The travel industry is going through trying times, and so are travellers themselves. It is clear that both travel businesses and travellers alike are going to see the industry change irrevocably, and lets hope for the better! Many are wondering right now where they could go and spend their hard-earned holidays, while at the same time being safe and following the given guidelines to ensure everyone else’s safety as well. Already strong trends, but now even higher up in people’s priority lists, values such as sustainability, locality, authenticity, peacefulness and purity are the buzz words of the post-corona era travel. People are yearning to be away from it all, to leave the cities, and to have meaningful experiences in the nature.
People are also afraid of crowds now, and for a good reason. We have also been shaken into the realisation of the effects of overtourism. How it affects the delicate ecosystems of the destinations and how irreversible the damage can be. Travellers are starting to really ponder about the effects of their travel habits. The same naturally applies to businesses within the travel industry; how to be better at sustainability and how to ensure responsible yet unforgettable experiences for one’s customers. Not only this year, but for years to come.
If you are able to travel within the EU this autumn, we’d like to throw our contender into the pool of options you might have in mind for your late summer/autumn holiday. What else than Lapland! Particularly so of course our very own corner of it, the Pallas-Ylläs National Park area in the Fell Lapland zone. While we are understandably biased in our opinion, we think you’d love it here. Lapland as a destination ticks all the boxes for the conscious nature loving traveller. You probably had no idea that Lapland even has a summer or autumn, let alone any reason to come here during off season. If you’d give us a second, we’d like to prove you wrong.
Note – We are not encouraging any travel outside official governmental guidelines, please do follow the guidelines given both by your country and by Finland before you travel.
1. We have the cleanest air in the world – Yes, really!
Our own municipality Muonio, where we and a part of Pallas-Ylläs National Park are located, has the cleanest respiratory air in the world. This is data from WHO’s 2016 report on air pollution, so while we acknowledge it’s a few years old we think it’s fair to say the status has hardly changed too much since then.
A researcher from the Finnish Meteorological institute explains:
“Finland is located far enough from big European cities, so emissions from long-range transport of pollutants remain low. On a global scale, there is really only one big city in Finland, Helsinki, and even its air quality is excellent. There are also few inhabitants and little traffic in Lapland. A very significant aspect is also that Finland has managed to curtail industrial emissions. In addition to good cleaning methods, industrial processes operate with clean technology.“
Did you know that lichen, that grey and green fungus that lives on the ground, on tree trunks and branches, and on rock surfaces, is particularly sensitive to air pollution? Some lichen types die away when they come into contact with pollution. Lichen is ample in Lapland and you can see it pretty much everywhere you look. Most famously you can find it hanging from tree branches, closely resembling an old man’s beard. The more you see those wisps of grey beard hanging from trees, the cleaner the air you are breathing is. The arctic air adding a twist of freshness to it too.
Due to the lack of pollution in the air, you can see tens of kilometres in every direction from atop of a fell, and thus truly feel that you are at the heart of Europe’s northern wilderness.
2. 3rd largest national park in Finland – There is more than plenty of room for everyone
Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park covers an area of 1,020 square kilometres. Apparently, billions of years ago this area was crisscrossed by an alpine-like mountain range. These mountains were grinded into round stumps by time, but these fells still dominate the landscape and the fell chain stretches 100 km throughout the national park. So there is definitely plenty of room for everyone (both horizontally and vertically).
Pallas-Ylläs National Park has dozens upon dozens of different trails crossing through the area, from fell top to fell top to wetlands and through the ancient taiga. The trails range from very easy day hikes to more demanding ones with overnighting in the park. The great thing about this particular national park is that it is so accessible: The availability of easy hikes makes it possible for the whole family to enjoy the gorgeous nature together for a few hours, but then being able to return to the comfort and warmth of your cabin by the end of the day. But if you want to really challenge yourself and get lost in the wilderness with your tent and lots of blister plasters, you can do that too.
More about the trails here.
3. Lapland is one of the last great wildernesses in Europe
The world is getting smaller around us and the modern society has penetrated even the most remote places on earth. It is difficult to find areas on this earth that have not been touched by pollution, light pollution and human dominance in general. One definition of the word “wilderness” goes: It is an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region. In Europe the only true wilderness that still exists (apart from the Carpathians) is the region above the arctic circle in Lapland. This area is a great landscape of nothingness, and stretches across the Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian borders. Arguably now more than ever, the nature loving traveller yearns to experience the true wilderness, the unforgiving, organic, untouched and raw nature. The good news is that we have plenty of exactly that.
Many has heard of Lapland, but few really know much about it. And even fewer go and explore it, particularly outside the snowy high season. But how about late summer and early autumn? Summer and autumn are perfect for hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, river rafting and animal watching up in the arctic. The flora and fauna that have been in deep hibernation under the heavy cloak of snow are up and active during the months of June to October.
Highlight of an autumn trip is definitely the autumn foliage you can witness all around you, from fells to lowlands and through forests to shrubbery fields. The arctic conditions make the autumn foliage, Ruska in Finnish, more spectacular than in warmer climates.
You will be able to experience a firework reds, oranges and yellows as the leaves prepare for winter. We’ve written an article about that, if you’d like to learn more about the Lappish Ruska.
Summer highlight will definitely be the wonder of the nightless night. The sun won’t set the whole summer up here! One of our guides’ favourite things to do on a summer’s day is to hike up the trail on top of Särkitunturi fell and admire the midnight sun and the view that opens up to all directions from atop the fell. Here are a few things our guides love to do around here during summer time.
For winter, the number one authentic arctic wilderness experience is, hands down, the week-long Wilderness Tour dog sledding adventure. This one takes you away from all civilisation for a week, simply gliding through the silent, white landscape while you ride your own team of sled dogs. You overnight in tiny wilderness cabins, admire the millions of stars that dot the night sky, while catching the occasional Aurora Borealis dancing through the darkness. Read our article on highlights of the Wilderness Tour, the best things to look forward to when embarking on this adventure.
4. Super food straight from the bush – This year the blueberry and cloudberry harvest is going to be abundant
Think about the vivacious colours of bilberries, cloudberries and bright red lingonberries, and all the other 20+ kinds of edible berries one can pick from the wild in Lapland. They get both their delicious colour and taste from the arctic long summer days and the cool temperature. What makes them superfood is the high concentration of vitamins and polyphenols within them. They are high in antioxidants, which include vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, selenium, zinc, carnosine and ubiquinone. There are a lot of them particularly in wild berries, which grow freely and bountifully in Lapland. In addition to being vitamin bombs (and being really very good for you), you can be sure they are free of any chemicals and pesticides, as they are not farmed nor does the air pollution get to them.
You are allowed to pick berries and mushrooms to your heart’s content in the wild, for as long as you do not damage the bush or the surrounding area. So if you feel like a vitamin boost into your system, some clean, hormone free food, and a hike in untouched nature on top of that, I think we’ve made our case here.
5. Spend an autumn activity week training with huskies while enjoying the Lappish nature
Would you like to experience all the above, but not exactly sure how to go about it? We’ve got just the thing for you! With the added flavour of sled dog training activities (if you want, that is).
Learn about our dogs, their care and how sled dogs are trained. You can get as hands-on as you like, we are happy to share all the secrets of the trade with you. It’s up to you how much you want to be involved with the dog activities. If you’d prefer, you can also simply just kick back and enjoy the nature.
You’ll get to experience some of the best hiking trails in Finland in the surrounding Pallas-Ylläs National Park, go berry and mushroom picking, bird watching, reindeer spotting – the lot. While overnighting in our Husky Village cabins and welcoming the starry night by campfire. Read more about the offer here.