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Business is growing rapidly due to widespread interest

These cute and super quick dogs are a huge attraction in Lapland


8 EXPLORE LAPLAND Lapland in nutshell

12 ROVANIEMI Capital of Lapland

14 ROVANIEMI CITY CENTRE 7 places that we recommend

26 SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE You can meet Santa Claus, do husky rides and stay days - just on the arctic circle

34 CRAZY FOR HERBS Meet Anneli Tahvonen, an entrepreneur of Anneli´s Herbs and Sweets

40 RANUA ZOO Meet the polar bears and 52 other arctic pieces. Spend your holiday in a high quality cottage village or in a brand new glass-igloo village

39 RANUA VILLAGES Polar bears and 52 other arctic animals are waiting for you in the RanuaZoo.

47 RUKA-KUUSAMO Absolute centre of winter sports and leisure activities

56 SALLA - ADVENTURES In the middle of (s)nowhere

59 KAKSLAUTTANEN The leganday story of Kakslauttanen is unrivalled

62 SAARISELKÄ Acommodation Kuukkeli, Northernlights Village and Husky & Co

59 KAKSLAUTTANEN Amazing story and an extraordinary place. This photo has been seen for over 1 billion times

74 YLLÄS IS NUMBER 1 Two different accommodation Peurakaltio Wilderness B&b and Lodge 67 ° are both amazing places.

80 TORNIO New but traditional brewery and lots of different year-raound experiences at in the heart of Park Hotel and Experience Factory Lappari.





HI, Active Lapland is clean, safe and peaceful


t’s awesome that you have chosen to read LaplandNews Travel Spring 2018 magazine. We congratulate you, since in this magazine you will find a lot of useful information on this exotic place to live and visit. As you’ll see on the pages of this magazine, there’s been a lot of investment in travel in northern Finland. Lapland provides countless unforgettable experiences, offered by nearly 1800 great local travel-related companies. Also, public administration and various organisations guarantee that your stay here will be as safe and as comfortable as possible.

keeps rising. If you note anything that doesn’t match these factors, please don’t hesitate to talk with the locals about it. We all wish to maintain our good reputation and we believe that all the local travel operators do their utmost to create for you an enjoyable and memorable visit. We hope that you enjoy this magazine. It is quite an information package, and it would be nice if you keep the magazine for yourself or hand it over to someone else interested in Lapland in order to spread the word.

For the love of Lapland, We hope that you enjoy staying in Lapland

TIMO TAPANINEN Editor in Chief

Peacefulness, cleanliness and safety are essential factors in why the popularity of Lapland


LAPLANDNEWS OY 2860612-7 ISSUE No. 1/3 · Spring 2018 · Year 1 ISSN 2489-5830 CIRCULATION 20 000 PRINTED AT Kroonpress EDITOR IN CHIEF Timo Tapaninen · 045-2118838 CEO Tanja Hyväri · 040-5079441 PROOF-READING Stefanie Lavan ONLINE MEDIA-KIT SOCIAL MEDIA · ·





The wild growing pace of Lapland’s booming travel market from recent years continued in 2017 BULLETIN House of Lapland PHOTOS Visit Rovaniemi



mongst the visitors to Finland, the biggest group remains the British people — 274 000 were registered to stay overnight in Lapland in 2017. Also, the number of flight passengers overall increased by 23%. In 2017, the number of foreign travellers passed the number of Finnish travellers for the first time, and the

percentage of foreign travellers was especially high in December, when a total of 465 000 overnight stays were registered, of which the number of foreigners was 370 000. In all months in 2017, the number of foreign visitors increased, whereas the number of Finnish travellers mainly decreased. The efforts in tourism marketing during the warmer months


and the goal is to double the volume of summer tourism from 2017 to 2019. “The attractions of summer are related to light, its effects on the natural environment in the north, and the opportunities that travellers have to express themselves in Lapland. Some examples of summer attractions include photography, overnight events, wild superfoods, and national parks”, says Program Manager of the House of Lapland, Katariina Imporanta. ”Summer travellers tend to be younger than winter travellers, and they appreciate the purity and calmness of Lapland. They are more likely to come from Central and Southern Europe or from Asia, so in the future we aim to target our communication and marketing on them.”, she says. Global tourism trends are on Lapland’s side, but the price competition is stiff Globally, tourism has

The strong seasonal nature of tourism in Lapland brings challenges for market growth, stifling the profitability of the industry, slowing investment and making recruitment more difficult. In addition, it is becoming increasingly challenging to house all of the seasonal workers who flock to Lapland from other locations. House of Lapland’s current efforts in tourism marketing are focused on the warmer months,


increased by around 4-5% per year, and this rise is predicted to continue. Lapland has benefitted from the international travel trends that involve safety, purity and genuineness. For a lot of people, Lapland represents an undiscovered, sustainable location for safe experiences in the natural environment. The decrease in Finnish travellers is still causing concern “It’s important for us to be competitive not only among foreigners but also for the Finnish population too. The decisions about VAT made in Finland have a direct effect on the price of travelling, and I’m very worried about the EU-wide harmonisation of the VAT rates. It would be a shame if travelling abroad becomes the more favourable option for Finns”, states the Managing Director of the Lapland Hotels chain, Ari Vuorentausta.

ABOVE For a lot of people, Lapland represents an undiscovered and pure location.

RIGHT Reindeer are also really popular in Lapland.



The Enontekiö and Hetta regions call themselves the “True Lapland”, and that is exactly what they are. According to statistics, the probability of seeing the Northern Lights is the highest around Enontekiö’s famous Lake Kilpisjärvi, and there are local guided services to maximise your chances of seeing them. In Enontekiö there is the highest peak in Finland, called Halti, and also the breathtaking fell called Saana. Visitors to the area will have unforgettable experiences in the stunning natural parks, other natural landscapes and the Hetta Ski Centre.


By area, Inari is the largest municipality in Finland, extending over an area of 17 000 km2. Water covers over 2000 km2 of that area, and Lake Inari is around half of that. Dotted between the thousands of lakes and islands are hundreds of mountains that shape and sculpt the landscape with their profile. In Inari, you can learn more about the native Sámi culture and its history. The administrative and commercial centre of the municipality is Ivalo. Saariselkä, situated in the southern part of the municipality, is the northernmost tourist resort in the European Union and offers a wide range of services for everyone.



The cities of Kemi, Keminmaa and Tornio make up a special area in Lapland where you can experience something that is not found elsewhere in Lapland: the sea. There is a unique atmosphere in the area because of the arctic Bay of Bothnia and the closeness of the Swedish border. A must-see attraction is the impressive Kemi Snow Castle. On the Swedish side of the border there is a very popular destination – IKEA. The Kallinkangas area in Keminmaa is a beautiful sporting area where you can go skiing and hiking. There have been many new and exciting developments in the region of Coastal Lapland.


The clear waters of Lake Kemi, the clean natural environment and Kemijärvi’s unique riverside towns are all worth exploring. In this refreshing riverside city, you can experience true peace and quiet. Kemijärvi, which is situated on the Arctic Circle, is between Lapland’s finest mountain resorts of Luosto and Pyhä. In the spring, the municipality hosts the Happy Skiers Cross-Country Skiing Tour and the Yukigassen Snowball Fight Championships.


The Levi Tourist Centre is located in Sirkka in the municipality of Kittilä. Levi has 43 ski slopes of varying length and difficulty, and it also has the largest ski school in Finland. There are also two gondola lifts in Levi. In addition to skiing, Levi has a wide range of opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding and ice karting. One very special attraction is the SnowVillage at Lainio, which has an imaginative Game of Thrones theme. Levi annually hosts the opening competition in the Alpine Ski World Cup. Levi is also attractive in the summer for hiking, cycling, fishing, and golf.


Timo Tapaninen

The municipality of Kolari is situated in Western Lapland, right on the Swedish border. The municipality hosts some of Finland’s top holiday destinations, including the mountain resort of Ylläs and the YlläsPallastunturi National Park. Ylläs offers plenty of activities, services, events and extraordinary people, which make it a very interesting place to visit. Ylläs has two genuine Lappish villages, Äkäslompolo and Ylläsjärvi, which have a population of 850 people together, but despite the small size, they are very vibrant places.


According to studies, Muonio is home to the happiest people in Finland. It’s not a surprise, because this peaceful and beautiful municipality is truly amazing. Muonio has many activities and the people are very welcoming. The area is perfect for cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, dog sledding, viewing the Auroras, hiking and fishing. Muonio River is Europe’s longest natural habitat for salmon and sea trout, and the Ylläs-Pallastunturi National Park and the ski slopes offer everything for winter and summer visitors


The municipality of Pelkosenniemi is a large area that has several active villages offering versatile winter and summer activities. One of the major ski resorts in Finland, Pyhätunturi, is located in this area. It has 14 slopes, including one FIS-rated slope called Piste Palander, which is also Finland’s largest slope. Other enjoyable activities in the area are fishing, frisbee golf, climbing, hiking, mountain biking and fat-biking. In the summer time, the places to visit are Luosto-Pyhä National Park and Naava Nature Centre.



Pello is a dream destination for prosperous travellers looking for peace, tranquillity and natural beauty. There are extensive skiing trails, nature trails as well as hunting and fishing opportunities. Birdwatchers from near and far delight in Pellojärvi, one of Finland’s most famous resting places for migrating birds. The area is also great for salmon fishing.


Posio, known for its ceramics and thousands of lakes, offers the true magic of Lapland. The centre of ceramic art in Penti-mäki is a must-see for each visitor. Posio has a very rich natural environment in the National Park of Riisitunturi and the Korouma Canyon, which is tens of kilometres long, hundreds of meters deep and was formed during the ice age. Many ice climbers and hikers say that Korouma is one of their favourite spots


Pudasjärvi is a Finnish city located in the municipality of Northern Ostrobothnia on the River Ii. The municipality has two ski resorts in the north, Iso-Syöte and Pikku-Syöte, which are considered to be the beginning of Lapland’s mountain scenery. The World Ski Awards chose the Ski Resort Iso-Syöte as 2017’s best ski resort in Finland, and Hotel Iso-Syöte was chosen as the best Boutique Ski Hotel. The area of Syöte is also known for its popular fat-bike trails.

SALLA - THE FASTEST GROWING IN POPULARITY Salla’s slogan – “In the middle of nowhere” – says a lot but not everything. The municipality is right next to the Russian border, and it could be said that it’s one of the last true wildernesses in Europe, offering plenty of peace and quiet. On the other hand, Salla is still a lively and active place for a traveller, and it has seen the most growth in visitors in Finland. The main attraction of Salla is the arctic fell called Sallatunturi, which hosts a Ski Resort with 15 ski slopes. Salla is also known for its reindeer and wilderness – here the call of the wild is strong.



In Savukoski you can really relax because Savukoski’s population density is the lowest of all Finnish municipalities, with only 0.16 inhabitants/km². If you want to spend your holiday away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this is the place for you. In the area, right near the Russian border, there is Santa Claus’s home of Korvatunturi, an arctic fell with an 18km hiking route.


Even the name of the municipality tells us a lot – ‘Simo’ in the indigenous Sámi language means ‘salmon’. Summer is the best time to visit the area, especially for the fishing expeditions run by local entrepreneurs. In addition to salmon fishing, the river Simo is also ideal for canoeing. The river is a reasonable size and its waters are not too harsh, making it a great adventure experience in a canoe.

SODANKYLÄ - VERSATILE AND GREAT Sodankylä is Finland’s second-largest municipality, and there are many fun and interesting activities available in the area. North Sodankylä is known for its gold mining and is home to the Tankavaara Gold Village and the Gold Museum. In southern Sodankylä there is the Pyhä-Luosto National Park and Luosto’s seven ski slopes. Sodankylä offers a wonderful setting for hiking, mountain biking and skiing, and the trails in Urho Kekkonen National Park are famous.

TERVOLA The landscape of Tervola begins to reach Lappish features with its hills. The landscape is dominated by the longest river in Finland, the River Kemi. Tervola’s nature attractions include the Pyhäportti rapids at the river Suolijoki and Tervola’s old wooden church.


The northernmost municipality in Finland is Utsjoki, and it is unique due to its location. The summers have daylight around the clock while during the winter the darkness is unyielding, but both seasons provide visitors with the peaceful silence of nature. Utsjoki has two wilderness areas, Paistunturi and Kaldoaivi, which contain the rugged beauty of a mountain landscape and the feeling of infinite space. This is contrasted by the River Teno Valley, with its green foliage, and the River Teno itself, one of the most famous salmon rivers in the world.


Ylitornio is truly one of Lapland’s most beautiful municipalities, featuring the Tornio River and rugged hilly landscapes. About seven kilometres north of the municipality centre is the hill of Aavasaksa at 242 meters high, which is one of the 27 official National Landscapes of Finland. The municipality’s closeness to the Swedish border gives it a comfortable international atmosphere.



ROVANIEMI INFO • Provincial centre, university town, the centre of commerce, administration and education in its area, and a city of sports and culture • The biggest city in Europe by area: 8016 km² • The relatively sparse population of 62 037 is misleading because due to tourism, the city is very lively and quite busy at night • Rovaniemi is surrounded by rich nature, easily accessible by foot from the city centre • Alvar Aalto, a respected Finnish architect, designed the Lappia Building and the City Library, both located in Rovaniemi • The longest river in Finland, the Kemijoki, passes through Rovaniemi, and from its banks rise the slopes of the skiing centre at Ounasvaara

TRAVEL CONNECTIONS • There are great flight connections to Rovaniemi from Helsinki, and new direct flights from European destinations are being opened constantly. • Long-distance train and bus connections are also good. • Rovaniemi is located on the biggest road in Finland, the E4 highway, which stretches the entire length of the country from south to north. NEW LIGHTED INFORMATION BOARDS • Look out for the red electrical information boards that have been installed around the city. They show pedestrians the way to various points in the city, including the train station, the bus station and the city centre.

Visit Rovaniemi

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DID YOU KNOW: The band Lordi, the winner of the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, have their own square right in the middle of the city centre TIP: For your best shot at seeing the spectacle of the northern lights, you should go outside of the downtown area



• When visiting Rovaniemi, the Arctic Circle and the Santa Claus Village are the number one attractions • A little further from the city to the west are massive potholes, devil churches, that were formed in the ice age by melting ice • The culture house of Korundi displays arctic art and culture • The Science Centre Pilke is a forest museum that is a fascinating location for all age

Jätkänkynttilä bridge • The first cable-stayed bridge in Finland, completed in 1989, it is a noble sight and one of the most photographed locations in Rovaniemi in addition to the Santa Claus Village. The bridge crosses the River Kemi with a length of about 320 metres. Lean-tos and campfires • Roasting sausages in the campfire at a lean-to (in Finnish, this is called a ‘laavu’) is a very traditional Finnish activity. Look online for information on where you can go to enjoy these open fires. There are plenty of places like this in Rovaniemi. Nightlife • Due to high levels of tourism and an energetic student population, Rovaniemi has a special night life. In particular, the pub Oliver’s Corner at the weekends and RoyClub on weekdays are recommended night spots.


LEFT Science centre Arktimum under northern lights. Photo: Visit Rovaniemi

• Due to its large size, Rovaniemi has a lot of places where you can see the northern lights • Downhill skiing, fat-biking, hiking or the summer sled track at Ounasvaara are things worth experiencing, and there are a lot of sports opportunities in the area of Ounasvaara, one of the biggest sports centres in Finland


23 March Rovaniemi Reindeer Sprint Race — reindeer racing competition in the pedestrian mall downtown 24 March Rovaniemi Vintage Sled Grand Prix 2018 in the dog park Lainaanranta 7 April Stand up: Michael Winslow in Korundi 14 April Queen musical: The Show Must Go On in Korundi.




ROVANIEMI CITY CENTRE Rovaniemi City Centre is the most diverse and best place for shopping in Lapland. Three large shopping centres offer international brands as well as local products. The storefronts of Rovakatu and Koskikatu streets are filled with interesting shops and services. The city centre also includes hotels, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs. Within the next pages of this magazine you can also get to know the new high-quality Hostel CafÊ Koti and the city’s swimming pool and spa, Vesihiisi. 14 14




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AVAINSUUTARI – SHOE REPAIR AND KEY SERVICE . Shoes often experience a lot of wear and tear during a holiday, or they may even need a little bit of fixing already before you set off on vacation. Avainsuutari offers high-quality repairs and fast service. They also provide innersoles that you may need in the cold weather and if your feet start to hurt. Avainsuutari can also provide you with shoelaces and keys.


K-SUPERMARKET RINTEENKULMA . One of the most popular grocery stores in Rovaniemi amongst visitors is K-Supermarket in Rinteenkulma Shopping Centre. The store has a wide range of products combined with a perfect location. In addition to everyday food items, K-Supermarket Rinteenkulma offers an excellent selection of local products that are of interest to international visitors.

MANDRAGORA – TEA, CHOCOLATE, COFFEE AND DELICACIES This store was established in Rovaniemi originally because there were not enough tea varieties available in the city. Well, thanks to Mandragora, now there are plenty of teas to choose from, as well as a wide variety of different coffees, chocolates and other


BRILLET – THE SLIGHTLY BETTER LOCAL OPTICIA Although they say it is dark and cold in Finland, wearing sun-

delicacies. Mandragora is a lovely, small and ethical specialty store with a nice atmosphere and

excellent customer service. In addition to wellknown international brands, the store also stocks local

glasses is extremely important because of the bright snow and northern winds. Therefore, good sunglasses and skiing glasses are an important piece of equipment in Lapland. Our recommendation for the best

optician is, without a doubt, Brillet. They have very good service in English as well as top brands such as Maui Jim and Oakley.







LAUKKUTALO – A SPECIALTY BAG STORE FOR TRAVELLERS If you are planning a trip or are on a trip right now and you experience problems with your equipment, it is a good idea to pay Laukkutalo a visit. They showcase popular suitcase brands such as Samsonite and Roncato. They also

stock super popular Fjällräven rucksacks and many other quality products, from handbags to

gloves. Laukkutalo also repairs suitcases and bags.

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CHOCODELI . This is a dream come true for all lover of sweet treats. This chocolate factory and shop is featured in the article on the following page.

CONFETTI – A TREASURE STORE FOR HOME BAKERS AND PARTY ORGANISERS . Oftentimes we go on holiday in a partying mood. If you’re having a party in the near future, you might want to visit Confetti. This specialty store provides a diverse range of advice, inspiration and equipment for home bakers and party organisers. Whether your kid is having a birthday party or your mother-inlaw is celebrating her retirement, you will find all the help you need to make these moments special in Confetti.







CHOCODELI Jouko and the chocolate factory For those who’ve seen the cult movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, there’s no need to explain how deeply you can dive into the taste and the making of chocolate. For those who haven’t seen the movie, they need to know that the world holds many special stories that are strongly connected to this magical brown ingredient. TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS ChocoDeli and the movie cover of Charlie and the Chocolate factory



t the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi sits a chocolate factory. This factory is not as big or as special as Willy Wonka’s make-believe movie factory, but the chocolate factory in Rovaniemi is still special in its own way because it’s the northernmost chocolate factory in the world. Jouko Rajanen, the owner of the factory, has had a passion for making sweets since he was a little boy. Jouko cut class in primary school to make caramel instead Just like in the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, sweet-toothed children are included in the story of Jouko Rajanen’s ChocoDeli. Jouko remembers that back in the ’70s, having waited on the school road until his mother left for work, he would return home with his friend to make caramel instead of going to school.

A passion for ever-frustrating chocolate The small sweet-toothed boy grew up but his love for cooking remained. First Jouko studied to be a chef, then he spent many years working in restaurants. He eventually returned to little sweets for a somewhat unusual reason — chocolate started infuriating him. What isn’t revealed in the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is that making chocolates and pastries isn’t easy. In the movie, Willy Wonka makes artful chocolates in every way under the sun, but reality is not a movie, and Jouko’s experiences with chocolate taught him that. “I returned to chocolate because of the challenge. Chocolate is infuriating as an ingredient, as it reacts with the moisture in

the air and with the ambient temperature. Sometimes it feels like even when you follow all the same steps in exactly the same way, the resulting chocolate is different”, says Jouko Rajanen, the entrepreneur of ChocoDeli. “I don’t want to do things the easy way. There have to be challenges in life to keep things interesting”, Rajanen continues. Being an entrepreneur is challenging in all fields, and the competitive café and restaurant industry in Rovaniemi and Lapland is no exception. Rajanen’s two decades of experience have helped him break through the competition and establish a small but successful chocolate café in the centre of Rovaniemi. “As an entrepreneur, you always have to figure out ways to stand out from the

rest. Our most popular and prized products are our chocolate-cloudberry confections and smoked reindeer chocolate”, Rajanen reveals. ChocoDeli is located in a prime position in the main pedestrian mall in Rovaniemi. As soon as you enter, you can sense Jouko’s passion for chocolate. Although that passion might not be as crazy as Willy Wonka’s, there’s no denying that Jouko loves chocolate, and so do many others.




Relax in a spa in the centre of Rovaniemi Rovaniemi is known for its winter sports but there are places for indoor sports too. Right in the centre of Rovaniemi there is the swimming pool and spa called Vesihiisi. The sports centre is good for sports swimmers as well as wellness travellers wanting a bit of spa relaxation. When the springtime sunshine sparkles off the snow, it’s wonderful to take a break indoors, lean back, relax, and let the spa’s massaging bubbles caress your body. TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS Vesihiisi


esihiisi’s facilities include a 25-metre pool with 1-metre and 3-metre diving boards plus a 5-metre diving platform. There’s even a paddling pool for children and a bigger pool with fun slides. For people looking for a bit of special treatment, there’s the Laguuni pool with all sorts of water massaging devices and a jacuzzi setup. For whole family Vesihiisi is perfect for families with children, and you can easily spend many enjoyable hours there with your family. You can loan swimsuits, towels and swimming goggles from the reception, so unplanned visits are not a problem.


Even though Vesihiisi has been operating as the city’s swimming hall since 1967, the building is still in good condition. Visitors can experience the heady steam of the large, traditional

BELOW Vesihiisi has outside pools as well, which are open during summer time.

Finnish saunas both before and after taking a dip in the pools. And if all of that is not enough, there is also a gym that you can use for a separate fee.



ARCTIC SNOWHOTEL AND GLASS IGLOOS The hotel that is rebuilt from scratch every year A northern lights spotter is on guard to wake you up in your igloo in the middle of the night. TEXT Tanja Hyväri PHOTOS Arctic Snowhotel and glass igloos mediabank


or some people, their dream is to travel far away to the other side of the equator to escape the dark northern winter. Other people are looking for darkness, cold, snow and ice. And still others are searching for such extremes that they spend their nights outside in a snow hotel surrounded by snow and ice. Constructing buildings of snow and ice


is a thousand-year-old tradition in Lapland, and for about the past 20 years, this top know-how has been channelled into use in adventure travel services. One local company that rebuilds its ice and snow hotel from the ground up every single year is called Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos, located in Rovaniemi at Lehtojärvi. So, pull on your warmest socks and come on a journey with us to get to know them.

As I’m writing this article, it’s the coldest day of winter in Rovaniemi. The thermometer is at -32 degrees celsius but the entrepreneurs of SnowHotel, Ville and Heidi Haavikko, don’t mind. Heidi asks her husband where his company car is, and he replies that he left the car at home and came to the hotel by snowmobile instead, because it’s more reliable in all types of weather conditions.


Ice-cold Weddings These days, people wish to have wide-ranging experiences, and on that day at SnowHotel there was one such memorable moment. A Chinese couple, Olivia and Hono, were getting married in the chapel in the hotel’s snow castle. I believe that the bride will remember for the rest of her life that day with reindeer rides, ice drinks and of course the wedding ceremony. The only traditional part of the wedding was the bride’s wedding dress. Glass igloos and a world-famous northern lights spotter In addition to numerous snow hotel rooms, there are also a whole lot of other things at Ville and Heidi’s place. Dozens of glass igloos are there in the igloo village located in Mäntykangas especially for the friends of the northern lights, of the star-filled sky and of the midnight sun. From the glass igloos there are spectacular views of the northern sky. If you wish to, you can use the northern lights spotter service, and whenever the northern lights are visible, the spotter (known in Finnish as a ‘revontulivahti’) will wake you up. The ‘revontulivahti’ was a unique stroke of genius that was an international topic of conversation as soon as it was born. The northern lights spotter is a real worker whose job is to watch the sky for the northern lights. Thousands of job applications were sent in at the time, and it received worldwide attention. A sauna in the snow The accommodation area of SnowHotel is interesting and special, even for Finns. Many companies in Lapland head to the

unique snow sauna as the final act in their company parties. “The sauna is hot but it’s built in the snow — only the benches are wooden. The water thrown onto the hot stones forms a rather soft, foggy steam”, Ville Haavikko explains. The use of the sauna is time-limited because the snow starts melting slowly. The Master of the Sauna (known in Finnish as the ‘Saunamajuri’) herds the people out as soon as he notices that the walls have melted a couple of centimetres. “The great part about the snow sauna is that after a 15-minute break, you can return to the sauna because the walls freeze up so quickly”, Ville Haavikko says. “You can have a bath in the outdoor hot tub in the meantime”, he continues.

Romance and lovely food The snow hotel and igloos are full of romance. In addition to the building’s exterior, the entrepreneurs are focused on their restaurant and food services. “We have an ice bar, an ice restaurant, a hut restaurant and a snow mansion where hundreds of people can eat and have a great time together”, Heidi Haavikko adds.



HOSTEL CAFÉ KOTI Affordable quality accommodation in Rovaniemi

Café Hostel Koti (’Koti’ is the Finnish word for ’home’) is a homely and welcoming accommodation location in central Rovaniemi. Based on the numerable positive reviews on both and Tripadvisor, those looking for affordable yet high-quality accommodation in Rovaniemi should certainly check out this new hostel that has been open for a little over a year. TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS Visit Rovaniemi


he young founding partners of Hostel Café Koti, Tuulia Repo and Antti Piiparinen, came up with the idea of starting a business while travelling in the Philippines. For them, an important starting point for establishing the hostel was easy accessibility and a homely feeling. In addition to the cosy atmosphere, they have designed and created modern, great


premises. Everything in the hostel indicates that it has been designed with love. Even the café downstairs radiates a fresh and new kind of spirit, including its level of service. Tuulia and Antti’s hostel combines a modern spirit with a homely feeling. In the reception and the restaurant, you can sit on bean bags or cushions on large window sills in addition to the regular modern

furniture. The other shared spaces in the hostel are comfortable, spacious and communal. Even though Café Hostel Koti is quite popular, there is often free space because the hostel has 23 rooms, 3 dorms and one apartment. Altogether, there are 85 beds in the hostel. What makes the hostel special is the separate terrace on the upper level, called


Mökki (this is the Finnish word for ‘cabin’). In Mökki you can eat, enjoy a few drinks and even bathe in an old-fashioned bathtub. Sometimes there are cultural events such as dance courses or live music nights. In the wintertime, Mökki has certain weather limitations, but the bathtub can still be reserved. As a memorable experience, bathing in cold water on the roof of the hostel is likely to be special, even by global standards.



SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE a magical tourism centre on the Arctic circle The story goes that Santa Claus once visited the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi and was so deeply enchanted by it that he wanted to be available there for meetings every day of the year. The result is that today almost half a million people visit Santa in his very own Santa Claus Village.

TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS Visit Rovaniemi


ew visitors to Rovaniemi skip the Santa Claus Village, which isn’t surprising at all – the place is beautiful, interesting and magical. While visiting you should, however, be prepared for it to be very popular and hence crowded. There’s a lot to see and do for visitors of all ages, for families and for groups as well as for solo travellers. There are plenty of souvenir shops at the Santa Claus Village in addition to Santa’s Main Post Office, tour companies, cafés and restaurants. Today it’s possible to stay overnight in several different places closeby. And of course Santa Claus is available in his own Santa Claus Office


every day of the year. While visiting the Santa Claus Village you should stop by at the info desk for information, guided tour arrangements and for your copy of the Arctic Circle Crossing Certificate. The Santa Claus Village is located 8 kilome-

tres to the north of Rovaniemi along Highway 4. You can also get there by taxi and on the convenient and affordable local bus number 8.



TEXT Tanja Hyväri PHOTOS Santa Claus Office and Visit Rovaniemi


NICE THIS YEAR? The Santa Claus Office is open every day What does Santa do on his days off? Does he ever take a holiday? Well, the truth is that the man with the white beard doesn’t have so much free time these days. He spends so much of his time on the Arctic Circle near Rovaniemi, where you can visit him every day



here are as many questions about Santa Claus as there are question askers. Christmas isn’t quite yet just around the corner, but still there are many people already wondering if they have been naughty or nice. It’s likely that Santa Claus, one of the nicest people in the world, thinks that just trying hard to be nice is enough to keep you on the ‘nice’ list. There are over 300 000 visitors per year to the Santa Claus Office One of Santa Claus’s favourite places to meet people is the




LEFT This kind of officcial photo with Santa Claus is a perfect memory.

Santa Claus Office at the centre of his very own Santa Claus Village, located near Rovaniemi. He certainly keeps himself busy, welcoming about 300 000 visitors from all over the world every year. The record number of visitors is from the year 2011, when over 330 000 Christmas enthusiasts came to meet Santa Claus in person. The record isn’t very far away from being broken this year, though. As you can imagine, there’s quite a hubbub going on at the Arctic Circle! Free entrance Admission to the Santa

Claus Office is free. Sometimes there’s a bit of a line to meet Santa, but it’s well worth the short wait. Santa’s elves also run a shop where you can find all sorts of wonderful Christmas treasures and other souvenirs from the Santa Claus Office. Gratuate from Elves School Travellers and locals alike have always appreciated and admired the handsome building and the atmospheric interior decorations in the Santa Claus Office, and there truly are all kinds of things to see. In addition to the main attraction of Santa Claus, you can

enjoy the Christmas cheer of his elves, forget your everyday stresses and instead feel the peaceful spirit of Christmas. The smallest visitors can even go to the school for elves. I wonder what sorts of wonderful things the elves have already made this year! Meeting Santa, posing for a photo, getting the chance to chat with the busy man himself — these make memories for a lifetime. Your photos with jolly Santa will be a treasured keepsake for years to come. remenem senatilicae crei tam



HUSKY PARK Husky safaris enjoy huge popularity People come to Lapland for various reasons, including to see the Northern Lights, to visit Santa Claus, to enjoy the pristine environment or to take advantage of the excellent skiing opportunities, but one of the highlights of the Lapland experience is the huskies. Husky dog sleigh rides are growing more and more popular by the year, so I decided to test my ’need for speed’ at Husky Park, located at the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi. TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS Timo Tapaninen

If Husky Park at the Arctic Circle has been operating in the Santa Claus Village for decades. On the day I visited, there were 84 huskies, including three adorable female puppies only 3 months old. When I called to them, they came to greet me but soon returned to their bunk to sleep, and understandably so - being a puppy is hard work! Mild days are not the best for the dogs My day at Husky Park was one of the spring season’s first mild days, so the snow was soft and the dogs had a bit of hard


time getting up to full speed. They were lucky, though, that I was in the sleigh alone, and it felt to me that the sleigh was flying along the track, fast yet safe. I heard some people complaining that the dogs were slow, but given the difficult conditions of the day, I think their speed was understandable. No matter how excited you are or what expectations you have, we all need to keep in mind that dogs are just dogs, and they have their limitations. Dogs are central

In Husky Park, the centre of all the action is the dogs, which are all genuine purebred Siberian huskies. The dogs’ welfare is very important to the staff, which is of course positive for everyone involved. The premises at the Arctic Circle are quite full with dogs, and due to the tight space and in order to ensure the dogs’ welfare, the stalls have been arranged such that you can’t see all the dogs as you arrive. At first I wondered where all the dogs were, but then I was guided to the right place.

SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE Open daily Husky Park is open every day of the year, including during the summer, when the safaris are run using sleighs with rollers. The shorter rides of 500m and 2000m, which I tried, don’t need to be booked in advance, as they run non-stop. The longer safaris, which can last for hours, do need to be pre-booked. And don’t worry, even a first-timer like me can participate in the safari,since you don’t need any experience in working a dog sleigh.


about any detail related to the dogs and they are more than happy to answer your questions and tell you all about their first love: the dogs. One of the most beautiful dogs was the mother of the three female puppies, and she happily posed for my photos. I also spotted a cheeky guy with bright blue eyes attached to the sleigh, exposing himself for the camera. Dogs will be dogs!

Pet the dogs even without a safari The Husky Park dogs are super cute, and you can say hello to them even without participating in a safari – the entrance fee to the park is enough. However, dogs will be dogs, and they don’t always behave exactly as we might wish them to. On the day that I visited, most of the dogs were happily at work, attached to the sleighs for the enjoyment of the snow-run. I found the staff at Husky Park to be very professional and friendly. You can ask them




The new Three Elves Restaurant has special atmosphere

recommend pre-booking a table.

TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS Santa Claus Holiday Village


anta Claus Holiday Village is run by a family business Napapiirin Lahja Oy, which has been operating in Santa Claus Village since 1994. It is managed by second generation entrepreneur Inga Jääskö-Pokka with her husband Marko Jääskö. In Santa Claus Holiday Village, you can meet the Santa, participate in different kinds of activities and safaris, accommodate, shop for souvenirs and Lappish products and get your stomach filled in one of the many restaurants. The Santa Claus Village is located in the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi. The first buildings you are likely to see in the Village are part of the Santa Claus Holiday Village. The new main building is home to Three Elves


Restaurant, which is a Lappish restauran¬t with a special atmosphere. The recently completed restaurant has seen its first Christmas season. ”The first year of the restaurant has been very busy, as is the case for the whole Village. The basic functioning of the restaurant is now in order, and we have received a lot of good feedback”, says Inga Jääskö-Pokka. Three Elves Restaurant has 140 customer places and it is open daily. It offers delicacies which are full of genuine, clean flavours and Lappish ingredients. The selection includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, a la carte dinner, drinks and coffee. The restaurant suits equally well families with children, groups, and others. We

BELOW Happy customer of Three Elves Restaurant

Santa Claus can be met also privately The most famous person in Finland is also renowned for his moves, which are fastest in the world. In Santa Claus Village you can meet him every day in for instance Christmas House of the Santa Claus Holiday Village, but he also makes private visits to company cabins. The Santa Claus paying a private visit to people’s homes



The cabins where we have spent the nights are really nice and exactly similar to what was promised on the webpage. RIGHT Inga Jääskö and Santa Claus

has a long tradition in Finland, but in many other countries he only visits discreetly at night time. While you are in Finland, you should make sure you experience first-hand what it feels like when Santa himself hands you the presents. Lapland’s cheapest reindeer skins from the store Santa Claus Holiday Village souvenir store is one of the first stores that was established in Santa Claus Village. The store provides traditional Lappish products and souvenirs such as foodstuffs, postcards, t-shirts and traditional Lappish wooden mugs. Our writers, who have toured dozens of Lappish stores, noted that the store sells Lapland’s cheapest reindeer skins. A new hotel under construction The arctic circle area and

BELOW Superior Cottage of Santa Claus Holiday Village

Santa Claus Village are enjoying a huge popularity in Rovaniemi. New services are being built and this demand is answered also by Santa Claus Holiday Village by opening a brand-new hotel in the area this autumn. It will be located just next to the existing buildings. ”Our new hotel will include 24 rooms from twin rooms all the way to suites. Every room will have a sauna and the design will be high-quality and gorgeous”, reveals Inga Jääskö-Pokka.

Satisfied customers We found Esra Eren, a Turkish visitor, in Three Elves Restaurant of the Santa Claus Holiday Village. She is satisfied with her stay: ”The cabins where we have spent the nights are really nice and exactly similar to what was promised on the webpage. Also the staff are friendly and the transport connections are good.” Esra, who is visiting Rovaniemi with her husband, says that the holiday hasn’t gone exactly according to plans. “My husband slipped outside and hurt his arm. You have to be careful here, since snow and ice are everywhere”, Esra says. Before the slipping accident, Esra had done several nice things in the Arctic Circle. “We have had such a good time. We’ve been walking around a lot, been on husky and reindeer rides, and tried snowmobiles as well”, she smiles.


LAPLANDNEWS LOCAL PRODUCTS 7 DIFFERENT NATURAL SYRUPS Flavours and colours orginate from the forrest and meadows of Lapland. Perfect for cooking, baking and flavouring desserts. Enjoy with pancakes, ice-cream, yoghurt or cheese. 7 different lappish flavours; new shoots of spruce, buckthorn, cloudberry, bilberry, cranberry, lingonberry and rowan.

NATURAL JELLIES AND JAMS Taste of berries that have flourish under the midnight sun. All ingredients are collected from nature or are organically cultivated. Enjoy with pancakes, ice-cream, yoghurt or cheese. 6 different jellies; bilberry, cloudberry, lingonberry, cranberry, blackcurrant, bucthorn 2 different jams; cloudberry and arctic bramble.


HERBS & SWEETS Taste the pure summer of Lapland. Tea, spices and sweets made of Lappish herbs and berries – no artificial colours, flavours or preservation agents.

NATURAL SWEETS FROM LAPLAND Delicious with cheece or on their own. Colours and flavours from natural berries and herbs. No artificial sweeteners. Anneli´s Herbs & Sweets uses plant-based pectin as a gelling agent and citric acid as a preservative. 9 different flavours; aurora borealis, sweet mix (Christmas), cranberry, bilberry, crowberries, cloudberry, lingonberry, strawberry, strawberry, garden angelica.




AN ENTREPRENEUR CRAZY FOR HERBS and a pioneer in her field TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS Tanja Hyväri & Anneli´s Facebook


apland is known for its natural environment and its clean and delicious natural produce. Lappish people, on the other hand, are known for their perseverance and diligence. These two traits are combined in Anneli Tahvonen, an entrepreneur who calls herself “Crazy Herb”. Crazy or not, Anneli is one of the pioneers of the natural produce business in Lapland and is a respected figure in the field. She has made a living out of what many thought was complete herb-nonsense a few decades ago, and in 2016 she received official recognition for her work when she was chosen as Rovaniemi’s Rural Entrepreneur of the Year.

all over Finland to showcase her products. Whenever you see Anneli somewhere, she always has a big smile on her face. She learned the importance of customer service and a positive attitude during her time working in the tourism industry. Quality is non-negotiable for Anneli High-quality ingredients, detailed preparation recipes, strict hygiene requirements and continuous product development are the cornerstones of Anneli’s

Herbs and Sweets, and Anneli wants to keep her customers satisfied. “The most important measure of quality is customer satisfaction. As long as we make high-quality products, we will have customers”, she says. Natural ingredients Anneli’s Herbs and Sweets sources all their product ingredients either from organic farms or straight from the clean Lappish natural environment. “We don’t use any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. For coagulation we use plant-based pectin and as a preservative we use citric acid”, Anneli finishes.

Herbs familiar from recipes Anneli previously worked in the field of tourism and catering and became interested in herbs at the beginning of the 1990s. She used to work in different Lappish restaurants where herbs were used as a part of the Lappish recipes, and in 1998 she established her own business, Anneli’s Herbs and Sweets. Anneli’s production facilities and the store are located in Rovaniemi in an old school in Pöykkölä. Dozens of different kinds of natural products are produced there, and the entrepreneur herself travels to different trade fairs



PLAY GOLF LIKE SANTA CLAUS us. The field conditions are spectacular in Rovaniemi, and when the weather is good, there’s no better activity for a golf enthusiast.

TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTO Santa Claus Golf

until the beginning of April. The course is played twice, and you can pause for a cup of coffee between rounds.


anta Claus Golf is one of the most unique golf centres in the world. In addition to the traditional summer golf greens, you can play golf on white tracks in Rovaniemi in the winter. The nine-hole golf course is open from the middle of February as long as the weather is suitable - most likely

What’s it like to play golf in the snow? On the spring snow, golf is played with orange balls, with normal winter clothing and shoes. You can pull your clubs in a sled behind you or carry them in a bag that you can rent directly from the Santa Claus Golf Club. If you get lucky like we did on our visit, you’ll run into Santa while playing. Playing golf on the snow is fun! You can circle the track faster in winter than in the summer, which was a bit of a surprise to

You can try it just for fun or sign up for a competition Groups can try out snow-golf with a teacher and also without a green card. What’s great about the area is that those who aren’t interested in golf can go to Ounasvaara for some downhill or cross-country skiing. In the winter, the golf club arranges the Santa SnowGolf Classic competition on the 17th and 18th of March. This year there’s also a Santa Speed Golf series, which is always played in the morning before the main competition event.

TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTO Hpguru



hen the Veikkausliiga, Finland’s highest-level football league, kicks off in April, it’s still winter in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland. The bright spring snow and the weather conditions are at their most beautiful, and the absolute best skiing weather is just about to start too. Lapland is full of skiing travellers and there’s beautiful, clean-white snow every-

where. The local football team, RoPS (the Football Club of Rovaniemi) starts its playing season in the same wintery conditions on the 8th of April, while the skiing tracks circling the green central field in the centre of the city are still in heavy use.

3660 season tickets sold for this season This year’s interest in football in

Rovaniemi has been stronger than ever before. RoPS decided to decrease the prices for season tickets and managed to sell 3660 season tickets at the beginning of the year for the season starting in April. This number is remarkable, as there are only 62 000 people living in the city of Rovaniemi.

37 37




There are good bus connections from Rovaniemi and Oulu to Ranua. You can easily get there with your own car and you won’t have to pay for parking.

• The first passenger submarine was brought to Simojärvi, Ranua, in 1988. The vessel, costing 10 million Finnish marks, was manufactured at the dock in Turku, which was owned by Wärtsilä’s subsidiary company. “Golden Trout” was the first submarine to be used in tourism. It accommodated 50 passengers and it was able to dive as deep as 100 metres.

THE ZOO IS OPEN EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR: Definitely the biggest attraction in Ranua is the arctic zoo, which you can read more about on the following pages.

TO SEE AND DO • Fazer’s candy shop at the zoo • Tenavakulma, also at the zoo, a shop for kids and families • Lakes, cloudberry swamps and the amazing natural environment of Ranua, easily accessible in just a few minutes

TO EXPERIENCE • You can take part in all sorts of wonderful activities and safaris in the area of Ranua Zoo. Popular activities are ice-fishing trips, horse rides, husky and snowmobile safaris, northern lights hunting and snowshoe trips.

When the submarine was eagerly brought to Ranua, nobody remembered that the muddy inland waters of Simojärvi make for very poor viewing. The project was a total flop at the time and received huge publicity in Finland. The submarine itself was later sold to the Mediterranean countries but the submarine station still existed. Today at that location there are gorgeous, historical and unique accommodation premises called Simojärvi Kulturanta. The facilities are suitable for meetings and for groups of approximately 20 people.

2 TIPS: The animal feeding shows and programmes Animals are animals, and seeing them can be tricky at times. Their camouflage colour and their desire to stay secluded are some of the reasons why they remain hidden to us. In order to maximise your possibility of viewing the animals, we recommend that you ask about the feeding shows at the zoo.

• Known for its Arctic Zoo and Cloudberry Market • Located about 80km south-east of Rovaniemi • Area of 3 694 km² and population 3 996 • There are a lot of fish-filled lakes in the municipality area • The swampy areas of Ranua are the most well-known in Finland, and towards the end of summer the municipality fills up with berry pickers looking for ‘yellow gold’ – cloudberries

DID YOU KNOW: The name Ranua means ‘raw land’. The name was given so that the people living there could live in peace and protect all but their raw land area. TIP: The villages of Ranua have plenty to offer, so you should go and explore beyond the zoo area.

Ask at the tourism info desk Ranua is a municipality where tourism is developing at a fast rate, but the glossy brochures and internet websites don’t hold all the information. You should talk with the locals and with the people in the tourism industry because they can give you good insider tips on what you can do in Ranua.





A GIANT MALE POLAR BEAR? A polar bear cub named Sisu was born in Ranua in November 2016. The brown-eyed cutie has grown into a charming male bear the size of his mother and has become a prime attraction at Ranua Zoo. TEXT Tanja Hyväri PHOTOS RanuaZoo


olar bears are an endangered species and they are also the world’s biggest predator The latest arrival, Sisu, now weighs the same as his mother — a whopping 300 kilograms. So, in a year and a half, the polar bear cub has grown about 600 grams a day. Polar bear cubs don’t hibernate, so spring is a great time to visit Ranua to meet the only polar bears in Finland, Sisu and his mother Venus. At the same time, you also get to see 50 other arctic and northern animal species, including brown bears waking up from their hibernation.

Ranua is a year-round tourist attraction Many of the tourist areas in Lapland struggle somewhat because of their seasonal nature — the peaks of the tourists seasons are deep winter or high summer. Ranua doesn’t have this challenge, however, because the animals in the zoo are interesting regardless of the weather conditions or seasons.


“At the moment the winter’s already seen more visitors than the summer. In the summer, exploring the park is warm and nice but on the other hand, the animals can be seen more clearly in the winter”, says Tommi Hinno, the Managing Director of the zoo. Ranua is known for its zoo but you can experience plenty of other things in the municipality area. The town of Ranua offers visitors unforgettable experiences at reindeer farms, horse farms and also at more special and high-quality accommodation locations. Ranua turns into a cloudberry municipality in the summer, and the biggest event of the year, the Hillamarkkinat (Cloudberry Market), attracts thousands of visitors. Ranua is one of the best areas for picking berries, and you cannot escape the town without catching ‘cloudberry fever’. You can easily access Ranua from Rovaniemi or Oulu, which themselves have good flight, bus and train connections. Buses are widely operated to Ranua. When

driving your own car, it’s good to remember that there are a lot of reindeer on the move on the roads, especially in the summer time. The zoo area is growing and diversifying at a fast pace The area of Ranua Zoo and its surroundings is one of the most interesting in Lapland. The arctic animals are in a unique environment and you can easily spot them in the zoo. Preview the feeding schedules in advance and schedule your visit so as not to miss these times. Popular programmed services and winter activities such as snowmobile safaris, snowshoe and ice-fishing trips, husky or horse safaris and northern lights expeditions can be booked directly at the Wildlife Safaris office located in the zoo. The zoo also has its own popular high-quality Wild Arctic Restaurant and


Café White Swan, which is known for its tasty specialty coffees. You can easily spend several days in the zoo area because there’s a lot to see and do. You can also find new quality accommodation locations such as the holiday village Gulo Gulo, which has its own article in the next spread. Shopping for chocolate, wine and more There are plenty of great shopping opportunities in the zoo’s castle, and you can find the perfect souvenir from Lapland or a fun accessory to take home. The store, located in the main building, is a paradise for animal lovers who might want to take home their very own polar bear. There’s also a Fazer candy store in the zoo castle for those with a sweet tooth, and the range of products available is staggering. Karl Fazer, the father of the Fazer company, founded his patisserie store in the autumn of 1891, making it one of the oldest and most beloved companies in Finland. Today Fazer is one of Today Fazer is one of the most famous Finnish brands. You can’t visit Finland without buying Fazer’s classic blue chocolate at the very least. For grown-ups, there’s also a wine store whose products have been made of pure natural berries. The most popular products in the shop are cloudberry wines and liqueurs. Families can stop by Tenavakulma to buy kids’ clothing, toys and gifts.




GULO - a new chalet village at Ranua Zoo TEXT Tanja Hyväri PHOTOS Gulo Gulo



ou can experience the Arctic’s amazing natural wonders in all their glory in the town of Ranua, from the months of midnight sun in summer, the spectacular display of colourful leaves in autumn, the eerily beautiful polar nights and early winters mystical soft darkness, the Aurora Borealis in the depths of winter, the sparkle of the snowfields in the late winter and finally to spring’s “powerful break” back into the renewed summer. Ranua also offers high-quality accommodation and great sleeping options close to Ranua Zoo. Meet the arctic animals Gulo Gulo is the Latin name of a rare Finnish mustelid, the wolverine. Arctic animals are a part of the modern image of the cabins while still being close to nature, and accordingly, the apartments are named after arctic animals, including the snow-


white polar bear, lynx, wolverine, and wolf as well as the beaver, bear, eagle-owl, arctic fox, raven, and comical moose. The new holiday village has 20 apartments with modern comforts in ten two-storey duplexes for a total of 120 beds. Eighteen of the apartments are Superior Holiday Apartments, and two of them are Deluxe Rooms. The Superior Apartments are 65m2 in size, and the Deluxe Rooms are 76m2. Excellent restaurant services GuloGulo´s well-equipped apartments are perfect for independent living, but excellent restaurant services are very close too. Your pets are welcome in some of the apartments for an additional charge. Like Ranua Zoo, Gulo Gulo is open all year round. In addition to the helpful tourist centre, there is a restaurant, conference rooms, shops, an animal park, playground,


ice and snow sculptures made for children plus many other attractions, making the service point a memorable experience for both children and adults. Our own experience was intimate and cosy We stayed at Gulo Gulo during the ”Cloudberry market” last summer. The cabins’ exterior gave us the impression that the interior would also be of high quality, and we were not disappointed. We were particularly taken with the handsome animal figures on the outer wall. Gulo Gulo’s cabins have all the elements of high-quality accommodation; solid architecture, high-quality materials, and a welcoming atmosphere. We felt comfortable and enjoyed a great night’s sleep in the lovely cabins at Gulo Gulo.





TRAVELLING CONNECTIONS: • Kuusamo has its own airport only 8 kilometres from the city centre and 20 kilometres from Ruka. There are good bus connections to Kuusamo from Rovaniemi and especially from Oulu. Kuusamo is a border city to Russia, so it’s easy to arrive from anywhere. There’s a relatively good highway between Oulu and Kuusamo.

TO SEE AND DO • Nature centre of Oulanka • Hannu Hautala nature photo centre • The Predator Centre of Kuusamo • Local History Museum of Kuusamo

TO EXPERIENCE • All sorts of guided services and safaris can be found in the area of Ruka-Kuusamo • It’s recommended that you try out more special activities like yoga or body therapies which are offered in the area of Ruka • Those seeking the extreme can try out river floating in the Kiveskoski rapids


EVENTS 10-17 March: Kidventure Week 2018 New in Ruka! Kidventure is days full of action for the whole family. In co-operation with Reima. 12-15 March: Alpine Skiing FIS Competition Alpine Skiing FIS Competition on the FIS slope in Ruka. With the best slalom skiers of Finland and Nordic countries, come along to enjoy watching the competition. 12-15 April: Ruka Ski Pride 2018 Ruka Ski Pride is a downhill skiing event highlighting the equality of the rainbow nation. 19-22 April: Ski or Die 2018 Chosen as the best downhill skiing event of both Europe and of the world, Ski or Die is taking over Ruka! 24-27 May: NUTS Karhunkierros Ultrarun 2018 An international ultrarunning competition is being arranged for the fourth time on the hiking trail Karhunkierros. A total of 2500 runners will race across various distances.

• The winter sports centre Ruka located in Kuusamo has developed into a versatile leisure centre and has become one of the most popular tourism locations in Finland • Karhunkierros and the Oulanka National Park are the city’s favourite locations for nature enthusiasts • Located in the north-eastern part of the province of Northern Ostrobothnia, but its terrain is so similar to Lapland that it’s often considered a part of Lapland • Area of 5808 km² and population 15 391 • Good fishing opportunities are located right in the city area in the Kitka River • Kuusamo is one of the most popular cottage municipalities in Finland with approximately 7500 cottages in the area – one cottage per two people

2 TIPS: Kiutaköngäs is amazing • Kiutaköngäs, located in the Oulanka River, is a series of waterfalls across 325 metres. During the trip down the rapids, the river descends 14 metres, causing massive foaming. At the time of the spring floods, the current is at its strongest, and the surrounding landscape is rough yet pretty. SaunaTour • It’s possible to take a sauna in all kinds of different places in Kuusamo. SaunaTour offers sauna experiences every weekday. Each sauna has its own story that makes it unique. Under the name of SaunaTour, the company Wellbeing in Wilderness runs nine companies from Kuusamo: Isokenkäisten Klubi, Nordic Holidays, Rukan Salonki, Ruka Safaris, Ruka 911 and Rantasipi Rukahovi.

DID YOU KNOW: The founder of The Predator Center of Kuusamo, Sulo Karjalainen, sleeps with bears. A statue of him and his bears is located in the centre of the city. TIP: You should watch the weather forecast carefully in the spring. The weather in Kuusamo can vary from severe morning frost to above-zero conditions in the afternoon, when you can ski in just a t-shirt on the slopes of Ruka.




SUVANTO LIFESTYLE Fishing and outdoor shopper’s paradise

In Finland or even all around the world, there aren’t too many lure fishers who haven’t run into Kuusamo Uistin Professor Lures or Räsänen Lures. If you’re hearing about them for the very first time, now is the perfect chance to explore this historic company and its products. TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS Kuusamon Uistin and Tanja Hyväri


uusamo Uistin was founded in 1967, and although the company is now Finland’s largest manufacturer of metal lures, its first lures were actually wooden wobblers. The most revolutionary times of the company were seen in the 1970s and 1980s, when Kuusamo Uistin acquired the rights to both the Räsänen and Professor brands and subsequently started to create an identity for them whilst also developing a wide range of lures. Plenty of water has flowed in Finland’s


northern fishing rivers, and nowadays 51-year-old Kuusamo Uistin is a real lure fisher’s oasis. The company’s factory outlet is located in Kuusamo, just across the main road to Ruka. There you can find all of the company’s available lures — about 1000 different types in total — as well as discontinued products, trial batches with slight imperfections, and unique lures with colour defects. Customer service plays a major role Fishing supplies are commonly bought

online these days, but oftentimes there is limited product information provided. When we visited Kuusamo Uistin, we sat in the cafeteria and enjoyed a long conversation about the history of lure fishing and its present status. According to CEO Kimmo Korpua, their professional service is responsible for the high number of visitors tens of thousands per year. “Fishing is the kind of hobby in which advice is priceless. It’s challenging for travellers to know, based solely on images, which lures



are the perfect ones, and so our visitors come here to ask for our expert advice”, says Korpua. New lures are developed based on experience Lures often take a decade before achieving legendary popularity. Current lure designer Jyri Junttila doesn’t pressure himself to make successful lures though. “Only the future knows which lures will actually begin to sell. We can’t predict a

lure’s popularity,” says Junttila, who has worked for Kuusamo Uistin for six years now. Creating lures requires testing and experimentation from Junttila. He has extensive fishing connections, and oftentimes his lures are tested for years before they reach the market. “A good example is one of my most popular lures, named KUMMA. Getting it to swim properly was extremely hard and took an eternity”, recalls Junttila, laughing.

Suvanto Lifestyle brings a range of leisure products to the factory outlet The Suvanto Lifestyle store, which belongs to the same company, also operates on the Kuusamo Uistin premises. According to sales manager Annukka Nevala, they aim to offer their customers leisure clothing, accessories and souvenirs. “We sell wilderness accessories, gift items, decorative rugs and animal hides. We also have our own clothing collection for women called Bypias”, says Nevala.



RUKAPALVELU TURNS THE DREAM OF LAPLAND INTO REALITY A new hotel also opened What kind of image do you have of Lapland? I’ll let you think about it for a while... Or can I guess? There’s a lot of snow, maybe the northern lights, snowshoeing in the spring, and magnificent timber buildings that are as magical and enchanting on the inside as they are on the outside. Maybe you also have an image of snowmobiles, ice swimming, spectacular tar-scented saunas, or bathing in the middle of the forest either under the midnight sun or in the total darkness of the polar night. TEXT Tanja Hyväri PHOTOS Rukapalvelu


ll this might sound too good to be true, but in Kuusamo, at the heart of Ruka Fell, Rukapalvelu offers all of those activities and more. This spring, according to entrepreneur Jokke Kämäräinen, they have also opened the brand new Arctic Zone Hotel on their premises in order to meet their guests’ needs better. “We arelocated right at the heart of the Rukakeskus and our goal is to be with the customersall the time. We want to show off all the wonderful features that


the region has to offer and give our guests an enjoyable experience”, says Kämäräinen. The new hotel fulfils Ruka’s ever-growing accommodation needs. It is a 6-storey, high-quality alpine-style hotel that can accommodate up to 64 people at a time. On the sixth floor there is a large club room that is perfect for wedding parties and other special functions.

Deeper Arctic Experiences on Your Holiday Jokke Kämäräinen is one of themost experienced and well known entrepreneurs in the Ruka area. Rukapalvelu’s tours and expeditions are often tailored to meet customers’ wishes, and they can implement even the wildest of desires regarding outdoor nature activities or taste sensations. Even individualsed trips to the Russianside of the border are possible


”TAILORED ADVENTURES” Great Wildlife Camps for Groups Over the decades, Rukapalvelu has built a stunning base in the Kuusamo area. In addition to Ruka Centre restaurant Zone and the new hotel, they have large camps and bath houses a short distance away from the Ruka area. All Rukapalvelu camps are located in natural settings. One of these settings, North Seita, is a mystical place of shamans and sacrificial spots. Mika Määttä, Sales Manager for Rukapalvelu, says that clients often marvel at the atmosphere in North Seita. “People often come here straight from the airport by snowmobile, sled or huskies. When they see a fireplace and hundreds of bright candles, some of the can only stare in wonder,” says Määttä. Romance and Wilderness Dining Food and beverages play a major role in wilderness camps. The world’s most romantic restaurant, Kammi, is an unforgettable experience. The camp, located mostly underground, is simply a beautiful place to enjoy the excellent service and delicious food. Pohjantähti, in the village of Juuma on the shore of the river Kitkajoki, is the most charming place in the summertime. The camp is also perfect as a river rafting resting point. You can easily find more information about the wilderness camps on the internet.



RIIPISEN THE BEST FINNISH WILD GAME MEAT The story of Riipisen began with a love for nature and natural products by Pekka “Wild Game” Riipinen and Miss Finland 1979 Päivi Riipinen. Ever since he was a young boy, Pekka has been a passionate hunter and fisher, and Päivi used to pick mushrooms and berries in the Kuusamo woodlands. Together they used their wild ingredients to create delicious meals straight from clean nature to the dinner plate. TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS Riipisen


n 1989, Päivi and Pekka Riipinen decided to make their dreams come true and founded a small game meat shop in the centre of Kuusamo. They offered bear,


reindeer, moose and alligator meat back then. From dream to reality in 1992 One cold and snowy morning in January 1992, Päivi woke


Riipisen is known across the world for its fried vendace fish

up with a vivid dream. After rubbing her eyes for a while, she woke her husband Pekka and said, “I had a dream that we rented a place in Ruka and I had pictures of dollars in my eyes!” Ordered by his wife, Pekka had to leave for Ruka at once and there was no coming back before finding premises for a store. After arriving in Ruka, he spotted Kelo Café, a skiing-break cabin with 30 customer places, at the foot of the ski slopes. Pekka had a look inside and noted that it was empty. Three weeks later, on 17



The Riipisen Wild Game Restaurant’s chefs prepare hand-made game delicacies from natural products.

February 1992, they opened Riipisen Game Café and Shop (nowadays known as Riipisen Wild Game Restaurant). People took wild game delicacies home As the restaurant activities grew, the customers began to carry the food all the way home, even for hundreds of kilometres, to enjoy the delicacies of the wild game restaurant at home. The couple decided to start preserving the clean northern natural products of game meat, fish and berries. And so Riipisen riistaherkut (Riipinen’s game delicacies) was born. A wild game restaurant in Ruka In December 2000, the Riipinen couple bought the Ruka restaurant real estate for themselves, and a year later they opened the extended and renovated 150-seat restaurant, styled and designed by Päivi. A game meat and souvenir store was opened by Highway 5 in Kuusamo in 2005.

RIGHT Some natural products of Riipisen Riistaherkut.

The sons are in charge Riipisen Riistaherkut have expanded their business premises several times and the traditional company has also begun selling their products online. The business is currently run by the Riipinen’s sons, Markus and Mikael. BELOW The atmosphere in Riipisen Wild game restaurant is just amazing

The Riipinen wild game restaurant is the best in Finland The 150-seat RiipiSen Wild Game Restaurant is located in Ruka at the foot of Kelorinne

slope, only 300 metres from the Ruka walking centre. The restaurant has been named the best Finnish game restaurant and it is known across the world for its fried vendace fish, a local delicacy. The same title has been given to Riipisen Game, Fish and Berry products, which are manufactured in the Riipinen’s own ‘food paradise’ in Kuusamo. The Riipisen Wild Game Restaurant’s chefs prepare hand-made game delicacies from natural products. They offer reindeer, moose and bear every day – and don’t forget the little vendace fish too. The restaurant is quite popular, so we recommend making table reservations and enquiries beforehand. You can also order takeaway food from the restaurant. Information about orders and reservarions will be found from




just got awarded the Green Key Certificate How do you choose your accommodation? Is the location the most important factor, or do price and quality come first? How about the available services or perhaps the accommodation’s environmental footprint? TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS Sokos Hotel Kuusamo


ore and more travellers are considering the ‘softer’ values of their accommodation in addition to the traditional location-quality-price way of thinking. The Green Key Certificate is a global sign that the values and practices of the accommodation company stand up to ethical review. Just this year, Sokos Hotel Kuusamo was the first hotel in the north-east to be awarded the certificate. The Green Key Certificate is proof that the accommodation location is com mitted to increasing its staff and customers’ knowledge of environmental practices, of increasing their efficient use of water and overall reducing the environmental stresses caused by accommodation businesses. So what does this all mean in practice? “In our hotel, our waste disposal practices and recycling policies are up-todate. We have examined how frequently we wash our towels and we have also extended the time between changing bedsheets. Our showers also use water-saving measures”, says Laura Takkula, Green Key spokesperson for the hotel.


Sokos Hotel Kuusamo is also concentrating on other areas related to environmental concerns, including offering local sports and nature experiences, and the hotel has vastly expanded both its free and paid guided services in recent years. “We want our customers to experience the northern environment that can found right in the backyard of the hotel”, says Vesa Ronkainen, Hotel Manager for Sokos Hotel Kuusamo. When it comes to extra and custom services, the hotel features a sauna, a jacuzzi and a grill hut, all built on the hotel premises and where paying guests can enjoy their own refreshments. Bigger groups can order the “Bear Olympics” programme in which they get to compete against one another in traditional Finnish cottage sports. You can also rent skis, skiing equipment, snowshoes and snowmobiles at the hotel for use in the snow-fun area or to make your own trips around the centre of Kuusamo or to nearby Toranki Lake. And if there are any fishing enthusiasts in your group, you can borrow fishing equipment at the reception.

BELOW You can also meet the reindeer at Sokos Hotel Kuusamo

Kuusamo is known for its natural environment and peaceful atmosphere. It’s possible to make easy daytrips from Sokos Hotel Kuusamo to four completely different national parks: Oulanka, Hossa, Riisitunturi and Syöte.





POWDER RUNS AND WARM AMBIANCE IN PICTURESQUE SNOWSCAPES “Overall, Salla was a very positive experience. There was plenty to do on a two-week holiday”, says Joonas Linkola, entrepreneur and passionate traveller, whose breathtaking nature photography has almost 100,000 followers on Instagram. He spent two weeks in Salla with friends inspired about TEXT and PHOTOS Salla Ski Resort / Joonas Linkola




Downhill skiing was the holiday’s number one activity. The outstanding conditions on Salla’s ski slopes receive praise from experienced skiers. “Slopes are well maintained and there are plenty to offer in respect to the numbers of skiers. There is plenty of space, so you can concentrate on simply skiing enjoyment. Fortunately for us, it snowed a bit more on our holiday, so even the off-piste runs got better day after day”, Joonas adds. The two-week holiday was such a success, that even a small injury was not a worry. After resting for a few days, Joonas returned to the slopes. “Actually, the highlight of the entire holiday was getting back on the slopes, hitting the virgin powder on the back slopes. Joonas stayed with his friends in traditional log cabins. When having an active holiday, it is important for the accommodation to be functional – suffi-

cient space for organising equipment and drying clothes. The grounds were surrounded by nature and privacy was assured. “We put on our snowshoes, opened our cabin door and started hiking as soon as we stepped outside. Even the ski slopes are so close that the last run of the day you can ski right to your front door”, Joonas chuckles. Lots of activities In addition to the ski slopes, off-piste runs and pleasant ski slope restaurants, Joonas and his friends also experienced other activities, such as husky and snowmobile safaris. Joonas usually prefers more independent travel, but this time he decided to enjoy an organised program. “For once it was nice to go without any plans. The standard of customer service exceeded all our expectations. The folk in Salla are really laidback, chatty and welcoming, and they really were very considerate.


Joonas thinks Salla is ideal for people who seek adventure, people who partying but love being close to nature. “Salla is extremely picturesque; immaculately tidy, untouched and full of elegance. On the night before Christmas we climbed to the summit of the Salla Fell. We admired the crown snow loaded trees in the moonlight. Once we saw the Northern Lights flaming overhead, imagine what an awesome Christmas gift this natural spectacle was!”


REINDEER CHIPS a popular delicacy, were created by accident

Hannu Lahtela, a reindeer herder from Salla, is a relentless advocate for high-quality reindeer meat, and he has been a trusted supplier of reindeer meat to the best Finnish restaurants for ecades. Hannu’s clients have included the topclass restaurant Savoy in Helsinki, which once ordered Hannu’s reindeer salami to accompany their wine tasting experience. Preparing the order, Lahtela was slicing up his reindeer salami for the delivery to Helsinki and accidentally dropped one of the slices on the floor. The next day, he spotted the fallen slice and, out of curiosity, decided to taste it. The floor heating in his Lappish home had dried the slice and had produced the perfect chip-like flavour. This is how the first Poro-Chipsi (Reindeer Chip) was TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTO Tanja Hyväri


reating commercial reindeer chips is not easy, especially since preparing, packaging and marketing foodstuffs in the face of harsh international competition is quite a complex job. Hannu Lahtela’s tireless efforts were rewarded, and after three years of product development, the first reindeer chips entered the markets. His ancestors established the reindeer farm in the 17th century Hannu Lahtela is a reindeer man just like the men of many generations before him. Exactly how many men is difficult to say, since the family has included reindeer


herders for as long as reindeer husbandry has been practised in Finland. According to official records, Hannu’s ancestors have lived on the same reindeer farm in Saija since the 17th century. When Hannu says something about reindeer, it is worth listening to him. In addition to reindeer chips, Hannu’s company, Sallan Villiporo (which translates as ‘Salla Wild Reindeer), provides everything related to reindeer. According to Hannu, the reindeer in their reindeer grazing association are happy, and that is the secret of the tasty meat. “The Northern Salla Reindeer Grazing Association is special in the sense that the reindeer in the area are not farmed or fed, instead the animals

make it on their own. In the winter, the reindeer dig for lichen and they don’t waste energy by roaming around after food, so the meat is tasty and healthy”, says the reindeer man. Sallan Villiporo’s reindeer chips are sold in packs of 25 grams, and they are available in all wellequipped stores around Lapland and in several tourist attractions that have their own shops. The reindeer meat that they supply is also available in the restaurants of Royalravintolat and Lapland Safaris.




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OVER ONE BILLION PEOPLE HAVE SEEN THE PICTURE OF THE IGLOOS It all began when the car ran out of petrol TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTO Kakslauttanen

T t

he story of the owner of the Kakslauttanen Hotel, Juhani (Jussi) Eiramo, is worth telling – and is already a legend in itself. When he was a young man in his wenties, he was returning to his hometown of Kuopio from Utsjoki, where he had been on a fishing trip. He ran out of petrol in the area known as Kakslauttanen, close to Saariselkä, in Lapland. The old car’s petrol gauge had been broken for some time and he’d neglected to fix it. It was, however, a blessing in disguise, because Eiramo fell in love with the Saariselkä area and subsequently had a long-standing impact on Lappish tourism. There is another coincidence behind the story, this one related to Eiramo’s earlier work on a fish farm in Nilsiä. A parasite had infested the water of the fish farm, and operations needed to be stopped. Therefore, Eiramo started looking for another place to set up a fish farm. When his car ran out of


petrol, fisherman Eiramo was on a business trip to Lapland because of his new job, looking to get to know the area. He found a job alright, but not the one he was planning to find. Jussi Eiramo’s luck continued, since there was an undeveloped site in Kakslauttanen, and Jussi just wanted to see the site come to life. The owner of the site started negotiating with Eiramo, and by the following winter – 1972 – Jussi was the owner of the site in Kakslauttanen. In 1973 he began to look for funding for his planned building projects. Nobody believed in the idea at first His attempts to secure funding were not successful at first, and Finnvera, a Finnish state-owned financing company, rejected his application twice due to Eiramo’s lack of permanent income. But the third time was the charm, and Eiramo also persuaded his sister to join the project with a 10% share.

It did not take long before the first roadside café with a peat roof was ready in Kakslauttanen in the summer of 1974. In the autumn of the same year, eight cabins were completed. Since then, Juhani Eiramo has received his primary income from tourism. The ups and downs of travel in Lapland Nowadays Jussi is the main owner of the Kakslauttanen family business. We can safely say that he has experienced all of the different stages of tourism in Lapland, from the oil crisis of the 1970s to the economic recession of the 1990s and more recently the wild growth of the 2010s. In Eiramo’s memory, the 1980s was a time of steady growth in travel in Lapland. During that time, Kakslauttanen served foreign visitors in the summer and domestic tourists in the winter. Saariselkä became a prime holiday destination for the Finnish elite, and the company’s luxurious winter attracted


loads of wealthy visitors to the ski trails. The recession in the 1990s changed almost everything in Finland. It emptied the Lappish mountains of the tourists, and businesses stopped hosting their partners in their Lappish cabins. Saariselkä was perhaps the biggest loser in the disappearance of the wealthy domestic customers. Eiramo decided that sitting back and hoping for the best was not going to be a winning strategy, so he started focusing on foreign customers rather than domestic ones. Intense marketing kick-started the internationalisation process In the middle of the recession, Eiramo’s car boot was filled with A4sized brochures translated into three different languages, and with those he began his month-long journey to Central Europe. His marketing idea was supported by the Office for Tourism Promotion and also by Finnair, Finland’s national airline. Eiramo toured like a salesman from door to door in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland, peddling his brochures. Genoa was the final destination of the journey, and there Eiramo turned his car around and drove back home to northern Finland. When he arrived, he noticed, to his delight, that the advertisement trip had


ABOVE Igloo tower, “Torni” on the Art Gallery

ABOVE Santa´s Celebration House



The photograph of billions The 2010s has been a pure success story for Kakslauttanen and Eiramo. Celebrities and international fashion magazines feature in the winter of the holiday village every year. The photo shoots of Ralph Lauren, Vogue and Sports Illustrated in Kakslauttanen have been seen in tens of millions of homes. “We are by far the most popular tourism product in Finland for specific reasons, one of which is the aerial photo of our glass-roofed igloos. The photo (in page 63) has been seen by over one billion people. Fashion magazine bosses have also seen it and have contacted us”, Eiramo reveals. International celebrities are also looking for peace and relaxation in Kakslauttanen. “Lappish nature and active outdoor adventures are the most important reasons for visitors’ coming here. Amongst other activities and experiences, they want to



interact with reindeer and dogs”, says Eiramo. It has been rumoured that Alice Cooper visited them, but the owner says that celebrities are customers just like any other. Four pages is simply not enough Kakslauttanen in Saariselkä is such a vast entity that you could write an entire book about it. The vastness of the place cannot be seen from the highway, as there are over one hundred igloo sleeping spots, three restaurants and dozens of cabins spread over a large area. Naturally, in Kakslauttanen you can experience all possible Lappish safaris and event services. The most recent area in Kakslauttanen was opened in November 2017. It features a marvellous art gallery building with its own landmark -- an igloo tower dozens of metres tall. The ever-changing art

exhibitions offer enjoyment for all ages, and entry is free for all. The art gallery is located in the western village of Kakslauttanen, by Kultaojantie (Gold Ditch Road) about one kilometre from the highway. It is definitely a place worth visiting.

BELOW How about getting married in Kakslauttanen?



ICE KARTING LEVI wild fun, slipping and sliding

Karting is familiar to a lot of people, but how does it feel to race on the ice in a racing car fitted with spike tires? You can find out for yourself on the tracks of IceKarting Levi. TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS Icekarting Levi Facebook and Timo Tapaninen


here are two ice karting tracks in Levi. One of them, called G2, is located right in the centre of Levi, and you can go there without a reservation. The other track is located a little further from the skiing centre, and in order to race there, you need an advance booking.

Safter than you would think You might imagine that snow karting is more dangerous than regular karting, whose track surface offers better grip, but it’s actually the other way around. This is because your speed on the ice can’t grow too high, especially when the ice karting track has been constructed correctly.

Kart driving in -25C Ice karting is stacks of fun, and the cold air won’t even bother you one bit because you’ll get warm overalls, gloves, a ski mask and a helmet in the depot building. Even frosty temperatures of -25C are bearable. What’s fun about driving on the ice is that you have to be cautious with the gas pedal. As you’re accelerating, the rear end of the vehicle easily slides out of control, but in fact the brakes are easier to control. However, you shouldn’t go too fast on the straights because a karting vehicle stuck in a wall of snow isn’t too easy to get back on the track.

Not too seriously Ice karting isn’t as serious or competitive as racing in dry conditions. There aren’t even any timers at the karting places in Levi, so there’s no chance of going overboard, which is actually quite a good move when you have a sheet of ice and a lot of horsepower beneath you. While visiting Levi, you should try out the karting in extreme conditions even if you’re not so keen on racing. With a bit of slipping and sliding throughout the race, you’ll be laughing the whole way. It feels like the car rushes crazily out of the turns, and it takes a while to get used to the gas


BELOW You have to be tall enough to reach the pedals. Otherwise, you can only pose in the pictures.

and brake inputs. One last nice thing about IceKarting Levi is the staff, who always work with a sparkle in their eye. And to top it all off, they also offer tasty hot drinks so drivers can stay warm.




ASSORTED ACCOMMODATION IN THE CENTRE OF SAARISELKÄ, AT THE JUST RIGHT PRICE. APARTMENTS KUUKKELI Situated in the centre of Saariselkä next to Shopping Centre Kuukkeli, Apartments Kuukkeli includes ten apartments suitable for 1-6 people each.

LODGE KUUKKELI TEERENPESÄ A guesthouse with 10 apartments in the centre of Saariselkä. The Saariselkä spa, Angry Birds fun park, central market square and skiing trails are all within short walking distance.

COTTAGE KUUKKELI HIRVAS This guesthouse, built of old pinewood, contains three apartments. It is only a 5-minute walk from the guesthouse to the centre of Saariselkä. The Urho Kekkonen National Park is located only a few hundred metres away.


SAARISELKÄ KUUKKELI INN The latest Kuukkeli accommodation, located in the centre of Saariselkä about 350 metres from the spa. There are seven rooms, each for two guests, and a common area.

APARTHOTEL KUUKKELI AURORA The apartments are located next to Laanioja in a wonderful area 4km from the centre of Saariselkä and 30km from Ivalo airport.

APARTMENT TEERENPESUE A beautiful blue and white, two-storey semi-detached apartment for six guests in the centre of Saariselkä. The traditional-looking building includes all modern comforts. .

LODGE KUUKKELI PORAKKA The lodge is situated in a quiet location on the border of the Urho Kekkonen National Park. In the lodge there are seven atmospheric rooms built of old pine wood, each accommodating 1-8 guests.

APARTMENTS KUUKKELI TOKKA In Kuukkeli Tokka there are six apartments for four guests each. The apartments have one bedroom and a total size of 30m2. All the local services, skiing trails and bus connections are within walking distance.



NORTHERN LIGHTS VILLAGE Glass-roofed Village under the Aurora Borealis with plenty of different activities TEXT Tanja Hyväri PHOTOS Northern Lights Village


he Aurora Cabins at the Northern Lights Village are a magical way to experience the wintry star-filled sky and the Northern Lights, while lying comfortably in the warm bed. The laser-heated glass-roof opens up into the northern sky, directly above the king size bed. All the activities in the Northern Lights Village begin in the yard outside and the restaurant Kota is only a stone’s throw away. The services at the center of Saariselkä, such as the store, the spa, and restaurants are only a 350 meter walk away while on the other side, the cabins are lined by uninhabited fells and forests. Wrap up in a blanket with your loved one and fling yourselves on the bed under the


Milky Way and the North Star - tonight, the Northern Lights will flame. Fast and lovely snowmobiles One good idea is to ake a snowmobile through the nocturnal snow-covered forest, far away from the residential areas and their light pollution, up the slopes of the silent snowy fells. Up in the fell, you can warm up by the fire under the starry sky and wait with an evening meal and hot drinks. Are you the one who sees the first flare of the Northern Lights? Compose your photos to include the Northern Lights, the snow-covered conifers, and the fells or just let the unforgettable sights enchant you.

All the snowmobiles of Northern Light Village are new, easy to use, and safe. If you wish, you can also hop into the sleigh towed by the guide and focus on enjoying the experience with all of your senses. Ice fishing is lots of fun One best thing in Finnish Lapland is ice fishing. In Northern Lights Village you can drill a hole through the thick ice, bait the hook, and see if you can catch a perch or a whitefish from the secluded, ice-covered wilderness lake. In the ice fishing trip the snowmobile safari takes you through the remote, uninhabited forests and over the windy fells, past the breathtakingly beautiful scenery, until you reach a small wilderness



lake. At the lake, you can try your luck as fishing. To keep warm you build a fire and enjoy a delicious meal and fry the fish you have caught. Along the way, the safari stops to take photos of the most beautiful sights of the trip. Restaurants Kota and Ice Bar & Restaurant In the Northern Lights Village, you are provided the services of the first-rate and cozy restaurant Kota that specializes in the local foods of Lapland. Kota offers delicacies produced from clean, local ingredients to please even the most demanding taste buds. The Kota restaurant provides all meals from breakfast to dinner. Build entirely of ice and snow, the Northern Lights Village’s Ice Bar & Restaurant offers a truly unique, arctic dining experience. Ice restaurant dinner menus are prepared in Restaurant Kota and served to ice tables. Ice Bar is guaranteed to keep you drink chilled.



The active person’s choice that won’t leave you cold. Enjoy and experience the wonders of nature from different perspectives. Lapland’s natural environment is beautiful, but you can’t experience its full richness from a hotel room or a resort. Husky & Co will take you away from Saariselkä to the deepest parts of the wilderness for wide-ranging and truly unforgettable experiences. TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS Husky & co


usky & Co offers safaris and events for all your needs during both the summer and winter seasons. Company´s prime services includes huskies, snowmobiles, reindeer safaris and summer trips under the midnight sun. A focus on safety and customer service Husky & Co, established in 1995, is a notable event organizer operating in Saariselkä, Lapland. Their focus is on high quality, says Marjaana Lähteenmäki, executive manager of Husky & Co. “All of our programmes are guided, and the cornerstone of our business is to give high value for the money and focus on safety and superior customer service”.


Experience the northern lights on a reindeer sleigh or spend time with huskies The northern lights are a common sight in Saariselkä, but since they are a natural phenomenon, their appearance cannot be fully guaranteed. Husky & Co organizes auroraspotting trips on snowmobiles, reindeer sleighs, snowshoes and in minivans. Husky & Co specializes in dog sled trips, which are always wonderful fun. “As the name suggests, huskies are a major part of our company. Both the dogs and our guests are delighted to go on a wild sleigh ride. The trips take between 2 and 5 hours, and they include a visit to a Husky Farm, where you can pet the dogs to your heart’s content”, Lähteenmäki says.



Summers filled with trekking, enjoying the great outdoors and fruits of the forest Would you like to go trekking with huskies or hiking in Urho Kekkonen National Park in the middle of the night while the sun is shining? It is guarantee that it’s a great experience, and so is picking and enjoying nature’s delicious produce such as berries and mushrooms in the late summer. All of these guided activities are provided by Husky & Co. Summer in Saariselkä is a magnificent experience, and the local businesses have developed a wide range of memorable summer activities. As the sun retreats and summer turns to autumn, so another northern light season begins in the mild September weather. You can experience all that Lapland has to offer with Husky & Co.


WELCOME TO LAANILAN KIEVARI - the Most Traditional Restaurant in Saariselkä

Modern-day busy people all too often fall into the habit of eating bad food, at the wrong time, and too quickly. In Saariselkä, just a taxi ride from the bustling ski resorts, is a restaurant where the word ’rush’ is forbidden. Many people come to Laanila’s Kievari not just for the delicious food but also to enjoy themselves and to relax. TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS Laanilan Kievari


f Michelin’s inspectors ever ventured outside of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, they would be delighted to find Laanila’s Kievari. Everything in the restaurant has beencarefully designed, and the raw materials are local products, some of which havebeen home-grown or gathered. Saariselkä’s first accommodation location Laanila’s Kievari was founded in the village of Laanila in the 1920’s when Saariselkä was just a nearby undeveloped fell. This


location, the only offering accommodation on the old street called Jäämerentie, has weathered many storms and has seen the development of huge tourism as well. Ownership of Kievari was transferred to its current owners, the Ruotsalainen family, six years ago. “Our family, originally from Lappeenranta, was looking for business premises for a restaurant. Since no suitable location could be found in Southern Finland, we decided to widen the net and

look a little further afield. During a fishing trip to the north, we stumbled upon this place. It took only a week for us to think it over and decide to buy it”, says Samuli Ruotsalainen, who serves as restaurant manager. Combining food and beverages creates a taste sensation Since the Ruotsalainen family took over ownership, Laanila’s Kievari has not offered accommodation; they have instead concentrated on creating and serving high-quality



”A TRUE DINING EXPERIENCE” LEFT The “Snowball” sunday of Laanilan Kievari

food with a particular focus on the combining of different flavours. Using fine wines to create taste sensations has been a very important pursuit for them. “We have the best selection of wines of any restaurant in Saariselkä and maybe even in the whole of Lapland. Our menus have a total of 45 different wines. Combining food and beverages is part of our dining experience in a calm and relaxed atmosphere”, Samuli says. The best reviews in the area The à la carte menu is changed and updated approximately 2-3 times a year, in summer, autumn and winter, but the staples of the north — reindeer, whitefish and dove — are always available. The presentation of the dishes is always carefully designed, and so with all these factors combined, it’s no wonder that the restaurant holds the #1 spot on Tripadvisor in Saariselkä and is in the Top 5 of Lapland rankings. Samuli explains, “Our visitors appreciate that we take care of them. As we

see it, every guest is a Michelin inspector who has become lost in the beautiful far north. We want to make everyone smile and have an enjoyable experience.” Due to its high popularity, it is advisable to make a table reservation at Laanila’s Kievari in advance. Kiervari is open every day, and on Sundays there is a brunch service. The location is also suitable for groups and private meetings, and with two large saunas, an ice-swimming place and an outdoor hot-tub, a wonderfully long and relaxing evening at Kievari is guaranteed.




the logging hostess’s old stove is being used by Riitta. Logging huts were commonly built in isolated locations. Peurakaltio Wilderness is so isolated that the nearest habitable building is about 10 kilometres away. The property is located in Ylläs, near the fell Äkäskerotunturi and by the river Äkäsjoki.

a café and B&B accommodation in the middle of peace and quiet TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTOS Timo Tapaninen and Peurakaltio


inland was in great distress 70 years ago when World War II had ended and almost all of Lapland’s buildings had been burned to the ground. The rebuilding and recovering processes after the war progressed fast but they also required hard work. This hard work was done by everyone, especially in the forest. Finland is the only country in the world to have paid off all of its war debts. The majority of the debts to Russia were paid in trees, and as a result, dozens of logging huts were built along the riverbanks in the forests of


Lapland. The following is the story of one of those huts. Everything is renovated yet unchanged Peurakaltio Wilderness is a café and B&B accommodation on the premises of a logging hut from 70 years ago. Entrepreneurs Riitta and Hannu Kekäläinen bought the premises from the Metsähallitus (Finland’s forest administration agency) in 2014, and since then they have renovated, restored and reconditioned the old buildings. They have kept everything as unchanged as possible - even

BELOW In the Yoga room of Peurakaltio you can relax and enjoy the natural silence.

Accommodation without electricity Peurakaltio is a special kind of accommodation in that there’s no electricity, but the



Peurakaltio is a special accommodation because there is no electricity.

RIGHT Cafe Peurakaltio offers cafe, breakfast and also special dinners

buildings are light and warm regardless, and other important factors in accommodation such as hygiene and washing are easy. This is made possible with modern batteries, gas heaters and lamps, and a good central heating system that was built in logging times. Peurakaltio Wilderness is a B&B service for up to 38 people, making it the largest accommodation in the area. The rooms in Peurakaltio range from two-person suites to a large room of 20 beds. There’s also a big logging site sauna and another smaller wood sauna. You can also dry your clothes easily in the common spaces. A nice place also for day travellers Wellness travelling is very popular these days, and most of the visitors to Peurakaltio are indeed day travellers coming for a cup of coffee and a snack in the middle of their skiing, hiking, snowshoe, snowmobile

BELOW Buildings of Peurakaltio are 70 years old. Cafe Peurakaltio is an amazing place.

or fatbike trips. Peurakaltio is a meeting point of multiple natural routes right on the border of the national park of Pallas-Yllästunturi. If you wish to stay overnight at Peurakaltio, you should make a reservation in advance. Accommodation packages are often created based on the wishes of the visitors. The most popular package includes accommodation, access to the

logging site sauna, the hot tub, a three-course dinner and breakfast. Auroras from the hot tub Ylläs is one of the most active locations for the Northern Lights. The outdoor hot tub of Peurakaltio is a fine place to spot the auroras in the sky. Before heading to the sauna, you can practise yoga in a dedicated room with reindeer hides covering the floor. The entrepreneurs of Peurakaltio, Riitta and Hannu, open the doors for accommodation and café visitors between February and April, and the doors are open again during Autumn’s spectacular season of coloured leaves. At other times, you should call the couple directly about your need for accommodation. If necessary, they can keep the doors open all year round.




offers comfortable accommodation nearby 7 Lappish mountains. avarage rating 9.6.

Äkäslompolo village is located just outside the outdoor recreation heaven of Yllästunturi. The rea is surrounded by several other Lappish mountains, making it one of the most popular yearround sports and recreational venues in Finland. TEXT Timo Tapaninen PHOTO


or the fourth season in a row, entrepreneurs Toni Vaartimo and Niina (Ninnu) Mäkelä are running the lodging place called Lodge 67°N, located in Äkäslompolo. Both of the owners have a strong background in recreational sports and you can clearly see that in their services. “We have a wellequipped ski mainteintance room on the downstairs floor of the lodge, which many customers arethankful for”, says Ninnu as she shows us around the lodge. Paddling together along the Finnish coast for 1300km When talking about outdoor recreation and recreational sports, Toni and Ninnu, who met at wilderness guide training, really know their stuff. Toni, who previously worked as a coast guard officer, has skied to both the geographical and the magnetic



North Pole, has skied across Greenland from east to west as well as south to north, and has trekked in Norwegian Svalbard several times. Together, the couple has made several journeys to summits in Scandinavia and to Mont Blanc as well as paddling together along the Finnish coast from Virolahti in the southeast to Tornio in the northwest. Lodge 67°N at Mount Ylläs is an excellent place for active outdoor people, families and groups. Toni and Ninnu are only too happy to provide information on recreational possibilities, activities and local attractions. “We are eager to provide tips on the Äkäslompolo and Ylläs areas. We ourselves are not service providers, so we can give impartial recommendations”, says Toni Vaartimo.

Lodge 67° offers luxurious accommodation Lodge 67°N includes several standard rooms for two people, a suite, and a larger apartment that can accommodate 6-10 people — with a sauna, of course. The guests also have access to two communal saunas, a ski maintenance room and a ski storage. Guests can also prepare simple meals in their rooms kitchenette. Breakfast is always included in the accommodation. The log frame of Lodge 670N° is over 200 years old, and it gives it an Alpine look. The interior is understated but still pleasing to the eye. The lodge used to be a private cabin for Shell. “We have combined the old with the new. For us, the old skis are an important detail, and we have quite a few pairs of them around here”, says Ninnu Mäkelä, smiling broadly.



The highest-ranked accommodation in Ylläs Nowadays you can find a lot of information about accommodation on the internet. For those who choose their accommodation based on others’ recommendations, Lodge 67°N is the most likely choice in Ylläs because, based on reviews on, Toni and Ninnu’s work has received a rating of 9.6. This entitles them to the title of Best Accommodation in Ylläs.



TORNION PANIMO a history of beer since 1873

In November 1873 there was a snowstorm in Tornio, located in western Lapland. Wading in the snow, a few local mighty salesmen were heading towards the apartment of the mayor, Johan Boström. Nobody else was seen in the streets. Nobody else was interested, but these men were bursting with excitement. They were lusting after something, and that something was beer.

an attack designed to destroy everything, but that decision made on a snowy night centuries ago still holds firm – Tornio needs its own brewery. A group of beer-lovers and a couple of thousand small investors made Finnish beer brewing history two years ago when they reclaimed the old premises of the Lapin Kulta factory, obtained the necessary equipment and re-started brewing beer in Tornio after a small break.

TEXT Tanja Hyväri PHOTOS Timo Tapaninen


n that night, one of the greatest stories in the history of business in Lapland began. A brewery was founded, and 90 years later it created a beer recipe whose flavour has touched the lips of millions of people. That beer, Lapin Kulta, which means ‘The Gold of Lapland’, is a beer whose name you can also see when you’re watching the sunset creating a picturesque setting on a calm Lappish river landscape in the summer . The years went by and water flowed in the Tornio River. For decades, Lapin Kulta was Finland’s most popular and


most successful beer both domestically and internationally. In 2010, 135 years after its founding, the brewery was sold to an international beverage company, production was moved to Lahti (in southern Finland), and Tornio’s beer culture was swept away by the currents and forgotten for a while. Tornio’s brewery, in operation since the czar era, is the archetype of Lappish persistence, and the brewery owes its success in part to the northerners’ sense of innovation and dedication. The brewery has survived prohibition, world wars and

BELOW The new boilers of Tornion Panimo.

The ‘Original 1964’ lager was made possible by a happy coincidence Because there is heavy competition in international beer markets, every beverage company naturally guards


LEFT CEO of Tornion Panimo Kaj Kostiander by the River Tornio.

BELOW Routa Premium – Guyana Pure Rum 1988

their recipes very carefully. The Tornio Brewery, having just been given a new start, did not wish to simply copy the hit product of Lapin Kulta. Instead, they wanted to create a pale lager that would be reminiscent of the original beer that was brewed during the Cold War. “We knew that local brewing master Leo Andelin, also known as ‘Mister Beer’, who started working at the brewery in 1961, would be interested in continuing brewing Tornio beer. We hired the master as a consultant, and that’s how a great story began”, says Kaj Kostiander, Managing Director of Tornio Brewery. In the beginning, Leo didn’t tell anyone that he remembered the recipe of the original beer because he didn’t think that the modern beer world would be interested in a pale lager. However, when asked, he told us that he remembers the old production process completely because he was the one who created it in the first place. The next challenge was to find the yeast, because the beer’s own yeast starter is decades old and the new yeast starter is owned by an

international brewing giant. “I couldn’t believe my ears when Leo told me that he’d found the original starter in Germany, at the exact same factory where he’d first ordered the yeast 50 years ago. And so we managed to make a beer like the original Lapin Kultamitalli lager then gave it the name ‘Original 1964’”, Kaj Kostiander says, smiling.

A capacity of 2.5 million litres per year While the larger factory of Lapin Kulta brewed 200 million litres a year during its most productive years, the capacity of the craft beer brewery in Tornio is 2.5 million litres a year. The small brewery is investing in the future, and it has managed to crowd-fund a completely new brewery and bottling equipment. In addition to lagers, Tornio Brewery produces Czech Style Pilsner, Arctic Pale Ale and Arctic Stout.

BELOW Tornion Panimo has nowadays an own store in Tornio.

Gold for Routa Rum at the UISGE 2018 festival In addition to beer, Tornio Brewery is also interested in distilling rum and making ‘long drinks’ and cider. The distillery has already received some attention for one of its rums even though large-scale production hasn’t started yet. Routa Rum, which was recently selected as the best rum in the UISGE festival, has a colourful history. The rum, having aged in wooden barrels for over 20


years, originally arrived from South America to the harbour of Liverpool, where a few Finnish professionals in the brewery industry were also working at the time. The Finnish business partners, who tasted the exotic drink, decided to buy the best rum that they could find – a rum distilled in Guyana in 1988, one barrel each. In Finland, the barrels ended up in a basement corner in Inari, Lapland, where they were forgotten for years until they ended up in Tornio as the result of a business deal. Something special happens when you combine the milder conditions at the equator with the power of rum aged in the extreme north. “The story of the barrels was known to us, but it all got real when we got the laboratory test results. The distillate was 55 percent pure and of uniform quality”, says Kaj Kostiander. “At the end of last year, we sent 950 numbered bottles of Routa Rum to market. Now you can place a special order for them at Alko [the Finnish national retailer of alcoholic beverages]”, Kostiander continues. Their own store in Tornio The alcohol law in Finland is one of the strictest in Europe. However, some small amendments were made to the alcohol law at the beginning of the year, which is making life easier for small breweries. As a result of the amendments, the breweries are able to sell their products more easily in Finland. Tornio Brewery opened their own brewery shop at the beginning of February 2018. The brewery and the shop are located in Elämystehdas Lappari, right near the city centre of Tornio. “We are always happy when people come to check us out and see our products. We also arrange group tours of our brewery”, Kaj Kostiander finishes.


Park Hotel


A super weekend full of events Park Hotel Tornio and Experience Factory Lappari are landmarks on the banks of the free-flowing River Tornio, and they offer both exciting experiences and offers comfortable nearby 7 Lappish accommodation all accommodation year round. In the comfortable Park Hotel, there are nearly one mountains. avarage rating 9.6. hundred rooms and four high-quality restaurants. In the newest of these, Restaurant Zenzei, you can treat yourself to sushi and other delicious Asian food. In Restaurant Aino, by contrast, you can dine in the traditional style of the Tornio riverside. Sports Corner serves pizza, burgers and hotwings and additionally screens sports for your entertainment. Restaurant Park Arena gets you dancing and partying on the event weekends. TEXT and PHOTOS Anitta Koivisto


he super weekend in Tornio is on March 23-25, featuring a major ice-fishing competition. Also on the super weekend, Park Hotel features several bands, including the schlager band Palava Komeetta (Burning Comet), CatCat from Ylitornio, and Eini from Pello, getting the fishing folks up and dancing. In Teatria, music for the fishing party is provided by the party band Telaketju and the main act Stig. Restaurant Umpitunneli features punk rock band Klamydia. The largest ice-fishing competition in Finland, “Tornion suurpilkit”, is a must-do experience. In the competition, you catch fish through a hole in the



ice in the middle of the city! If you are wondering how that is possible, you need to come and see for yourself. Even if you don’t catch any fish yourself, you will get a chance to win a car to take home, as five cool cars are given to five lucky buyers of fishing tickets. During the ice-fishing weekend, the whole family is welcome and children have their own ice-fishing competition. The Lapland University of Applied Sciences organises a special programme for children, including pony riding, and helicopter rides are also available for the whole family. On the ice itself, a variety of food delicacies are on

offer, and on the riverbank, food is provided by Park Hotel, Restaurant Umpitunneli, and the local food restaurant Paja, located only 200 metres from Experience Factory Lappari. The Experience Factory is surely the funnest place in Lapland. It offers sports activities and experiences for people of all ages. Lappari includes the largest indoor action park in the area, the Duudsonit Activity Park (4500 m2), which is open daily during the spring skiing holidays. In the amazing action park, you can


Park Hotel

monkey around in one of the highest quality and largest trampoline and skating areas in Finland. The park also includes an icebreaker and a lighthouse, children’s snowboarding, a snow-fight game, and two large climbing worlds. Lappari also has Megazone, the wonderful Tornio Brewery and Brewery Store, Hyvä Fiilis Gym, the event arena Club Teatria, Escape Room games, a golf hall and a tennis court. For the Tornio Ice-Fishing Competition we have placed an order for sunshine, sparkling mounds of snow and plenty of fish in the water. In the “warm-up com-

petition” on Friday night, you’ll have the chance to ice-fish amongst large lumberjack candles and enjoy the spectacle of a magnificent fireworks display. So, the 23rd Tornio Ice-Fishing Competition is coming up, and as before, the ice will be packed with people. The largest attraction is the raffle draw, made among the people who have bought tickets to the ice-fishing competition, as five brand new cars are given to five lucky participants. A new addition to the competition is the category for business teams. The hosts are local celebrities from


Tornio, Jari Vesa, Kalle Palander and Jari Isometsä. Juha Perälä, a popular morning radio show host, features as a special guest and whose act is worth seeing live as well. Other performers include ventriloquist Sari Aalto, CatCat, Sakari Kuosmanen, Hyvä Fiilis with their fitness challenges, and a dance performance by Stage. In the ice-fishing competition, you get a taste of the wild side of Tornio in the middle of the city and also experience some of the ice-fishing craze. We are expecting over 10 000 participants, and all the events take place in the heart of Park Hotel and Experience Factory Lappari.




LaplandNews Travel Spring 2018  

Our 1st magazine issue about Finnish Lapland. Get travel tips of this worlds top destination.

LaplandNews Travel Spring 2018  

Our 1st magazine issue about Finnish Lapland. Get travel tips of this worlds top destination.