FINLAND FOR YOU
In northern Finland, the sun never sets for more than a few days each summer—or rises at all. In Kakslauttanen, the Arctic Circle offers a glimpse of “midnight sun” and peace amid the faraway wilderness that makes these days unforgettable.
“Although the sun never sets here, it is always changing. It rises from the horizon and slowly moves from east to west throughout the day. At one moment it might be in front of me, lighting up a small patch of trees on top of a hill. The next moment it could be behind me, and everything is in shadow. The sun shines through the ever-changing clouds, turning them along with the sky a million different shades of blue.” ~ AUTHOR: Brooke C. Little
PLANNING TO VISIT FINLAND
If you ever visit Finland, one of the most noticeable things about this picturesque Scandinavian country is the difference a few months can make. In June, when Finns are showing off their sun-kissed bronze bodies at Helsinki’s sandy beaches, talk of snowstorms fills local news headlines. And in late December, instead of pulling on a jacket and wool hat to face below freezing temperatures and polar darkness, you’ll need only wear short sleeves to savor an evening stroll along Lapland’s snow-covered trails.
Finland is known for its extreme temperatures, but it also has the longest summer days in Europe. The sun doesn’t set until almost midnight during June and July – which means you can spend all night playing!
Here are five ways to make the most of Finland’s midsummer nights, including a visit to one of Lapland’s famed “stargazing” huts and other spots where Finns enjoy endless hours under the midnight sun.
1) Experience a picnic at Kaivopuisto Park
Helsinki is located on an island just off the southwestern coast of Finland. Not only does this prime location give residents gorgeous views of both sea and land, but it also makes Helsinki a treasure trove of activities for visitors. Start your night out at Kaivopuisto Park, one of Finland’s most popular parks, and home to a lively mix of locals and tourists on sunny summer days.
TIP: In June and July, the park hums with activity as partakers enjoy traditional Finnish delicacies like grilled herring under the generous light of the midnight sun. To fully immerse yourself in this scene, grab a blanket or chair from home then spread it out on the lawn while you wait for the sunset over the Baltic Sea. As darkness falls, you can set up candles like other picnickers around you – but don’t forget to use a windproof lighter! If you want to maximize your midnight sun time, go to bed just after sunset so the next day’s picnic won’t be interrupted by darkness.
2) Enjoy bonfires at Lempajärvi National Park
Set out on a starry night drive with a guide at the iconic Arctic Circle Line, which links over 20 locations around Lapland. The line is known for its star-gazing tours, but there’s no need to reserve ahead or pay extra since the nighttime experience is included in the daytime tour price. First, you’ll learn all about Finland’s unique dark skies before entering the park and donned with a set of high-quality night vision goggles.
TIP: Your guide will hand you over to a fellow traveler who’ll take you on an unforgettable driving adventure through Lapland’s expansive forests and wooden huts – and they’re not just any kind of wood structures! These days are made from old logging shacks that have been refurbished into cozy cottages perfect for relaxing in the middle of nowhere under millions (or maybe even billions) of twinkling stars.
3) Meet friendly Finns at a “stargazing” hut
Even after the sun sets, the party continues in Finland thanks to heated wooden huts called “astrolaitteet,” which are located all over Lapland. They’re especially popular during summer and midsummer nights when Finns gather around bonfires and sip mulled wine while they gaze up at infinite space through special telescopes designed for nighttime use. Some even set up their own small telescopes outside on nearby tables so visitors can enjoy the view!
4) Watch the midnight sun in Oulujärvi National Park
If you want to witness one of the most mystical aspects of life under the midnight sun, visit Oulujärvi National Park, where you’ll have the chance to catch a mesmerizing northern light show. The park is located in eastern Finland and is known for its clear summer nights, which are ideal for viewing mysterious lights that dance over the sky above the open tundra.
TIP: During July and August, free “northern night safaris” take place every evening at 9 PM at the Ritavuori observatory on top of Otanmäki Hill. You can enjoy both daytime activities inside the center as well as stargazing outside – just remember to call ahead so you can reserve a spot in the telescope line, especially if you’re hoping to see the aurora borealis on a Saturday night.
5) Play all night under Lapland’s sparkling skies
For the ultimate midnight sun experience, take an overnight trip to one of Finland’s remote wilderness cabins. Two such options are Saunaluoma Lodge and Suorva Wilderness Cabins, both located in Lapland where there is no electricity or running water! The eco-friendly lodges offer warm, dry shelters equipped with cots so you can sleep under the stars without missing a thing.
Even better, these cabins are located right next to some of Finland’s most pristine lakes perfect for enjoying all day long – and now, all night long! You might even catch a glimpse of a moose or two swimming by during your midnight sun stay.
Want to make the most out of the summer in Finland? Here were the five ways to make the most of the midnight sun this year. What will you do on your special stage when there’s no need to go asleep early?