WHAT IS THE ARCTIC MIDNIGHT SUN ?
You probably know Lapland as the land of the Northern Lights in winter. But have you ever heard about its summer counterpart phenomenon, the so-called Midnight Sun?
Rovaniemi, the capital of the Finnish Lapland, is located on the Arctic Circle line, which has a significant meaning in astrophysics. The Polar Circle marks the theoretical latitude from which the Midnight Sun phenomenon starts being observable. Although in theory the sun does not set for only 24 hours on the Arctic Circle (on summer solstice), in practice the Midnight Sun period is much longer, stretching from late May to late July.
As a matter of fact, during summer in the Arctic regions, the sun no longer sets below the horizon, offering endless daylight and beautiful dazing colours at night! If the Northern lights are no longer observable at that period, due to the lack of darkness, the show in the sky is just as spectacular! Imagine a long slow sunset process that lasts for all night but never gets to the tipping point of the sun disappearing… Dusk and dawn then merge into a harmony of lights that slowly evolves throughout the “night”. When clear, the sky gets adorned with blazing red and orange colours in the late evening before donning its most beautiful pinkish and purple pastels in early morning.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy the beauty of the Midnight Sun during this month and half. We have listed here five outdoor activities that will allow you to make the most of the Midnight Sun delight in Rovaniemi.
1. HIKE TO STUNNING VIEWPOINTS
Are you looking to take the best snap of the Midnight sun hanging for hours low on the horizon? A nice evening walk should then be on the menu of your summer holidays, even if you are not exactly an experienced hiker nor a photo-enthusiast! Indeed, the good side of Lapland’s hilly reliefs is that you don’t need to climb very high to reach impressive viewpoints over the endless landscapes.
There are many hilltops around Rovaniemi that are easily accessible for a gentle walk, including the Ounasvaara hill just on the other side of the bridge (accessible by foot from the city-centre) or the Santavaara hill (accessible by car or bicycle). More advanced hikers might prefer a more adventurous 2-day hike in the Arctic Circle area with a wild camp overnight in a tent, for a memorable “night” in the middle of nowhere. If you don’t know exactly where to go or would like to enjoy a valuable Midnight sun experience, you may also opt for an all-inclusive tour with an experienced outdoor guide that will lead you through the path and prepare some snacks to grill over the open fire!
Whatever path you choose, you’ll always find yourself surprised by the beauty of the sleeping forests and the silence that reigns in the Arctic night – although nothing around you will look like a night scene! And that’s exactly the point of a Midnight Sun hike!
2. PADDLE ON PEACEFUL WATERS
Are you looking for the best way to experience the peacefulness of the Midnight Sun? Canoeing on a lake should then be one of your preferred options! With thousands of lakes and rivers, the Finnish Lapland is a real paradise for water sports enthusiasts, but also for all travelers in search of a relaxing experience out of time surrounded by pure nature.
There is indeed nothing more peaceful than a canoeing tour under the Midnight Sun. As your boat cruises the crystal-clear waters that shimmer with the reflections of the sun, you get to appreciate the sun-drenched landscapes from a whole new perspective. The feeling of satisfaction is immense, as harmony is not only visual but also musical. The crushing silence of the evening is highlighted by the lapping of the wavelets and the soothing rhythm of your paddle in the waters. Birds and small mammals might join you too on this journey to paradise, as it is not uncommon to spot wildlife near the shores…
3. FEEL THE THRILL OF AN E-FATBIKE RIDE
Would you feel more like enjoying a sporty evening adventure? In addition to its beautiful warm colours adorning the sky, the Midnight Sun phenomenon indeed provides energizing daylight at any time of the night! The late evening then becomes a perfect moment to enjoy a sports activity in the forests and hills surrounding Rovaniemi.
Among the thrilling tours you may experience in summer in Lapland, fatbiking surely stands on top of the list. The fat tires of the bikes allow you to ride on all types of terrain, either easy city roads, rocky hilltops, forest trails or even sandy beaches, making it the perfect way to explore nature around Rovaniemi!
Based on your fit level, you may opt for a pure sporty experience on standard fatbikes, or enjoy a pleasant ride with limited efforts on an e-fatbike equipped with a powerful engine and long-lasting battery. In both cases, the bikes will easily take you anywhere you need to get to great viewpoints over the blazing horizon!
4. RIDE YOUR HORSE
Would you rather share those delightful evening moments with a good companion? An ethical horseback ride under the glory of the Midnight sun is surely something you will remember for long. From the trails and forests you can enjoy the golden rays of the sun while experiencing a special connection with the animal and the surrounding nature.
The Irish Cob horses are specialized for horseback riding, as their specific shapes and calm temperament make them very comfy for beginners. They are also hardy horses that easily endure the cold temperatures of Finland in wintertime. Last but not least, the stable near Rovaniemi is run by passionate people who take great care of their horses ; the rides are always adapted to the needs of the animals, to keep them fit and healthy.
And don’t worry if you have never done it before! Horseback riding in summer is equally designed for beginners and experienced riders, as well as the whole family. If you are an experienced rider, you will ride your horse alone ; if you are a beginner, you may be accompanied by a guide holding the lead.
5. RELAX IN A WILDERNESS SAUNA
And what if you would just prefer to relax under the Midnight Sun? Well… Finland is literally the country of saunas (the word comes from the Finnish language itself). Among all the sauna options available in Rovaniemi, we recommend a private session in a traditional mökki sauna in the middle of nowhere. The wooden sauna faces a panoramic lakeview that offers a great scenery to gaze at while the steam is relaxing your muscles!
Take a dip in the fresh waters before two sauna sessions, and you’ll get the very local experience! Stand up paddles (SUP) are also available to make this sauna experience even more perfect!
That’s it! We hope you enjoyed reading this blogpost.
If you have any question, feel free to contact us!
We will be super glad to help you plan your summer trip to Rovaniemi!
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