Finnish Lapland ultimate travel guide – spend an active winter holiday in Ranua

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Are you planning a winter holiday in Finland and Lapland? Well, you have come to the right place. In this travel guide blog post, we will tell you comprehensive information about things to do during your vacation in the town of Ranua. The guide includes both independent and guided activities that are arranged by many local businesses.
Snowshoeing safari in beautiful wintery landscape in Ranua, Finnish Lapland

Table of contents

Independent winter activities

In this part, you can find information about winter activities that you can do independently while staying in Ranua. We also tell you good locations for each activity.

Cross-country and open terrain skiing in Ranua

Cross country ski tracks in Ranua
Very well maintained cross-country ski tracks in Oravi (c) Tuomas Haapala

Ranua is a great destination for ski enthusiasts in many ways. The ski trails maintained by the municipality of Ranua are usually open well in advance in the beginning of winter, and when you ski with us, you can always enjoy your own peace, as well as the really rugged wilderness scenery. In addition, the Ranua trail network is really comprehensive and there are a lot of options in our options for different levels of skiers.

You can find out more about Ranua’s ski trail options in our previous blog post, where we went through the trails found in the feel of the village center. Real-time information about ski tracks maintenance can be found on Infogis website

Friends of cross-country skiing in open terrain should head in the direction of Litokaira, for example. The swamp protection area offers excellent opportunities for several days of skiing. Overnight stays in Litokaira are possible, for example, in the Litjo desert hut or the Litokaira reindeer hut. Great video material of Litokaira ski hikes can be found on for example Mehtamikko’s YouTube channel.

In the center of Ranua village, it is possible to try open terrain cross-country skiing e.g. In the area of ​​Ukonsuo starting from Kolomaa industry area, and in the vicinity of the Oravi ski trails.

Snowmobiling and snowmobile tracks in Ranua

Ranua - Vanttaus kelkkareitti
Snowmobile tracks between Ranua and Vanttaus (c) Ranua Municipality

In Ranua, snowmobile tracks are official snowmobile trails, that are maintained by the municipality of Ranua about 3-6 times during the driving season, depending on the snow and weather conditions. The routes are thus official snowmobile tracks that do not require permits, etc. All official snowmobile tracks have been taken out of the waterways and bridges have been built for river crossings. The only exceptions are the crossing of the Simojoki route on the Simo border, the crossing of the Simojoki route on the Rovaniemi route and the crossing of the Majovajoki on the Syöte route.

The official connections are: Rovaniemi, Vanttaus, Posio, Syöte, Ii and Simo (up to the municipal border in the care of Ranua and as an official route). You can find a map of Ranua’s snowmobile trails on the Ranua municipality’s website. Real time information about snowmobile tracks maintenance can be found on Infogis website.

Snowmobile tracks are very easy to access, for example, from the shores of Lake Ranuan. The location of our own accommodation is also ideal for snowmobilers as the tracks run right next to our location.

We will compile our own and more comprehensive blog post about the Ranua snowmobile tracks during the coming winter season.

Ranua indoor and outdoor ice rinks

Ranuan jäähalli sisäkuva
There are opportunities to skate for people of many ages at the indoor rink of Ranua (c) Jenna Pirttijärvi

Maintained outdoor skating rinks in Ranua can be found e.g. next to the Peura Sports Centre, as well as in Kuha and Impiö. 

At the Ranua indoor ice rink, the skating season begins in October and continues until mid-April. The ice in the ice rink is maintained on weekdays by the technical department and in the evenings and on weekends by an external service provider. The ice rink’s shift list can be ordered from Anitta Jaakola. During the students’ holidays, it is possible to take part in shifts organized by Ranua’s leisure activity at the ice rink. More specific information about the schedules can be found on Monkkari 2.0’s Facebook page.

It is also possible to book your own shifts for the hall. These bookings and inquiries should be submitted no later than five days before the desired time of day. By doing this, you make sure that ice care is ensured for that time.

On the event side, it is worth heading to Ranua Ice Rink at least in March, as the very popular and high-level Ranua rinkball tournament is usually held in our ice rink on the second weekend of March. In addition to the rinkball, there are occasional ice hockey tournaments and individual matches held at the indoor rink.

In addition to hockey and bowling, it is also possible to play curling at Ranua Ice Rink, whose amateur community has been active in Ranua for a long time.

The skates can be sharpened in Ranua at Lukkopalvelu Sarakari, whose premises are located in Saariharju.

Snowshoeing in Ranua

Lumikenkäilyä Ranualla
Snowshoeing is an excellent and easy way to explore the surrounding wintery nature (c) Jari Romppainen

Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the untouched and hard-to-reach places of winter nature of Lapland. This is a very easy activity that is possible for everyone who is able to walk. The level of requirements for this winter activity is also very easy to control in with your own pace and route choices.

In Ranua, it is possible to go snowshoeing in really many places, because the untouched nature can easily be reached even right in the center of our village. Another great aspect of snowshoeing is that the terrain does not place any restrictions on the hobby, but instead snowshoeing is possible almost everywhere, even in middle of a swamp or frozen lake. 

Snowshoeing is also a great activity in the evening when you want to chase the northern lights. At that time, however, it may be a good idea to do it in a place where your own location is easy to track with either landmarks or artificial lights. Such places can be found, for example, in connection with Ranua Wildlife Park, where the lights of the cross-country ski tracks are easy to follow. The observation of northern lights, in turn, is not affected by these lights. Another option to avoid getting lost is to follow your own footprints back to your starting point.

In Ranua, it is possible to buy snowshoes from Tarvikekeskus and rent them from Gulo Gulo reception, located in Ranua Zoo.

Ranua ice fishing spots

Ahvenen pilkintää Ranuanjärvellä
There are plenty of great places for perch ice fishing in Ranua.

Water covers about 241 square kilometers in Ranua, which means about 6.5% of the total area of ​​the whole locality. In practice, this means that the opportunities for fishing and ice fishing are excellent in our town. There are many different lakes and ponds for fishing for perch and whitefish, for example, and in this section we present a few of them.

Lake Ranua is definitely the most easily accessible of Ranua’s ice fishing spots, as the lake is located right in the center of our village. The lake can be easily accessed from many locations such as Ikosenpuisto (park), Multilahti (bay with a beach) or the shore located next to our accommodation.

For those who are looking for easy ice fishing spots, it is easy to recommend Apajalahti (bay), located near the center of our village, which offers great opportunities for catching large perch and roach. A lucky and skilled fisherman can also reach whitefish from the area. In Apajalahti, there are practically good fishing spots in the whole area and the places worth visiting are at least in front of Ikosenpuisto, as well as the areas around the Ranuansalmi bridge, where the biggest amounts of fish are usually catched.

For those who are looking for big perch, Jaska Ilvesluoto, who is an active ice fisher at the lake, recommends Sikala  Bay (old piggery), the mouth of Kangasoja (trench), as well as the mouth of Luhtaoja (trench) and the Strait of Peltosaari, which is located against Laivala. According to Ilvesluoto, the best spots to catch ide is the western part of Pirttisaari (island) and for burbot, you should head towards the tip of Miekkaniemi (peninsula).

Getting around Lake Ranuanjärvi is quite easy, as there are many very load-bearing snowmobile tracks on the lake. It is also possible to get around the lake by skiing or snowshoeing.

Simojärven ahvensaalista
It's not unusual to see perch catch like this in Simojärvi (c) Esko Marttila

Simojärvi, which is about 90 square kilometers in size, is by far the best known of Ranua’s lakes. As an ice fishing spot, the lake is primarily a fishing ground for large perch and it is possible to chase the catch throughout the lake area.

Ice fishing in Simojärvi is mainly focused on large, clear middle reefs, as well as the surroundings of numerous islands. Places worth mentioning include e.g. Koppeloselkä, located around Koppelosaari, around Porosaari, Ahosaari, which also has a shed, and Kenttäsaari, where you will also find a desert hut.

Services for fishermen in Simojärvi are mainly concentrated at the southern end of the lake. There are two serviced sheds in Ahosaari and Lamanginsaari and in Porosaari, in addition to which there are desert huts in Porosaari and Kenttäsaari. At the northern end of the lake, Näskänselä has a shed in Linjaniemi.

Lake Suhankojärvi is located just over 30 kilometers from the center of the church village of Ranua in the direction of Rovaniemi. It is possible to reach the lake by car through both Portimo and Peurajärvi. Of these routes, Portimo is faster, as the transition then takes place more along the highway.

As a fishing spot, Suhanko could be considered quite challenging. The lake’s main prey fish include perch and whitefish integrated into the lake through planting activities. The locations of the fish in the lake vary a lot and often good fish catches have to be chased with realism. Better than plenty of catches, Suhanko has become known for the Suhango ice fishing competitions held at Easter, which have been organized by the local hunting and fishing club since the 1970s.

Ice fishing equipment can be bought from Tarvikekeskus and Halpahalli in Ranua. At Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos, we arrange guided ice fishing trips and also rent equipment.

Downhill in Ranua

Mäenlasku Ranuan Honkivaarassa
Honkivaara is the most well known downhill slope in Ranua (c) Vesa Kekonen

Downhill skiing and sledding is a nice winter activity that is suitable for the whole family with a variety of equipment. In Ranua, the best place to go downhill is in Honkivaara, maintained by Pentti Lohi, which is located about nine kilometers from the center of the village of Ranua towards Heinisuo and Papinpalo. You can find a more detailed location and route on this map. It is possible to get to Honkivaara by car, snowmobile or cross-country skiing along the cross-country ski trail running next to snowmobile tracks.

The season in Honkivaara often begins as early as winter and continues as long as there is enough snow on the slopes. Honkivaara has traditionally also hosted a downhill event at Easter, where e.g. coffee, buns and pea soup are served.

Kaunis talvimaisema Ranuan Honkivaarassa
Beautiful winter view in Honkivaara (c) Vesa Kekonen

Near the center of the village, it is worth heading to Oravi, where you will find a longer and illuminated hill. Oravi Hill can be found in the middle of the ski trails maintained by the municipality, which means that the smartest way to get to the hill, as seen from the Peura Sports Center, is on the other side of the road along the footpath and bike path to Laurintie. You can see a more detailed location on this map. When leaving from the Sports Center, after walking for about 350-400 meters, on the left side you can see a hill, which you have to walk to cross the forest path and the ski trail. You should be careful when crossing the ski tracks, as the crossing is located right after the biggest downhill of Oravi 5 kilometer ski tracks. 

The Oravi hill site is maintained by the municipality of Ranua and also relatively long. There are also some steeper points on the hill, which is why it may not be a good idea to let the youngest members of the family go up the hill without supervision.

Another downhill location in the center of Ranua village is Lontsu Hill, which is located in Pentti Lohe’s own yard on the shores of Lake Ranuanjärvi. This option is also more suitable for the smaller members of the families and also fully illuminated. 

Lean-tos (laavu) and fire making places in Ranua

Lake Ranua lean-to during winter
Lean-to next lake Ranua is a great place to stop for the whole family (c) Anna Vanhala

Sheds and fireplaces are an integral part of at least spring skiing and snowmobile trips. There are a few options available near the center of Ranua. In vinicity of Ranua Wildlife Park, there are three options available. There is a shed in connection with the holiday village Gulo Gulo, and the nature trail of the zoo has a hut for firemaking and a shed on the shore of Repolampi pond. There is also a shed on the shores of Lake Ranua, in connection with the nature trail running next to the lake.

For those moving with a snowmobile, there is also the Hukari lean-on, about 20 km from the town of Ranua, which is located right next to the snowmobile tracks.

There are plenty of sheds and desert huts for those moving towards Lake Simojärvi. In these you will find mentions of ice fishing tips above. You can also find out about the area’s services, including fireplaces and sheds, on the website.

What the fireplaces and sheds in the Ranua area have in common is that it is usually worth having your own firewood with you, as the firewood deliveries made by the municipality of Ranua or Metsähallitus are quite irregular.

Activities and services provided by local businesses

In this part, you can find information about activities and other services that our local businesses offer during winter season.

Lapland Adventure & Hunting

lumikenkäilyä Posion Riisitunturilla

During the winter season, Lapland Adventure & Hunting organizes e.g. guided snowshoeing trips, fatbike and ice fishing trips. You can find out more about the offer of the company managed by Ilpo Leppänen through his online store.

Revontulen Alpakat - visit alpaca farm in Ranua

Revontulen alpakat Ranuan Kuukasjärvellä
Visiting alpaca farm is a memorable experience even for the little ones in the family (c) Tiia-Maria Leppiaho

Revontulen Alpakat is an alpaca farm located in Kuukasjärvi. This small family business organizes farm visits, during which the visitors are able to get to know to the daily life of alpacas and some other animals. It is also possible to take some alpacas for guided walks in the wintery forest.

Vaara Reindeer farm

Seasonal work in Finnish Lapland

Vaaran Porotila is located about 5 minutes drive away from Ranua town center towards Posio. As the name suggests, Vaara Reindeer farm is a reindeer farm that arranges farm visits with activities, all related to reindeers. 

The Vaara Reindeer Farm program service includes a guided feeding tour on the reindeer farm, a short introduction to life for the reindeer farm, a sleigh ride of about 300 m and a moment of drinking in a traditional hut. If there is no snow in the country at the time of the visit, sleigh rides will be replaced by lasso throwing guidance.

You can book your reindeer farm visit directly from our own online store.

You can find more comprehensive presentation about Vaara Reindeer farm on Around the World in 18 years blog.

Villa Havula – souvenir workshop

villa havula ranua
Villa Havula premises in the center of Ranua(c) Villa Havula

Villa Havula is a “gardener’s hut” near the center of the church village of Ranua, which hosts Leather workshops during the winter season, during which guests can make their own souvenirs using reindeer leather and antlers, as well as other local ingredients.

These workshops are usually held in a hut located in Ranua Zoo, but it is possible to arrange a workshop elsewhere, if so agreed with the company

Guided visits to the nature with Janne Kummala

Talvinen metsämaisema Ranualla
You can experience wintery night landscapes like this with Janne Kummala

“The values ​​that matter to me are humbleness and respect for nature. My own batching is definitely based on personal knowledge, skill, resilience and adaptation, and not on relying on the latest equipment and technology. I want to teach that timeless, traditional wilderness and knowledge and help people get started and find the courage to move around in nature. Let’s break down fears and beliefs. Let's learn. I want to offer traditional wilderness hikes, nature visits, and guidance in all seasons for the skills that help you to survive in the nature. My area of ​​operation is mainly northern Pudasjärvi, e.g. Syöte National Park. Do you want to ski in the shadow of rugged cannons, to wander the edges of the ravens? Maybe on a moonlit frosty night, under the starry sky? Would you be interested in a peaceful ice fishing trip in a forest pond, in the middle of nothing? Or a spring photography trip to get to know the daily life of a teal or a beaver, for example? ”

Janne Kummala

This is how his own winter activities are described by Janne Kummala, a versatile hunter known as an artist and wilderness guide, who lives in Sarakylä on the Pudasjärvi side. With Janne, you can take a variety of wilderness trips and at the same time get to know, get to know and understand our surrounding nature.

Wildlife Safaris (Holiday Village Gulo Gulo)

wildlife safaris ranua kelkkasafari
Snowmobile safari with Wildlife Safaris (c) Wildlife Safaris

As usual, Ranua Zoo is open every day of the year. During the winter season, the zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to the traditional Zoo tour, it is also possible to take part in many winter activities. 

The holiday village of Gulo Gulo offers tourists a wide range of guided activities, from snowmobiling and snowshoeing to cross-country skiing. In addition to guided activities, it is possible to rent various equipment from Ranua Zoo.

The winter 2020/21 activity selection can be found on Ranua Zoo online store.

Finnish Horse Sleigh rides with Ranuan Hevospalvelut

Ranuan Hevospalvelut järjestää mm. rekiajeluja Ranuan ympäristössä
Finnish horse sleigh ride at Ranua (c) Ranuan Hevospalvelut

Ranuan Hevospalvelut Oy is a small Finnish horse stable near the center of the town of Ranua. As the name implies, the company offers services related to Finnish horses, which include e.g. hour and two-hour sleigh rides, horseback riding, and horse stable visits, which can include both sleigh rides and guided horse rides.

With Ranua Hevospalvelut, customers can also create their own customized packages, such as various family trips, birthday parties and corporate refreshment days.

Husky sleigh rides with Arctic Borealis Huskies

Arctic Borealis Huskiesin koiravaljakkoajelu Ranualla
Husky sleigh ride with (c) Arctic Borealis Huskies

Arctic Borealis Huskies is a family-owned husky farm in Ranua Pohjasperä. The business was founded in 2006, but the owners have more than 20 years of experience in tourism. Arctic Borealis Huskies organizes high-quality and exciting husky programs and safaris throughout the year.

In winter, sledding takes place on the sleigh from the Wild Arctic Husky Park near Ranua Zoo. The programs include suitable activities for guests of all ages and with Arctic Borealis Huskies you can go on either a short 1-2 hour sleigh ride or longer safaris.

Refreshment with Arctic Wild Ice

Arctic Wild Icella voit myös kokeilla paljuilua
It's possible to use a hot tub with Arctic Wild Ice (c) Ilkka Karttunen

Arctic Wild Ice is one of the premises of the real local multi-talented Ilkka Karttunen, which is located about a five-minute drive from the center of the village of Ranua towards Posio.

At Arctic Wild Ice Lapland you can take in many winter activities. In the “winter wonderland” located on the shores of Lake Ranuanjärvi, you will find e.g. a really high-quality lakeside sauna, the opportunity for open-water ice swimming, as well as a lot of relaxation. A visit to Arctic Wild Ice makes it possible to end a comfortable moment of drinking and dining in a traditional Lappish hut. You don’t even have to look for souvenirs after this visit, because Ilkka prepares e.g. beautiful wood carved cups (kuksa), wooden statues and other woodwork.

Known as a skilled photographer, Ilkka is also an excellent guide for shooting northern lights.

SUSIMAA Lapland - Wolfdogs sanctuary & eco farm

Susimaa Lapland wolfdog in Ranua
One of Susimaa Lapland's wolfdogs in Ranua (c) Susimaa Lapland

Susimaa is a wolfdog sanctuary and a place to life in peace and harmony with nature, towards the goal of self-sufficient living. Owned by our ever growing family, who once came from the city, currently consisting of us humans, our wolfdogs, cat, chickens, quails, rabbits, goats and sheep. Susimaa is our concept of a simple off-grid life in the middle of the woods and a step back to real life. 

What we offer is not business, we share a part of what is our life. We believe in small, individual groups and eco-friendly tourism. We are exclusive and not exchangeable. We are a family living close together with our animals, we respect them, they respect us and love there is.

Kauni Susisydän

Susimaa is open all year around for visitors. Different season – different tours – but always exclusive adventures for small groups only! A visit in wolf land (in Finnish “Susimaa”) is a lifetime experience with adventure-full moments. Taivas and the wolfdogs are looking forward to welcome you in our piece of arctic nature and for an unforgettable tour into the beautiful silent wilderness of Lapland.

We offer different tours on our farm, to meet our wolfdogs and farm animals and hiking/snowshoe hiking tours with our wolfdogs. Our highlight is our „One day at Susimaa“ including a farm tour, a hiking tour with the wolfdogs and our traditional potatoe soup, cooked with our own grown and harvested potatoes over the bonfire.

Closing speech

At the end of the text, I would like to thank those who helped me with content production, which include e.g. Representatives of the municipality of Ranua, numerous local individuals, and the companies involved in the text.

For the readers of the text, first of all, thank you for reading and a warm welcome to Ranua also during the winter season. If you feel that something is missing from the text that you would like to add, please send me an email. Ideas and suggestions for improvement are always more than welcome.

Winter activities, bookable with Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos can be seen from this link.  

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