Lapland in full color
Ruska is a Finnish word describing the amazing colors taking over nature in the autumn. In Lapland ruska is at its most vibrant around September and October and the explosion of yellows, oranges and reds is most definitely worth seeing with your own eyes. If planning for an outdoor adventure the mildish weather and lack of mosquitos also makes autumn an ideal time to visit Lapland.
More than hiking?
The tradition to go for a long hike in Lapland around autumn is strong in Finland and still a great way to enjoy the scenery at your own pace. If you however need something more fast and exciting fear not, there are plenty of options.
For mountain biking fanatics Lapland is the place to be. In and around all the popular ski resorts there are also good biking routes for beginners and hard-core enthusiasts alike. You can choose from easy bike rides on marked roads or venture off-road and make the most of the hilly landscape or test your skills on rocky or tree root covered ground.
Some good areas to explore on a bike include Pallas-Yllästunturi national park, where a mountain bike route runs along the Aakenus hill, Kulmakuru route in Saariselkä and Ruuhitunturi in Salla. If speed is of the essence to you, try Ylläs Bike Park. A lift takes you up a hill after which you can enjoy a dizzying 4 km descend from the hill! There are various routes you can choose based on your experience.
If water is your element try kayaking or canoeing to see the autumn colors from a new angle. For canoeing the Muonio area with several rivers and lakes is an excellent place to start. There are even some areas where you can do white river rafting if more endorphins are needed. Inari and Saariselkä also have several water sport destinations with options for experienced paddlers as well as complete beginners.
Check out the wildlife
Make sure you have some time to see local wildlife with the backdrop of ruska. Ranua Wildlife Park is one of the best places to see arctic wildlife with over 50 species and 200 individual animals. The environment is spacious and aims to give the animals the natural habitat they need. The area is vast and in addition to the actual zoo, there is accommodation, a restaurant and wildlife safaris available.
The Kuusamo Predator Center is smaller but a lovely place where orphaned bears as well as foxes, lynx, reindeers, and dog wolves are taken care of. A guided tour tells you more about the habitants. Another location where you can get acquainted with local predators is Petola in Kuhmo. It is also a visitor center offering comprehensive information on the animals, hosting events, and supplying fishing and hunting permits.
If you want to see animals in the real wild join a safari! You won't be seeing the big five, but you will probably spot a moose or two - and enjoy ruska at the same time. Several tour companies around Rovaniemi offer wildlife safaris.
Ruska with a bit of added comfort
Lapland in autumn doesn't however need to be a nonstop outdoors experience. To recover from the trekking, biking, and exploring, you could sprinkle your stay with a bit of rest, relaxation, and great food
Most will try to book a glass igloo to admire northern lights later in the winter, but a night in one is a magical experience in the autumn too. You can see the colorful nature - without leaving your bed! Glass igloos can be found dotted around Lapland, a good place to start your quest to find one is to check out the listing on Visit Rovaniemi.
Want to see some nature, but not going hungry for a minute? Join one of the outdoors dining experiences. You could be enjoying some local delicacies under the starry sky or in a traditional Kota cottage by an open fire. Lapland Safaris offers seasonally customized gastronomic experiences where nature and food collide.
If the weather is acting up, you could visit an indoors restaurant with a spectacular view. Deatnu in Utsjoki serves food inspired by the Sami culture and has huge windows where the nature practically floods in. Aanar in Inari also serves a blend of high quality food with breathtaking scenery. The dining room looks out onto the rapids of River Juutua making it a very special place to dine and wine.