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Visiting Lapland in Winter
On the edge of wilderness in Finnish Lapland sits Lake Olkkajärvi. The lake lies north of Rovaniemi and sits at an elevation of 103m, surrounded by wild woodland trails. In the summer this is a haven for kayaking, boating, fishing and hiking; with signs of history along the trails. Including maintained trails and an old Myllyoja sawmill built following ther areas demise during world war two.
In winter this lake is home to an exciting range of activities close in an area of ‘Rovaniemi designated as the home of santa’ and the perfect place to view the Aurora Borealis in all of its glory. Apukka Resort sits on the edge of the lake and hosts this stunning resort along with all of its activities. We spent months chosing the right accomodation for our stay in Rovaniemi to follow our adventure in Pyha but just kept coming back to Apukka.
About Apukka Resort
We decided to treat ourselves to a bit more of a luxury accomodation and wanted to get the chance to stay in a glass roof cabin. Part of the reason for this romance was also allowing me (if i’m having a flare up) to still enjoy the night sky (and fingers crossed, the aurora borealis) from the comfort and warmth of my bed. This resort also had so many activities on offer and it was away from hustle and bustle of the city of Rovaniemi.
Not only is it out in the wild but also only 10 minutes from the airport (which is perfect). The prices for the accomodation and activities were far more reasonable than others that were charging in the 1000’s per night for accomodation that offer this. They were also very close to or in the city and next to other big resorts like santa’s village (meaning lots of light polution).
When we checked out the fine print of some others during our decision making, a lot of them had additional charges for the rental of clothing needed for a lot of the activities. Obviously you can wear your own but for many couples and families, this is a once in a lifetime trip. Buying full snow gear for a weekend or week long trip that wont get used again just doesn’t make sense. Apukka includes these snow suits in the activities.
This and many other reasons you will see below just made Apukka a no brainer. I have included a little more information about our booking at the bottom of this post, and I will also do an honest review of our stay and activities following the trip.
Sustainable Tourism Practice At Apukka Resort
In 1938 Apukka area became a nature research station, this held significance for the sami people. Apukka’s aim is to increase sustainability and already has a number of things in place including recycling, water conservation, careful choices about their building practice and use lighting on site electronics.
This attitude of consciousness isn’t just limited to the resort, the animal welfare and care is taken very seriously. Working in harmony with animals ensuring their needs are met. In addition to this educating and training staff about the local history and sami culture so that they can continue to honour these traditions for guests. Using local suppliers and staff first to support the community.
I find that coming from an english town which is very commercial and sustained by it’s tourism; I don”t just have an appreciation of this ethos but I have witnessed first hand how this attitude can benefit whole communities. I also wish that more English centres and companies would adopt this approach in their long term business plan.
Upgrading Apukka Resort
Over the winter of 2020/21 and the 2021 summer season, Apukka have used the time of unpredictability well. Whilst lockdowns were limiting a lot of global movement, they have decided to move forward with their expansion plans. Due to the ideal location (close to the airport but out in the wild) and the space they have available they have built a few new options for their accomodation. Over the next few seasons they will also update activities and some of the original accomodations to a similar style.
Eventually they will be building this into a small unique village on the side of Olkka Lake and Apukka River. This will also include a new restaurant house in a traditional large log cabin (in addition to the stunning on site restaurant that already exists – pictured above) and a wellness lounge for a full finnish experience to suite all.
Accomodation Options At Appuka Resort
There a number of accomodation options here at Apukka. I will give a quick overview of each one along with some of the pictures to give you an idea.
This is a traditional sami designed hut (above) with a glass top roof that allows for a full 360 view of the night sky. However they would sell out well in advance, we booked ours over a year in advance, this is also why you might notice the Kammi suite below was added as an option.
The Kammi suites are an upgrade to the Komsio suites which have become increasingle popular over recent years as the premium option. They have the 360 roof with a more space and a more sustainable design.
Kammi Family Suites
These family suites have a kitchenette, living room and two bedrooms. Their design allows for large wide windows from floor to ceiling to give the best view of the night sky. Some of these you can also have up to 4 people in due to the living space downstairs doubling up as extra pull out beds.
These are the cabins you may have seen all over social media, with half a roof made out of glass for viewing the night sky directly over the bed. These ensuite rooms are cosy and charming. With a more budget friendly price than every option we could find available that offered the glass roof at this time of year (winter and we were looking 12 months in advance). The Superior Aurora Cabins also have more space, seating and generally upgraded from the cabins above.
The Apukka Villa
The villa is a large home which can have up to 12 guests, with a more modern twist on finnish design. The house has its own sauna and is set back with views of the woods and lake.
The aurora wagon is set out away from the other accomodations to give a sense of the wild, this cabin has wide panoramic windows and is similar to staying in a campervan with epic views. This is also a really great price if you want to have more of your budget for the extra activities, this could be a way to get more from your trip.
This popular experience gets booked up quick. Most people opt for 1-2 nights in this unique experience to find out what it’s like to stay in an igloo. It sounds a lot colder than it is, and having previously stayed in one elsewhere, it is definitely and fun experience I’d recomend to anyone to try at least once.
There are also some holiday homes and apartments that are on sight to chose from which all have their own unique appeal and lovely design. Check out their website for more information on each of the accomodation options and more pictures. The resort itself has a range of outbuildings, and shelter areas where you will find campfires and sami traditions taking place.
Activities At Appuka Resort
One of the key things that drew me to Apukka over other resorts was the activities on offer and the location (just outside the business of the city but close to the airport). If you are planning a trip to lapland to experience the arctic animals then this could be the perfect base for you. Click Here to find out more about their activites.
This one is a favourite for many visitors to lapland and any arctic circle countries. Huskies are working dogs that love being active and pulling sleds. They are absolutely stunning creatures. We experienced husky sledding in Iceland a couple of years ago and wanted to do it again so we booked in for the Husky Sledding at Apukka during our Lapland trip. It really was amazing, and we loved everything about the experience.
Horse Back Riding Through The Snowy Wilderness
This is only available during the daytime. However you can opt for a horse drawn sled instead of horse back if you prefer. Much like most of the activities you can chose from a shorter duration of 2 hours up to 6 hours. With the sled ride you can opt for a nighttime one.
The reindeers are drawn by sled and you can chose from a 2 hour daytime sled ride, a longer daytime ride or a nightime ride under the stars (or northern lights if you are lucky).
This is one that me and my fiance are really excited about. We have never done this before and it looks like so much fun. If you want something a little more high energy then this could be the activity for you. Go gliding across the snow and through the wilderness. Trips last between 2.5 hours and 6 hours with the option of a nighttime tour aswell.
The Snow Day
One of the cool experiences they have here is a snow day package for families, where you can combine a few taster activities for all ages to enjoy. Including husky and reindeer safari, sled pulling and much more.
Lets Talk Sauna’s
If you are visiting Finland at any given time you need to make sure you include a finnish favourite pastime which is the sauna. And Apukka have a range of saunas and experiences to chose from.
An Ice Sauna
- A Classic Contemporary Scandanavian Sauna
- A Traditional Woodburnt Sauna
Some accomodation options also have sauna’s included in their suites.
Snow shoeing allows you to walk over the snow for long distances without sinking into the snow. They take a bit of getting used to and the snow shoes traditionally made from wooden frames but can allow you to enjoy the snow for longer, without worrying so much about the eventual cold and damp. We have this booked on our trip in the north immediately before but we are very excited and if we didn’t, it would have been on our Apukka Itinerary.
Our Planned Trip To Apukka
We decided we wanted to book a bit of luxury following our activities in the national park and somewhere to relax. I also wanted to make sure we had a viewing area or large window to see the Aurora (should it decide to show). My history with trying to see the elusive northern lights is pretty unsuccessful. I also suffer with chronic pain (from endometriosis and pelvic congestions syndrome) which causes fatigue and is generally more painful in the cold, so being able to stay inside but still view the night sky would be an ideal alternative if needed.
We opted for the Lappish Komsio Suite (above), but as I mentioned above when reaching out to book our activities directly and ask questions we were offered an upgrade to the Lappish Kammi Suite (below). The accomodation type is similar but the size of the new Lappish Kammi suite is more spacious and has some additional extras like a kitchenette and larger seating area.
Click Here to book your own stay with Apukka
I am booked in to Apukka following a 3 night stay in the Pyha Luosto National Park on a multi activity adventure which we booked prior to adding Apukka on our trip. During our visit to the national park I will be doing Ice climbing, Snow shoeing, Hiking, Aurora chasing with a photographer and experiencing a dip under the ice and finnish sauna. Hence our choices in activities whilst at Apukka.
- Appuka Reindeer Journey
- Duration: Approx 2 hours
- Price: 135 Euros
- There is a longer option for nightime sliegh ride too.
An Arctic Horseback Ride
- Horseback Ride in Snowy Nature
- Duration: 2 hours
- Cost: 98 Euros
- There was also options to do daytime or nighttime sleigh rides with horses
- We have booked the Peek at the Wilderness by Snowmobile
- Duration: approx 2.5 hours long.
- Price: 138 Euro’s per adult
- Neither myself or my fiance Ben have done this before but have always wanted to try it.
- There is another option for a full day of snow mobiling but we have a few things we want to fit in over the trip as well as some down time.
- There is also a nighttime option!
Additional Activities | We have also booked a gourmet BBQ, Finish Sauna Experience and some time just to relax.
Want to book an activity at Apukka Resort?
You can either book with resort directly (like we have)? Or if you are staying elswhere and just want to book one of their amazing activities this can easily be done via get your guide below.
Please note: All pictures in this article are owned by Apukka Resort and used with their permission. I have not been paid to create this post, however after having a fantastic experience booking with them and the clear communication I’ve experienced during the pandemic, I wanted to share an article about this fantastic place and why we have chosen this resort over others in the area. We have been given an upgrade to try their newly built accomodation and given a great deal on our activity bookings in exchange for them also using our content (images and videos).
I will also be reviewing our experience honestly following our trip and will link this here, when it is live.