Perched in the northernmost part of Finland, Lapland is a stunning and pristine wilderness to explore that’s got everything from the northern lights, polar nights and the midnight sun (in the summer months). Trust me when I say, you’ll be spoilt for choice when looking for the best things to do in Lapland.
Whether you’re going for a festive getaway, to explore more about Sami culture or to experience some of that winter-wonderland like landscapes, you’ll honestly find so much to do on your visit to Finnish Lapland. It’s a gorgeous part of the world to explore.
After our most recent trip to Swedish Lapland, which you might have seen on Instagram, I wanted to share some of my top places and the best things to do in Lapland that’ll suit any taste.
Take a look below for some of the best things to do in Lapland. You’re gonna love it here. 🇫🇮
1.) See the Northern Lights
The northern lights are a sight to behold, especially on a clear day and when the solar flare is forecast to be high. It really is one of the best things to do in Lapland, especially as you’re so far north.
Now, there are lots of opportunities to spot the northern lights but you will need to get away from light pollution if you really want to see the full spectrum of colours. That being said, some hotels and lodges will wake you up (on request) when the lights begin to appear. Jsut remember to have your warm clothes ready (and your tripod if you want to photograph them).
It really is a special thing to see.
2.) The Amethyst Mines
Located in Lampivaara, the amethyst mines are one of the best things to do in Lapland, especially if you’re already in the area and love crystals.
Interestingly enough, in the winter months, there are no roads that connect thine mines to the towns themselves. This is when you have to either hop on the winter viechle (Which looks like a cross between a tractor and a tank) or find you’re own way to the mines. If you are looking for a challenge, a fairly strenuous snowshoe hike will take you there as well.
This ancient place is the only active amethyst mine remaining in all of Europe. Whilst you’re here, you’ll get an opportunity to plan for your own crystals too.
3.) Arktikum Science Museum
If you fancy a little break from the sub-arctic winter, head over to the Arktikum Science Museum that showcases how the Arctic is changing and what life is life so far north.
Plus, the museum has a gorgeous glass walk-through tunnel that leads to the Ounasjoki River. This is an excellent spot to catch unreal views of the Northern Lights on a dark evening or afternoon. Tickets are around €10-15.
4.) Husky Sledding
Husky sledding is one of the best things to do in Lapland and has been an integral part of Sami culture for centuries.
husky sledding is an essential, time-honoured practice in this region, and not surprisingly, you’ll be spoilt for choice in the type of tours that are offered. Some will be longer runs that involve lots of mushing and a little running when you’re heading up steeper gradients.
Other tours will be much more relaxing where you’ll be nestled up in blankets while a team of huskies, malamutes and other seasoned sled dogs take you on an exhilarating trip around Lapland.
5.) Pyha-Luosto National Park
An ideal day-trip away from the hustle and bustle of Rovaniemi, this is a forest with a uniquely beautiful landscape dominated by ancient pines and picturesque lakes. Pyha-Luosto National Park is just stunning.
There are a number of trails available here, fit for most abilities, making it one of the best things to do in Lapland. That being said, do make sure you check local conditions and always speak with or go out with a guide. The landscape can be very different from what most of us are used to and no one likes a careless hiker.
Along your way, keep your eyes peeled for Rykimäkero Storage Holds (tiny houses) where hunters used to store their catches.
Oh, and before embarking on your adventures, start your morning with a stop at Café Loimu for a refreshing cup of strong coffee paired with the chef’s famous black bread.
Being one of the northernmost ski resorts in Europe, Saariselka ski resort is one of the best things to do in Lapland if you love outdoor sports.
Now, the resort is divided into two separate sections, Kaunispaa and Ilisakkipa, which is a total paradise if you’re a winter thrill-seeker! Best of all, Saariselka has the longest toboggan run in all of Finland.
7.) Santa Claus Village
Santa Claus Village, is what you’d expect, the place where Santa Claus lives! Filled to the brim with everything Christmas, it’s one of the best things to do in Lapland, especially in the festive winter months.
Whilst here, explore everything from Santa’s Workshop to visiting the reindeers and spot Rudolph! From August to April, you can sit at the Arctic Garden after dark to witness some spectacular displays of the Northern Lights. This is, in fact, THE actual article circle that cuts through the heart of the amusement park, marked by a bright white line.
Fun fact: If you send a letter from this location, it actually arrives to the recipient as postmarked by Santa Claus’s Main Post Office!
8.) Santa Park
A short walk away from Santa Claus’s Village is a magical underground themed park that has everything from; fluffy reindeers, sleigh rides and performances.
Whilst you’re here, make sure Mrs Gingerbread’s Bakery, the cutest elf workshop and Santa’s office. Oh, and hop on Santa’s train to take a journey through his journey. It really is a family-friendly spot that kids and grown-ups will love.
9.) Snow Village
Located in Kittila, this is a hotel that is made completely from ice and snow from the region.
It is reconstructed each year, which means that the experience is never the same. The frosty setting is backlit by stunning lights, which gives it a fairy-tale like appearance that’s so gorgeous at Christmas.
Aside from the rooms (to stay in), there’s also an ice slide for the kids (or big kids) along with an ice bar, restaurant and even a chapel for a unique wedding!
10.) Gorge on Lohikeitto
Probably one of my favourite meals to have in Scandinavia, Lohikeitto is a creamy soup filled with chunky salmon pieces, potatoes, leek and dill. Served piping hot, it’s so nice and really warms you up after a day exploring in the sub-zero temperatures.
Lots of the places you visit will serve some form of this (or possibly a beef goulash) but my favourite has to be Lohikeitto. It’s so yummy.
11.) Stay in a Glass Igloo
Perched in the kakslauttanen resort, these glass igloos are some of the best things to do in Lapland. Especially if you want a unique experience.
Perched in one of the world’s best places to watch the northern lights, the igloos are the perfect spot to stay tucked up, nice and warm, in bed watching them dance overhead.
12.) Snowmobile safari
Passing over frozen lakes, thick sub-arctic forests and across rivers, a snowmobile safari is one of the best things to do in Lapland, especially if you’re a thrill-seeker.
Ranging from around 2-6 hours, there are a number of different options you can experience depending on what you like. From visiting the reindeer, watching the northern lights, stopping for lunch, there’s a stop that’ll suit everyone.
Just make sure you have a driving license and remember not to drink alcohol before heading out.