Five Myths about Lapland

As the saying goes, never let the truth get in the way of a good story, right? Well,

Myth 1: Lapland is only in Finland

Actually, 'Lapland' traverses several countries up here in the far North and has other names depending on how you look at it. While many see 'Lapland' as the name for the region historically inhabited by the Sami people, its also known as 'Sápmi'. As a cultural area, it traverses the northern parts of Fennoscandia, incorporating parts of Finland, Sweden, Norway, and even Russia. As an administrative name, 'Lapland' can also refer to distinct provincial areas in both Sweden (Lappland) and Finland (Lappi). In terms of tourism marketing though, 'Lapland' is usually referring to Finnish or Swedish Lapland. Below is a pic looking out into Sweden & Norway from the top of a fell (mountain) in Finland...all considered 'Lapland'.
Looking into Sweden and Norwat from Finland

Myth 2: Santa Claus is from Rovaniemi

This is a 50/50 myth, depending on how you look at it. While many people understand Rovaniemi to be the hometown of Santa, its actually only the 'official' home for tourism purposes. According to Finnish folklore, the original home of Santa Claus (Joulupukki in Finnish) is Korvatunturi fell, which is located in Savukoski and inside Urho Kekkonen National Park in eastern Lapland. You can read more about Santa's real home here. If you want to visit Santa though, its still best to travel to his office at Santas Village at the Arctic Circle.
Where is Santa Claus From

Myth 3: The Northern Lights appear every night

Contrary to advertising or marketing images of Lapland, there is no guarantee that you will see the Northern Lights during winter because they are a natural phenomena that are sporadically visible from the Autumn to Spring each year, when its dark outside. However, you can learn how to predict aurora forecasts yourself and learn more about what are the Northern Lights so that you can better 'hunt' for them when visiting Lapland.
Auroras in Rovaniemi, Finland

Myth 4: Reindeer are wild animals

While you may see reindeer roaming over the vast wilds of Lapland in small groups or on their own, all reindeer (generally speaking) actually belong to reindeer herders. These herders round up their reindeer at various times of the year to administer and attend to their herds as necessary, with meat and hides from the herds sold commercially to provide income. If you look closely, you will notice some reindeer you see will have collars or bells around their neck, although most are marked by a distinct cut to their ear.
Are reindeer wild animals?

Myth 5: Polar bears live in Lapland

Are there Polar Bears in Lapland? No. Are there Brown Bears in Lapland? Yes. To the disbelief of some people, although Lapland is an Arctic area, there are no polar bears here, except in the zoo. They aren't native to the region. The closest wild Polar Bears you will find live in Svalbard which is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, north of Norway.
Polar bears in Lapland?
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