Fewer things in the world cast such a deep impact on your being that when you sit down and contemplate about them, they fill you with an array of tender emotions & fond memories, memories that can even last a lifetime! With the kind of a person I have grown into, my journeys have become more about places, people, and culture, and less about collectables. With time, I can feel that sense of detachment from material things growing in me. And it has resulted in my growing fondness for nature & wilderness.

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There are places around the world I’ve been – cold & warm, green & arid, raw & finely-architectured, and they all have left a bit of their influence on me, some way or the other. And I’m quite sure that in the coming times, there will be many more places that’ll amaze me & will live in my stories. But a deep impact has already been made as I travelled to the Finnish Lapland & if there’s one place that will remain fresh in my memories for a long long time, it will be Rovaniemi – Lapland’s gorgeous capital city located in Northern Finland.

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My 5-month stint with the sparsely-populated city in Northern Europe has influenced me on many levels. Rovaniemi, pierced by the Arctic Circle Line – the major latitude right at the top of the globe, thrives amidst the vastness of taiga & proffers the most exquisite slice of nature that a man could ever desire of! It’s here that my Arctic dreams started taking shape & every day presented a new perspective before me. The sparsely populated land of Rovaniemi, where the remarkable nature never ceases to amaze visitors year-round, played its trick on me, and I was overwhelmed, by the tiniest of nature’s spectacles, during my stay there.

Aurora, starry skies, and dreamy landscapes, how can you not fall in love with Lapland…

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Image: Nordic Unique Travels

Be it the super-sassy Aurora mounted on the colossal sky flaunting the legendary Milkyway galaxy in the backdrop, or the golden sun peeping from behind the fairy-white Arctic forest; be it the resilience in the tireless eyes of the reindeers & huskies as they run & pull sledges across the stunning coniferous forest skirting the perfect trails, or the rumbling of snowmobiles as they warm up for another action-packed show in the quiet Lappish forest; be it the warm-breath-turned-crystals shining like tiny diamonds under the streetlights at -25 degrees, or the perfect forest views all shrouded under massive layer of snow, it’s every moment under the Rovaniemi sky that took my breath away. Yes, I looked forward to every other day with excitement, even if there wasn’t much of ‘day’ during winters.

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The affair began way back in summer, from the times of perpetually lit midnight sun, and lasted unto the times of polar night when the day span gradually started broadening. Rovaniemi yearned for more of sun and further daylight, and I wanted more adventures to go up, close & personal with the beautiful winter wonderland. Rovaniemi fascinates every nature devotee in its wonderful ways.

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The city rests in the lap of unspoiled Arctic nature, and without the second thought, I can maintain that nature’s abundance and the prominent presence of wildlife had my attention the most. But there are plenty of other things around that would fill you with joy. The joys that are simple yet exotic and make us feel special to be present in such outdoors.

Nature connection

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If I have to talk about nature connection, I’d straight away start with the lush Finnish forest. Skirting all those scenic roads crisscrossing Lapland, these woods, mostly comprising of birch and pine, are the prized possession of the Arctic Taiga forest. Appearance-wise, these trees are tall & coniferous. Birch has a beautiful striped white texture on the trunk & branches, while pine is a mostly deep brown.

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Image: Nordic Unique Travels

Spanning infinite nature trails, picture-postcard Kotas, hundreds of lakes, wooden bridges, rapids, and a soothing haven for all the semi-domesticated reindeers of Lapland, these forest contains magical power to enchant any soul. From the times of midnight sun to polar nights, it was the stark difference in the appearance of these forests that influenced me the most. Yes, I’m a sucker for views, and let me be honest here that despite having no mountains in its landscape, Lapland still looks fancier than most of the natural regions on earth.

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Lakes of Lapland need a special mention because they have been embellishing the Finnish territory from ice age times. Rightly, Finland has been mentioned as the land of lakes & saunas. Pristine & pure in summer & thick sheet of ice in winter, these lakes contribute to tourism like nothing else. Besides enhancing the landscapes & making the perfect setting for fulfilling water activities in summer & adventure activities in winter, lakes in Finland have been an essential part of Finnish culture & heritage.

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Look around these lakes and you behold the pristine Lappish wilderness, the vast expanse of forest that remains layered under tons of snow in winter, making for some of the dreamiest views anyone would ever come across on earth. While in summer these forests exude the smell of raw pine, reflecting all possible shades of colour in the spectrum, and is officially the beautiful habitat of extremely popular Arctic wildlife, and makes an ideal place to find some delicious mushrooms and amazing berries that you’d ever find anywhere.

Wildlife connection

Nordic Unique Travels Rovaniemi Lapland Finland.

Image: Nordic Unique Travels

These Finnish forests are home to the exotic Arctic wildlife which can be frequently spotted even while driving on the scenic roads in the Northern Finland region. Reindeer are the most commonly spotted wildlife species in Rovaniemi and other regions around the Arctic Circle. On numerous occasions, I was lucky to spot these semi-domesticated Arctic beauties during my stay in Finnish Lapland. While they remain calm, loving, and hungry inside the farm premises, they are mostly untamed, ecstatic, and playful while venturing out in the open.

Nordic Unique Travels Rovaniemi Lapland Finland.

Image: Nordic Unique Travels

Probably one of the best mushroom pickers in the world, reindeers are the first to lay their eager gaze on the finest mushrooms scattered in the forest when it’s already a month into the summer and mushrooms and berries are all grown, ready to be picked, or even if it’s not ready, reindeers would be the last ones to care. 😉

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Besides Reindeer, Husky, Arctic Fox, Brown Bear (towards the Finland-Russia border), Lynx, and the Great Grey Owl are the other wildlife commonly spotted in the forests in Lapland. Having said that, the fragile Arctic wildlife is profoundly responsible for tourism in Lapland. And it narrows down to the widely popular sledge rides that are bracketed under – Husky Sled Rides, and Reindeer Sled Rides. Club it with Auroras, the perfect sunrise and sunsets under the mystical Arctic sky and snowy outdoors, and you have got the perfect definition of the winter wonderland.

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After growing a close fondness for Lappish nature, I did realise that I was getting attracted to every small thing that was related to the Lappish way of life in some way or the other.

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Kotta – the fireplace in the middle of the forest, Kuksa – the fancy-looking wooden mug carved out of birch gnarl, the lichens hanging out of branches of trees in those absolutely pollution-free zones, the wooden walkways in the middle of the forest, the blueberry juice, grilled salmon, mustard sauce, and infinite views of pristine surroundings buried under snow! I kept falling for everything out there and felt that sense of belonging when I walked the deserted roads with no person in sight but abundant nature all around.

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As I kept getting closer to the lovely Lappish way of life, I still maintain that it wouldn’t be possible if I wasn’t exploring the super exciting tour options out there that allowed me to get up, close and personal with the Lappish way of life. Having said that, I have maintained time and again that Rovaniemi as a tourist destination is perfect for all season. But let me start with the season that introduced Rovaniemi to me, summer, and later on, I move on to the season that epitomised my Lapland experience, winter.

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As a Lapland tour expert, here are some of my top recommendations for frozen lake/water activities in Rovaniemi in winter/summer. I choose to start with outdoor activities around lakes, because lakes in Rovaniemi have a special place in my heart, frozen or unfrozen!

Top water activities in Rovaniemi in summer/autumn

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Image: Nordic Unique Travels

1. Canoeing
2. Stand up paddle, preferably under the midnight sun
3. Kayaking

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4. Jet-skiing
5. Lakeside sauna & cooling
6. Midnight sun floating
7. Fishing
8. Northern Light Floating (autumn)

A major chunk of tourist activities in Rovaniemi in summer revolve around these top lake activities! The landscapes change dramatically in winter, and all the lakes transform into meters of the thick ice sheet. Darker skies, blazing Aurora, and glazing snow become a prominent part of the naturescape, and a range of exciting activities are up for the taking!

Top lake activities in Rovaniemi in winter/spring

Nordic Unique Travels Rovaniemi Lapland Finland

Image: Nordic Unique Travels

1. Ice-fishing
2. Ice-floating with Northern Lights
3. Sauna with ice-floating, and ice swimming
4. Snowmobile ride
5. Barbecue on the frozen lake

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I loved every bit of the moment I spent manoeuvring the tricky forest trails in the darkness of the night, making its mark on the frozen lake, chasing the Aurora Borealis, acting nothing more than just a prop for a picture-postcard frame!

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I will go on to share more details on every tour separately. Making things more transparent and clear to you. Thank you for reading! If you liked the blog, please do share it with your contacts, and recommend them Whistling Hound. If you have any query related to planning a tour to Lapland, please drop your queries in the comment below. See you around 🙂

Stay adventurous friends!

 

Image copyright: Whistling Hound, Nordic Unique Travels

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