In Lapland, above Finland’s polar circle, there are eight seasons. They have vivid names: frozen winter, crusted snow, melting ice, midnight sun, harvest, autumn foliage, first snow and polar night at Christmas.
Enjoy nature's own light show by watching the northern lights from an igloo
Paradoxically, the cold and dark of the frozen winter is the cosiest season in Lapland. Log fires and a robust diet of game keep visitors warm while the snow-covered, tranquil landscape creates a superb contrast to the colourful displays of the stars and the northern lights.
Ivalo Airport offers a perfect gateway to the white wilderness. Kakslauttanen and its glass ceiling igloos are just an hour’s bus journey from the airport. Night under the northern lights, the absolute silence and darkness are experiences that are available only in few places of the world.
Finland’s best ski resort 2016: award-winning snow-covered slopes are here
After darkest midwinter, the polar night eases and the northern sun rises. The season of crusted snow is here and the hours of daylight start to increase. The sun shines at a low angle and the shiny white snow reflects the sunlight and shadows disappear. Skiing is best when the harshest temperatures fade into memory.
Winter sport enthusiasts fly from Helsinki to Kittilä in just over an hour to enjoy the season’s last and best skiing. Of the 43 slopes in Levi – chosen as the best ski resort of 2016 – some are open as late as May. The gondola lift is also open to those who do not want to ski but wish to enjoy the fabulous views over the neighbouring fells of Pallas, Aakenus, Olos and Ylläs.
A snow castle wedding?
Thanks to the freezing spring nights in Lapland, the world's largest snow castle delights visitors all the way into April. You can spend the night, enjoy a meal or even get married in the SnowCastle of Kemi. The castle is rebuilt every year according to a new theme.
The theme for 2017 is Finland’s centenary. Also the nature in Sea Lapland is a perfect representation of Finland offering a unique combination of arctic sea landscapes and the forests and marshland of Lapland. The sea outside Kemi ices over for the winter but when the ice melts, migratory birds and summer arrive.
The SnowCastle and the arctic shores of Kemi are only a 10-minute drive from Kemi-Tornio Airport
Finland’s most famous hiking trail: Karhunkierros
Due to the 24-hour midsummer sun, even the most experienced travellers experience a whole new feeling of time in Lapland.
At Kuusamo’s latitude, the midnight sun shines from mid-June until early July. Nature takes all it can out of the short but intensive summer of Lapland, and so should people: hiking is a summer activity that everyone can take pleasure in.
In Lapland visitors are mesmerised by the brightness of early summer and the warmth and greenery of late summer. Finland’s most famous hiking trail, Karhunkierros, offers 80 kilometres of lush natural forest full of streams and hills. The trail, which runs through Oulanka National Park, is easy to reach by catching a plane to Kuusamo Airport.
An autumn trip to the fells and Finland’s longest set of stairs
A two-hour drive from Enontekiö is Kilpisjärvi, where the journey towards Lapland’s most identifiable silhouette begins. Finland’s longest set of stairs take visitors to the top of Saana Fell and its breath-taking scenery.
As with many other fells in Lapland, a cairn embellishes Saana’s highest spot, and it is considered the fell’s guest book. According to an old Sami tradition, anyone who climbs a fell should leave a stone on the cairn.
The season for autumn foliage starts at this latitude around August or September, and the earlier the night-time temperatures fall below freezing, the more colourful the season will be. The foliage turns into bright colours and prepares it for the soon-to-come first snow. Often the first snow melts, but it is a sign that winter is here – the permanent snow arrives around November time.
Information about Enontekiö Airport, the gateway to Europe’s last remaining Arctic wilderness
Santa Claus Village is a popular destination
The seasons start and end with winter, and the black and white polar night is the highlight. The polar night is the time of year when the sun stays below the horizon.
In the most northern part of Finland, the polar night lasts as long as one and a half months, but the darkness isn’t absolute because twilight, the northern lights and the moon reflect from the snow that blankets everything.
At the Santa Claus Village of Rovaniemi, the polar night signifies beauty and joy! The cosy, wintry twilight is a perfect excuse for turning on Christmas lights and lighting candles around the town – in which Christmassy red is the colour throughout the year.
Santa Claus Village is right next to Rovaniemi Airport; there you can meet Santa and his elves and have the chance to cross the Arctic Circle on foot.