Lapland is a historical, geographical and ethnic region that covers the northern parts of mainland Europe. It falls entirely within the boundaries of Scandinavia. Lapland covers parts of the territory of 4 countries – Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. The largest part of Lapland falls within the borders of Sweden, but Finland has always been considered a center of this region.
Population of Lapland. This region occupies a very large area – approximately 390,000 square kilometers. However, due to its harsh climatic conditions, this is the most sparsely populated part of Europe with a population of only 380,000 people.
Nearly half of them (about 185,000) live in Finnish Lapland share. In Finland is located also Rovaniemi that is the largest city of Lapland.
Its population is more than 60 000 people. The Sami are the indigenous population of Lapland, but today they constitute only a small fraction of the total population (about 5%).
Economy of Lapland. Local economy is very different compared to the rest of Europe. The traditional livelihood of local people is reindeer breeding. These animals are used for meat, milk, hides, and as a mean of transport.
Lapland is also an important tourist destination. It is believed that this place is really promising in the construction of server farms.
Because of this reason Lapland is very attractive for large Internet companies. In local climate conditions they do not need a lot of funds to maintain cool their server devices.
Tourism in Lapland. Lapland is a charming place, which is still ruled by the pulse and rhythm of nature. The specific climate and weather conditions determine the lifestyle in this region.
For tourists it is surprising to find such a wild, quiet place in some of the most developed countries of Europe. There is no choking city traffic, busy shopping malls and crowds of people rushing to work.
Instead of that, everything is bathed in silence. The air is clean, dry and cold, and the food – real and natural. Local residents to a large extent consume locally-produced food.
Most commonly consumed foods are venison, dairy products from reindeer milk, cold-water fish such as salmon and trout, as well as delicious berries. Everything is clean and naturally.
In people’s lives does not present even one percent of the stress which accompanies the life of the inhabitants of the big western cities. Here everything is different, even the means of transport.
People usually move from one point to another using sleds pulled by huskies or reindeer. This is the best transportation having in mind that for 5-6 months of the year everything is covered by thick snow.
In this part of the world people build their homes mostly of wood, as this is a good way to keep warm and cozy at home in freezing temperatures outside. Every year, during the Christmas holidays Lapland is extremely attractive.
It is assumed that the Finnish share of this region is the homeland of Santa Claus. It is believed that the cheerful old man starts its journey with a huge bag full of gifts from here. For many people, is extremely exciting to spend this part of the year on this fabulous place.
Another major attraction of Lapland is the North Cape (Nord Kapp). This is the northern-most point of Scandinavia. It is located in the northern-most parts of Norway and is most attractive for visitors during the long summer days.
Climate of Lapland. This part of Europe is distinguished by its harsh weather. Most of the area falls within the northern-most parts of the temperate zone, but a small part falls within the subpolar climate zones.
Winter is very long, dark and snowy, with heavy snowfalls. The sky of Lapland is often covered with dense gray clouds that bring abundant summer rain and thick snow in winter. The period with snow in Lapland lasts from November to late March, but sometimes even to April.
Winter temperatures are around (-10) °C, although often drop to around (-30) °C. This happens when polar air masses invade from the north. Summers here are short and go by very fast.
The best weather conditions last from mid June until the second half of August. The daily summer temperatures in this period are around 15°C but in July can reach to around 20°C or more. During the first half of summer the nights are bright, and above the Arctic Circle the sun never sets.
Nature of Lapland. Lapland is dominated by hilly or flat terrain and mountains occupy only the western parts. The largest part of this region is occupied by taiga, which is covered by thick, wide and rich of life coniferous forests, as well as some cold-loving deciduous trees.
Only the northern-most parts of the region fall within the tundra. It is covered mainly by grasses with shallow root system, as in depth the soil is permafrost. Lapland is very rich in water.
Numerous rivers flow through this region. Hundreds of small and large lakes with crystal clear cold water diversify the local landscape.
The largest lake in the region is the Lake Inari. It is located in northern Finland. Lapland wilderness is very well preserved and this is the biggest pride of local residents.
Fauna of Lapland. In Lapland you can meet some amazing species, but most impressive is the bear. It is a symbol of Finland, but is not the only predator that inhabits these lands.
Here roam also large packs of wolves, as well as foxes and lynx. The most ferocious animal that inhabits these lands, however, is undoubtedly the wolverine.
Although it is much smaller than wolves and bears, the wolverine is known for its bad temper, and other predators prefer to stay far away from it. Besides the large variety of predators, Lapland is also known for its diversity of herbivores.
The reindeer are probably one of the most common species in the area and are an integral part of the local fauna. This is also the most common livestock animal in Lapland. The most impressive of all the deer species, of course, is the moos (Eurasian elk).
These huge herbivores inhabit humid areas around lakes and swamps and feed on aquatic and moist-loving plants. The most interesting representative of the small mammals in Lapland is the ermine.
This strange and little creature has a slim body and short legs. It is white in winter and reddish or yellow in summer. In Lapland there are also rabbits and different rodent species.
The numerous lakes are a paradise for a wide variety of waterfowl. There are also birds of prey such as eagles, hawks and falcons.
When to visit Lapland? If you want to feel the Christmas spirit, the most attractive period to visit Lapland is during the Christmas holidays in December.
If you are looking not for fluffy snow, but warmer and sunny weather, then it is better to visit Lapland between mid-June and late July. If you choose to travel during the winter period, you have to bring lots of warm clothes and warm snow-proof shoes.
However, do not worry too much about the weather. Although the temperatures can drop to (-20) – (-30) °C, the weather is usually dry and it makes it feel warmer than it actually is.
If you travel during the short summer season, then will be better to combine light summer clothes with warmer clothing. In some warmer days you can wear a T-shirt and shorts, while in cooler days you may even need a long sleeved jacket and jeans.
General tourist information.
There are 4 currencies used in Lapland: The euro is the official currency in Finland, the Swedish krona – in Sweden, the Norwegian krona – in Norway and the Russian ruble – in Russia.
In Lapland you have to drive on the right side of the road.
Sweden, Finland and Norway are members of the Schengen Agreement.
Note that in Finland, Sweden and Norway there is a strict ban on smoking in enclosed public places with some exceptions!
If you like the consumption of alcohol is good to know that here (as elsewhere in Scandinavia) alcohol cost is very high.
Activities in Lapland: fishing, skiing (there are some very good ski resorts in Lapland), snowboarding, riding a snowmobile (if you have a driver’s license), long walks and picnics, knowledge of local customs and culture, sightseeing (North Cape, also known as Nordkapp).