Winter Wonderland guide: What to do in Lapland

Winter Wonderland guide: What to do in Lapland

Lapland is the area in the north of Scandinavia. If you want to visit Lapland, you can do it from three countries – Finland, Norway, and Sweden. But heads up – this place is very cold and doesn’t have that many people or cities. That doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do in Lapland. This country is full of hidden gems and winter activities.

For animal lovers

Even though it seems that on the roof of the world there aren’t too many animals, it is. And there is a lot of activities to do with them in Lapland.

Husky safari

Husky's in Lapland
Husky safari is one of the most popular things to do in Lapland.

No, it is no riding through snow and watching wild huskies running around like you would do in Africa with wildlife. Here in the north, you are welcome to visit one of the farms for hard-working doggos and learn how to drive sleds with them. Even though something like “husky farm” sounds terrible, it really isn’t. The dogs are not here for eating but for working in the woods where you often cannot get with any other vehicle.

Most of Husky’s safaris would teach you how to ride, and actually, go ride with you into Lappish wilderness. After that, you would hear some more information about the dogs, feed them and maybe cuddle a puppy if you are lucky.

Reindeer safari

Reindeers ride
Here is your opportunity to try what Santa does just once a year

Lapland is said to be the place where all versions of Santa Claus come from. So no wonder that there is a lot of reindeer farms. But to be honest, the reindeers have been here a long before Santa. Lived in the northern wilderness for a very long time until Suomi people came along and start to use them as a domestic animal. That is why reindeer safari is definitely one of the things to do in Lapland.

If you go to a proper Reindeer farm, people there will tell you about everything that you can actually do with reindeer and how did they domesticate them or where to find wild ones. However, here I don’t have good news like with huskies – reindeers are eaten in Lapland. They become so popular, you can have them also in the form of dry meat, hamburger, even kebabs. Most of the farms offer soup or dry meat as they usually don’t have the meat for the whole year.

Rauna arctic zoo

Polar bears
This one is actually not alive, but in Rauna you have a great opportunity to see several live ones playing in the snow

If you want to visit a different kind of zoo. The kind where they don’t have any zebras but are rich on polar bears. Rauna arctic zoo is in Finnish part of Lapland and should be on your to do in Lapland list in case you love animals and have a spare day to visit just them. Since this is an open-air zoo there are truly just animals that can stand the temperatures all year around. So here is an opportunity to see really all of the animals, from the smallest to the biggest predators.

Nature wonders

Winter or summer, Lapland is full of natural wonders. From glaciers to magical forests. Or even spotting northern lights. All those things are possible to do in Lapland.

Korouoma falls

Very close to Rovaniemi in Finland, you can find a Korouoma canyon. It is one of the national parks in Lapland. In winter you can see here frozen waterfalls. This place might be a bit better to visit with a guide since the snow is sometimes too deep and you might need to borrow snowshoes.

A lot of companies offers affordable tour around the waterfalls with hiking in the canyon and sometimes even Ice climbing.

Hikes in wilderness

Somewhere under the snow
It doesn’t matter where you are in Lapland, you can hike everywhere

Towns are not too big in Lapland, so getting to nature is very easy. Sometimes is easy just to ask at your hotel where can you go around. Like in Rovaniemi I found a very popular hike, up in the forest, where I met only 10 people and it had an amazing view. Just remember to take proper shoes otherwise you might freeze very easily.

Those hikes you can find close to every town or even village because Finns like to go out to nature, so it is not something special close to some region. You can also ask for a closest national parks because they are really big in up in Lapland, so there is a chance you will find some.

Northern lights hunt

Aurora borealis
Be in the right place at the right time and spot the aurora

Northern lights hunt is actually one of the easy things to do in Lapland. Especially in winter. Northern lights are results of solar wind reaching earth poles, both southern and northern. They are best to see when the sky is clear. Closer to the pole, the better.

Sometimes there is only a small green stain in the sky, other times you the heaven lights up in green-purple light and dance around. Lapland is generally rich in Aurora lights, but you must be at the right time in the right place. Which here in the north is a bit easier than elsewhere. You can also download an app that will tell you about the Aurora situation for today.

In case you feel unlucky, there is a lot of companies that will offer you northern lights hunt. They are specialized and can find the lights very easily.

Winter activities

Whether you love winter or not, there are some cool things to try once you are in Lapland. And since a lot of them are offered by companies that will dress you as well, you don’t need to worry about getting too cold.


Winter adventure with snowmobiles
One of the biggest adventure that you can do in Lapland is to go for a snowmobiling tour

If you are not an animal lover, one of the best ways how to explore Lappish nature is to go for a snowmobile tour. It is fast and full of adventure. Since this is an actual vehicle, you will get to see a lot more of nature than if you would go somewhere with dogs or reindeers, because they just cannot take that long distance. And you don’t need to worry, it is really easy to drive it. You will get all the instructions and helmets for your safety.

Often these tours are combined with some other activity like catching northern lights or ice fishing, so there is a lot to think about when you want to do something like this.

Cross skying

Cross Skying
Lapland has a lot of great places for learning how to cross sky and learn some more about nature

One of the best-known activities to do in Lapland is cross skying. Combined with shooting (biathlon) it is a reason why they won the winter war against Russia. However, nobody here wants you to sky and shoot. Just go and rent the sky. It is something that even beginners can do and this could be one of the more interesting ways of exploring nature. If skies are not your friend, think about hiking with snowshoes or ice climbing. Those are the activities that you just cannot do if you go to Italy, so let’s just enjoy the snow.


Very Finnish! But there is nothing better after a cold day outside that sweat in a super hot room with the nice warm from the fire. It is very relaxing and healthy. And Finns are masters in these activities. A normal healthy person should be able to say in the sauna for about 15 minutes. And most of the people can because it is so cold outside. After that feel free to roll around in the snow or take a dip in ice water. It sounds terrible, but you will feel great about it. It is simply an activity that will get your blood running!

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