An itinerary in search of the Northern Lights, between Lapland and the North Cape
Lapland, the native land of the Sami people, is located in the northern part of Finland, bordering on Norway. It is a unique place, made fascinating by the snowy and wild nature and natural phenomena such as the midnight sun and the northern lights.
Activities in contact with nature
The activities to do in contact with nature are many and truly unique. In addition to gazing up at the sky while waiting for the spectacle of the northern lights, in Lapland you can, for example, go snowshoeing at night in unspoiled nature, drive a husky sled, trekking on frozen lakes, ice fishing or bathe in the lake after a Finnish sauna.
The landscapes are unique and it is wonderful to immerse oneself in nature, among snow-covered plants and animals that suddenly appear or leave their tracks in the snow.
Rovaniemi and Santa Claus Village in the Arctic Circle
Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland and here passes the parallel of the Arctic Circle. Santa’s village was built in this place. It is a somewhat commercial, but curious place where you can meet Santa Claus and buy souvenirs.
The fascinating North Cape and the Norwegian Fjords
Moving northwards, leaving Finland and entering Norway, you discover different landscapes, but still breathtaking. To reach North Cape, you follow a scenic route over the Norwegian Fjords. During the winter there are so few hours of sunlight that the sunset continues until dawn, leaving the sky always colored orange and red. During the summer, however, it is possible to see the phenomenon of the midnight sun.
North Cape is a promontory on the Arctic Ocean. The wind is strong, but the view is unique and it is worth resisting the cold. There is a museum inside the building, but it is once again the nature outside that is the star of this trip.
The Northern Lights
From September to March, in these territories, it is possible to assist to the phenomenon of the Aurore Borealis, a true spectacle of nature. From the scientific point of view, they occur when, during large explosions and solar eruptions, quantities of particles are shot from the sun. When these particles meet the Earth’s magnetic field, they interact with the upper layers of the atmosphere and give this incredible show.
There are several ancient Lappish legends about this fascinating phenomenon. The ancient tribes saw in these lights, green and fluorescent, yellow, blue and purple that descend on the earth forming amazing color effects, the spirits of the dead returning. In fact, from the photographs of the auroras, human faces seem to appear, sometimes with beards, looking down.
According to another Lappish legend, the Northern Lights are the “fires of the fox“, light effects created by the tail of a large fox hitting the snow and creating colorful trails in the sky.
How to photograph the Northern Lights
My advice is to enjoy the spectacle of nature, staying with your nose to the sky. If, however, you want to keep a unique memory of the Northern Lights, here are some little tricks to be able to photograph them:
- increase the lens aperture. It is essential to let in as much light as possible, so open the lens as wide as possible.
- set the ISO value between 100 and 400.
- set the shutter speed between 4 and 12 seconds.
Lappish and Norwegian Cuisine
The culture of a territory, as well as its customs and traditions, also passes through the cooking. A territory that is so naturalistically particular also offers different culinary traditions. In Lapland, reindeer meat dishes are typical, such as reindeer stew or reindeer fillet. They are often served with the typical Lingonberry sauce.
Moving to Norway, on the other hand, it is easier to find seafood dishes, as it overlooks the sea. Typical Norwegian dishes are the famous salmon, marinated herring, cod and trout.
Here are some recipes from the Lappish culinary tradition that we recommend:
Reindeer stew – Poronkaristys
Extending your itinerary to Helsinki and Tallinn
For those who would like to extend their itinerary towards the south, there are two beautiful cities to visit: Helsinki and Tallinn. The capital of Estonia can be reached in two hours by ship from the port of Helsinki. You can find the itineraries that I suggest to visit these cities by clicking below:
Helsinki – Discovering Helsinki
Tallinn – A walk exploring Tallinn
Lapland, a naturalistically unique land
Lapland appears as a cold and hostile territory, but it is definitely unique, as the emotions it can give. The contact with nature in these lands is total and wonderful. White landscapes, clear starry nights, sunsets that join the dawns, northern lights like fireworks.