If you’re looking for the perfect 7 day Finland itinerary you’ve come to the right place. Lapland has been at the top of our destination bucket list for a long time. Actually, we have one bucket just for Finland, and another bucket for everywhere else we want to visit.
Ironically, we’re totally NOT cold weather people, let alone arctic, let alone subarctic! But there’s no way that’ll keep us from our biggest dream… seeing the Northern Lights in Lapland from our bed in a glass igloo!
Yeah, in case you didn’t know, that’s a thing. And for us it’s kinda perfect, given our whole aversion to freezing our asses off. Needless to say, we started our research on what to do in Lapland in early 2020, and though we haven’t made the trip yet (for obvious reasons) we put together a dream itinerary for ourselves.
Traditional Finnish Sauna And Ice Swimming
Even before we learned of epic glass igloos, we’d always known about Finland’s national culture: sauna. Plus its traditional follow up: Ice Swimming. Yikes! It’s engrained in the culture here, which is why it’s the first thing to do in our perfect 7 day Finland itinerary. We hear the combination is relaxing, invigorating, and does wonders for your well-being. So we feel like this is the perfect way to shake off the travel day and jump right into the culture while relaxing at the same time.
Dinner In An Ice Restaurant
What better way to follow up your relaxing sauna than with a delicious meal? In an ice restaurant, no less! Imagine sitting on ice benches at an ice table, eating a delicious hot meal. Go ahead, imagine. Crazy, right? Gotta do it.
Drinks In An Ice Bar
Grab a nightcap, perhaps the infamous Finnish peppermint vodka in an ice glass, in an ice bar ! Depending, you might find yourself an ice restaurant and bar all-in-one, but we like the idea of a post-meal stroll from one establishment to the next to burn off (or freeze off) some calories before having a nightcap. Plus, who wouldn’t rather experience two different ice establishments? Yes please!
Chasing The Northern Lights From Your Bed
After this full day of unique firsts, we can’t imagine anything better than to not only kick back in bed, but kicking back in a bed in a glass igloo. The big juicy cherry on top being the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights while kicking back in bed. We’re not sure we can think of anything more romantic, and if this was the ONLY thing on our 7 day Finland itinerary, we might be perfectly happy with that.
Breakfast In Bed and Exploring Villages
We feel like the first morning of waking up in a glass igloo should be accompanied with breakfast in bed. You had your first glass-ceiling nighttime views on a full belly, so why not take in all the daytime views over a meal before heading out for your day of exploring.
Generally speaking, we’ve got our eye on Saariselka as the area we’d like to stay in. It’s known for its ski slopes and igloo villages. We understand there’s an East and West village, both great for walking around and exploring. We’ll be doing both, so let’s hit the West village today.
Snack Break In A Finnish Kota
A “Kota” is a hut. And we think this sounds like a super charming way to take a load off from a day of hoofing around in the cold. But we understand there are cafe/Kotas where you can enjoy traditional Lapland bites and a hot berry juice called Glogi. Yes, please!
Checking Out Kakslauttanen’s East Village
Another day of exploring on foot, and this time we’re heading to the East village. Assuming you’re there during the snow season, there are some amazing snow carvings and ice sculptures throughout the village that we (and you) must see. Maybe throw a few snowballs, fake-ice skate on the snow, and let yourself go. But safely away from the carvings and sculptures, ok?
Keep A Free Day In Your Itinerary For Flexibility
Hot tip: We always think it’s a good idea to keep some unplanned free time in your itinerary for the unexpected. No matter how much advance planning you do, you’ll always discover something that you didn’t know about once you’re at your destination, and having that wiggle room in your schedule will allow you to not miss out on the opportunity. Additionally, travel delays, weather, and any number of things can mess up your plans. This free day helps you readjust your agenda to accommodate the unexpected.
Visit Santa’s Home And Meet Santa!
Ok, yeah. We’re a little old for this one, but apparently this is where the REAL Santa lives, and I’m going, you’re going, we’re all going! There is an idyllic red chalet, deep in the heart of the forest, at the end of a lovely wooden walking bridge across a narrow river. This in itself sounds beautiful, right? But if you arrange it in advance, you can also have Santa there to meet you.
Visiting A Reindeer Farm
There is an indigenous Sami family that owns a reindeer farm just about a 10 minute drive outside of the center of Saariselka, where you get to be up close with these gorgeous creatures, hand feed them, have a sleigh ride if you like, and you’ll get to learn about the Sami culture while you’re there.
No 7 Day Finland Itinerary Is Complete Without Dog Sledding
This one is close to our hearts because we’re dog people through and through. It doesn’t come without a bit of hesitation, though, as with any animal related activities like this, there is a concern that they’re being treated ethically. We urge you to do your due diligence in advance to educate yourself before going. To the positive, we’re also aware that in places like this, these animals have been safely bred for centuries to do such things are very well taken care of, and they actually love their “jobs.” All of those considerations completed, this has always looked amazing to us and like a bonding experience we would love to have with these pups. Have a look for yourself!
Bonus Bits: Know Before You Go
Must-try Foods In Lapland
Just a few bites for you here. The list of Finnish foods is actually quite extensive, but at the risk of going down a foodie rabbit hole, we’re keeping to this cherry-picked handful that look yummy to us.
- Karjalanpiirakka or Karelian hand-sized pies have a crust that is traditionally made with rye flour and they’re filled with potatoes, rice or carrots. Try with an egg or butter spread on top!
- Grillimakkara. These big, fat sausages made for grilling are eaten with mustard (Stephen’s nemesis) and washed down with beer.
- Korvapuusti translates into “slapped ears” in English, but they’re essentially cinnamon buns. Nuff said!
- Ruisleipa, a.k.a. “Bread with hole” is a Finnish staple. Rye bread made from sourdough, and while there are many varieties, this particular one is the most popular.
Attitudes in Finland are generally liberal, codes of behavior are fairly relaxed, and therefore there’s not much of a chance that a foreigner can commit any gaffe so serious that it would offend his or her host.
Like most cultures, Finns have a strong sense of national identity, and would be very pleased if a foreigner had at least some knowledge of any well known Finns in pop culture or sports.
Finns tend to listen more than they talk, they choose their words carefully, consider their word a bond, and expect the same of others. While they may be notoriously silent around foreigners (on public transportation, for example), they’re also quite friendly and have no reservations with helping a visitor looking for directions.
Oh yes, they’re all about the cellys there nowadays. So much so that it’s a bit comical at times hearing all of the loud ringtones popping off as people eagerly scramble to answer and communicate. Pro tip: cell phone use is prohibited in hospitals and airplanes.
There’s a very great deal of equality between the sexes in Finland. There is a relatively high number of women in advanced positions in politics, academics, business, and society. Chauvinistic or patronizing attitudes towards women is considered unacceptable, although like many cultures, it does exist.
When meeting, people shake hands (briefly and firmly) and make eye contact. Extra special respect is shown with a deep bow, but in most cases, a nod of the head is enough.
Finnish cuisine has European, Russian, and Scandanavian elements, and table manners are European. Breakfasts can be quite substantial, lunches take place between 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., dinner in homes is usually between 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., while dinner in restaurants is usually from 6:00 p.m. onwards.
We love this. Finns drink coffee anywhere and everywhere. More coffee is consumed per person in Finland than anywhere else in the world. Whoa. Respect!
The Best Time To See Northern Lights
Also, with so much emphasis on the Northern Lights, it’s worth mentioning that the Fall Equinox is the best time for Northern Lights. This is a bit early in the season for snow, which doesn’t come until October or later. So depending what’s important to you, certain activities that we’ve mentioned might not be available during the time you choose to visit. Regardless, Lapland has plenty of unique activities to offer during every season. We hope this 7 day Finland itinerary has given you some new ideas to check out if you’re considering a visit to Lapland.
We know that planning a trip can be daunting at times, and if you’re looking for a little help with that, we’ve got a great post that we think will be helpful right here.
And if you’re looking for more itineraries, we’ve got you covered: