Finland trip part 1 – the road to Rovaniemi

In 2005 I made a huge roadtrip to Finland. It’s still one of my favourite trips ever, mostly because I saw so much nature on that trip. Northern Europe is a true wilderness, and often we could drive for a whole day without seeing a single other person on the road. The only disadvantage is that I took this trip before meeting my lovely husband. I’ll have to show him & my lovely girl this beautiful country one day!

In a series of blogposts I’ll take you through the 8250 km I spent up North. I’m pretty certain that you’ll want to do the same afterwards…

Part 1: the road there

Finland is a big country and we wanted to see a big part of it. We also wanted to take our dog Daiko along with us, so we chose not to fly & drive, but just to drive up there.

On day 1 we drove from our home in Wondelgem (near Gent) to Copenhagen in Denmark.

finland_kaart1

We camped throughout the whole trip, also in Copenhagen. The campsite was very very basic (not even a tree in sight) and we were practically the only ones there. The cosy citycentre & the busy Nyhavn made up for that though. We ate a nice, though expensive dinner in Barock, along the waterfront of Nyhavn. I was in Copenhagen last year, and much to my surprise the prices are a lot lower than they were in 2005 – which is great for anybody visiting the city right now :-)

Reaching Denmark!

Cosy Nyhavn on a summers eve.

Cosy Nyhavn on a summers eve.

We ticked off at 1116,7 km that day and were pretty exhausted. The next morning, we decided to take a walk along the beach before starting off our second leg on the road to Rovaniemi.

My dog back then: meet Daiko.

My dog back then: meet Daiko.

Posing in front of the Baltic sea.

Posing in front of the Baltic sea.

We decided to drive for about the same amount of km’s and find a spot to pitch our tent for the night. We drove endlessly through the Swedish countryside, following the road along the coast. Most of the times that meant driving in between pine forests and seeing the typical red wooden houses.
Finally, we reached 1117,9 km on the counter and found a nice little lake to pitch our tent next to. We set up camp and cooked up some dinner. We thought it was around 8 PM, maybe 9… but it turned out to be just before midnight when we checked. Much to our surprise, we already found ourselves in the area where the sun never really sets in summertime!
The benefit of camping in Northern Europe (Sweden, Finland, Norway) is that you can actually pitch your tent where you like. There are some basic rules (you have to keep away about 400m from private property and ofcourse leave nothing behind), but you are also free to go fishing, pluck berries, etc… The basic idea is that the land belongs to everybody. Lovely idea!

A lovely spot for our first wild camping.

A lovely spot for our first wild camping.

Daiko and our tent.

Daiko and our tent.

Hide & seek in the grass.

Hide & seek in the grass.

Camping spot day 2: around the area of Sundsvall.

Camping spot day 2: around the area of Sundsvall.

On the third and final day we had a good 722,8 km on the counter before arriving in Lapland. We chose to camp out in Rovaniemi the first couple of days and found a lovely camping near the river Kemijoki.

2957,4 km from home: Rovaniemi.

2957,4 km from home: Rovaniemi.

Kemijoki river.

Kemijoki river.

Wild summer flowers.

Wild summer flowers.

Kemijoki river as seen from our tent... at midnight.

Kemijoki river as seen from our tent… at midnight.

On the first day there we chose to relax a bit. I made a brief visit to the Arktikum, a lovely museum where you can learn alot of things about life in the Polar regions: wildlife, Saami life and the Aurora Borealis are all explained there.

finland_A (43)

Arktikum.

Reindeer in Arktikum.

Reindeer in Arktikum.

Elk in Arktikum.

Elk in Arktikum.

The main attraction of Rovaniemi is the Arctic circle, along with the Santa Claus Post Office. It’s the official residence of the bearded man and a must stop for everybody that passes there.

Napapiiri - the arctic circle.

Napapiiri – the arctic circle.

Polar dog.

Polar dog.

That's where we are!

That’s where we are!

Santa Claus post office.

Santa Claus post office.

Santa's desk.

Santa’s desk.

Polar heat ;-)

28°C at the North Pole Circle!

As we drove back to our campsite, we had a final surprise: our very first reindeer!

The very first....

The very first….

-A-

In the next post: a two day trek through Urho Kekkonen National Park

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10 thoughts on “Finland trip part 1 – the road to Rovaniemi

  1. Must have been great road trip. We have been in Lapland many times and presented it in many posts. To me it is interesting to see how find our Northern parts of Finland.

  2. I will thank You. Maybe You noticed that my new post is presenting the third part of our road trip to the North of the Arctic Circle Total number will be 13 posts. One question: Did You drive to Nordkapp (North Cape) in Norway?

    • Yes, I already took a quick look and subscribed to your updates :-)
      We didn’t drive to the Nordkapp, no. It was actually our initial plan, but we met a lot of travellers on the way back down when we were camping at Lake Inari. They didn’t recommend the drive up there actually, so we decided to stick around in Finland instead.

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