If you are planning to make a trip to Finland and want to visit Lapland. Then I might help you planning. I made a 1-week trip to Lapland with my friends from Europe some time ago. We visited there during winter. (Yes, it gets cold in Lapland during winter so take warm clothes.).
We planned our trip so that I would drive my car to different national parks and then we would use our snowshoes to walk around the different national parks. (I will tell you later if it was clever idea to use snowshoes over skis.).
Towards the north!
We starter our trip from Oulu. (A city near area of Lapland.) I was the driver. Like always :D. Our travel plan was to visit first National park of Pyhä Luosto. Pyhä Luosto is about 4 hours drive from Oulu. So, it is long travel but that is life in Lapland. Next stop was Inari. Which is not and national park but there is small cottage area just next to the huge lake, so it was very nice are also. Third stop was Pallas-Yllästunturin kansallispuisto.
The idea was to walk to the cottages that were middle of the wilderness. Mostly there was no running water and we just had to boil some snow for drinking. We waited it to cool down and added it to our drinking bottles. Easy.
Pyhä-Luosto National park
In Pyhä-Luosto national park we first started to walk in the untouched snow. Mistake.. Even when we had our snow shoes it was so difficult to walk in the snow for that 5 km that was our way to the cottage. After few km we noticed the snowmachine had made a ski-tracks for people. So, we started walking on top of that (btw it is not allowed to use the snow shoes on the ski-tracks). Snow shoes was our mistake number 1. Please if you go to these national parks during winter. Take your skis. It is 100 times easier.
Just don’t make the mistake and take snowshoes over skis when going for a long trip in middle of nowhere.
We got to the cottage safe and sound. It was very nice small cottage with some electricity from the solar panels. We had very nice 2 days there. On the extra day we started to walk around and visited this “open to all” – cottage. There was a nice fireplace where we could make some nice coffee. The coffee made on top of the open fire is absolutely the best thing there is.
Our next place was Inari. At this point my cars transmission was almost broken because it had thrown all oil out. I could only drive with gear 2 and 3 (5 gears). We were middle of nowhere and we were lucky that the car did not stop. I found one old guy who found some extra transmission oil from his home and added some to my car. (I was using old Renault where you can add easily some transmission oil if needed). After that I just kept adding more every 200 km.
Inari is very beautiful place. Huge frozen lake and small cottage village where you can rent your own small box. Please make reservations before you go there. There is very high possibility that everything is booked. We stayed there for one night. We walked on the ice on top of the lake and roamed the forests. It was so quiet in there.
Next day we left Inari. (Inari is at very north part of Finland and there is lot of Sami-people.). We had already driven 200 km from Inari towards the national park of Pallas-Yllästunturi. Then my friend noticed that she still had the key to the cottage! There was no way that I was going to drive back that 200 km. No way. Well it was good thing that the owner of the cottages was very nice woman who told us that we can send the key back when we get back home. So, all was good again.
The best place of the trip was the Pallas-Yllästunturi. We rented one part of a “open for all”- cottage. The other part was open for everyone who passes through. Free of charge. So, we walked to the top of the hills and we were stunned of how this old wooden building looked in the middle of all that snow. It was so beautiful and close to the nature. So, when we got inside the cottage we noticed that there were beds for 20 people. And we were only 5. Well no matter. We started to heat up the cottage with wood. I think we were heating the space for 1 hour and nothing. Still so cold. Outside it was -20 degrees. The space was just way too big to heat up fast. After some time of trying we decided to use the smaller “open for all” area of the cottage.
There was one huge area filled with mattresses and that was pretty much it. Well we got the space heated in 30 minutes. No one else came. So, the whole space was for us. We spend some night time outside and we saw huge Aurora Borealis on the sky. I have lived in Finland whole my life, but those Northern Lights were the best I have ever seen. There was no other light coming from any buildings, so we could see the night ski and the Northern Lights so well.
The trip itself was amazing and we had a lot of fun. Only problem was that I had to get rid of my old car. No use for it after the trip. We got smarter to newer use snow shoes if you don’t know where you go and how much there is snow. Also, we really had to use a lot of time searching the best cottages from the internet. There is so many options and the price range are huge.
That’s it folks. Lets continue our day.