Driving through Finland to Lapland

In August 2005, our family had an excellent vacation in the mökki (cottage in Finnish) near Inari, Lapland. Our trip started with the Silja Line quick boat, the Super Seacat, from Tallinn to Helsinki. This trip takes 100 minutes and covers 80 km. The weather was promising at 8 AM when the boat departed.

It is 1150 km from Helsinki to Inari. We were aware that this was not as easy and quick as driving in Germany and therefore planned two days for that drive.

From Helsinki to Lahti (160km), the E75 road is a motorway and the speed limit is 130 km/hour. Further, the speed limit declines and is either 80 or 100 km/h. And it seemed to us that all Finnish drivers follow the rules.

On that day, the WRC Neste Rally took place near Jyvaskyla, which gave us a good chance to see some WRC cars driving from one stage to another.

Finland is a beautiful flat country with over 56 000 lakes, many of which are larger than hectares. Forest and water are the most obvious features of Finland’s natural landscape. Forests cover more than two-thirds of the land, and lakes and rivers account for almost another tenth. When driving through Finland, you have a great opportunity to see a lot of that.

We had accommodation booked in Tornio camping for 55 EUR for a cabin. Tornio camping is on the north coast of the Gulf of Bothnia. There is a lot of space near each cabin; it also offers tennis, mini golf, bicycles, canoes, fishing, and a sauna. There is also a grilling possibility we were not aware of. Next time, we will take Finnish sausages (makkara) with us to the grill. It seems that in the area there are quite many camps where you can find accommodation without pre-booking.

Reindeer

The next day, we drove ahead to the north. After crossing the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, the temperature started to decline and reindeer appeared near the roads. They look very calm and peaceful when crossing the road. It should be kept in mind that they can suddenly appear on the road. We saw many marks of heavy breaking on the roads, which were most probably caused by the reindeer.

After Rovaniemi, we made several stops to enjoy the beautiful views of the arctic wilderness. We stopped for coffee on the Tunturi Hill Kaunispää Fell. From that hill, you will have a view of the nearby hills. The temperature here was very cool, approximately 10 degrees.

The weather changed after Saariselka. It was overcast and cool. I think this frightened us because everybody was quiet in the car.

By 5 PM, we arrived in Inari, did some shopping for food, and continued on local roads towards Sotkaniemi mökki. Sotkaniemi surprised us all very positively. The house stood at the very end of the cape at Lake Paatari.

The story continues at Rovaniemi, Finland

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