A sneak peak on the real Finnish autumn
I’ve been lucky enough to discover Lapland in almost all its colours. But out of all 3 seasons that I’ve seen, I must confess that autumn here is my favourite. Of course the Lappish winter in all its magical splendour has its own charms and the initially wild but deliciously fresh spring is absolutely sublime. Yet somehow this doesn’t compare to the multi-faceted explosion of colour during autumn.
Magnificent sights at the Arctic circle
Finnish Lapland is truly the place to be in this magnificent season, especially for professional or aspiring photographers and kouyou (Japanese) or ruska (Finnish) enthusiasts, although it’s not portrayed this way to the general public.
You can dance along with the falling leaves and discover any shade the red autumn palette has to offer. Follow the trail of migrating reindeer and get to the bushes of Lingonberries, cranberries and blueberries before them. What’s more is that everywhere in Scandinavia, there is the “Everyman’s right” law, which means that basically you’re allowed to go anywhere your heart desires to pick up berries and mushrooms.
Life in the Polar birch and spruce dominated forests…
This is the right season for warm, leisurely strolls through the forest because it’s just so alive! Everywhere you see cute little squirrels running around hoarding as much food as possible in preparation of winter. Adolescent hares get prepped by their parents for winter and sure enough you can already see plucks of white in their fur.
Because of overhunting around the beginning of the 20th century, there are unfortunately only a few wild nesting Arctic foxes in Lapland. Luckily there’s still Ranua’s Wildlife Park where you can see a normal and Arctic fox frolicking around in a crimson sea of fallen leafs. I for example was lucky enough to get a chance to visit the park at least twice. Let me tell you: seeing one white and orange floof of fur rolling around in these natural habitats really makes your day, especially on cloudy days.
Bird watchers: rejoice! This time of year massive flocks of wild birds start gathering in the open marshes to migrate to the south. It is certainly a spectacular view and definitely a good excuse to visit Finnish Lapland. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to get a shot of Finland’s national bird; the Whooper Swan.
Discover what the forests in Finnish Lapland have to offer
As already mentioned, the forest really is the highlight of the Arctic landscape now. Not only can you admire the hustle and bustle of Arctic animals and enjoy a handful of berries every other step, the mushrooms here grow in abundance and make the fingers of every self-proclaimed mushroom forager itch. The Arctic forests have a lot up their sleeve: ceps, matsutakes and even autumn chanterelles. As a complete novice to this trade, I myself haven’t gone on one of these fruitful trips, but one of my roommates knows enough about mushrooms. She went out into the woods and brought back a huge specimen, sliced it up, dried it and sent some to her family in Slovakia.
After the rain comes sunshine
For those of you who immediately associate autumn with rain: no worries, last year there was not that much rain at all. And don’t fret even if it rains. Watching the world get cleansed thoroughly sitting by the window sill is almost as good as seeing this with the extra of being next to a fire, which I couldn’t unfortunately since I don’t have a cottage. Ah the hard life of a student…
But I’ve had the best hot cocoas during these melancholic, cosy evenings. There’s nothing like it: real Finnish milk, melt some Belgian chocolate drops in it, add some British baby marshmallows and TAH DAH! You’ve got yourself a treat that warms up your body and soothes your very soul.
Because the days are getting noticeably shorter, the chance of spotting Finland’s world-famous northern lights increases. And since the nights are getting longer, but the polar temperatures are not yet following the decreasing light, it is still enjoyable to stay outside during the night. Although the nights or late evenings can be very crisp already, occasionally a pleasant warm breeze can still keep you from getting too chilly. Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually autumn that is really the best period to watch this heavenly light, and not winter. It has something to do with the higher solar activity and the earth’s shorter distance to the sun, I think. But I’m not a scientist so I cannot explain the exact facts.
I have seen the most intense, spectacular northern lights on my way back from the North Cape during autumn break in Leppäjärvi, Finland. My 4 flatmates and me stayed there in a cottage next to the lake and oh boy did we get a sensational show! You can see it below in some of our pictures from that wonderful night. Not only did we see the normal green spectrum, blue, white, purple and even a little bit of red could also be seen both in the air and in its reflection on the lake. I can honestly say that this was one of the most beautiful natural sights I’ve ever seen. It still brings back a smile on my face every time I think back of this night and I hope that you will experience something that can make you feel wonderstruck and absolutely speechless just like I did!