For the Sámi people, the northern chapters of Finland, Norway, and Sweden are borderless. Instead, it’s all part of Sápmi, the land within the Sámi. Europe’s only indigenous individuals have roamed this region for upwards of 10,000 years, and local governments across the 3 countries respect their claim that they can the territory.
Reindeer herding remains central for the culture here, and once you hike through Urho Kekkonen National Park, sip water from a stream in Muddus National Park, or perhaps drive over the E75 on your journey to Pyhä-Luosto National Park, you may spot among the many semi-domesticated animals. It can be the first hint that you’ve entered some other world…
2. The year is split into eight seasons here.
The Sámi people divide the age into eight seasons, determined by their close ties to the reindeer. Which has a climate which includes extremes in winter (the sunlight never fully rises) and summer (it never gets totally dark), there’s also a number of seasons involving. The complete list: spring-winter, spring, pre-summer, summer, pre-fall, fall, pre-winter, and winter.
In spring-winter, the Sámi herdsmen bring the reindeer outside the forests and coastal areas to calving grounds backwoods. In spring, if your snow starts melt, the calves are born, and later on in pre-summer the reindeer graze during the birch groves and swampland as the north enjoys 24-hour daylight. When summer arrives, the Sámi families gather to mark the newborn calves. In pre-fall, the reindeer build-up their fat and muscles for the winter, and fall is the beginning of rutting (breeding season). In pre-winter, the Sámi you’ll find the range from the lake for the lowland bogs — after which it arrives winter, a long with the eight seasons…and arguably the most fun.
Non-locals can usually get in the loop at Salla Reindeer Park in Finland (plenty of hot coffee, expert guides, as well as a chance to personally feed a reindeer) — though you’ll find the big guys anywhere in Arctic Europe.
3. People spend their weekends surfing Norway’s Lofoten Islands.
Okay, not all people, but usually there are some avid surfers up in charge of whom weekends mean sleeping in vans, watching green ribbons ignite night sky, and walking through new-fallen snow in the morning to surf. You’d think they would’ve settled in Hawaii or Australia — where temperature is more detailed 80℉ than 40℉ — but the snow and surf combo has its charms.
Some of the most popular surf spots are Unstad and Flakstad (within the Lofoten Archipelago) and Andøya (while in the Vesterålen Archipelago). Also, due to the Gulf Stream, it’s not quite as cold around Lofoten you may think, with the 68 examples of latitude (akin to that surrounding Alaska and Greenland).
4. Summer’s all about cabin life…
Summer in Arctic Europe means jetting away to your family cabin or cottage, and it’s not just something for your ultra-wealthy — nearly everyone is modest little getaways that target relaxation, finding myself nature, reducing, and nostalgia. Ever wondered why these are a few of the happiest places in the world?
If you truly desire to go on holiday as a local, locate a cabin to lease during the countryside (Norway, Sweden, and Finland have the ability to some variant of stuga or hytte), and hunker down.
5. …when participating in winter it’s kick sleds.
In a bitter winter, don’t very impressed to check out a kick sled (basically a chair mounted on some of metal runners) parked outside local grocery stores. If your streets are covered in snow and there’s ice around the lakes and bays, people use kicks sleds to head for the store to receive some milk — or perhaps for a leisurely day trip. Each and every year in Luleå, there’s an ice track on Stadsfjärden where you could check it out — wear a set of warm boots and wool mittens, and kick the right path forward. You’ll certainly be a pro in no time.
6. You’re an all natural born nature lover once you live here.
Having fjords, mountains, forests, lakes, and rivers directly on your step makes for a solid connection to nature. Add some simple fact that one can find very few visitors to dampen the aesthetic, and the effect is barely increased.
In Sweden’s Arjeplog Municipality, for instance, there’s a typical 0.5 people per square mile. So that you have almost 9,000 lakes and nearly 2,000 miles of rivers and streams practically to you to ultimately spend a number of soulful hours kayaking, hiking, or fishing for pike, char, and whitefish. In Inari Municipality, Finland, there’s about around one person per square mile, so want to spend your weekends in the Muotkatunturi Wilderness Area ice fishing without other person around. In Norway, the thought of going ut på tur (out for any wander) every weekend is usually as common as having milk and cookies.
7. Jokkmokk is the northernmost cultural capital on the planet.
Jokkmokk — often known as Dálvvadis (meaning “river’s curve”) for the Sámi people — has become the best spots to purchase handicrafts in Lapland along with the only put in place Sweden which includes a college teaching reindeer husbandry and craftmaking in the Sámi language. Between learning and shopping, you possibly can pop by Viddernas Hus, a café where proprietors Greta and Linn use handpicked herbs on the surrounding gardens to prepare salads and pastries. Try the bread created using bark flower or perhaps the honey flavored with crowberries.
And each year without fail, around the first Thursday in February, Jokkmokk’s winter market transpires. Sámi folks have been gathering as of this industry for over 400 years. Look into the market’s 150+ stalls, where vendors sell many methods from yellow, red, blue, and gray Sámi shoes to dried and smoked reindeer sausage, cloudberry jam, and lingonberry syrup. Feel the hair from reindeer hides against your hands, admire the beautifully engraved Sámi knives, and smell the smoked reindeer kebabs from Suovaskungen.
8. Men and women are mildly obsessive about their snow scooters.
Head to Arctic Europe, and you’ll choose a snow scooter (that’s a snowmobile or snow machine to North Americans) parked outside just about every house. If your snow arrives in November plus you’ve got white powder up to the knees, a Volvo V70 just doesn’t have the cut.
In Kiruna alone, the northernmost city in Sweden, one can find 8,000 registered scooters and nearly 1,000 miles of marked trails. (Word for the wise: Be wary these tracks during summer, as they’re possibly much wetter than your normal hiking trail.) In Finland, around Inari and Saariselkä alone, there are additional than 1,000 snow scooter routes. To obtain the experience, head over to Rovaniemi and chase the Arctic light at a snow scooter with Lapland Safaris. Visitors can be perhaps the snow scooter scene very easily up here, and beginners are thank you for visiting connect, too.
9. There’s gold while in the forest.
In Arctic Europe, there’s a great deal of forest treasures. Porcini mushrooms, yellow chanterelles, and velvet bolete dot the land from the fall, and plump blueberries and golden cloudberries burst on bushes during the summer. Bring countless buckets that you can carry and play outside — that’s all you can find with it. Foraging is certainly an important part with the Arctic European culture that even on the wildlife tour in Sarek National Park, the tour guides demand making time for berry picking — amongst in search of moose, bears, and eagles.
In Norway, Finland, and Sweden, nature is made for everyone to take pleasure from. The “to roam” is an important thing here. Named allemansrätten in Swedish, allemannsretten in Norwegian, and jokamiehenoikeus in Finnish, this indicates you can walk and camp (and forage) almost anywhere. Most mushroom and berry pickers keep their favorite spots a secret, so bring your inner gatherer and just go exercise your roaming privileges. Just make sure to measure local rules regarding cloudberries in Northern Norway beforehand; in Finnmark, by way of example, you must ask the sheriff for permission if you want to bring home most of the highland gold.
10. Everyone here knows how to dress.
Forget about Scandinavian minimalism, leaving the heels, leather loafers, and silk tops in your house — they won’t take you far about the Arctic Circle. To wear to impress around here, it’s exactly about weatherproof gear (that means clothing that can take snow, subzero temperatures, wind in the winter, and rain during the summer time).
Don’t go overboard, though; you don’t need all those anti-mosquito-stretch-convertible pants as well as super-light softshell jackets out here. Up north, things are more straightforward — go with natural fabrics, plenty of layers, and purchase robust and waterproof boots, some thick gloves, plus a wool hat. A great awesome souvenir, acquire some traditional boots created from reindeer leather from Carl Wennberg in Kiruna, and remain faithful to Fjällräven, Peak Performance, Halti, and Norröna brands for quality, heavy-duty Nordic active wear.
11. Meeting up for coffee will be a state pasttime.
In Arctic Europe, there’s always here we are at a cup of joe together with friends, family, colleagues…or someone you only met. Swedes have even their particular word for that practice: fika. In Norway, there’s so much time sent to the tradition the fact that average Norwegian drinks seven kilos (that’s 247oz) of coffee 1 year, as compared to an American’s three kilos (105oz).
Wherever you visit, you certainly will be served coffee in someone’s home with homemade cinnamon rolls, already have it professionally served by a barista from a café, or sip it outdoors gazing above the landscape. In Arctic Europe, the views will almost allways be spectacular, and trust us — a cup of joe never tasted better.