Adventure Experience: Finnish Lapland

Lapland, the wild sub-arctic wilderness of Finland, is where pristine nature meets the human spirit of adventureUnending miles of snow-blanketed landscapes under the midnight sun and the magical aura of the Northern Lights are a perpetual draw in winter. In the summertime, clear skies look down upon green pine forests as far as the eye can see, broken up by shimmering lakes of the bluest blue. In this colorful and mosaic of land, water and sky, real adventure beckons – a return to the raw thrill of Man versus Wild.

The hardy Sami people who are the land’s indigenous inhabitants have perfected the art of living in harsh conditions. Learn from them how to survive freezing -20 degree chill and icy windstorms by building an igloo. Live off the land (and the water) by ice fishing, just like they have done for centuries. Snowmobiling can be an adventure on its own and Lapland definitely has the terrain for it. However, the real thrill is to get around how it has been done before we learned to pollute wantonly – by dog sled. Teams of powerful, energetic – but just as amiable – huskies will enthusiastically tear up the snow and ice for a safari experience like no other. Careful with the cornering, though; it is not as easy as it looks.

If you want to human-power your treks across Lapland, there are few better places in the world to train and put into practice your cross-country skiing skills. If you would rather try something slower but much more unique, the endless miles of undulating snow and frozen lakes also offer the ideal environment for snowshoeing.

Make your adventure airborne with a glider ride – the spectacular views from the sky are a cut ‘above’. In the winter, the gliders even take off from the surface of a frozen lake!

Finland is not all about ice and cold, though. The Finnish consider spending time in traditional saunas a national pastime and there are more than enough peppering Lapland for a chance to dip your toes in steaming water while snowflakes dress the world outside.As with most places unspoiled by pollution and modern development, Lapland boasts a wide variety of wildlife which lives as it has for thousands of years. Reindeer and elk are especially popular for the ‘Christmas Wonderland’ vibe they induce. Of course, they are also very shy and tracking them in the wilderness is an adventure all on its own.

For those seeking the thrill of the Aurora Borealis, the months of March, September and October give the best odds (but never a guarantee) of seeing the elusive phenomenon. The highlight of the seven months of winter from September to March is the Christmastime carnival that last weeks – it would be best to avoid Lapland during those peak times.