During the deep wintertime, when the sun doesn’t rise and the frozen landscape exudes a mystical blue light, Finnish Lapland is a place of magical serenity. In the realm of the Arctic Circle and the time-honoured home of Father Christmas, the largest wilderness in Europe is known for its indigenous Sami people and the frequent appearance of the beguiling Northern Lights. From January, as the days grow longer, the sun brings out the activity seekers, keen to go safariing by husky, reindeer or snowmobile. Diverse in their appeal, idyllic villages and resorts all offer easy access for snow adventures in the remote wintery wilderness. Levi, in the north west of the country, is Finland’s largest ski resort. 44 kilometres of snow-sure terrain offers challenges for all capabilities from beginners to black runners. Ruka, just south of the Arctic Circle, has a charming pedestrianised village centre with bars, shops and restaurants. The quiet slopes are ideal for families and beginners. Best of all, the ski season here is over 200 days long. In Saariselkä it’s the sheer remoteness of the resort that appeals, its endless snowy landscapes dominated by the majestic high fells of the Urho Kekkonen National Park. Good skiing on the slopes of two fells is complemented by a pleasing variety of restaurants and shopping outlets. For a combination of snow-focused activities and local culture the prime choice is Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland. Located right on the Arctic Circle the town is famed for the year-round frequency of its Auroras, as well as for being the official home town of Santa Claus. Sights include Santa Park, the Arctic science centre and museum Arktikum, Jätkänkynttilä Bridge and numerous design statements by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.
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