Experience the Magic of the Northern Lights

Watching northern lights is one of the coolest things to do outdoors. And one of the coolest places to experience the magic of the northern lights is definitely Finnish Lapland!

Watching northern lights is one of the coolest things to do outdoors. And one of the coolest places to experience the magic of the northern lights is definitely Finnish Lapland!

Experience the Magic of the Northern Lights in Lapland

Northern lights can be seen near the magnetic poles of the Earth. This belt around the magnetic pole is called auroral oval. Finland is located on the southern rim of the arctic auroral oval. So it’s basicly possible to see northern lights anywhere in Finland.

Especially during geomagnetic storms the northern lights can be seen in Central Finland, and even in Southern Finland. But this is quite rare. The further north you are, better changes you have.

On average, you can see the northern lights in southern Finland only once a month. In Lapland, however, the chances of seeing the northern lights improve significantly. On a dark and cloudless night, the northern lights are visible almost every other night. And in the northernmost parts of Finland, for example in Kilpisjärvi, the chances of seeing the northern lights are 75%.

When is the Best Time to see the Northern Lights?

Northern lights are caused by the solar wind. This phenomenon occurs throughout the year. So northern lights can be seen anytime of the year, right?
Yes sure, if it’s dark enough.

To be able to see the northern lights, the night must be dark and preferably cloudless. The northern lights occur fairly evenly throughout the year, but according to statistics, in spring and autumn it is slightly larger than in winter and summer. Considering the Finnish winter weather, the best times in Lapland to enjoy the northern lights standing outdoors are March and early April.

And what time you should be standing outdoors? The best time to see the northern lights is midnight and a couple of hours before and after. But you don’t have to wait for the night. In the middle of winter in Lapland it is dark almost all day. So when the weather is cloudless and it’s dark enough, don’t forget to look up. You might get to experience the magic of the northern lights!

Finnish Meteorological Institute
Image by Rayann Elzein / Lapland Material Bank

Experience the Darkness of Kaamos in Lapland

The darkness of kaamos is nothing to worry about. It’s actually something that that happens every winter.

How would you feel if the sun wouldn’t rise at all one day?
Well, I would be very worried….unless I’m visiting Finnish Lapland.

Because in Lapland this time of darkness is nothing to worry about. It’s actually something that that happens every winter. If you want to experience this amazing phenomenon, you should that the sun’s hiding games is known as kaamos in Lapland.

Experience the Darkness of Kaamos in Lapland

The reason the sun doesn’t rise is a natural phenomenon known as the polar night. When heading towards winter, the sun does not rise as high anymore. Until one day it remains completely hidden.

This day of darkness can be experienced every winter in Lapland in the regions above the Arctic Circle. The length of the phenomenon depends on how far north you are. At the Arctic Circle, the sun stays below the horizon for only one day. This happens on the winter solstice on December 21st (or 22nd).

But the further north you go, the longer the polar night lasts. In the northernmost parts of Finland, total darkness lasts 51 days.

It’s All Dark Then?

Although the sun does not rise above the horizon, the days are not completely dark. When the sun is at its highest, you can enjoy the reflection of sunlight, even if you can’t see the sun itself.

Especially with a clear sky, you can experience a special moment when the blue color of the polar night and the deep white snow cover meet. This is called the “blue moment”. Don’t forget to bring your camera, because the blue moment is a great time to capture some great souvenirs!

So don’t let the darkness scare you. Winter is a great time to visit northern Finland and experience the magical darkness of kaamos in Lapland!

More info:
This is Finland
Rovaniemi Polar Night
Image by:
Markus Kiili / Lapin Materiaalipankki

Visit Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi

Santa Claus Village is located in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland. This is the place where you can meet Santa any day of the year!

-Where can you meet Santa?
-At the Santa Claus Village
-When can you meet Santa?
-Any day of the year!

Meet Santa at the Santa Claus Village

During Christmas, Santa can be seen almost anywhere and even at the same time. But where is Santa in the off-season? Well, according to reliable sources, Santa likes to spend time at the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi. So if you want to meet Santa, this is the place to go!

Santa Claus Village (Joulupukin Pajakylä in Finnish) is located in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland. Rovaniemi has been the official hometown of Santa Claus since 2010. Santa’s village was opened much earlier, already in 1985.

Santa’s Village isn’t located right in the center of Rovaniemi, but a little further north. About 8 km (5 miles) from the city center on the Arctic Circle. What makes the Arctic Circle special is that it is the southernmost point in Finland, where you can experience the nightless nights and the darkness of kaamos.

Meet Santa Any Day of the Year

Santa Claus Village is open every day of the year, and Santa is also there every day, even on a busy holiday season.

Meeting Santa is of course the coolest think about Santa’s Village, but that’s not the only reason to visit. There is also the the House of Mrs. Claus, Santa Claus Reindeer and Santa’s Post Office.

Santa Claus Main Post Office

Santa Claus Main Post Office is located in the Santa Claus Village. This is the post office where all the letters to Santa arrives. Did you know that Santa receives about 500 000 letters a year!
This is a real post office, so you can send your postcards and letters to your family and friends from here. Not only they are sent from the Santa’s post office, but all the mail is stamped with the special Arctic Circle postmark.

In additon to that, in Santa’s Village there are also shops, restaurants and cafes and even a hotel at the Village. So no matter if it’s winter or middle of summer, you can always get to the holiday spirit at the Santa Claus Village.

More info:
Santa Claus Village homepage
Santa Claus Reindeer
Visit Rovaniemi

10 Fun Facts about Reindeer

What do we know about these cute semi-domestic animals which live in Finnish Lapland? Here are some fun to know facts about reindeer

What animal comes to your mind when you think of Lapland?
Reindeer, am I right? But what do we know about these cute semi-domestic animals which live in Finnish Lapland. Here are some fun facts about reindeer!

Fun Facts about Reindeer

1. Reindeer Roam Freely in Finnish Lapland

In Finland, reindeer can roam freely almost anywhere in Lapland. Reindeer’s living area of 122 936 square kilometers covers 36 % of Finland’s land area.

2. More Reindeer Than People in Lapland

The population of Lapland is about 180 000. The number of reindeer is about 200 000. So in Lapland there are more reindeer than people!

3. Reindeer are Born in Summer

Reindeer are born in May or early June. Summer is the warmest time of the year and there is also plenty of food available, so the newborn have a bit easier start for life.

Newborn reindeer weights around 5 kilograms, but gains weight quickly thanks to mother’s nutrious milk.

4. Reindeer Can be Dark or All White

Color of the reindeer varies from dark to all white. Reindeer are fairly small. Height at the withers is 90-120 cm. Male reindeer weighs 90-180 kg. Female reindeer is a bit smaller and weighs 60-100 kg.

Reindeer live usually about 10-15 years, but can live as old as 20 years.

5. Reindeer Grow New Antlers Every Year

Reindeers drop their antlers and grow new ones every year. Reindeer antlers are the fastest growing bones in the world. They can grow 2 cm per day.

The antlers of a male reindeer can weigh up to 10 kg. Female reindeer also grow antlers, but smaller ones than male. Reindeer are the only female deer in the world that grow antlers.

6. Reindeer are Used to Harsh Winter Conditions

Reindeer are made for living in harsh winter conditions. Their hooves spread wide which helps moving also in a deep snow. Their thick fur keeps warm during cold winter. The outer hairs of the fur are hollow, which improves insulation and gives buoyancy when crossing a river.

Reindeer’s eyes are very sensitive to ultraviolet light, which enhances vision in the dark. Their excellent sense of smell helps to find food in winter. Reindeer can smell foor even under a meter-thick layer of snow.

7. Are Those Little Drops of Chocolate?

Have someone dropped some chocolate balls in the forest? Unfortunately not.
If you see a pile of small brown ball in nature, they could be reindeer droppings. They look like chocolate ball, but don’t taste them. You will be hugely disappointed!

8. Who is the Fastest?

If people can compete in something, they usually do. So why not race with reindeer. The first reindeer races in Finland were held in 1932.

The fastest reindeer compete against each other in competitions every winter. In the fastest class, the reindeer must be able to run 1 kilometer in less than 1 minute and 19 seconds. So the average speed must be more than 45 km/h (28 mph).

Naturally Santa’s reindeer are not allowed to race. that wouldn’t be fair as Santa’s reindeer are so fast.

9. Reindeer are Very Social

Reindeer are very social animals. They live together, eat together and rest together. A group of reindeer is called a herd (tokka in Finnish).

If a reindeer lifts its white tail while running, it’s warning others about a danger.

10. Reindeer Make a Clicking Sound

Did you know that reindeer make a clicking sound when they walk. This is caused by an ankle tendon. The clicking sound helps the reindeer to follow each other also in the dark.

Reindeer in the meadow
Reindeer in the meadow. Image by Anna-Leena Jänkälä / Lapin Materiaalipankki

More info:
Visit Lapland
Santa Claus Reindeer Resort
Featured image by Juha Kauppinen / Lapin Materiaalipankki

Experience the Nightless Nights of Lapland

Unfortunately summer ends eventually, but in Lapland it is possible to experience endless summer days. This phenomenon is known as midnight sun

-Wouldn’t it be cool if the summer days were endless?
-Absolutely. Sounds like a perfect summer experience. If only it was possible!
-Well, in Northern Finland it is. Thanks to the phenomenon known as the midnight sun, you can experience the nightless nights of Lapland!

Days are Getting Longer…

After long dark winter, the sun is finally making longer appearances in Finland. Days are are getting longer and longer as we go towards summer. And in some point during the summer, sun doesn’t set at all, not even during the mid of the night. This phenomenon is known as the midnight sun. In Finland midnight sun can be experienced in Lapland.

Enjoy the Nightless Nights of Lapland

The most southern place where you can admire the midnight sun in the northern hemisphere is the Arctic Circle. The nightless night can be experienced at around summer solstice on June 21st. On the Arctic Circle, the nightless night lasts basically just one day. However, the length of the phenomenon depends how far north you are in.

So if you want to enjoy many nigtless nights in a row, you head up farther north. At the Artic Circle nightless night lasts for a day, but in the most northern part of Finland, it is lasts for 73 days. And this happens every summer. Think of 73 days without sun setting below horizon.

Finnish Summer Nights are Bright

So the midnight sun can be experienced only in Northern Finland, but don’t worry if you haven’t got that far on your summer journey in Finland. Finnish summer nights are nice and bright, no matter where you are. In southern Finland the longest day is almost 19 hours long. So around summer solstice it feels almost like a a nightless also in the southern parts of Finland.

Seasons in Finland by Finnish Meteorological Institute