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Top five things to do in summery Lapland
3 minute read
a woman tentsile camping in the breathtaking Finnish Lapland

Credits:: Harri Tarvainen

While winters in Lapland are world-famous, the summer season is just as magical

Lapland, Finland’s northernmost region, is a sparsely populated area, known for subarctic wilderness and the dancing Northern Lights. The regional flora and fauna is rich, ranging from the smallest native Globeflowers to reindeer roaming in the wild. When it comes to staying in the region, accommodations range from boutique hotels to huts, cottages and homely apartments. So while the region is well-known for its exquisite winters, the warmer months of the district offer just as much, with a wide and exciting array of things to see and do.

the couple is lying on the bed in a glass igloo and watching the sunset
Credits: Jari Romppainen

Immerse yourself in the Sámi way of life

While a part of Finland, Lapland is home to a rich culture of its own. The region belongs to the homeland of the Sámi, the indigenous people that inhabit the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Russia and Finland.

In Sápmi, a lush and green area during the summer, several Sámi languages – classified as a branch of the Uralic language family – are spoken. The people pursue a variety of livelihoods here, from fishing to semi-nomadic reindeer herding.

The best way to engage with the culture of Sámi is by visiting the Culture Centre Sajos, located in Inari. This cultural centre is an interesting and attractive meeting point for all visitors, yet it also serves a significant purpose. The centre houses the Sámi Parliament, making it one of the most important sites for indigenous culture in Finland. Sajos creates better conditions for the Sámi to maintain and develop their own languages, culture, livelihood and self-government.

Another site to visit is the nearby museum and nature center, Siida. Its exhibitions and events give visitors a window into the north by providing information on the vibrant Sámi culture and the surrounding arctic nature.

a Sámi performer on stage singing
Credits: Ville Fofonoff

Have a summer sauna

For Finns, the sauna is a communal place for relaxation, cleansing and meditation. Grab a towel, some friends and a few cold drinks, and enjoy this favoured pastime of locals.

The Arctic Sauna world in Muonio offers a unique experience, with five saunas squeezed between the beautiful fells lining the Pallas-Ylläs national park on the shores of Jerisjärvi – a sacred place for the Sámi and known for its abundance of fish.

The Arctic Sauna World is based on the four elements: earth, fire, water and air. Wood gathered from the earth which grew it, fire from the wood burning in the sauna stove, water drizzled on top of the burning embers, and the air that swells with heat inside the sauna. And The Arctic Sauna World by lake Jerisjärvi, a fifth element is added – the steaming sauna spirit. Spirit you ask? Yes– in Finnish folklore, Löyly, or the steam itself, is synonymous with spirit, making it a part of our soul.

See all must-experience saunas in Lapland.

a landscape view of the fell highlands in the Finnish Lapland
Credits: Markus Kiili

Take a catamaran cruise on the third largest lake of Finland

In the municipality of Inari, forest and fells wind slowly along the numerous waterways flowing through the region. There are more than 10,000 lakes in the area, of which Lake Inari is the third largest in Finland. Watching the sun set over the lake is a must when visiting, and a great way to do this is while onboard a catamaran, cruising the lake and its 3,300 islands with Lake Inari Cruises. The cruise passes the sacred Sámi sacrificial offering site, Ukko Rock or Äijih, and stops at Pielpavuono upon request. From there, it’s just a 2 km walk to the Pielpajärvi wilderness church, one of the oldest buildings in Inari. The catamaran cruise operates under the international Green Key certificate of sustainable travel.

Take in the spectacular midnight sun onboard a canoe

Take in the mysterious never-setting sun of the Lapland region by canoe. The official Midnight Sun Canoe Route is around 160 km, fitting for both beginners and more experienced paddling enthusiasts. The route starts at Lake Aalisjärvi in Kolari and continues all the way to Tornionjoki river. The official route offers experiences for every skill level, from the more extreme to smooth paddling on lakes and stream pools. Services along the route include several campfire sites and break areas, outhouses, trash bins and firewood for fires. The route itself is mostly maintained by the paddlers, who are asked to report fallen trees and potentially dangerous obstacles to the municipality. While the entire route takes several days to finish, there is no need to paddle all the way down. There are several great locations along the way for retreating back to shore at Konttajärvi, the Sirkkakoski rapids or Niuro in Ylitornio, to name a few. Alternative routes are also possible instead of the fast rapids. Canoes can be rented through several operators in the area. Guided tours are also widely offered.

rowing boats lined up on a beach in the Finnish Lapland
Credits: Harri Tarvainen

In need for speed, visit the Ylläs Bike Park

Yllästunturi, or more commonly Ylläs, is the 718 m fell in the municipality of Kolari. While the fell is popular for some serious winter activities, ranging from downhill and cross-country skiing to snowmobiles, the summer months do not pale in comparison. Adrenaline is pumping on the slopes of the bike park that offers easy trails for first timers and more advanced enduro riders. The largest bike park in Finland also has the longest trails in Finland, ranging in length up to 4 km. Rent a bike, safety gear and possibly a guide, and make Ylläs a part of your Lapland journey with the ride of your life!