Finnish Lapland covers an area of nearly 100,500 sq km, most of it within the Arctic Circle. Though it's been home to the Sami people for thousands of years, just four per cent of Finland's population lives in this silent wilderness - including a certain bearded gentleman, who resides in the region's capital of Rovaniemi. Santa Claus apart, what draws most visitors is the chance to explore an untouched landscape of rugged fells, deep gorges, lakes and forests.
For more than six months of the year Finnish Lapland is a winter wonderland, with snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, cross-country and downhill skiing among the many snow-based activities on offer. The clear, dark winter skies also ensure that this is one of the best places on earth to see the spectacular Aurora Borealis. Between May and August everything changes, as Finnish Lapland becomes the land of the midnight sun. Indeed, for two months of the year the sun doesn't set at all north of the Arctic Circle, so there's plenty of time for enjoying the great outdoors: there aren't many places in the world where you can be hiking, canoeing or swimming at noon and panning for gold, fishing or playing golf at midnight.