Located mostly above the Arctic Circle, Lapland is very sparsely populated and includes great swaths of unspoiled nature and the biggest wilderness areas in western Europe. Year-round this enchanted land attracts visitors who want to escape to a pristine place where nature still has control. There are several national parks, wilderness areas, hiking areas, and other nature preserves that represent all the typical landscapes of Lapland from treeless felltops to big wild rivers and old-growth forests.
Lapland, or Sápmi as the local Sámi say, is the homeland to Europe’s only indigenous people. For thousands of years the Sámi have lived sustainably off the land and have a deep relationship with the reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). Nowadays the great herds of reindeer that roam through the fells are semi-domesticated and managed through reindeer herders’ associations.
In Finland there are three different Sámi linguistic groups with differing cultures and histories. In recent decades all the Sámi have worked together to achieve greater self-determination on issues like land-use, language rights, and legislation that affects their homeland. To learn more about Sámi culture and the natural wonders of Lapland be sure to visit the Sámi museum and Nature Centre Siida in the town of Inari on the shores of majestic Lake Inari.
Finnish Lapland is as much a state of mind as it is a beautiful and unique part of the world. Witness the nightless night at midsummer when the sun never sets or in winter when the colourful Northern Lights dance across the snow-covered felltops. The autumn colours are as spectacular as anywhere in the world. Not only the mountain birch trees change colour but the ground cover as well enveloping you in multiple shades of yellow, red, and orange. Lapland has a rhythm and pace all its own. Many who visit this magical land leave with a strong desire to return again.