From fuzzy reindeer pulling Christmas sleighs to the rainbow-coloured Aurora Borealis dancing in the night skies, Lapland is one of the world’s most enchanting regions. Wherever you roam, you can bet that Lapland’s trees will play a central role in creating a magical atmosphere.
In fact, Finland is one of the most forested countries in the world, with around 10 trees for every person on the planet. With much of Lapland lying north of the Arctic Circle, the region is home to a number of unique high-altitude species too.
Love to go out on a limb when it comes to native flora? Read on for our guide to admiring and identifying Lapland trees.
Sparkling Arctic evergreens
Set high in Lapland, Yllas is a gateway to barren fells studded with evergreen trees. While the setting is spectacular, what makes the landscape unique is the icy residue that forms when water droplets crystallise on the branches. This creates works of Arctic art that resemble towers of whipped cream, pillars of fairy floss, and sparkling icicles. On a clear day the snow sculptures look striking set against the blue sky. Stay for sunset and you’ll see the Lapland trees light up in dusky shades of orange, purple and pink.
The stunning silver birch
Formally known as Betula pendula, the silver birch is Finland’s national tree. The high-altitude species is easily recognisable by its slender, stark white bark, pale green leaves and graceful branches that slant towards the ground. You’ll find silver birch trees strewn across Lapland, from the streets of Rovaniemi to the valleys of Lemmenjoki National Park.
In early autumn Lapland’s high-altitude forests are affected by the first frosts, also known as ruska. The icy weather turns the leaves of the stunted mountain birch trees and dwarf shrubs red, yellow, and orange, which makes for spectacular hiking and eye-catching Instagram snaps.
Housed in the Finnish Forest and Park Service, Pilke Tiedekeskus offers a fascinating overview of the country’s forestry industry, which is dominated by national species like spruce, pine, downy birch and silver birch. Kids will love playing on the interactive exhibits and learning about the forest to factory process.
Kevo Strict Nature Reserve
The Kevo Strict Nature Reserve cradles some of Finland’s most beautiful scenery. It covers a footprint of more than 700 square kilometres and is a mecca for hikers who flock to explore the rugged valley and scenic fell birch forests. As well as admiring Lapland trees, Kevo also offers a unique chance to watch Finnish reindeer herders at work.
In this magnificent forest you can gaze up at some of Finland’s oldest pine and spruce trees. It’s an 80-kilometre drive south-east of Rovaniemi and is laced with scenic hiking trails, including a 3.5-kilometre path that winds up to a cascading waterfall. Keep your eyes peeled for moose munching on tree saplings at the water’s edge, as well as illusive lynx.
Urho Kekkonen National Park
Urho Kekkonen National Park is made up largely of dry pine forests that grow around lush river valleys. Exploring the hiking trails, you’ll find yourself in a wonderland of towering spruce trees clad in emerald-green moss and lichen. As well as admiring the trees, watch for majestic golden eagles soaring overhead.
Pyhä-Luosto National Park
This scenic pocket of Lapland is covered with old-growth evergreen and coniferous forests, “aapa” bog zones, and fell vegetation like black bearberries, Alpine clubmoss and trailing azaleas. It also protects a host of endangered plants, including several “polypores” fungi species that are dependent on deadwood.
Oulanka National Park
Oulanka National Park offers a breathtaking glimpse of Lapland’s Arctic forest. The Bear’s Ring Trail, also known as the Karhunkierros Trail, is a popular way to explore the park, which is home to over 500 vascular plant species, including wild orchids. In autumn the trees come alive in a blaze of reds, yellows and golds.
The best way to see Lapland
At Scandi Travel, we specialise in delivering the very best Lapland experiences. Whether it’s a husky sledge tour or your very own snowmobile ride, we provide the best ways to see Lapland’s trees along with all the other wonderful scenery the region has to offer. Get in touch with us today to start planning your own unforgettable Lapland holiday.