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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Eat & sleep your way through Finland: From creature comforts to outdoor adventures

If you’ve recently arrived at my travel blog, you will know about my enthusiasm for Finland. My trip there, albeit only a week long, has left a strong impression on me, with many good reasons to go back soon. After sharing my top 10 picture picks from Lapland and our Food Walk adventures in Helsinki with you, I have once more put together a special feature for you, dear readers.

 

Sleep in style, or go really wild. From simple huts & Husky safaris to modern-day luxury chalets, anything is possible in the #PolarNightMagic Lapland winter.

“Erä Susi”, also known as “Mister Wolf”, runs a 200-dog strong husky farm near the winter resort of Ruka-Kuusamo in eastern Lapland. Besides offering us a taste of learning how to steer a real Husky sled, he captures my imagination by talking to us about the possibility of three to five-day husky safaris. Across the land. From hut to hut, out into the white, wild winter magic of Lapland. How some of these overnight huts may look like, is what we get to experience at both Oulanka & Korouoma National Parks, vast forest landscapes located in the very east of Lapland.

Mr Susi aka “Mr Wolf” (in Finnish) …

Mr Susi aka “Mr Wolf” (in Finnish) …

 

… plants a seed in my head, of one day heading out with huskies for days on end.

… plants a seed in my head, of one day heading out with huskies for days on end.

 

Coming by huts like this …

Coming by huts like this …

 

… or this one, as spotted in Korouoma National Park.

… or this one, as spotted in Korouoma National Park.

 

In a place where the temperature is almost always at or below zero …

In a place where the temperature is almost always at or below zero …

 

… you will even consider going to the (outdoor) toilet carefully.

… you will even (or especially) consider going to the (outdoor) toilet carefully.

 

More comfort is offered inside the small town of Ruka, with modern hotels and (tipi-style) chalets, including a chance to watch the Northern Lights!

More comfort is offered inside the small town of Ruka, with modern hotels and (tipi-style) chalets, including a chance to watch the Northern Lights!

 

Or how about this cosy loung area, spotted at our Hotel Royal Ruka?

Or how about this cosy loung area, spotted at our Hotel Royal Ruka?

 

So what to eat this far North, especially during winter? You will be surprised by the variety of local Lapland food available, and just how delicious it tastes.

Lapland people are very, very resourceful. Their land is covered in thick snow for a good half year, and they have learned and mastered ways how to preserve and prepare food in the most imaginative of ways. One of them is what I would call “berry delight”: Nearly everything local is served with some sort of spice, berry or mushroom from Lapland’s seemingly endless forests (some 70% of the country is covered by them).

Fancy a true “Lapland Buffet“, including everything local from reindeer heart, tongue and liver (!), to mushroom stew, berry preserve and the freshest fish possible? Head over to Hotel Royal Ruka for a really good taste, and do not forget to sample salmon soup either, best served fresh during an outdoor National park lunch. Check this out.

It’s Lapland buffet time …

It’s Lapland buffet time …

 

… including pickled herrings …

… including pickled herrings …

 

… reindeer heart (the only one of the liver, tongue and heart trio I actually liked ..!) …

… reindeer heart (the only one of the liver, tongue and heart trio I actually liked ..!) …

 

… and oh so good salmon.

… and oh so good salmon.

 

Salmon soup then …

Salmon soup then …

 

… is best served outdoors, making up for the cream & potato calories it comes with to help fight the bitter cold of winter …

… is best served outdoors, making up for the cream & potato calories it comes with to help fight the bitter cold of winter …

 

… or how about reindeer soup with carrots …

… or how about reindeer soup with carrots …

 

… and coffee / cake for your next outdoor lunch, as spotted here during our break in Oulanka National Park?

… and coffee / cake for your next outdoor lunch, as spotted here during our break in Oulanka National Park?

 

Head back over toRuka Wildfood Restaurant for a more luxury type of “Lapland Wildfood” experience …

Head back over toRuka Wildfood Restaurant for a more luxury type of “Lapland Wildfood” experience …

 

… including a nice ice bar to bid you welcome.

… including a nice ice bar to bid you welcome.

 

 

Last but not least, fancy meeting Father Christmas (the real one!) and / or stay in a luxury sauna hut nearby? Isokenkäisten Klubi as well as Ruka Salonki Chalets near Ruka-Kuusamo provide a perfect Lapland experience.

“All fair and good, but what do you do during the rest of the year ..?” Kristina, our group member and Lonely Planet Magazine journalist from Spain, is keen to de-mystify our magical encounter with Father Christmas from Finland. “What, I manage my 200 reindeers, while my wife helps me by working at the nearby toy factory …”, he smiles warmly, albeit mischievously at her. The magic continues to stay alive in our meeting with Santa Claus and his reindeers here in Finland. We get to visit his farm, sit on his lap and chat about his life and whereabouts after an excellent lunch at nearby Isokenkäisten Klubi, followed by a sauna tour ending up at Ruka Salonki Chalets.

Sauna, Santa Claus and some typical local food: What could possibly be a better way to spend a typical winter’s day in Lapland?

Here at 60° latitude north …

Here at 60° latitude north …

 

… the warmth of the local people betrays the cold climate outside …

… the warmth of the local people betrays the cold climate outside …

 

… especially as we become wrapped up in the spell of meeting (the real!) Santa Claus in his very own home in Pohjolan Pirtti.

… especially as we become wrapped up in the spell of meeting (the real!) Santa Claus in his very own home in Pohjolan Pirtti.

 

A little later, Ruka Salonki Chalets welcome us to their typical Lapland welcome …

A little later, Ruka Salonki Chalets welcome us to their typical Lapland sauna hut experience …

 

… including a visit to the ice sauna (!) more about this in my next article here …

… including a visit to the ice sauna (!) but more about this in my next article here …

 

… as well as their modern wooden huts …

… as well as their modern wooden huts …

 

… and comfy living areas.

… and comfy living areas.

 

And if all of this still looks too cold or too simple for you to enjoy, rest assured that there is always some tasty (sweet) comfort food available.!

And if all of this still looks too cold or too simple for you to enjoy, rest assured that there is always some tasty (sweet) comfort food available.!

 

Fancy watching even more Lapland photographs? Here they are. See you soon in Finland! 🙂

Disclaimer: We have been invited by VisitFinland on this trip to Lapland. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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Lapland Travel Activities: Ice Swimming, Husky Safaris, Sauna-Tours & more!

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