Five of the most interesting and peculiar events in Lapland

3 minute read

Credits: Julia Kivelä

There is more than breathtaking scenery in the North

Lapland offers an engaging, year-round calendar full of spectacular events from tree hugging to movie magic, and more.

Article updated on February 5, 2024. 

Credits: Harri Tarvainen

Join the Poro Cup between February and March

Every year between the months of February and March, reindeer herders meet to compete in the sport of reindeer racing. The race has long traditions and it is a vital part of the northern cultural heritage and has been organised in Finland since 1932. Nowadays, reindeer racing is organised and controlled by administrative bodies. The sport is all about control of the animals as the driver steps behind the reindeer on a pair of skis and let’s go. The animals used in the competition are highly trained bucks and not every reindeer has what it takes to become a champion. It takes time to train leading individuals and, in this process, the welfare of the animals is kept at the centre of all operations. It’s observed that there is simply no way of forcing a reindeer to run – if the animal doesn’t want to race, it won’t budge an inch, which makes for pretty fun viewing. These events are always held on frozen lakes. The 2024 tour is headed to Nuoritta, Rovaniemi, Salla, Luosto, and Inari.

Credits: Markus Kiili

Movie magic in Sodankylä

While the Lapland region of Finland is known for its colder seasons, the summer is just as magical. A week before midsummer Sodankylä becomes alive when hosting the Midnight Sun Film Festival. The tiny town, with a population of less than 10,000 people, becomes the centre of world-class cinema and culture. The festival was founded in 1986 by Finnish filmmakers Aki and Mika Kaurismäki along with the municipality of Sodankylä and has been growing ever since. International guests visit each year for a programme that combines old and new; high and low. The atmosphere is informal, despite guests rubbing shoulders with cinema heavyweights like Francis Ford Coppola or Wim Wenders. Films are shown in four venues around town, every hour of the day – although these 24-hour movie marathons might go unnoticed since the sun shines brightly around the clock. The amount of light at 4 am equals that at 4 pm.

Credits: Sanna Larmola

Take in the techno in Ruka

As the sun circles the Ruka fell without ever setting, the party goers at Solstice Festival keep on going. In the first mist of the morning, faces gleam with large smiles and hugs are given all around as the pumping bass leads festival goers into a frenzy. This is Finnish summer at its most spectacular – and peculiar. Solstice Festival is a mind, soul and body experience of music and art in the high plain environment of Ruka, taking place during midsummer when the sun never sets. The three-day festival brings together some of the most exciting foreign and local artists to the top of the Ruka fell and combines subculture, arts and music.

Credits: Pietari Purovaara / KEKSI

Hug a tree in Levi

Combining sustainable fun and the health benefits of connecting with the beautiful wilderness of Lapland, the world’s only Tree Hugging World Championships are now held annually in Levi, the country’s largest year-round resort. The competition is organised by Halipuu, a family-owned business that saved their own forest from felling by turning it into a safe place for visitors from around the world. Halipuu offers adoption services for people interested in playing a part in a tree’s life, on-site and online visits for those interested in the art of forest bathing and a mobile app that makes it easy to observe and immerse oneself in arctic living.

Credits : Eat Shoot Drive
Credits: Eat Shoot Drive

Engage in the SaunaFest in Levi

Credits: Lisa Hassani

There is no denying that Finns love to sauna. Throughout history, saunas have been the primary location of getting together, healing and even giving birth, and it’s still at the heart of most Finns daily life. During the month of September, just as the autumn changes the world to red and gold, SaunaFest kicks off around the fells of Levi.

There are six saunas in total, and a sauna pass that allows unlimited access to all of them for two days. If you can’t make all six, don’t miss the saunas in the local reindeer farm, by the river of Ounasjoki and the traditional smoke sauna by the lake.

See all must-experience saunas in Lapland.

Credits: Julia Kivelä

See also

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