10 Interesting Facts about Finnish Lapland

Dogs in Finnish Lapland

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The northernmost region of Finland, Lapland seems a little-known faraway destination and isn’t always on everyone’s travel radar. Though cold and mysterious at first sight, it can provide you with unique experiences and heart-warming memories. Here are 10 Lapland facts to spark your curiosity.

1. Lapland is a Large but Underpopulated Area

Though quite big in size (Lapland makes up 100 366 square km, which is about one third of Finland’s total area), the region has a scant population of only
178 522 people.

Lapland Forest

One interesting fact - there are actually more reindeer than people in Finnish Lapland (about 200 000)!

Quick Finland facts:

  • Location: Northern Europe, Scandinavian peninsula
  • Capital: Helsinki
  • Size: 337,030 sq km (130,128 sq mi)
  • Population: 5,540,720 (2021)
  • Currency: The Euro

2. It is Truly Under the “Reign” of Reindeer

Speaking of reindeer, these animals are a real icon of Finnish Lapland - they form an important part of the indigenous Sami culture (the Sami people have traditionally been reindeer herders), reindeer races have been held in Finland since 1932, Lapland’s capital, Rovaniemi, is actually shaped like a reindeer's head with antler-like arranged streets.


If you happen to visit Lapland in summer, you may spot these noble creatures casually walking along roads, don’t miss the chance to take a picture!

3. It Is a Land of Magical Natural Phenomena

Due to its location largely within the Arctic Circle, Lapland is lucky to boast of some of the most incredible natural phenomena in the world - the Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights.


Here one can experience around 73 “nightless nights” a year (mostly during the summer months) and the magnificent Polar Night light show (“Kaamos,” as the Finnish call it) in winter. This unique combination of natural wonders makes Lapland a place one should pay a visit to at least once in a lifetime.

4. Lapland Is Home to the Original Santa

Father Christmases are part of many countries’ tradition; however, the one and only real Santa Claus lives here, in Lapland, his official headquarters being the Santa’s Village near Rovaniemi.

Santa Claus

This tourist attraction provides adventurous travelers with some unforgettable experiences - it’s the most popular place to cross the Arctic Circle line (one can even receive a certificate of the “line crossing”); the Village is famous for the Snowman World zone with Ice Restaurants, an Ice Bar and snow fun activities for the whole family. You can also surprise your friends and relatives with a postcard sent from Santa Claus’ main post office.

5. The Region Has the Cleanest Air in the World

The cleanest respiratory air in the world is proven to be in the Muonio municipality of Western Lapland. Due to the small population, low traffic level, and enhanced cleaning technologies used in Finland, the air quality in the country, and the northern region of Lapland in particular, has been excellent over the years.

Clean air

Lapland is also known as the largest region in the world to harvest organic natural products.

6. It Is a Perfect Place For Winter Activities

With its remarkable nature, rich customs, and traditions, Finnish Lapland offers travelers an abundance of winter activities to get the experience of a true Northerner. The suitable weather conditions, plenty of snow-covered hills make Lapland a perfect place for skiing (check out Ylläs’ ski resorts with its 330km of tracks).


You can also go on an unforgettable safari on a husky-driven sleigh and enjoy the beautiful Lapland sceneries, or try a reindeer sleigh ride - the traditional Lappish way of traveling through the region’s snowy landscapes.

7. The Only Indigenous People in the EU lives in Lapland

Lapland is home to the only indigenous people in Europe, who have inhabited the Arctic for at least 5000 years - the Sami people.

Sami people

Most of the Sami have moved to urban areas, but some of them live in villages high up in the Arctic, where they retain their traditions, speaking the Sami language (with 100 different words for snow), herding reindeer, and wearing the traditional red and blue clothing called gákti.

8. People Offer Gifts to Holy Places

Many natural formations in Lapland, like fells, rocks, trees, are considered to be holy (they’re called seitas by locals). In the past, people offered them fish heads and reindeer horn bits so that the holy spirit could provide them with fishing or hunting luck.

Holy places

The tradition is still present these days, with people bringing gifts, like coins, to such places for good luck.

9. Lapland is Famous For Its Traditional Cheese

When in Lapland, make sure to try the traditional Finnish Squeaky Cheese (Leipäjuusto in Finnish), named so because of the sound it makes against the teeth when one bites into its firm and chewy body. Leipäjuusto is typically made of curdled cow’s milk, baked into the shape of a pie, and served with cloudberry jam, which is also one of the region’s delicacies.

Finnish Cheese

The cheese is especially tasty when heated on a fire, which softens it and produces an appetizing flavor.

10. Driving Can Be a Very Pleasant Experience

In Lapland, there are endless roads with villages in every direction. Due to the region's sparse population, the roads here are traffic-free, so it’s advisable to rent a car and take a pleasant drive to enjoy the amazing sceneries.

Driving in Lapland

However, don't forget to fill the tank beforehand, as the next gas station can be 100 km away.

As you can see, the fairy tale Lapland has a lot to offer even to experienced travelers. With its remarkable nature, this destination is worth visiting all year round, offering tourists opportunities to witness magnificent natural phenomenons, enjoy winter activities, and of course feel the Christmas atmosphere in the motherland of Santa Claus. If you consider planning a trip to Finnish Lapland, make sure to search our tours to Lapland, and don't hesitate to contact our travel specialists.