Lapland is the perfect winter wonderland. A paradise for winter fans and lovers of the great outdoors. The winter season in Finnish Lapland starts in November and the snow often sticks around until May. That means you can enjoy winter sports and snow adventures for around six months. Now that we have established that Lapland offers plenty of time to play in the snow, I want to share some of the best outdoor winter activities in Lapland with you. From snowshoeing to dog sledding, here are some of my favourite ways to explore the magical winter landscape in Finnish Lapland.
Snowshoeing is one of my favourite ways to explore the great outdoors in Lapland during the winter months. It’s an easy and fun winter activity. You don’t need particular skills to snowshoe, just a spirit of adventure. First and foremost snowshoeing is a mode of transport. A way to get from A to B when the snow is deep and you can’t walk on it with regular shoes. But as with regular hiking, snowshoeing has the great advantage that you don’t need roads. You can make your own path and get to enjoy places and views that no car could access.
Many tour operators and equipment stores across Lapland offer snowshoes to rent, but you can of course just bring your own. Snowshoes are relatively affordable and light. So even if you’re bringing a big old pile of winter clothes to keep you warm, you can always fit in a set of snow shoes.
Read more about Snowshoeing in Lapland.
Now this to me is the dark horse of winter activities in Lapland. Something that is hugely popular amongst locals but visitors often miss out on the fun that is ice fishing. I’m not usually a fisherwomen nor have I got a great deal of experience with fishing. I used to own a fishing rod when I was a child but it’s safe to say that I scored more branches and twigs than fish. Despite all that I immediately fell in love with ice fishing. The whole experience is something that I think every outdoor-loving visitor of Finnish Lapland should try at least once.
Imagine the silence of the ice desert, sitting on the ice with a hot cup of coffee to warm you while you wait for your first fish to bite. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? Of course you’re not really moving a lot during ice fishing, which means your body cools down faster. A campfire with some roasted sausages is a relaxing and tasty way to tackle the cold. And if all else fails, the excitement from catching your first fish should raise the temperature.
Most places that locals choose to go ice fishing are in the Tunturi (Finnish for fells/bare hills) and getting there is an adventure in itself. The typical mode of transport for this is a snowmobile, but more about that below.
Snowmobiling in Lapland is as much a necessity for many people as it is fun. Like I said, many activities such as ice fishing or reindeer herding would simply be impossible without access to a snowmobile. During the winter and spring when everything in Lapland is covered in snow, you can drive your snowmobile just about anywhere BUT the road. Sounds fun right? My first experience on a snowmobile reminded me a lot of jetskiing. Thrilling, exciting and an endless offering of jaw-dropping views (only that of course instead of water you’re surrounded by snow).
While snowshoeing and ice fishing tend to be more on the affordable spectrum when it comes to winter activities, snowmobiling unfortunately is a lot more expensive. The good news is that you can pair up with a friend or travel buddy to share the cost as a snowmobile will fit two people.
Dog sledding is one of the most popular outdoor winter activities in Lapland. Many people visit Lapland because of the perfect Northern Light chasing conditions, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find Husky Sledding in close second. Travelling without engine across the winter scenery of Lapland is definitely an experience you won’t forget.
However there are a few things to look out for. As always when choosing an activity involving animals it’s important to make sure that the animals are treated fairly. The dogs used for sledding have been bred to run long distances in freezing conditions. That means they want to run and need regular exercise. Make sure you choose a place that is run by a passionate team that puts the animal first. Someone that is in tune with dogs.
Another thing to watch out for is whether the places offers passive rides where you sit back and enjoy the scenery or trips where you actually get to guide the dogs. Both are equally rewarding experiences, BUT you may be disappointed if it’s not what you had your heart set on.
Read about my Dog Sledding experience in Northern Norway.
Have you been to Finnish Lapland? I would love to hear about what winter sports and activities you have tried. Let me know in the comments below.
Planning a trip to Lapland? Why not pin this for later?