No matter how old (or young) you are at heart, everyone remembers and loves the magic of Christmas. What better way to rekindle that magic than by taking a road trip to a wintery wonderland under the breath-taking Northern Lights. So, let’s go to Lapland!
Lapland – or more correctly Sápmi – stretches across the north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia and incorporates fjords, glaciers and mountains (including Mount Kebnekaise – 2,111m/6,926ft high) in the west, turning into a low plateau full of marshes and lakes in the east. So, even if you don’t spot Santa’s reindeer pulling his sleigh through the Northern Lights, you will still have a fantastic backdrop for your Christmas cards.
And here’s some inspiration for your dreams!
The stunning Northern Lights.
When to go?
Lapland is truly a magical and unique winter destination, full of surreal landscapes. But, that’s not all. You might be surprised to hear that – as long as you have suitable warm clothing – Lapland is a great destination to visit all year round.
And, the more north you go, the more you see the region’s extreme variations in light. In winter, enjoy Polar Night (24-hour darkness) with the stunning Northern Lights, and in summer experience Midnight Sun (24-hour sun).
How to get there?
That’s up to you. There’s a range of options – bus, plane, car ferry, train, to name a couple. But, as a Subaru driver, there’s only one option you’re really interested in: driving.
What to do?
- White water rafting – we dare you to get out of your car and get your adrenaline pumping with some white-water rafting on the rapids on the Muonionjoki river in Finland. Or, if that’s too extreme, there are plenty of other water sports to try, including canoeing and jet skis.
- Cycling on a fatbike – discover the delights of fatbike cycling in Finland’s beautiful Torassieppi forest. You’ll find yourself gliding over huge mud puddles and tricky forest paths – until you fall over (cycle helmet recommended!).
- Visit Santa – the official hometown of Santa Claus is in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finland’s Lapland which is located in the Arctic Circle. Go to visit Santa, and stay to enjoy the Northern Lights vistas, award-winning hotels, vibrant local culture and stunning wilderness. And who knows… Maybe you will get a visit from Santa Claus, so make sure to leave some cookies around.
Visit a reindeer farm in Rovaniemi
- Ice fishing – travel by snowmobile to a remote frozen lake and try your luck with ice fishing. With a bit of luck, you’ll be able to catch your dinner!
- Hiking – take a riverboat to Ravadas waterfall in Finland’s Lemmenjoki National Park before you explore the old pine forests. This is an activity you can enjoy anytime of the year in Lapland.
- Skiing or snowboarding – visit some of the ski resorts and enjoy slopes and cross-country skiing trails which take you from one village to another via silent wilderness locales.
- Reindeer farms – visit a reindeer farm in Rovaniemi and help feed some of Santa’s magic helpers. With a bit of buttering up, you may make it to Santa’s nice list.
Sauna and outdoor jacuzzi.
- Snowmobile – enjoy the rush as the snowy landscape whizzes by. Snowmobiling is a great way to sightsee around the region.
- Snow-shoeing – try out one of Finland’s most popular transportation methods and join an expedition from Levi.
- Sauna and outdoor jacuzzi – found all over Lapland, this is the ideal way to relax at the end of day – whether it was spent behind the wheel or just enjoying the scenery.
- Arctic Rally – if you visit Rovaniemi in January, make sure to catch the exciting annual Arctic Rally. This challenging +200km rally over ice and snow has drawn famous drivers from all over the world. It’s an experience not to be missed.
Has this whet your appetite in adventure? Visit Lapland to experience it for yourself.
Drive on snow
Has this ignited your interest in adventure? Visit Lapland to experience it for yourself. Either plan your own route or contact one of the local driving schools for insider knowledge.
What can you expect? Icy trails, outstanding scenery, challenging roads, passionate drivers and uneven paths.
You guessed it, Subaru is the perfect car for the terrain.
Test the limits (if you can find them!) of Subaru’s Symmetrical All‑Wheel Drive (SAWD) and X‑Mode. (Quick reminder: SAWD drives all its wheels at all times, for impressive handling and performance, while X‑Mode provides the best traction and grip in difficult situations by taking control of the engine, transmission, SAWD, brakes and other components.)
What are you waiting for?
Lapland is the perfect playground to discover the safe, fun and tough benefits of Subaru.
It’s a lot easier to spot the local wildlife than to find Santa, so keep your eyes open for reindeer, wolves and even bears. Watch out for the insects that appear as soon as days start to get warmer.
Experience the magic of 24-hour sunlight in the Arctic circle.
Experience the magic of 24-hour sunlight in the Arctic circle. 50 distinct shades of light shine all day and night for the entire summer, giving a colourful tint to everyday (and night) life. From a burning orange in the Golden Hour, to a bright yellow at ‘sunrise’, Lapland is the place to be seen.
As your taste buds will appreciate, Lapland’s cuisine is directly linked to its pristine nature. With so many tasty options available, what will you try first?
Delicious when sautéed and served with fresh lingonberries (or lingonberry jam) and mashed potatoes, this traditional dish is worth coming to Lapland for!
Also known as ‘squeaky cheese’, this soft cheese is often lightly grilled and served with cloudberries as a dessert.
Bilberries (northern blueberry), cloudberries, cranberries and lingonberries are free to be picked by everyone – as long as you don’t damage the environment. Enjoy in jams, juices sauces and liquors or fresh with your main course or dessert.
Lapland boasts some of Europe’s best salmon rivers. Treat your taste buds to a freshly caught salmon cooked slowly near an open fire. Other common fish in Lapland include trout, pike-perch, whitefish, arctic char and grayling.
Barley is one of the very few grains that can survive Lapland’s climate, and it’s used for baking and brewing. Try the small barley flatbread – delicious with a bit of butter or freshly smoked salmon.
Recognised with the EU’s PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) label, almond potatoes can only be cultivated in Lapland. Enjoy them as chips with reindeer or salmon.
Travel tips Finnish Lapland
Not sure where to start your trip to Lapland? Rovaniemi, the region’s capital, is always a good starting point. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, head 170km inside the Arctic Circle to Levi, a truly magical place.
- Climate in January: -8 to -18°C. The lowest recorded temperature was -51.5°C in January 1999.
- Sunrise between 10:02 and 10:48 and sunset between 14:10 and 15:03 (in January) – that’s about 4 hours of daylight!
- The Northern Lights can appear more than 200 days a year. Stay in a glass igloo in Kakslauttanen and you’ll even be able to see them from the comfort (and warmth) of your bed! Other good places to see the Northern Lights include around Kilpisjärvi, Utsjoki and Sodankylä.
Travel tips Finnish Lapland.
- There are over 700 lakes in the Kittilä region – and 187,888 lakes in Finland
- Finnish Lapland has more reindeer (200,000) than people (180,000) – there’s over 12,000 reindeer in just the Kittilä region!
- Levi hosts the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup each year
- Fancy yourself as a gold prospector? Follow in the footsteps of the Lapland gold rush of the 1870s and take your chances in the Lemmenjoki area or boost your luck at the Tankavaara Gold Village where everyone strikes gold.
- Every year over 20 million kilos of ice are used to build the Snow Village. Covering an area of 20,000m2, the Snow Village includes a chapel, snow hotel, ice restaurant and ice bar.
Driving rules change in the winter.
And to finish some fun facts about Finland:
- Over 70% of Finland is forest.
- Finland enjoys the cleanest air in the world according to the World Health Organisation
- Ask a local about their favourite places to pick fresh cloudberries. These tasty berries love cold climates and can withstand temperatures of -38°!
- Driving rules change in the winter: all cars must have winter tyres and you have to keep your headlights on all day. Plus, speed limits are reduced from 120km/h on motorways to 80-100km/h.
You can learn more on winter driving conditions throughout Europe in our article ‘Gear up for Winter’ in Edition 1.
- Finland has over 2.2 million saunas. That’s 1 for every 2.5 people!