Trips to Finland
Finland is a land of contrasts. The long sun-filled nights of the Midnight Sun contrasting the darkness of the magical snow-covered winter polar nights. Cosmopolitan, modern city life in opposition to some of Europe’s last remaining untouched beautiful wilderness. Finland, it seems, is a country that refuses to be categorised.
It is also blatantly obvious that it is a country that does all it can to benefit from its incredible natural landscape. Summer sees locals swimming in the plentiful lakes, relaxing in their lakeside cabins and cycling along mountain roads.
In the autumn, the Finns will head to the forests – hunting, berry picking, mushroom foraging and hiking.
Winter is the most popular season of all, bringing with it uninterrupted snow that turns the region into an endless arctic playground on which to drive a snowmobile, mush a husky sled, fish through the ice or strap on snowshoes or cross-country skis.
With Artisan Travel, you can go to the heart of Finnish Lapland, beyond the Arctic Circle. We will take you as far east as the Russian border and as far north as the meeting point of the three Scandinavian countries. Here is an unforgettable opportunity to see real Lapland - home to 183,000 people, 203,000 reindeer, six national parks and an average of 200 nights a year of Northern Lights.
It is perhaps Europe’s last unending expanse of wilderness. To us a holiday to Finland is the ideal place to seek out true peace and quiet, to breathe crisp fresh air, escape modern life and appreciate the natural world at its authentic best.Read more
The region of Northern Finland is typified by its continental and subarctic climate, which causes mild summers and cold snow-laden winters.
In the winter months, typically from mid-November through to early April the average number of days with snow on the ground is between 175 and 225. During these months, the scenery becomes a pristine white landscape, with frosted fells and frozen lakes. The air tends to be dry and crisp with little wind chill, ensuring a pleasant atmosphere despite the low temperature.
The temperatures at this time of year have been known to drop as low as -50°C but this is a rare occurrence, with average temperatures between November and December usually 0°C to -20°C. Temperature fluctuations can occur quickly, though, so it is always best to be prepared with additional thermal layers.
In the depths of winter, the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon line for up to 51 days. Despite this, it is not pitch black by any means, as there are always a few hours of unique polar light between 10am and 2pm. The polar light casts the region in a bluish glow, as the low light reflects off the dazzling snowscape.
This contrasts sharply with the summer months when the sun remains visible for a full 24 hours and the Midnight Sun can be witnessed. The number of days of continuous daylight increases as you head north with the most northernly areas experiencing the Midnight Sun for approximately two and a half months each year. The influence of the Gulf Stream brings average temperatures during July to between 13 to 17°C.
Food and drink
When it comes to food, the Finns look first to their natural landscape. Dishes reflect the distinctive tastes of the forests – berries and mushroom foraged from the ground, fish caught from the lakes and meat and wildfowl hunted in the wilds. Traditional Finnish food exudes a certain simplicity and meals are prepared with a strong emphasis on natural taste and freshness.
You will commonly find dishes made from an array of dried, sautéed and smoked meat (including poultry, reindeer, moose and bear with other small game such as duck, hare and grouse). Fish dishes will consist of locally caught fish such as salmon, perch, herring, whitefish and arctic char.
Dishes are complemented by the wide variety of mushrooms and berries with their natural and distinctive flavour. Rye bread too is everywhere, served in flatbread, sliced or crisped form.
Some famous dishes to look out for when you are here include the wonderfully filling sautéed reindeer (poronkäristys) with mashed potato and lingonberries, as well as salmon soup with cream (lohikeitto). Desserts will take the form of sweet breads (pulla), cinnamon rolls, berry desserts and Lappish cheese.
When it comes to beverages, coffee in Finland is an absolute staple, served everywhere and drunk several times a day. Beer is commonly in the form of pale lagers and other common alcoholic drinks include vodka, mulled wine and flavoured cider.
Economy and culture
The key industries in this region are reindeer husbandry and forestry, as well as mineral prospecting and mining. Both mineral prospecting and mining have grown in prevalence in the last few years. Indeed ore resources in Lapland are amongst the richest in the whole of Europe.
Tourism is also a vital contributor to the local economy and provides considerable employment, especially given that the Northern Lights attract global attention to this unique area.
Northern Finnish culture has been widely influenced by the traditional Sámi way of life, which dates back over 4000 years. Today the Sámi people are the only recognised indigenous population of Scandinavia and are protected under international conventions.
The most important means of livelihood for Sámi people is reindeer herding, followed by farming, fishing, hunting and traditional handicraft. With our trips and excursions, we do all that we can to introduce you to this unique and fascinating culture.
©VisitFinland & Harri-Pekka Savolainen, Timo Halonen, Antti Pietikainen, Asko Kuittinen
Must see places
Discover our favourite destinations in Finland.