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Overview

The region of Finland above the Arctic Circle is at its best in late winter, when snow glistens in the lengthening daylight and the aurora borealis dances in the night sky. Locals revel in the season and visitors join them on the ski trails and slopes, on dogsleds and kicksleds, and in steamy saunas afterward. In Rovaniemi, Lapland's capital, the stunning modern Arktikum museum is the place to learn about Lapland's semi-nomadic Sami peoples and their reindeer herds. A reindeer sled ride followed by lunch cooked over a fire in a traditional pelt-covered Sami house, dogsled safaris, ice fishing and snowshoe hikes can all be arranged from ...

The region of Finland above the Arctic Circle is at its best in late winter, when snow glistens in the lengthening daylight and the aurora borealis dances in the night sky. Locals revel in the season and visitors join them on the ski trails and slopes, on dogsleds and kicksleds, and in steamy saunas afterward. In Rovaniemi, Lapland's capital, the stunning modern Arktikum museum is the place to learn about Lapland's semi-nomadic Sami peoples and their reindeer herds. A reindeer sled ride followed by lunch cooked over a fire in a traditional pelt-covered Sami house, dogsled safaris, ice fishing and snowshoe hikes can all be arranged from Rovaniemi. Nearby Ounasvaara is a four-season park with downhill and Nordic skiing, tobogganing and bobsledding. The world's largest snow castle is at Kemi, where visitors can take cruises on a real ice breaker ship as it plows its way across the frozen Gulf of Bothnia. Farther north at Kittila is Levi, a popular downhill and Nordic ski area with floodlit trails through the fells and a spa center with saunas and a swimming pool with waterfalls. Because it takes so long for the deep snow to melt, skiing often lasts through early May, when the Finns doff jackets and ski in shirtsleeves.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: It borders the Province of Oulu and the Region of North Ostrobothnia in the south. It also borders to the Gulf of Bothnia, Norrbotten County in Sweden, Finnmark County in Norway and to Murmansk Oblast in Russia.
  • Language: Finnish, Swedish
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December through April are the months for winter sports, although skiing sometimes lasts into May.