included in this list such as mountain biking, fishing, canoeing, bird watching, Frisbee golf and many others. Lapland is also home to many summer events and festivals including the Sodankylä Midnight Sun Film Festival, making Lapland well worth a visit any time of year.
Tell me what you think. Is there something that I have missed that you think is a must when visiting Lapland in the summer?