Above the Arctic Circle, Lapland comprises one-third of Finland, the country's northernmost, largest, and most sparsely populated province, which is why it's often called "The Last Wilderness in Europe."
Although Lapland has four seasons, some people refer to eight seasons a year. In the summer, the vegetation sprouts flowers and bears fruit all within 3 months because the sun doesn't set for weeks on end. In Utsjoki, in the northernmost part of Lapland, starting in the middle of May, the sun doesn't set for nearly 70 days. If summer, with its midnight sun, is an extraordinary experience, then so is the polar night, the twilight time of the year, when there is never true darkness since the sun glows softly on the horizon.
The period during October and November, when there's no sun, is called kaamos. Winter is the longest period of the year, but it includes the night light show -- the aurora borealis. After the polar night comes the dazzling spring snow, when skiing is great until May, when the sun gives twice as much light as it did in the dead of winter.
Lapland is an area of great forests, and jobs in forestry and agriculture are the most common occupations here. Finland's longest river, the Kemijoki, runs through the area, and its lower reaches are terraced with seven hydroelectric plants. Lapland also has western Europe's largest artificial lakes, Løkka and Porttipahta.
Despite human intrusion, this is still a land of bears, wolves, eagles, and wolverines. However, the animal that symbolizes this land is the reindeer, and there are more than 300,000 here.
North of the Arctic Circle, the Arctic Road is as far north as the roadless tundras of Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia. However, it provides easy access to the diverse scenery of the north.
As early as the 1930s, visitors from all over Europe traveled north in their cars, heading for Petsamo, the end point of the Arctic Road at that time. Today, the Arctic Road is an adventure, stretching for more than 998km (620 miles). It starts near the Arctic Circle at Rovaniemi and passes through central and northern Lapland as it heads toward the Arctic Ocean and eastern Finnmark, on the very edge of Europe. Extensive areas along the road have been protected and preserved.