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Last updated : Nov 2009
Lapland
Lapland - TravelPuppy.com
Finnish Lapland is a place for those who wish to enjoy the peace and quiet of a remote area either in the comfort of wonderful first-class accommodation out in the wilds or in quite primitive conditions.

Lapland can offer gastronomic delights such as salmon and reindeer prepared in many ways, and the rare golden cloudberry.

Lapland is a very large area of 100,000 sq km (38,000 sq miles) In the valleys, pine and spruce grow, but the northerly regions are treeless tundra or low-fell birch scrub and many fells have gently rounded treeless tops.

There are only 4 towns in the province: Rovaniemi (the provincial capital), Kemijärvi, Tornio and Kemi. The rest of Lapland is very sparsely populated with a density of only slightly over 2 persons per sq km. Of the 200,000 inhabitants, about 3900 are Lapps and 600 Skolt Lapps, the latter belonging to the Orthodox church. The reindeer roam freely on the fells and are the property of 5800 different owners and the reindeer round-ups take place from September to January. Special reindeer-driving competitions take place during March with participants from all over Lapland.

As regards scenery and communications, Lapland can be roughly divided into 2 areas: Eastern and Western Lapland.

Eastern Lapland

Suomutunturi, located on the Arctic Circle, is a well-known winter sports centre, as are Pyhätunturi, Luostotunturi and Saariselkä Fells. At Porttikoski and Simo, there are traditional lumberjack competitions held in the summer.

Further to the north, Tankavaara is a gold-panning centre. Inari village lies on the third-largest lake in the country, Lake Inari, with 3000 islands, on one of which stands an old Lapp sacrificial palace. The Sami Museum is devoted to the history of the Lapps. In the wilds lies the Pielpajärvi Church. The River Lemmenjoki flows to Lake Inari and is another well-known gold-panning region. The Lemmenjoki National Park has marked routes for hikers.

Western Lapland

The scenery differs from the Eastern Lapland and the ground is much higher. The fells rise in bare and impressive ranges. Among the best known are Yllästunturi, Olostunturi and Pallastunturi. All of them are winter sports centres but are attractive in other seasons and are especially popular among during the summer with hikers. Haltia Fell, the highest in Finland, at 1300m (4265ft), and Saana Fell, 1029m (3376ft), lie on the border between Finland, Norway and Sweden. In the north is the Lapp village of Hetta, scene of colourful festivities on Lady Day held during March.

Main towns and resorts

Kemijärvi, Kemi, Rovaniemi and Tornio.