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Lapland - Europe's Great Unspoilt Wilderness

It is traditionally held that Santa's home is in Lapland. Far to the north in the Finnish countryside and well within the Arctic Circle, surrounded by some of the most outstanding, unspoilt natural beauty around. This is the land of the midnight sun, Northern lights and a calm, peaceful landscape that is Lapland.

Anyone looking for Father Christmas or a romantic getaway could well consider the forests and tundra of Lapland. This great outdoors is a winter wonderland made real and responsible tourists can go on ski treks, reindeer safaris or husky pulled sled rides. Outdoor activists will love the sheer variety and mixture of attractions on offer in the tamed wilderness. You can try your hand at ice fishing; go touring on a snowmobile or more traditional winter pursuits like skiing and snowboarding.

Once this is all over you can recuperate at a lakeside spa, enjoy a sauna and thaw yourself out and then off to a local restaurant serving the local cuisine. A trip to Santa's Village just outside of Rovaniemi is the main reason most people think of travelling to Lapland and he can be easily be reached on Highway 4, north of the city or by taking the local #8 bus.

Accommodations in Lapland concentrate on the cosy picturesque wooden cottages, heated log burning fires, and equipped with their own sauna that allows you to warm the whole of your body after a day in the snow. A fun eco accommodation response can be found at Sinetta where you use snowbricks to build your own igloo shelter. While there are the large hotel complexes and international chains in Lapland some of the more interesting, green and unusual places to stay are the smaller, friendly establishments run by local inhabitants. Here you are guaranteed to get the true Finnish experience.

Journeying to Lapland in the winter months you will get to appreciate the delicate wonders of nature's wilderness but also be encouraged to responsibly tour and take care of your holiday destination so it's there for you in the future.

Increasingly tourism represents a growth industry within an area that has normally relied on forestry for its income. The local residents are working to create a responsible and sustainable tourist plan. That allows access to their beautifully pristine landscape, without causing irreparable damage and change. The wonder of the area is its unspoilt nature, and it is this that the inhabitants want to protect.

The area suffered massively with unemployment in the 1990's and this growth in tourism accompanied by education and training is leading to greater opportunities for Lapland's inhabitants. There is a greater emphasis on promoting locally owned hotels and organised attractions or tours. Tour operators are encouraged to use local supply chains and develop recycling and low impact activities. This is all good news for today's eco traveller.