Where Is Lapland

Where is Lapland? Everything you need to know

If you grew up listening to stories about Santa on Christmas Eve, you would undoubtedly have heard of Lapland. And it’s difficult for many people to compute, but this mythical region actually exists. So, where is Lapland?

Lapland is a vast region that covers much of the Nordic region’s deep, deep north. As you might have guessed, it’s home to several reindeer — and you will also find the native Sámi people living in this part of the world.

The Lapland region is full of contrasts. Winters are long and cold, with darkness that spans across months. On the flip side, the summer is short — but the days are never-ending.

In this article, you’ll learn where Lapland is and the countries that it covers.

What is Lapland?

Lapland is a region that covers much of the Scandinavian peninsula’s northern stretches while also spreading over into a large chunk of Finland. The name differs depending on the language; it’s Lappi in Finnish and Lappland in Swedish.

In Northern Sámi, Lapland is known as Sápmi; it’s also worth noting that calling a Sámi person “Lapp” is considered offensive.

The vast majority of Lapland is above the Arctic Circle, and the culture in the region is very different from the rest of the countries it covers. Much of the area is unpopulated, but you will find a wide selection of wildlife — including reindeer, the Arctic fox, and huskies.

In addition to the Nordic region, Lapland crosses slightly over into Russia.

Where Is Lapland

Is Lapland part of Sweden or Finland?

Lapland is part of both Sweden and Finland, and in both countries, the region has a coat of arms. Within Lapland, you will find several municipalities in both countries.

Because both Sweden and Finland are in the Schengen Area, as well as the Nordic Passport Union, you can cross from the Swedish to Finnish Lapland without border checks.

In fact, the towns of Haparanda and Tornio form a joint town on either side of the border — even though they’re in different time zones (Haparanda GMT +1; Tornio +2).

What country is Lapland located in?

Most of Lapland covers the northernmost regions in Sweden and Finland. However, if we look at it from the perspective of where the Sámi people live, it also spreads across a large chunk of Northern Norway.

Lapland also has a small part of Russia, taking up the country’s Kola peninsula — which is close to the borders with Finland and Norway.

Where is Lapland located?

We’ve covered a lot of the basics now, so where is Lapland exactly?

Lapland is located in Scandinavia’s northernmost stretches, for the most part. It covers the northernmost parts of Sweden and Finland, and it’s actually the largest region in Finland. Despite that, it’s one of Finland’s most sparsely populated corners.

The Lapland region also covers the northernmost parts of Norway in some definitions, though this is not universal for all of them. In all three countries, the Sámi are officially recognized as a minority — and their languages are also one of the nations’ official languages.

Lapland also covers Russia’s Kola Peninsula, which is one of the country’s northernmost stretches.

Lapland starts just below the Arctic Circle before spreading all the way up to the northern edges of each country mentioned. The region’s starting point is difficult to define, and we can use it largely to discuss things from a cultural perspective.

Where Is Lapland

Are there any cities in the Lapland region?

While Lapland is largely unpopulated, you will find several towns and cities dotted throughout the region. Rovaniemi, the home of Santa Claus, is the administrative capital of the Finnish Lapland; around 63,000 people live there.

Another important city in Lapland is Luleå, which is on the northwestern coast of Sweden. Luleå is home to roughly 78,000 people, and various companies in the energy and tech sectors operate here. Social media giant Facebook also has a data center in Luleå.

In Norway, Tromsø is perhaps the most famous Arctic city. It’s home to just over 77,500 people and is the main tourist hub in the country’s northern regions.

As mentioned earlier, Tornio and Haparanda are also in the Finnish and Swedish Lapland regions, respectively. Tornio is home to over 20,000 people, and around 10,000 live in Haparanda.

Another important city in the Finnish Lapland region is Kemi, where around 22,000 people live. It’s well-known for its ice-breakers and is an important industrial city.

Many of the bigger cities in Lapland have a lot of the conveniences you’ll find elsewhere, including a wide selection of entertainment options.

Map of Lapland

If you’re still wondering “Where is Lapland?” and want to see a visual representation, the map below will help you in this respect.

Is it possible to visit Lapland?

If you’ve looked at the map above and thought that Lapland is quite remote, you’re right. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t visit the region. And believe it or not, getting here is quite simple.

You can visit Lapland year-round, and the region attracts domestic and international tourists alike. Many of the major cities are well-connected to the rest of the country, but you will often need a car to visit some of the more remote regions.

Where Is Lapland

How do you get to Lapland?

Getting to Lapland depends on where in the region you’re traveling to. Domestic flights serve airports in most of Lapland’s major urban centers. For example, you can fly directly from Helsinki to Rovaniemi and Stockholm to Luleå.

In Norway, you can also fly directly to Tromsø from Oslo — but the city does not have a train station. Tromsø is also reachable from a selection of international destinations, including Frankfurt (3 hours and 20 minutes) and Helsinki (2 hours and 20 minutes).

In the Swedish and Finnish Lapland, you can also get trains from further south. For example, you can catch a direct train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi; the journey takes between eight and 12 hours. Similarly, you can catch a sleeper train from Stockholm to Luleå; the trip usually takes just over 12 hours.

Besides public transport, you can also reach Lapland by car. And if you plan to explore the region outside of its main cities, driving is your best choice. Rental units are available in all three countries; you should exercise caution when getting around in the winter as temperatures are often well below freezing.

In areas that aren’t reachable by train, you might find affordable fares on long-distance buses. And even if the train goes to the same place, most bus stations are in the city center and (usually) comparably cheaper.

Lapland: One of Europe’s most unique destinations

So, now you know the answer to the “Where is Lapland?” question.

Lapland is Scandinavia as you always dreamed it. People from the Nordics spend a large amount of time in the region; it’s perfect for summer hiking (just remember your mosquito spray) and even better for skiing and outdoor activities in the winter.

With good road, rail, and air connections, you should strongly consider exploring the area if you happen to find yourself in Sweden, Norway, or Finland.

The Lapland region is also home to Scandinavia’s native Sámi people, and they’ve kept their traditions alive today. If you’re looking to see how people from the north live, you can book several excursions when you’re in Lapland.

Lapland is only one part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. It’s easy to think that this region is full of only people with blonde hair and blue eyes, but it’s very diverse when you look closer. On top of that, each region has its own unique cultures.

Why not find out more about where the Scandinavian Peninsula is here?

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