Set where Europe huddles into Russia, Finland is a land fit for adventure. Its icy fields come alive with the roar of a snowmobile as log cabins and snow hotels alike make for special stays in unique locations.
Prime among any exploration of Finland is a sight of the majestic northern lights where entire skies are set ablaze in dazzling greens and stunning reds. You’re ten times more likely to spot them in the country’s north than its south as the country reaches towards the Arctic Circle. Perhaps head to the Wilderness Hotel in Nellim where cosy lodges are a warm respite to the inhospitable environment. Here, you’ll feast on buffets of Lappish soups and stews seasoned by wild herbs before enjoying a ride in a glass-roofed sledge. And, remember, the winter months offer the best chances of spotting the aurorae as clear skies – free of clouds and precipitation – are host to the stunning displays.
Throughout Finland, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to explore its pine tree-clad wildernesses. Start off with a traditional dog sledding trip before getting to know the local wildlife with a reindeer safari or change gear entirely with a snowmobile expedition. You’ll also be able to strap on a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis to get a taste of true Arctic exploration. One of the more unique experiences you can have in Finland is a trip aboard the mighty Sampo Icebreaker. Departing from Kemi on Finland’s most northern shores, it’s the only icebreaker in the world that offers excursions to the public. On it, you’ll crack through the frozen Gulf of Bothnia as the most adventurous can even take a dip in the icy waters themselves. You’ll also be able to combine your voyage with a stay in the magical SnowCastle. Alternatively, skirt the Russian border on a back-to-nature hike through diverse forests and pristine watercourses.
While Sweden may have the original, Finland has a full Snow Village, lovingly constructed each year from local snow and ice – no two iterations are alike. Host to an ice restaurant, cocktail bar and even a chapel, its interiors are filled with striking sculptures and ice artwork. Take a dip in the spa or head out on a snowmobile in chase of the Northern Lights.
For something a touch more traditional, Finland is home to some of Scandinavia’s best-loved remote cabins. Muotkan Maja Wilderness Lodge, for example, invites guests to experience life on a reindeer farm before visiting husky kennels while, come summer, nothing beats a road trip across the pristine, beautiful lakeland region.