Scenic hikes, dreams of gold, and beachside fun in summertime Lapland
You might think Lapland is all about snow and skiing, but in fact summer is an amazing time to visit. There are tons of outdoor activities to keep you busy, the nature shows its unique beauty, and everything is surrounded by magical endless light.
Hiking and biking
Hiking is the best-known summertime activity in Finnish Lapland and a great way to see a cross-section of all that nature offers.
One of the most classic routes is the Hetta-Pallas stretching over 55 kilometres. It gives you a great chance to climb on some of the best fells in Lapland and take in astounding views. Since the route is popular, it is a good idea to pack your own tent. The wilderness cabins along the way can be very full during the high season. In the summer you can even mountain bike along the trail.
For a more challenging wander choose the 63 kilometre Kevo Canyon route. Some of the hike is across steep gulleys, some of it is easier and runs across open fells and birch forests. You will get your exercise in since you must descend to the bottom of the 80-metre-deep canyon several times - and make your way back up. Also bring some water-tight hiking gear and be prepared to wade through Kevo river.
If you are looking to do a long bike ride instead, try the wilderness of Kaldoaivi. There is a trail running the entire length of it from Mieraslompolo to Pulmakijärvi. It is challenging, so not the first choice for beginners, but experienced riders praise its beautiful scenery and varied terrain.
Fishing and gold panning
The many rivers and lakes of Lapland make it possible to try some special activities. Many fishermen come to Lapland especially for its high-quality natural fishing spots. The most famous is river Teno, known as one of the best salmon fishing locations in the world. You can fish in the entire river with a single license, whether you want to do some spinning or fish from a rowing boat.
Lake Inari is also an interesting fishing area where you can catch grayling, perch, and whitefish. There are several campfire sites and boat launching spots dotted around the lake, so it is an easy place to get started even for the less experienced.
Gold panning is a traditional Lapland activity that suits everyone. Most will just find tiny scraps of gold, but you never know, sometimes you might strike lucky. Resorts such as Kakslauttanen and Tankavaara Gold Village offer guided gold panning for the easiest introduction to the craft.
Restaurants and the good life
Lapland in the summer doesn't have to be all activities though, as there are plenty of options for those looking to relax and enjoy good food. One of the best summertime spots is Neljän Tuulen Tupa in Inari. It is a cozy, traditional-style resort with log cabins, a smoke-fired sauna, campsite, beach, and a very popular restaurant.
If you want something slightly more modern, try Lapland Hotels Pallas. The hotel itself is very comfortable but the restaurant housed in a 1940's log building is the real draw. The creative menu uses local ingredients, and you can find dishes such as sugar-cured arctic char and reindeer burger on it.
Many wouldn't associate Lapland with beach life but there are in fact great swimming and sunbathing spots to be found. Säikänsalmi in Posio is called Lapland's Riviera and it's a fun place to visit with the entire family on the warmer days. One of the best sides to this beach is its little summer café, Livojärven kesäkahvila. It is famous for its delicious, think and crispy pancakes cooked over open fire. The café also rents out kayaks and SUP boards.