Home to the Northern Lights, wild Reindeer, Santa Claus, and the Sami people, the area referred to as Lapland falls across 4 countries.
Where exactly is Lapland?
Lapland forms the northern part of Sweden, Norway (which is ¼ of all Scandinavia), Finland, and a small portion of North-Western Russia (the rest of Russia’s Northern parts are typically called Siberia). Lapland lies within the Arctic Circle, making it one of the most remote and unspoiled parts of the world.
Think of Lapland as a mish mash of different parts of Scandinavia. Russia and Finland form the eastern part: Russian and Finnish Lapland, which occupies the lowland territories. Sweden makes up the central Swedish Lapland, which is mostly Taiga lands; and Norway makes up the western mountainous part; Norwegian Lapland. What about Iceland and Denmark I hear you ask? Iceland and Denmark are the only exceptions: they are in the Arctic Circle, but they are not part of Lapland.
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What does Lapland mean?
Traditionally, Lapland was inhabited by the indigenous Sámi people. Known locally as Sápmi, the region was given the alternative name of Lapland hundreds of years ago when European settlers arrived – a name that is still used today. The word itself is derived from “Lapp” – Scandinavians used this word to refer to the indigenous Sami people, however the Sami peoples find the word “Lapland” offensive. As such, they refer to the region as “Sápmi”.
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While incredible images of a frozen wilderness come to mind, you can imagine, the climate can be hard and unforgiving in winter, however this season is the region’s busiest time. Tourists flock to capital of Finland, and then take a train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi to visit the famous Santa Claus Village, search for the once in a lifetime Northern Lights, go dog sledding with a team of huskies, ride snowmobiles, ski, forage for mushrooms and ice fish. Lapland has activities to do all year around, not only in Winter.