Plus 10 interesting facts about Finnish Lapland

Are there polar bears in Finland? Which parts of Finland actually belong to Lapland? How many people live in Lapland? How about reindeers? These any many other questions will be answered in our latest blog post that will tell you more than 10 interesting facts about Finnish Lapland.
Winter activities in Lapland: reindeer farm visit at Vaaran Porotila - Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos

Lapland in numbers

Lapland actually is really large area. The size is more than 100 thousand square meters, which means that Lapland almost covers one third of Finland’s total area of 338.44 thousand square kilometers. The area is bigger than the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland combined. There are 21 municipalities in total in Lapland.

Only about 178 thousand people live in Finnish Lapland. This is only about 3.4% of the total population of Finland. Funny fact is that there actually are more reindeers than people in Finnish Lapland. The reindeer population in Lapland is about 200 thousand.

In Lapland’s most northern point Nuorgam, sun is visible from May 16th until 29th of July, which mean that the nightless night time lasts for 74 days. Kaamos time, when the sun doesn’t raise above the horizon, on the other hand lasts for 51 days.

There are only a few cities in Lapland of which Rovaniemi is the largest, with population of about 63 thousand habitants. The highest peak in Lapland is Halti, which is 1324 meters high.

Geography and nature

There are no polar bear populations in Finnish Lapland. The closest polar bears living in the nature are in Russia and Norway. The only polar bear that you are able to see in Finland is at the moment the polar bear mum Venus, who lives in Ranua Wildlife Park.

Even though Lapland doesn’t have an official capital, Rovaniemi is widely known as the capital of Finnish Lapland. Other cities in Finnish Lapland are Kemi and Tornio, which are located close to the Western border of Finland.

The city of Rovaniemi is actually and also quite fittingly – shaped like a reindeer’s head with antlers and all. About 90% of Rovaniemi burned down in World War II, leaving architect Alvar Aalto a blank canvas to paint the “winter capital” practically from the scratch.

In Lapland, Finland has borders with Norway, Russia and Sweden.

Common spoken languages in Finnish Lapland are Finnish, Swedish and Sami. You will also get along just fine with English.

The Arctic Circle is a circle of latitude that runs 66°33′45.9″ north of the Equator. It marks the southernmost latitude where the sun can stay continuously below or above the horizon for 24 hours – these phenomena are known as the Midnight Sun in the summer and the Polar Night (“Kaamos”) in the winter. In Rovaniemi, you are able to cross the Arctic Circle line in many places. Probably the most popular place to do this is The Santa Claus Village, where the border is also marked on the ground. You can even receive a certificate of the “line crossing”.

Even though Santa Claus’ Office is located in Rovaniemi, the real home of Santa Claus is considered to be Korvatunturi (mountain or fell), which is located in Savukoski. The “mountain” is 468 high in the Finnish North pole. You can even send your letters to Santa in Korvatunturi by using postal code 99999.

Food in Lapland

Cloudberry picking in Ranua, Finnish Lapland.

Lapland’s most popular cheese is called The Finnish Squeaky Cheese (Leipäjuusto in Finnish). It’s typically made from cow’s milk – but can also come from goats or even reindeer – the cheese is baked into a pie shape and cut in wedges. It’s traditionally served with cloudberry jam. The cheese has light color with darks spots on top of it.

Cloudberry is the most famous berry of Lapland and tourists from abroad and Southern parts of Finland pay even tens of euros for one kilo of the golden berry. Ranua is the unofficial cloudberry capital of Finland. The main market area of Ranua for cloudberry and other Northern berries is called as the Cloudberry Market, which is located in the center of the small town. Visit Ranua has also created a specific map on their application, where you can find cloudberry swamp locations for free.

While we typically know reindeer as Rudolph, Dasher and Prancer, reindeer is also a big food source in Finnish Lapland. Reindeer meat can be prepared in many different ways. The meat can be dried, cured, smoked and served in steaks. Probably the most popular option, though is the reindeer sauté, which is traditionally served with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.

Sources: & Visit Rovaniemi

Share this text

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on reddit

Read our other blog posts

Soutelua ja kalastusta Ranuanjärvellä kesällä
Nature and activities

Things to do in Ranua – Spend an active summer holiday in Finnish Lapland

Spring is now advancing at a rapid pace and it is already a good time to look a little at the summer. We are often asked e.g. what you can do in Ranua during your summer vacation. You will find a fairly comprehensive answer to this question here in the blog post where we take a close look at Ranua’s summer vacation activities as well as the services provided by local businesses. All the activities presented in this text are suitable for a comfortable summer vacation for the whole family. Welcome to read.

Ranua Zoo winter visit

New polar bear for Ranua Zoo Wildlife Park

The time of the polar bear mother Venus as the only polar bear in Ranua Zoo was short, as the 15-year-old male polar bear Nord arrived at Ranua Zoo in February to replace the male Sisu who moved to Doncaster, England in December.

Vaara reindeer farm visit during winter
Nature and activities

Experiences on working as a tour guide in Lapland

People working in customer service positions can rightly be described as the backbone of the whole tourism business in Lapland. Successful customer service experiences make the same customers return to the same destination from year to year and, of course, help bring in new customers as positive experiences spread through both traditional ways and social media. In this blog, I will tell you a little bit about my own experiences of acting as a tour guide in Finnish Lapland.

Northern lights in Lapland in winter
Nature and activities

10 tips for Northern lights photography in Lapland during winter

The photography season for the northern lights near the Arctic Circle lasts from mid-August until the beginning of April. The whole winter is quite a great time to experience the dance of Aurora borealis on the northern sky. In this blog post, we give you ten useful tips for photographing northern lights in Finland during winter.

Small grayling returning back to the river in Simojoki
Nature and activities

Grayling fly fishing in Ranua

Despite the Simojoki River, which is strongly known as a salmon river, and the World Fly Fishing Championships, Ranua has not become a very well-known recreational fishing destination at the local level. In this blog post, however, we present Ranua’s fly fishing opportunities and, above all, grayling fishing from the edge. In the text, I present my own favorite places for the rapids on the Ranua side of the Simojoki River, in addition to which I also tell a few tips about the lesser-known Ranuanjoki River.


Found this blog post interesting? Subscribe to our future posts.

Send feedback

Did the blog post raise any thoughts or questions or did you think something was missing? Send feedback via the contact form below.