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In March of 2020, I set out on my quest for the Northern Lights in Finland. This was just before ‘lockdown’ and the beginning of what we would remember as the Covid-19 Pandemic. However, our tour company, Flashpack (who have since unfortunately gone into administration, but are hoping to be back up and running in 2021) advised that the trip was still going ahead so I packed all my winter woollies and left sunny Dubai for northern Finland.
When is the best time to see the northern lights in Finland
The best time to see the northern lights in Finland is between the months of September and April. You can see the dancing light show on up to 200 clear nights during this period. Statistically speaking, March is a great month to see the aurora borealis, which is why I picked this month for my trip.
To get a better insight on whether the Lapland northern lights will be visible when you take the trip, check out the northern lights Finland forecast.
Lapland, home of the big man himself – Santa – is located in northern Finland, deep inside the artic circle, and is one of the best places to see the Finland aurora. It is around 850km from the capital city of Finland, Helsinki.
Lapland is also home to many, many reindeer. So many, in fact, that they roughly equal that of the people in Lapland (which is approximately 180,000).
You can get to Lapland by overnight train from Helsinki, by road, or by plane.
Activities in Torassieppi
Our adventure took us to the west of Lapland, Torassieppi, high above the artic circle. Here are some of the many activities we got up on our four days’ stay.
- Reindeer Farm
After arriving in Torassieppi and checking into our adorable cabins, we took a stroll down to the Reindeer farm. Here we learnt that male reindeer lose their antlers in winter months. You know what that means, don’t you? All of Santa’s reindeer are, in fact, female as they all still have their antlers!
The reindeer were happy to see us and posed for some pictures before going back to play in the snow.
- Campfire in the snow
That night we sat around a campfire, roasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate, while our guide told us more about the area and the northern lights. We kept an eye out to see if we could catch a glimpse of the light show, but our tour guide advised that she didn’t think it would be visible that night.
- Sleigh ride
The next morning we got to have a traditional sleigh ride through the snow filled pine forest, with two to a sled covered with blankets to keep us warm.
- Cross country skiing
After lunch, we took to the skis for some cross country skiing across rural Finland. I had never been skiing before and wasn’t sure if I’d stay upright but I made it and loved the downhill part at the end! My toes were not so happy and did take some time to warm up afterwards, but the next activity helped with that.
We set off to a nearby resort to use their saunas for the afternoon. The sauna culture in Finland is huge, with approximately 2 million saunas in the country.
The more water you throw in the sauna, the hotter it gets. It is tradition that the last person who throws water must be the last to leave. If you can’t take the heat, don’t throw the water on the sauna!
We had a private sauna for our group, the use of three other saunas, plus the ice lake. The ice lake was fantastic! I highly recommend if you ever go to a sauna which has an ice lake or ice pool, take a dip after coming out of the hot sauna (unless you have any conditions which would prevent you from doing this – check with your doctor first!).
I was determined to have a picture taken in my bikini in the snow and even managed to convince the rest of my group to do the same!
- Husky Sledding
This was probably my favourite activity of the trip. I am always a little wary about animal activities but when we arrived, we were assured that the huskies were well looked after and loved going out for their morning run. We were told that we would get to play with the huskies as soon as we finished with the sledding, because they were too excited to get out for a run first.
We paired up and took it in turns to sit in the sled and ‘drive’ the sled. It was a little scary at first (both parts) but once you got the hang of it, it got easier.
The best part was getting to play with the huskies afterwards. I may have wanted to sneak one home in my bag…
Our last adventure was a two-hour snowmobile tour. We headed up the top of a big hill and took in the winter wonderland views from the top, before all falling to the snow to make snow angels (the inner kid never leaves you!).
- Ice Bar
After dinner that night, we headed to the ice bar to raise a glass to our big adventure and reminisce on our favourite moments of the trip. The group were all solo travellers, between the ages of 30 and 49. We had made friends for life and still keep in touch every few days.
- Glass igloos
There is an option to rent a one of the glass igloos for the night which look out onto the lake and have a clear view of the night skies. This would be incredible, should the northern lights be visible. Unfortunately for me, they weren’t on the night I chose to rent the igloo.
It was still a lovely experience and a change from the cabin.
How to plan your quest for the northern lights in Finland
Does a Lapland adventure sound like your kind of adventure? Here’s how you can plan your own trip:
Skyscanner is the best place to start when looking for flights to Finland. Most likely, you will need to fly to Helsinki and then either get the overnight train or another flight to Lapland.
If you’re not going for a package deal, Booking.com is a great place to start researching resorts in Lapland.
Get your guide can help you choose different tours, such as husky sledding, snowmobiling, etc, if you’re not travelling as part of a package deal.
Every night of the trip, we had gone down to the frozen lake (away from the lights of the resort) to see if we could see the northern lights. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be this time.
So, while my quest for the Northern Lights in Finland didn’t pan out the way I had expected, it was still an incredibly special trip and my only trip of 2020.
For now, I am setting my sights on searching for the northern lights in Alaska or Iceland in the coming years.
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Have you seen the Northern Lights in Finland? Was it as spectacular as you see in the pictures? Let me know in the comments below.