Lapland is an amazing region for travellers. The air and water are clean and the nature is beautiful. There are, however, some do’s and don’ts and just a couple of practical advices!
Health in Lapland
Let’s start with health issues.
1. Fresh air is amazing!
Lapland is one of the purest regions in the World. This is all due to the fact that Lapland has the last true areas of unspoiled wilderness in Europe. We have beautiful endless forests that are repositories of fresh air, as well as pristine lakes, rivers and marshlands.
Particularly, the air in Muonio region of Lapland was found to be Europe’s cleanest by researches.
Muonio region is one of my favourite for hiking. Many times we also go berry picking here at the end of the Summer.
While numerous mosquitos that are hanging out in the forest are a true trouble, you are rewarded with the pure and tasty air. I really mean “tasty”, as it is energised by the myriad of pine and spruce needles. So, once you step outside your train or plane upon arrival in Lapland, take long deep breaths and ingest the nature in!
2. Tap water is good!
Sorry, that would be an understatement. Tap water is amazing, just as the air!
Many times I see tourists carrying bottled water from the shop by the gallon. While this practice is very common some warm countries with sanitation problems, purchasing tap water totally doesn’t make any sense around here, as it is coming from the pristine Mother nature
Tap water is perfectly fine to drink anywhere in Finland and, in fact much better than bottled water, sold in shops. Recently, Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority has conducted a series of tests of tap and bottled water and found that bottled water, at times, can contain even 100 times more bacteria than tap water! Of course, in Lapland, tap water is even more clean and, in my opinion, tastes much better!
You can drink as much tap water as you can in Lapland, and you can even order tap water in the cafes and restaurants as well. You still might end up paying a little service fee for that, however, it will be significantly less expensive than ordering bottled water.
3. Local food products are super-healthy.
Finland’s climate is harsh and not much veggies or plants can grow here. However, the things that do actually grow in our forests are absolutely amazing! These include berries and mushrooms, different herbs. Our root vegetables also have great taste and ware really worth to try.
Berries and mushrooms are at the core of Lappish cuisine. Berry picking season starts in July and lasts until the end-Autumn. Mushrooms are gathered in August-September as well. They are used in many wonderful dishes that you can try locally! These dishes include our famous sautéed reindeer with some lingonberry jam on the side, mushroom soup, and many others. Berries are widely used in desserts, the most famous of them being cloudberry with some Lappish baked cheese.
Root vegetables are a hidden gem of Lappish cuisine. A good place to try them, as well as other hors d’oeuvres of Lappish cuisine, is the Sky Hotel Restaurant on top of fell Ounasvaara in Rovaniemi.
If you want to bring some of these nature’s gifts home with you, there are many wonderful choices as well.
One of the companies that makes good use of the Lappish berries is newly launched Arctic Superfoods company. They offer some great and healthy snack bars using only berries from Lapland and other natural ingredients from Finland. You can buy them in Lapland Hotels and Lapland Safaris offices all around the region.
Another great choice is the Arctic Warriors products. They pack a bunch of healthy herbs full of vitamins in the easy consumable gel shots and honey products. In Rovaniemi you can buy them in the Arktikum shop and Mandragora.
Now, as the obvious things are cleared out, we will move to the questions of safety.
Safety in Lapland
1. Enjoy safety in Lapland!
The crime rates in Finland are some of the lowest in Europe. The country is safe for any local or traveller. Pickpocketing is virtually non-existent. The locals are warm-hearted and welcoming
Downtown Helsinki is a bit different, but in smaller cities you can walk at night without being disturbed, even if you are alone. Many people in the villages do not lock their doors.
This all doesn’t mean you should be reckless and naive. Just use your common sense, look out for stuff and so on, but generally, just enjoy your safe stay in Lapland
2. Watch out for reindeer!
Lapland is the region of reindeer herding. There are far more reindeer in Lapland than people, around 220.000-300.000, depending on the seasons!
Although the reindeer is incredibly cute, they are also pretty careless as well. I’ve also heard them called very stupid
As the reindeer roam free around Lapland, they can often come to the roads and cause a great risk of accidents!
They might not even notice or be scared of the cars, so it is up to you take care of the road safety. While it is pretty easy to spot them in daytime from a distance, at night time it is different, so drive carefully! The most difficult times come in late Autumn, when the days are becoming short and dark, but the ground is still dark and without snow.
3. Be careful on winter roads.
Of course, you must be careful if you are driving on winter roads! They rarely cause problem, as the roads are maintained and cleaned well. Our cars, including the rental ones, are equipped with thorough studded winter tyres.
However, even with such good tyres your breaking path can be much longer than in summer times, especially on the icy roads. Generally, we just drive a little bit slow in winter to give us more reaction time. This is especially important, if you bump into a bunch or reindeer that we just talked about!
Normal speed limit is about 80 km/h or 100 km/h on certain roads.
Drive safe and enjoy Lapland!