Midnight sun in Finnish Lapland

Midnight sun occurs in Finnish Lapland each year from May to August. In the Arctic Circle the sun never drops beneath the horizon, so provides abundant daylight for visitors to discover Sami culture, roaming reindeer and outdoor pursuits around the clock in pristine wilderness landscapes.
Husky sledding is possible during the summer in Finnish Lapland, when you can enjoy the rush of a husky sled ride through mountain forests on special carts with wheels. Photo: Konstantin Zaykov/Shutterstock
Husky sledding is possible during the summer in Finnish Lapland, when you can enjoy the rush of a husky sled ride through mountain forests on special carts with wheels. Photo: Konstantin Zaykov/Shutterstock

Summer husky sledding

You’d be forgiven for assuming husky sledding is only possible in the winter when several inches of snow cover the ground. But in Finnish Lapland huskies are a major attraction all year round. During the summer months visitors can enjoy the thrilling rush of a husky sled ride on specially adapted carts with wheels. It might feel incongruous to be shouting ‘mush!’ while wearing shorts and a T-shirt, but speeding through verdant pine forests and breathtaking mountain scenery like this is an absolute treat. 

However, these well-trained dogs cannot pull carts if the weather is too warm and in summer 2018 the mercury in Lapland rose to 30°C. But never fear – on days too hot for husky rides visitors can opt to walk the dogs on organized hiking trips. Husky farms are also open year-round so you can visit newborn pups and learn about caring for these energetic Arctic animals. In Rovaniemi – the official home of Santa Claus – it is also possible to book husky therapy excursions and practice yoga with real downward-bending dogs.

Fat biking in the mountains

Lapland is a superb skiing destination. But out of season, the mountains that are carpeted with snow and ice in winter are revealed in all their green, resplendent glory. Fat bikes with wide tyres are particularly good on uncertain terrain, such as ice, snow and slush – making them great for winter. But in summer, when the ski runs are transformed into high intensity mountain bike trails, electronic fat bikes are an option for travelers who want to take in the scenery but might not have the necessary thigh muscles to complete an arduous cycling course. 

Hire them to help you scale the dramatic mountains of Levi (around a two-hour drive north of Rovaniemi) or explore the authentic Lappish ski resort of Pyhä, located in the stunning expanses of Pyhä-Luosto National Park. Here you can ride past fells, reindeer and ancient forests. In Rovaniemi, the Ounasvaraa Hills provide great options for mountain or fat biking, while a hike up Tottorakka will reward those who make the effort with sweeping views of the Kemijoki River.

Mountain biker reflected in a Lapland lake.Mountain biker reflected in a Lapland lake. Photo: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock

Midnight sauna

Sauna is an important part of Finnish culture, especially in summer time. Saunas are commonplace in ordinary households and they are seen as something to enjoy daily with friends, colleagues or the whole family. Outdoor and even floating saunas are available to visitors and it is very relaxing to sweat out the stresses of travel, work or a long day of sightseeing – only to emerge blinking into the disorientating sun-kissed hours of the nightless night. 

Take a sauna ferry or a smaller sauna raft along the Ounasjoki River and experience the steam session of your life while cruising along a winding delta – taking dips in the water to cool off, obviously. Alternatively, hike through pine forests, forage for local berries, mushrooms and other wild goodies, before ending up in a log sauna to revive those walking-weary limbs. Saunas are a major part of the wellbeing movement in Lapland and provide a perfect opportunity for relaxation and reflection during a packed travel itinerary. And, remember, wearing swimsuits is perceived as unhygienic, so togs off everyone!

Finnish wooden sauna log cabin.Finnish wooden sauna log cabin. Photo: Grisha Bruev/Shutterstock

Arctic water sports

It might be freezing or frozen solid for much of the year, but in summer, water is a big draw in Lapland. Rovaniemi is dominated by two major rivers, the Kemijoki and Ounasjoki. Both have winding deltas and sandy beaches that are great for swimming and sunbathing. Water sports are popular and visitors can explore the less accessible areas via the waterways using jet skis, stand up paddle boards and boats. Or even, as mentioned above, in a floating sauna. 

In Rovaniemi, the Arktikum museum and science center is located on the banks of the Ounasjoki and summer festivals take place in the nearby Ounaspaviljonki café, so don’t sail on by without taking in a little culture. Three hours north of Rovaniemi, the town of Muonio is a hub for water sports thanks to its location on the beautiful Muonionjoki River and proximity to the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. Go midnight sun rafting or kayaking, or fish for salmon by day or night.

Canoeing in Finland lake. Canoeing in a Finland lake. Photo: Joerg Steber/Shutterstock

Ready to take a trip to Lapland? 

Insight Guides can help you organize and book wonderful tailor-made trips in Lapland. Simply get in touch letting us know your ideas for the trip and when you would like to travel. Local travel experts will then create a personalized itinerary especially, which can be amended until you are happy with every detail before booking. Our existing Finland itinerary can offer inspiration, and keep in mind that it can be tailored to meet your own specific requirements.