So, you did all of your research, you picked what you hoped would be the perfect spot, you flew all the way to the Finnish Lapland (or some other arctic destination) and despite nights and nights of hunting for the Northern Lights, they just don’t show their majestic face. Yeah, it sucks but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your time in the arctic north. Even without seeing the Northern Lights, there are a ton of unique things to see and do during the arctic winter. Dr. J and I made the trip up to the Finish Lapland in February hoping to see the lights and it just didn’t happen. Even without the lights, we still had a blast, so come along with us as we spend 72-hours in the Finish Lapland sans the Northern Lights. So, if the lights just don’t come out, what are some other things you can do in the arctic north?
The arctic north has no shortage of snow and where there is snow there will definitely be snowmobiling. For a city kid from Chicago, snowmobiling doesn’t exactly come second nature but don’t let my near-death experience deter you from giving it a try. When I wasn’t careening towards a tree at 40 miles per hour, there was actually something otherwordly about gliding along the tundra under the blanket of a pitch-black sky punctuated only by stars. Give your hotel concierge a call to get recommendations for safe and reputable snow-mobile operators and if you have snowmobiled in the arctic north before be sure to tell us about your experience on social media and please include a few pics (hopefully they will be a little less humiliating than mine).
#2). Ride a Reindeer:
Yup. you can actually be Santa for the day and ride a reindeer. Now, the reindeers won’t actually leave the ground; unfortunately, Santa has the flying reindeer market cornered. But, you can still ride an actual reindeer in most parts of the arctic north. While a snowmobile may not be the safest form of transportation if you are traveling with younger children, a reindeer ride is definitely more tame and appropriate for travelers of all ages.
#3). Hang out in a Sami tent:
The Sámi people, indigenous to the northern regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and western Russia, have inhabited these arctic regions for over 3,000 years. The Sami tent, or Lavvu, has a similar architecture to the Native American teepee, which means that it has a lot of internal floor space. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, it is cold in the arctic north, especially at night when the Northern Lights are visible. You will definitely want a place to shelter from the frigid winds that often sweep across the plains and what better place to shelter than a traditional lavvu? Usually composed of animal skin, the tents provide great shelter while the floor space provides plenty of room to build a fire and enjoy a traditional meal.
#4). Snowsports (sledding, cross-country skiing):
Even if you aren’t into snowmobiling, the plentiful snow in the arctic north means that you can participate in other winter sports like sledding, cross-country skiing, and in some locations even downhill skiing. I’m not a huge winter sports guy (again, not something that city boys from Chicago are usually into), but even we took some time to sled down the mountain with the kids. The kids had so much fun, they didn’t even miss missing the Northern Lights.
#5). Enjoy the night sky even without the northern lights:
You know what? Even if the Northern Lights don’t come out, there is nothing quite like the night sky in the arctic north. Keep searching for those lights but be sure to take in the one of a kind natural wonder that is the star-filled arctic night sky and the absolute serenity and silence of the arctic night.
Nothing beats video and commentary, check out our follies searching out the Northern Lights here:
Ever wanted to explore a Finnish Lapland village by car, check it out right here:
Be sure to check out our website www.TheTwinDoctors.com and please connect with us on all of our social media outlets at TwinDoctorsTV.