Lapland makes up about 1/3 of Finland’s total areas, it's as big as Belgium, Holland & Switzerland combined.
Local time is on Eastern European Standard Time (UTC+2)
Finland is a member of the Schengen Agreement, so check schengenvisainfo.com for details on various types of visas you may need. To enter and travel around Finland, U.S. citizens are required to have an approved ETIAS visa waiver. In addition, you may enter for up to 90 days for tourist purposes without a visa. For more details on travel into and within Schengen countries, please see the Schengen fact sheet.
Helsinki Airport is the country’s largest, but for heading to Lapland, Rovaniemi is the airport you’d want to arrive in.
Lapland is well serviced by train. Travelers can choose to ride overnight from Helsinki, where they have the option to stay in coach or sleeping-car compartments. For a complete list of schedules, check VR Railway.
Two of the main bus services include Matkahuolto and Onnibus which will deliver you in maximum comfort. Additionally, many of the major airports have minibuses meet arriving flights in order to transport passengers to their hotels in town centers.
We highly recommend hiring a driver or renting a car to better explore the region. Check this article for more information on driving in Finland. These four rental companies are most common: Scancar , Hertz , Sixt , & Europcar. Check Viator Private Tours to compare the best private drivers in the area.
In addition, taxis are available in most towns, especially in the Lapland capital of Rovaniemi.
Lapland is extremely safe for travelers, especially for female solo travelers. It remains part of the least dangerous country on Earth, which was also recently rated the happiest worldwide. However, you should always follow normal travel rules, and guard your bags, wallets and other personal effects. The Finns are extremely friendly, so anytime you feel like you’re in danger or need help, locals will be more than willing to assist.
Finland also ranks one of the first in reliable police services. The average pickup time for emergency calls is 5 seconds. To get a hold of police, fire and ambulance services while visiting Lapland, be sure to be sure to contact the emergency number 112.
The weather in Lapland ranges from subarctic to continental, with mild summer days and icy, snow-filled winters.
The peak travel season is between December and February, where the temperature ranges from about – 16 °C (3 °F) to 3 °C (37 °F) on average.
Snow cover comprises around 175 – 225 days in a given year, and usually falls between mid-October and mid-May.
During the winter season, daylight lasts on average between 10 and 2 PM.
Short daylight hours in the winter months create ideal conditions for viewing the northern lights, which are best seen between November and March.
For more information on what to expect in terms of weather, as well as what to pack, check Nordic Visitor.
There are two official languages of Finland. Finnish is the first, spoken by 93% of the country’s 5 million inhabitants.
The second official language, Swedish, is spoken by around 6% of the population, most of whom live in the southwest.
Sámi is a minority language in the Nordic countries which is spoken by around 2,000 people in the north of Finland, making up about 0.03% of the population.
Here are a few basic words and phrases to learn:
- Hello = Hei (pronounced “hey”)
- Goodbye = Hei Hei (“hey hey”)
- Yes = Kyllä (ku–yu-la)
- No = Ei (pronounced like the letter “a”)
- Thank you = Kiitos
- You are welcome = Ei kestä
- Excuse me = Anteeksi (sounds like “aun-taxi”)
- My name is … = Nimeni on … (“knee-many on”)
- Nice to meet you = Hauska tavata
- Hotel = Hotelli
- Airport = Lentokenttä
- Train = Juna
- Bus = Bussi
- Subway = Metro
- Ticket = Lippu (“leap-o”)
Lapland is easy to visit. Customs and manners are clearly European, with only a few national variations, and attitudes are liberal.
There is a greater sense of equality between the sexes, as can be seen in the relatively high number of women holding advanced positions in politics and other areas of society. Chauvinistic attitudes towards women are generally considered unacceptable.
When greeting one another, Finns shake hands and make eye contact. Handshakes are brief and firm, and involve no supporting gestures. Embracing people when greeting them is rare.
Both men and women bathe in the sauna, but never together except within the family. There are no mixed public saunas in Finland. A visitor hesitant to try a sauna should remember that if it has been heated specially for him or her, it is a matter of pride for the hosts, and only medical constraints are an acceptable reason for not trying it.
There are plenty of ATMs—especially in cities—and most machines will accept cards issued by major international banks.
US, UK and Australian cards are widely accepted in Finnish hotels, restaurants, stores and markets.
Visa, Mastercard and Maestro are most common, and American Express is accepted in most places as well.
As a rule, service is included in restaurant bills. Therefore, tipping has never fitted very comfortably into the Finnish way of life. You can feel safe that while nobody will object, very few will mind not being tipped.
Like the rest of Europe, Finland uses one of the two European standard electrical socket types (C and F), with voltage of 220-240.
Here is what your adapter should look like:
Tap water in Lapland is considered to be among the healthiest in the world, and needs no treatment in most areas. It is available almost anywhere free of charge.
Most hotels, bars, restaurants will offer free WiFi.
Levibus offers friendly guided tours around the Lapland area in coaches and comfy minibuses.
Menevä taxis serve the Rovaniemi area of Lapland.
Lapland Taxi provides “safe and smooth” service, and can fit up to 8 passengers each. They provide child seats and assistance in airport transfers.
YourBusRovaniemi offers travel services in Rovaniemi with free WiFi on board.
In addition to being optimally safe and happy, Lapland happens to be one of the most gay-friendly places on the map.
Homosexuality has been decriminalized in Finland since 1971, and gay marriage has been legal since 2017, so most of the locals are accepting of the LGBTQ+ community.
For added assurance, though, you can look for Gay Travel Finland’s We Speak Gay certification, which is granted only to companies that have proven to be inclusive to LGBTQ+ customers.
The Finnish Lapland is essentially an eco-tour in itself. While there, you’re never far from nature.
Here are some must-see highlights for eco-travelers in the area:
- Rovaniemi offers electric snowmobiling safaris.
- Hetta Huskies offers ethical care to their sled dogs, and has a strict no cull policy.
- In Salla, you can learn about reindeer & reindeer herding at the Green Key-certified Salla Reindeer Park .
- These are some green-approved ski resorts: Levi Ski Resort, Pyhä Ski Resort , Ruka Ski Resort.
- Lapland’s protected areas are managed by Metsähallitus, which works to keep the wilderness clean. Check their page for Outdoor Recreational Activities.