..Everything the guide books or tourism websites won’t tell you about the place..
The Wanderers in conversation with Annekreet Heinloo
One little known fact/trivia that everyone should know
about when travelling to Lapland…
The Lapland region actually consists of northern parts of Finland, Sweden and Norway, as well as northwest of Russia. It covers 17% of Europe and corresponds in area to France, Germany, Spain and Portugal put together.
What is a must buy when in Lapland?
Lapland offers a great variety of local handicraft. You can buy items made of reindeer antlers or carved from the local wood. You can also find small shops offering beautiful silver jewellery.
My personal favourite is the special symbol called ‘komsiopallo’ – a decorated cradle ball (often used as a necklace pendant), which indigenous people of Lapland gave to their babies to protect them from bad spirits and bring good fortune.
One take-away after a visit to Lapland?
There are no end to the adventures we can have, if only we seek them with our eyes open.
What is your advice to first time travellers?
Do not be offended if local people look too serious and reserved, as it is the way
people are in the North. Give them some time, they will warm up and can actually be extremely friendly and helpful. Nordic people have warm hearts, but they are very shy to show it out.
One thing to definitely pack when travelling to Lapland.
When traveling in summer months during the Midnight Sun period (May – August), it would help to bring a sleeping mask with you. Many people are disturbed by daylight during the night and have difficulties in falling asleep. During winter, you must not forget a good pair of gloves and a warm hat!
One activity anyone travelling to Lapland should not miss..
There are three must-do activities in Lapland: snowmobiling, reindeer ride and husky ride. Representing different ways of transportation in the Nordic areas, all the three are fantastic experiences and great fun.
Where should anyone, travelling to Lapland, definitely get their picture taken?
At the Arctic Circle, one of the main circles of latitude, located in the Santa Claus Village nearby Rovaniemi. You can take a funny photo standing on the line or jumping over it!
Which is the best place to get a panoramic photo of Lapland?
There are various beautiful viewpoints all around Lapland, depending of your travel destination. If you are in Saariselkä region, don’t miss the hill top restaurant Huippu – you will find amazing views. In Levi, head to Tuikku.
Best place to enjoy sunset/sunrise in Lapland?
The most interesting experience is to miss the sunset and sunrise!
As Lapland is situated North of Arctic Circle, the sun is above the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once per year (and therefore visible at midnight) and below the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once per year. On the Arctic Circle such events occur, in principle, exactly once per year, at the June and December solstices, respectively.
Most romantic place to take a special someone to.
The most romantic place would be in the wild under thousands of stars and in complete darkness. There are many fireplaces with small shelters built in the nature, on the lake shores and hill tops, where anyone can enjoy the beauty of Lapland. Take warm blankets to keep the two of you cosy and there is nothing more romantic than staring at the stars in the wild solitude.
Best place to have local food?
Everybody knows that Mothers are the best cooks in the world!
Find a small family run hotel or guest house and you will not regret it. Only there you can taste the best simple local delicacies!
Favourite local dish and drink that you would recommend.
Poron käristys – reindeer stew with mashed potatoes and cranberry jam.
For a drink, try out Finnish digestive called ‘Salmiakki kossu’ – a dark characteristic liquid of vodka and liquorice.
One place only the locals would know…
Where are the best fishing places!
Finnish men are crazy about fishing and they know the best spots for it. Every laplander has a secret place in the nature, where he goes to take some time off. It can be walking in the woods, fishing in the river, swimming in the lake – places that you cannot really find on a map.
The best pub and best place to catch up n a drink..
Rovaniemi is the capital of Finnish Lapland where you can find a variety of very good pubs to catch a drink. If you want to experience local life – you should stop at one of these tiny village centres, where gas station, grocery store, post office, and pub – all are located at the same house.
A local festival you feel more travellers should come and see..
Every spring there are reindeer sprint races that take place in the bigger cities. It is a strange sport, but fun to see. Rovaniemi Reindeer Sprint is the oldest and biggest one of the races, only best of the reindeer are invited to compete here. The race takes place at the end of March.
The things guide books won’t tell anyone about Lapland?
Lapland people often swim naked. But don’t worry, you most probably will not see it, because it happens in the wilderness, where no swimming suite is required and there is no one around. It is considered an expression of wild living and freedom.
Is there any particular month you would recommend travel to Lapland and what would that reason be?
Most people prefer to travel to Lapland during winter (December – March), but one of the most beautiful time to visit is actually September, when everything green turns into yellow, red and purple before fading to grey and falling in winter sleep. This special time is called “Ruska” and is the most loved time in Lapland.
In one sentence, Lapland is..
Everything is possible, because Lapland is magic.
———-Our associate in Lapland, Annekreet is an avid traveller and has been in the industry since 2004. Originally from Estonia, she knows a lot more about what people like about Lapland than the locals do.
Watch her as she takes a dip in her private Jacuzzi in this video.