Lapland is the largest northernmost area of Finland and is home to magical winter twilights, midnight sunshine, the legendary Northern Lights and fabulous winter sports (and Father Christmas of course). Often known as the land of eight seasons, staying at one of our Lapland holiday homes will offer you diversity not many other places could. Take your pick from deep winter, late winter, spring, early summer, late summer, autumn and early winter; each is as distinctive as the next with rich ruskas, nightless nights and spectacular shows in the sky. During the twilight period in winter the sun doesn't rise above the horizon and temperatures can sink to as low as -45 to -50®C, so get ready and wrap up for a holiday with a difference. With Lapland self catering you could find yourself letting your own igloo, a front row seat to see the Aurora Borealis or a cosy cabin complete with a roaring log fire. The Sámi people, who live in Lapland, are among the largest indigenous ethnic groups in Europe. During your stay in Lapland holiday homes you can do anything from rally car driving, skiing and snowmobiling to leading a team of huskies; Finland's seasons come with an ever-changing itinerary of activities.
Lapland Holiday Homes
Lapland holiday homes are beautifully distinctive, from igloo designs to luxurious cabins, settling in will be an experience in itself. Nothing will beat a homely open fire at the end of a day on the slopes or snowmobile, saving you having to deal with the rush of hotel life. Lapland self catering gives you the freedom to try out the various cuisine Finland has to offer, from high-end restaurants to relaxed grills and pubs. Seclusion and space is a big part of Lapland living, what better way to embrace the vast landscapes than finding your own Lapland holiday haven?
Things to see and do
There is an abundance of things to do in Lapland, many of which you can't do anywhere else in the world - visiting Father Christmas being the prime example! Head to Santa Land or Joulukka to help the elves, meet the snow girl who will lead you to Santa on a toboggan and even encounter the troll brotherhood - you will discover Christmas secrets you never thought existed. You will also be able to ride away from your Lapland holiday homes in reindeer or Husky sledges - after a bit of guidance from the professionals, you will be driving through the arctic wilderness in no time! If you'd prefer more modern transport, hop on a snowmobile.
Skiing is very popular in Lapland, from downhill skiing and cross-country to snowboarding. Most ski areas have various slopes as well as half pipes and ski streets complete with various jumps. It's worth investing in the joint sky pass system as this covers Pallas-Olos, Ylläs and Levi.
Ice fishing is another art you can master during your stay at our Lapland holiday homes, as are snowshoeing and Nordic walking. You can trek along the jewel coloured ruska countryside in autumn and try a spot of ice swimming in spring as the lakes are frozen right up until April. Spring is also a great time to try some hiking and witness Lapland coming back into colourful blossom after its long winter. Summer is an ideal time for some canoeing in the backwoods of Lapland, particularly in Finnish 'canoeing Mecca' otherwise known as Muonia, where some of the main stages of the Arctic canoe race take place. Other summer activities include white water rafting, watching the sun never set on the nightless nights of summer and a spot of golf to keep things grounded! Autumn is an excellent time to discover the forests of Lapland, with red-glowing lingon berries, grey lichen and swamps exuding orange-yellow ruska. Around this time Wild North and True Lapland Oy organises hunting trips all over Lapland. Lapland self catering menus could be sorted in an afternoon!
The Northern Lights are a glorious sight to behold and are most commonly spotted between September and October and February and March. According to an Asian belief, once you've spotted the Northern Lights you will live happily ever after! The Finnish term for them, Revontulet, means fox fire and derives from a myth whereby a fox swishes his tail on snowy fells and the resulting sparks in the sky are the Aurora Borealis. In reality the Northern Lights are caused by charged particles from the sun colliding with solar winds of up to a thousand kilometres an hour - looking out of the window of your Lapland holiday homes to see the sky darted with swathes of the yellow green fireworks is a moment that will stay with you for a lifetime.
There are various regions to explore in Lapland. Enontekiő- Kilpisjärvi lies at the intersection of three national borders and close to the Arctic Ocean and so is honoured with hosting the Northern Lapland Nature Centre as well as being home to the sacred fell Saana which stands at 1029metres; the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, the most popular in Lapland, is also situated here. Levi is a more compact destination; if you're choosing your Lapland holiday homes around here then you can look forward to plenty of rural ski opportunities alongside a town culture which offers organised excursions, a bike park, husky park and reindeer park, as well as plenty of experimental dining and wonderful exhibitions on Levi Summit. If you're on a limited time scale Lapland self catering, Levi is a great bet. Muonia-Olos-Pallas holds the staggering Pakasaivo Canyon Lake which is believed to have been an ancient gathering and sacrificial spot. At an estimated 90 metres in depth, the bottom of the mystical lake has never been discovered but its high sulphur levels mean anything on its bed will be preserved for thousands of years - this is a Finnish marvel worth visiting from your Lapland holiday homes.
Posio boasts excellent nature trails, ice climbing and fishing spots as well as the more metropolitan Pentik Mäki, a shopping and cultural complex which houses a specialist ceramics factory. The Amethyst Mine at Pyhä-Luosto is the only one in Europe to welcome visitors and the Aittakuru Gorge Theatre and the Ukko-Luosto Concert Hall are such striking venues that they have the privilege of hosting some of the most exciting events in Finland - so keep a look out for itineraries during your time Lapland self catering. Just some Lapland festivals include Midnight Sun Film Festival, Pyhä Unplugged, as well as Luosto Classic and Ruska Swing music events. Rovaniemi is Santa's traditional home in Lapland where you can take a safari around the Santa Claus Village or get your postcards stamped with the unique Lapland postmark at the Santa Claus Post Office. The region of Saariselkä-Inari is steeped in a history of gold, whilst Salla is known for its rugged wilderness and the Riutukka Log Floating Facility enables you to meander down enchanting waterways, before seeking some cheeky relaxation at the Revontuli Spa and heading back to your Lapland self catering retreat.
Sea Lapland combines civilisation with the irresistible rural; you can take solitary walks along the striking white water salmon rivers or alternatively take a cruise on the frozen seas aboard the icebreaker Sampo, viewing gorgeous archipelago on your travels. You can even take a dip in the smoky sea without getting wet with the right equipment on board. Kemi's Snow Castle, which changes year on year depending on ice sculpting, offers fabulous overnight stays in the Snow Hotel with views of the Bothnian Bay frozen seascapes. Alternatively practice your winter driving in a rally car and park up right outside your Lapland holiday homes. Suomu is Santa's official ski resort, visit the 'sun hill' Aayasaksa at Tornionlaakso where you can admire the midnight sun. The Midsummer Festival here is also very popular. Ylläs is full of villages and buzzing markets, as well as the Konijänkkä Animal Park and 61 ski slopes! If you're still hankering for something to do from your Lapland holiday homes, try ice karting; as if go karting wasn't fun enough, these silent engines and studded tyres bring it into another league entirely.
As well as physical activities, Lapland is rich in art, music and culture. Lapland hosts many music events from jazz, rock and classical backgrounds and provides an idyllic canvas for artists interested in anything from sculpting to photography. Surprisingly for such a barren landscape, Finnish Lapland is rich in history which is provokingly depicted in its many museums and exhibitions. The mystical Arctic world also provides a charming backdrop for Lapland's vibrant theatre and literary fiction scene. Jari Tervo and Arto Paasilinna are just two storywriters from Lapland, so keep your eyes peeled for local events and artists during your stay at your Lapland holiday homes!
Food and drink
Food and drink is taken very seriously in Lapland. Following suit with the rest of Finland, Lapland focusses on fresh and seasonal cuisine with innovate twists. Restaurant Siberia is one of the top ranked restaurants in the country and offers imaginative fare by the platter; apparently their 9 course international menu with corresponding wines is to die for. Meat lovers will find their niche at Pihvipirtti Steak House in Levi, complete with wooden clad interiors, fairy lights, candles, open fires and deep red décor, who said steak couldn't be romantic? Snowland's Igloo Restaurant is a magical dining experience like no other, where you can feast on wild mushroom and berry dishes amongst a captivating setting of ice carvings and warmly lit lanterns. Lapland self catering gives you the liberty to discover culinary gems such as these. If you fancy keeping it simple one night, head to Muossi Grill for a good burger and chips. Lapland self catering also gives you an excuse to try your hand at Finnish foraging, sourcing ingredients from cloudberry swamps and forest floors.
Lapland has some fantastic bars including Kaasmasen Kievari, a much-talked of roadhouse ready for a good knees-up any night of the week. Irish Times is a lovely bar with live music and karaoke and a heated terrace if you're seeking a traditional pub feel during your stay in our Lapland holiday homes. The snow hotels in Lapland tend to have exquisitely sculpted sleek bars with an impressive cocktail menu to match.