TRAVEL / 6 Must Do’s in Finnish Lapland without snow

Fins Lapland

…Is still phenomenally beautiful. When thinking of Lapland everyone imagines a white world. I admit, I thought I had to pack gloves and snow boots as well when I saw the invitation. I was thinking of white tree tops, an always crackling soil, glacial lakes and snowfall. Well, not in between May and september. You can experience Lapland without her white mask in this period. Simply as she is, stunning. Who could have thought that you could cross the Arctic Circle wearing a t-shirt? I didn’t. And that is exactly what I did. There are many amazing activities to do in Lapland when there is no snow. I already wrote an ode to nature of Finnish Lapland. I’ll tell you what else you are able to do in summer or autumn, next to marveling at this insane nature.

Fish tales and jacuzzi nights

I wake up and find myself in the authentic town of Tornio. It consists of wooden houses and is located on the wild Tornio river. I am wandering around and realize that it’s Sweden on the other side of the river. I join a villager to enjoy an authentic white fish diner (well, reindeer for me) and listen to his stories. It turns out they have a system here. ‘There are a few retired villagers that are fishing each day and catch pounds of white fish from the river. This fish is for all villagers. We share it and eat together next to crackling fire while we’re talking about life’, he says. I find this more than beautiful. As night falls I climb in the bubbling jacuzzi outside, on the edge of the river. Wow. I feel blessed.

Wildwater rafting

The next day, a helmet is pressed in my hands. We’re going to what? Wildwater rafting. No ice on the water means adventurous practices such as this as well. The rapids take you into their depths when you are not peddling hard enough. An hour later feel exhausted but full of adrenaline and I decide to defy the river once more. This time, our rafting boat is standing straight in the river while the waves splash in my face and all my fellow rafters are no longer on the boat but IN the boat. That was some adventure. I loved it. A unwise kick. A beautiful tour through nature by bus brings me to the city of Rovaniemi.

Jet Ski, Husky Farm & the Artktikum

Without snow and ice you won’t take a ride on a snow scooter, instead you will jump on a Jet Ski. I press the gas and with a screaming Lotte on the back I decide to not let go of the gas anymore. This is so thrilling. Folded in half with laughter I pretend that I don’t remember how to use the brakes, and we fly over the water. What a kick. I want a Jet Ski at home. We make an hours-long trip along beautiful Lappish forests and hills. Along the way there are opportunities to stop and to park your Jet Ski on a beach. We stop at the interesting Artktikum museum . Besides a museum it has a Science Centre and meeting rooms, and it is a popular culture destination.

Moments later I park my jet ski against a ridge and climb up into the direction of the husky farm, where hundreds of barking dogs greet me. I can’t stop cuddling them. There are dozens of puppies as well. So. Cute. I expected fluffy, white dogs with piercing blue eyes, but here you will find Arctic Huskies. Just as sweet, but more known for their speed. The owner of this farm won many multi-day husky sledding competitions. We make a ride on a cart, pulled by a rod of this enthusiastic animals. Yep, that too is possible without snow.

Santa claus Village & the Arctic circle

Near Rovaniemi is Santa claus village, and upon arrival I find myself in Christmas spheres immediately. Elves are busy answering letters from children. The ‘real’ Santa lives here and he gets half a million letters a year. He is always up for a chat. Like a little child I clim upon his lap. It’s warm for the time of year. I jump over the Arctic Circle, back and forth, wearing a t-shirt. I’m not that far from the North Pole now, and yet it feels like a pretty autumn day. Two weeks after returning home it starts to snow here, and so it will continue to do so in the coming months. Not today. Today, the sun shines, I sat at the lap of Santa Claus and I now take steps in the direction of the North Pole. On the one hand, it is just a meaningless stripe on the ground, on the other hand, it is really a strange sensation. Touristy, but fun.

Finnish Sauna

Finnish saunas are known worldwide, and obviously I discover this tradition. Almost every Fin has a sauna at home and it is common to pretty much spend half of the week in there. With friends, having a beer, between school time, before going to bed. The most impressing sauna retreat is Metsäkyly Forest Retreat. Here, I enjoy some sauna time as well and I even cool off by jumping into the icy lake. I can get used to this.

Nature & the northern lights

We visit a couple that lives in the middle of the woods and actually live self-sufficiently. We get a course of jewelry making and I design a beautiful bracelet and necklace of reindeer antlers. I step inside her little house for a glass of lingonberry juice and homemade cake, and wonder about her fantastic interior. Yesterday I bought a reindeer fur (travel like Laura’s part two: take a huge reindeer fur on your Jet Ski) and now I get even more interior inspiration. After, we go into the woods and pick pounds of berries. The forest is mysterious illuminated by the sun rays and I feel one with nature. I take my self picked berries to the Netherlands and make a delicious jam.

Yes. And that northern lights, eh. That’s another thing. The well-known green light is sure to see around the fall. But it was too cloudy. Before I was in Lapland (August) there are beautiful spectacles seen in the air. My week in Lapland? Nothing. I fly back on Friday. That night there is a solar storm, and an insanely northern lights take place where I was. A good reason to go back again.


Fins Lapland vis

Fins Lapland raften

Fins Lapland raften

Fins Lapland bot

Fins Lapland eten

Fins Lapland kerstman

Fins Lapland artic circle

Fins Lapland santaclaus

Fins Lapland artic circle

Fins Lapland jetski

Fins Lapland husky

Fins Lapland sauna

Fins Lapland sauna


Fins Lapland sieraden maken

Fins Lapland bessen

Fins Lapland vuur

Thanks Chantal for the pictures with me in it!

DESTINATIONS, Europa, Finland, Lapland, Local Life, Nature, Outdoor Adventure, TRAVEL, Travel Category, Travel Must Do's, Travel Stories

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  1. Sandra 23 October, 2014 at 15:39 Reply

    Ik hou van wildwatersporten, ik was als een vis in het water geweest! Was dat die nacht dat het Noorderlicht ook in Nederland te zien zou zijn? Op Texel? En ja, kut dat je dat gemist hebt… Maar dat roep ik ook altijd, je moet ALTIJD een reden hebben om terug te keren naar een land. Hoeveel ik er niet heb voor Amerika…

  2. Rianne 23 October, 2014 at 19:18 Reply

    Je stelt je inderdaad een wit landschap voor bij Lapland, maar zo te zien is er genoeg te doen zonder sneeuw :) Lapland lijkt me erg tof om naar toe te gaan, dus dit gaat zeker bij de favorieten :)

    • Laura 24 October, 2014 at 08:16 Reply

      Dankjewel! Heel hard m’n best gedaan, zie ook ander artikel, want mijn foto’s komen bij een Lapland verhaal in te Telegraaf deze week :)!

  3. Fabianne 24 October, 2014 at 07:20 Reply

    Oh wauw, wat ziet dat er mooi uit! Niet echt een bestemming waar ik aan zou denken, maar je haalt me bijna over ;). En die husky farm klinkt awesome, haha.

  4. Linda 26 October, 2014 at 06:35 Reply

    Ik krijg soms het gevoel dat het Noorderlicht van een beetje plagen houdt. Of bij mensen die zij leuk vindt denkt: ik blijf weg, misschien komt ze mij dan nog een keer zoeken. Ik vind het verdacht… ;-)

  5. Lizet 30 October, 2014 at 19:15 Reply

    Het klinkt leuk in Finland, maar ik zou toch liever voor het winterwonderland gaan, denk ik. Maar die foto met de hondjes vind ik zo leuk! En ik wil ook bedolven zijn onder huskypuppies <3

  6. Michelle | Travel 31 October, 2014 at 21:52 Reply

    Zooo leuk!! Ik ben in Zweeds lapland geweest. Maar dan met heel veel sneeuw. Gek om de poolcirkel over te gaan en dan geen sneeuw te zien haha. Maar dit klinkt allemaal zo tof, raften! En wat een prachtplaatjes. Ik wil ook een keer in de zomer/herfst. Mooi! Alleen sauna’s en husky’s zijn ook best wel heel leuk in de winter haha. En de kerstman. Oh my. Maar die is het hele jaar door geniaal ;-)

  7. Lily 19 July, 2017 at 11:40 Reply

    Wat een belevenis Laura! Iedereen denkt dat wintersportbestemmingen buiten het sneeuwseizoen niet veel voorstellen… you prove them wrong ;-)

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