Ranua as a travel destination and place to live – nature and silence as main strengths

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Pure nature, natural products, silence and Finnish folk traditions, such as the sauna, have raised their profile strongly among the trends in travel and tourism business. In the municipality of Ranua, located in southern Lapland of Finland, the biggest tourist attractions can be found on the side of nature tourism and the tranquility of the place.
Nature of Ranua - Rowboat in a lake in summer

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More travelers are seeking peace in middle of the hectic everyday life

The search for health and well-being in nature has already become a global megatrend in the tourism industry. The constant urbanization and busy everyday life are making more and more people seek the peace that can be found in silence and nature. Nature travelers around the world increasingly value pure nature, unbuilt landscape and their own peace.

Although own peace and untouched nature is available practically everywhere in Finnish Lapland, Ranua is definitely one of the real gems of our country in this area.

Ranua currently has a population of about 3,700 and covers an area of ​​3,694.79 km2, of which 241.38 square kilometers are water bodies. The population density of our locality is 1.07 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Although the center of the village of Ranua is quite lively, especially during the summer and winter tourism seasons, there are many places to hear the silence even close to the center of the village.

Nature has stress relieving effects

Different kind of nature activities and just visiting the nature have been studied to increase people’s well-being and health.

Nature helps people recover from stress and forget about everyday worries and nature also cheers your mood. The effects of nature include a drop in blood pressure and a stabilization of the heart rate.

Nature also has a positive effect on the human mind in such a way that it makes people move and also offers opportunities for more active social interaction. Even more significant than social interaction, nature has an effect on the emotional side of a person.

From a human point of view, recovery and healing take place above all in person’s favorite places in nature. The recovery experiences in the recreational areas, urban forests and waterfront areas mentioned as favorite places have been studied to be stronger than in parks or built-up urban environments.

How are silence and serenity visible in Ranua?

I have lived for about 20 years of my life in Ranua and during these years I have spent hundreds or even thousands of hours on the cloudberry marshes of Ranua, fishing on the rapids in Simojoki, and skiing on the many ski tracks in Ranua. Moving around in nature and just staying with only myself has always been of tremendous importance to my own mental well-being and at Ranua I have never had to feel like this would not be possible or easy to access. On the contrary: reaching your own peace has always been very easy.

Untouched nature in Ranua is practically always within your reach. For example, it is possible to photograph the northern lights in Ranua easily from the village center and to follow the life of many birds from the bird tower on the shores of Lake Takajärvi, for example. And if you come across a large number of fellow adventurers on these trips, then I recommend that you also fill a lottery coupon for the weekend, as the probability of winning in either of these is quite low.

What are my favorite places for silence?

The home region has always been of enormous importance to me, even though I have lived abroad for long periods of time also abroad.

It has always been nice to return home and a big thank you for this feeling belongs precisely to the nature of our beautiful village, which has always offered me the opportunity to rest and calm down. In this part, I will list a few places that are especially dear to me in Ranua. In these plaes my mind is always allowed to rest, no matter how stressful the current period of everyday life is.

Summer cabin and traditional Finnish lakeside sauna

Rantasauna Simojoen rannalla
A simple lakeside sauna can have a huge effect on one's mental wellbeing (c) Tuomas Haapala

Finland is a land of cottages and summer homes and the summer cottage has played a major role in Finnish culture for decades.

The cottage, owned by my family, has become a very important part of my own life in a short period of time. Our cottage is located at a suitable distance from the center of the village of Ranua and in a place where you can usually always enjoy your own peace of mind.

A very big advantage of the cottage is also that it is located right on the bank of the Simojoki River and between two rapids, which allows me to practice my favorite fly fishing hobby practically a stone’s throw from the cottage’s front steps.

From the details of the summer cottage, the lakeside sauna by the river must be highlighted. I’m not normally one of the most passionate sauna users in the world, but when visiting Ranua, one of the highlights of the trip is definitely always both heating the sauna and enjoying the steams in there.

Staying in the, especially when its pitch dark and when a pouring rain is drumming on the roof and in the windows, it is a calming experience that is really hard to exceed. 

Since I do almost entirely office work these days, it’s also nice to do physical labor at the cottage at times.  My favorites are snowplowing in the winter and chopping firewood in the summer.

In both of these, I quite consciously keep the labor as relaxing as possible and immediately stop working as soon as it starts to feel like working or something I don’t want to do right now.

On the positive side of the cottage, it is also the case that the internet connection in the area works either very poorly or not at all. Without a separate wireless connection, it is completely pointless to dig a phone out of your pocket at the time for social media or communication. I have noticed that the less I use my phone, the happier I tend to be.

Rivers and lakes in Ranua

Yksi monista Simojärven kauniista ja koskemattomista järvenpoukamista
Simojärvi has many quiet lake coves and stretches of sandy beach (c) Tuomas Haapala

Ranua has numerous water bodies with good water quality and stunning scenery. My own absolute favorite of the local waters is the Simojoki, which has certainly offered me hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to be with my own thoughts alone.

Although fly fishing has been a beloved hobby for me for almost 20 years, sometimes even during a fishing trip it is nice to just stop to sit on a rock and admire the free-flowing wild river. In my youth, I also often liked to spend nights by the river.

What is noteworthy about Simojoki River is that although I have been actively fishing on the river every summer since 2001, I have come across fishermen outside my own company to remember either three or four times.

Although Simojoki is a great destination for fly fishing for grayling, for example, there is really no need to suffer from congestion along the Ranua side.

Of the individual places on the Simojoki River, my absolute favorite for calming can be found at Veneheiton nivat, where it is nice to hike through the forest and swamp passages first, and secondly to sit on the high cliff in the evening and make a small bonfire.

Another pleasant place can be found on the shore of Toljankoski rapid, where it is also possible to stay in a very nice Lappish hut.

Another body of water to highlight is Lake Simojärvi, which is a great destination for a peaceful summer road trip, for example. A roadtrip both in the role of a driver or passenger, especially in the summer, is a really relaxing experience to me also.

Simojärvi is the 50th largest lake in Finland, known for its thousands of lakes, and it has become known to the general public in its time, especially for its submarines that operated in the 1980s and for its Golden Trout trolling competitions.

For me, however, Simojärvi is best remembered for its long sandy beaches and wonderful summer landscapes.

I don’t visit Simojärvi these days, even every summer, but my dream is to one day visit interesting sights around the lake and, for example, Soppana’s nature trails and excursion destinations. Just waiting for the “hiking fly” to bite me at some point.

Cloudberry marshes of Ranua

Auringonlasku ranulaisella hillasuolla

Many people prefer to get their cloudberries by buying them, but for me, picking berries has become an annual habit and, with age, also a very dear hobby.

For me visiting cloudberry marshes are one of the best ways to enjoy my own company and sink into my thoughts.

Picking cloudberry is also a very good exercise, during which it is easy to get acquainted with the biodiversity of Lapland’s nature. One berry picking spot that I am particularly familiar with is a very good example of the really diverse nature, which can be noticed in a small area.

Initially, the trip to the cloudberry swamp starts with a dry forest, which then turns into a really high grassland, after which the first forested marsh area is found.

After about a hundred meters, this swamp becomes very soft and more open terrain. The  marsh ends in a birch wood area about 50 meters wide, after which the new ravine area starts again.

The fauna of the cloudberry marshes is also really diverse. The most common companions in the marsh are mosquitoes and goslings, but very often other species of nature, such as frogs, spiders, ants, hares, various birds and reindeer, can also be met in the marsh. A very lucky wilderness explorer may also run into that famous berry bear in the swamp, which, however, is very capable of avoiding man.

Oravi running paths

The Oravi running paths, located in the center of the village of Ranua have been absolutely huge for my own well-being.

In the fall of 2015, after moving back to Ranua, I really got enthusiastic about cross-country running, for which Oravi has an excellent setting.

I liked to run a lot at the time, sometimes up to about 80 kilometers a week. My favorite times were the dark evenings of autumn, when it was possible to run on the jogging path in complete peace of mind and immersed in the soothing music of Ludovigo Einaudi, for example.

At the time, I ran almost exclusively Oravi’s five-kilometer route. At times three and sometimes four or even five times in the the same evening.

With a low heart rate and a relatively slow pace, the runner easily reaches a state called Runner’s Heaven state of mind, where running feels very good and the mood is downright euphoric to the end of the run and beyond. In runner’s heaven, running doesn’t feel like running anymore, but all the movement happens naturally. In Oravi, I have managed to reach that state most often and enjoyed running more than anywhere else.

Some evenings I could only notice a rainfall or partial freezing of the water in my bottle when the exercise itself was over and I started walking towards home. For example, no cold was felt during the run at all, although mainly in jogging shorts and a very light running jacket until late fall. I also often felt that I could continue running forever.

Today, the tranquility of the Oravi running paths is somewhat limited by the disk golf course that has appeared along the course, and its occupancy rate has risen from year to year. On autumn evenings, however, it is still possible to enjoy those most enjoyable running kilometers in Oravi.

The meaning of silence and nature for me

Nature and exercising in the nature have been an integral part of my life since the beginning. Moving around in nature and calming down there will definitely go with me for the rest of my life.

Like many other Finns, I am an introvert by nature, which in short means that I am much more comfortable in my own company than when I am surrounded by people.

The importance of my own time and space is very great to me. If I were surrounded by people all the time, I would get tired and irritated and would not be able to enjoy my life.

In many ways, it is extremely important to me to be able to spend time with myself at regular intervals. Over the years, I have found that in the untouched nature of Ranua and in places that are important to me, it is easiest to leave unpleasant thoughts and general negativity in the background. This is one of the main reasons why home has always been important to me, no matter where I live.

Based on my own experiences, I can definitely recommend Ranua both as a place to live and as a travel destination for a person who wants to calm down and calm down by the beautiful nature of Lapland. I would say that it is really hard to find more pure and real Lappish experience anywhere in Finland when you compare it to Ranua.

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