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Tips for Families wanting to experience the Arctic

Travelling with Children

Travelling with the whole family strengthens family bonds, creates lifelong memories and teaches the children empathy, compassion and problem-solving skills.

But - when you travel with children, you usually have more special needs than as adult travellers. You need to be 100 % sure about the child friendliness and safety of the accommodation, food, transportation and experiences during your holiday. Finland in general is a very good travel destination for families with children. Our legislation is very strict regarding consumer safety in activities, restaurants and accommodation, but we also have high-quality public services, such as healthcare centers, hospitals and rescue service, and also a wide set of private services for consumers. When you combine this service structure with all the beautiful nature and culture in Finland, you know you will have a nice and safe holiday with your family. So whether you are travelling with or without the kids, Finland is a high-quality travel destination.


Utsjoki is the Northernmost municipality in Finland. It is also the only municipality in Finland with a majority of Europe´s only indigenous population, the Sámi, which makes the everyday-life culture in the municipality very unique. Utsjoki has only about 1200 inhabitants and a population density of 0,2 people per square kilometres. The nature in Utsjoki is stunning: we have several protected wildlife areas, where the Sámi still practice their traditional livelihoods of reindeer herding, fishing, hunting and gathering. Utsjoki has been said to have the most beautiful nature in Finland. This northernmost corner of Finnish Lapland does not have any skiing centers, enormous hotel buildings or thousands of tourists wondering around in big groups. What do we have then to offer for families with children, and why do I claim Utsjoki to be a rewarding and sustainable travel destination for a holiday in the polar region?


Small, local, sustainable and family-owned travel businesses

When you go on a holiday with kids, you are sure to be spending a lot of money on the transportation, accommodation and activities. In Utsjoki, most of the travel businesses are owned by local families, so you know your money invested in your holiday will also support the local community and livelihoods when using local service providers. Small businesses also usually have more personalized services and can take into account also your family´s needs. Your children get a better connection with locals and the authentic local culture, which is a good learning experience. Learning about different ways of seeing the world also helps them to better understand their own culture. 

Protected Wilderness Areas

Protecting the nature is an intrinsic value for most locals in Utsjoki. This is something that children will learn when they come to Utsjoki. Nature is not here to be governed, owned and changed by people - nature is here to provide us life and continuity and that is why we people also have to take care of the nature - the relationship between people and nature is two-way. In Utsjoki, children get to see authentic wilderness that looks like it has been untouched by people, but they learn that this "untouched" nature has actually been the surrounding for several traditional Sámi livelihoods for thousands of years. As the arctic nature is very vulnerable to global changes like the warming climate, children also learn the causal and global effects of their actions. Our choices are not only our choices, they have an effect everywhere in the world.


Authentic Arctic Experiences

Utsjoki is a destination with authentic, modern-day Sámi culture in pure nature. Let us take you and your children to explore the authentic nature and the real way of life in the arctic, polar region. Our reindeer graze freely on the fells, and you and your children are most welcome to join us when we go feeding our Reindeer in the Arctic Tundra or be astonished by the beauty of the wilderness, sitting safely on a sleigh pulled by snowmobile, on an Arctic Tundra Safari. Join us when we go ice-fishing on a fell lake or to a lake next to the village, and children usually love to learn the skill of ice-fishing as well. On a snowshoe walk in the nature, we adapt the route according to the capability of the children. With very small children, we bring a fjellpulken or carrier with us, where the child can also travel in a snowy forest, pulled by the guide or their parents. On our tours, we teach the kids how to make an open fire and enjoy some nice snacks with hot juice and cocoa. We tell them how and why we show respect to the nature and the animals that provide us food.

Children Need Connection with the Natural World

Our children here in Utsjoki learn from a very young age to spend time outdoors. They follow us on skiing trips in a fjellpulken, travel in a traditional or modern baby carrier with the parents, they come to feed the reindeer and take part in reindeer roundups, they learn to fish in different ways and picking berries in a forest in the fall is an activity for the whole family. As the famous Sámi singer Sofia Jannok once said, "outside is same as inside", and this is very true in Utsjoki region. Spending time outdoors is a normal part of life here. Children are of course more sensitive to cold, so they need to be dressed properly (and adults, of course, as well). In winter, always wear wool layers, wind-proof moonsuit, wind-proof hat and gloves, and protect the face with a balaclava and a thick, wool scarf. When sitting still for longer periods of time, for example when sitting in a sleigh, an extra blanket helps to stay warm. The colder it is, the shorter time it is possible to stay outside. This is why for families, the best time to enjoy an arctic, winter holiday with lots and lots of time spent outdoors, would be March or the first few weeks of April. But no worries - if you want to have a mid-winter arctic holiday, being properly dressed, the children are usually okay spending an hour or two outside even in -30 C (-22 F)! During the snow-free season, meaning from June to October, children love to explore the trails, sandy beaches, wildlife and plants (especially berries!). This kind of unstructured play and time spent together with family, in an unstructured authentic surrounding, usually builds stronger relationship between family members and boosts the mental superpowers of creativity and curiosity.

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