Located in central Finland in the northern part of the country's vast lake district, the region of Arctic Lakeland is a true nature lover's paradise. Join us as we uncover a unique region of the arctic, made for wild adventures.
The hidden arctic
Combining the lakes of southern Finland with the arctic conditions of Lapland, Arctic Lakeland is home to wild, unspoiled landscapes of taiga forest, rocky hills and pristine lakes – frozen in winter and sun-dappled in summer. In fact, in an area approximately the size of Wales, more than 90% is covered in dense forest. With its abundance of natural beauty and the fact that you can experience the simple pleasures of life like pure air and the calmness of the forest, it's little wonder that Finland was voted as the world's happiest country for the 6th time in a row. Best of all, it can all be reached via a short flight from Helsinki to the regional airport of Kajaani. And, the lesser-known nature of this region means no crowds and greater value for money than the likes of more established Lapland resorts such as Rovaniemi, Inari or Kittila, making the 'hidden arctic' a firm favourite with local Finns for a genuine alternative experience.
Snow-covered pine forests of Arctic Lakeland
Seasons of Contrast
Due to its latitude, Arctic Lakeland shows very different faces throughout its seasons. The summer months bring a burst of colour and variety, with clear blue lakes, abundance of evergreen pine forests, lush hills and rugged gorges, the perfect conditions to view Europe's biggest predator – the brown bear – in their natural habitat. In fact, it is possible to view bears as early as May. The region is also one of the few destinations in the Nordics where wildlife watching is available all year round. Though rare, it is possible to spot the rest of Finland's 'Big Five' – wolves, wolverines, moose and the elusive lynx. It is also possible to experience the Midnight Sun on adventures such as hiking, biking and wild swimming.
Electric fat biking in wintry Arctic Lakeland
Come winter, Arctic Lakeland is blanketed with a thick layer of snow, creating an idyllic playground for a multitude of fun wintry activities. You'll find everything from the likes of husky sledding and snowshoeing to cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. There's even a chance to visit an authentic reindeer farm from Ukkohalla to learn about reindeer herding from the locals, along with the opportunity to try a sleigh ride in the picturesque snowy scenery. And, if you're feeling particularly brave, you can try your hand at ice swimming too. Skiers will also savour the wide range of routes and tracks for both cross-country and down-hill skiing, with the latter beginning in December of each year.
With the region's position just under the aurora oval, low population density and very little light pollution, Arctic Lakeland is also as ideal a location to witness a magical display of the Northern Lights as possible. Travel from early autumn all the way through to the first weeks of spring, to enjoy dark skies and plentiful opportunities of spotting the aurora. Autumn is incidentally a great time to see bear cubs with their mothers.
Winter's Northern Lights in Arctic Lakeland
Cuisine and culture
The local cuisine is characterised by clean and locally grown ingredients. Berries, game, fish and tar feature in many menus. Local delicacies include tar bread, rieska (flat bread), cheese curd with coffee and rönttönen, a small pastry filled with sweetened potatoes or berries. Food is enjoyed either through a number of high class à la carte restaurants or through the simplicity of the outdoors around an open fire. You can also experience the unique sauna culture of the country in Arctic Lakeland's Saunaworld, home to nine different saunas from smoke and peat to steam and classic Finnish.
Giant's plate in Makuhelmi restaurant at Arctic Giant Birdhouse Hotel
When it comes to places to stay, our collection of specially selected hotels and resorts help bring this extraordinary region to life. Choose from the likes of the stunning panoramic glass cabins of Ukkohalla Resort, the cosy forest-view cabins at Arctic Giant Birdhouse Hotel or the idyllic Hotel Kalevala, all packaged with unique itineraries to showcase the best of the region. With a perfect mix of thrilling activities, peaceful nature and rest and relaxation, Arctic Lakeland is ideal for couples or families with a love of the outdoors, looking for an alternative escape into wild Finland.
Glass cabins in Ukkohalla Resort