Only in Lapland: 5 Unique Free Time Activities – Winter Edition
Studies can be demanding – that is why it is important to keep your everyday life balanced with free time activities that let your batteries recharge! In winter, Lapland’s nature offers unique possibilities for different activities. While they might seem usual for Finnish people, most winter activities are not that common in other countries. Outdoor activities are a great way to stay fit, get fresh air and enjoy the beautiful landscape at the same time!
For sunrise lovers: A walk towards the sun
Start your day right and greet the sun with a winter walk or hike! The forest of Ounasvaara is only a few kilometers from the city center and can easily be reached by walking or biking. You can walk on the marked winter- or nature trail all the way to the top, where you can enjoy a fantastic view over Rovaniemi and its surroundings – and the rising sun. If you want, you can also go snowshoe hiking (it is possible to rent snowshoes from the student housing organization DAS).
For brave ones: Ice Swimming
You think outdoor swimming is only a summer activity? Not in Finland! Right in the city of Rovaniemi, at the Valdemari Beach, you will find an ice swimming hole in the Kemijoki river as well as changing facilities right next to it. Ice swimming is considered very healthy, but remember that if you have not practiced it, you should stay in the cold water only for a few seconds.
For those whose home is the slopes : Skiing
What some of us used to do exclusively on holidays can become your next favourite free time activity at home: Skiing! There are many possibilities for both downhill skiing (and snowboarding) as well as cross-country skiing. While Ounasvaara offers slopes for all of those, cross-country skiing can be done even in the city area, for example around the football field near the University. In early spring, a marked skiing route is also available on the frozen Kemijoki river.
For Skaters: Ice Skating
I was very surprised when I found out that in Rovaniemi you can go ice skating for free. Right next to the University you can go skate or play ice hockey. The ice is freshly prepared every morning so that you can go there at any time until the evening!
For stargazers: Northern Lights Hunting
Only in some parts of the world you can consider Northern Lights Hunting as a free-time activity. What a privilege it is to live in a place where you can even see them from your balcony or during a walk through the city! If you are interested in interpreting different forecasts and finding the best spots to see northern lights, you can spend much time with this. It is amazing to make a fire on the lakeside and watch aurora dance in the sky!