I love the North. I don’t know why and I know it’s not very common, specially from someone who comes from Spain, specifically from the Canary Islands. People are always looking for warmer places and tropical beaches for their holidays. But I prefer colder destinations. And it’s not because I’m a fan of cold, I’ve never liked it. But every time I have to think where I would want to spend a holiday, I always end up looking North. I guess it all started when I visited Sweden for the first time. It was in August and I went to Stockholm for two weeks. To be sincere, Sweden wasn’t a place that attracted me by then. I only wanted to spend my summer holidays with my boyfriend. I didn’t even know anything about the city. The weather was horrible for most part of the time I was there, rainy and cold (specially cold for a Spaniard!)… But, surprisingly, I fell in love with Stockholm. And less than two years later, I left everything in Spain and I moved to Sweden. And since then, I have this special feeling for the North.

There’s something special in northern countries, something that always draws me. The seasons, the weather, the cold, the light, the infinite long summer days, the magical winter darkness, the snow… And the nature. Northern countries have such a special relationship with nature! There’s nothing like that where I come from. Even if tourism is starting to bloom in northern countries, you can still feel the wild and raw nature there, as population is very scarce. There’s nothing I like more than driving on these empty roads, without seeing any other car for hours. There’s nothing like hiking and having the trails just for yourself…

My husband told me a few months ago that he had the opportunity to go to Finnish Lapland for a few days and that we could spend a few days there too exploring the region. I immediately started dreaming with infinite snowy landscapes and forests, with reindeer, moose, red squirrels… We couldn’t have chosen a better time to go there. While in south Europe the end of March means spring, in Lapland it only means a few more daylight hours. The cold remains for a few more weeks, there’s still plenty snow and more falls every now and then. But the cold is not as extreme as in December or January. That makes March the perfect time to travel to Lapland.

As we did in other places, we planed a road trip, from Rovaniemi (the “capital” of Lapland and home to Santa Claus) to Inari, at 265km from the Arctic Circle. In this occasion, the distances we drove weren’t as long as in other trips, as the roads are still covered in snow and ice. We mainly visited National Parks, where we could hike and walk with our snowshoes.

Here are some photos I took during our first day in Lapland. We visited two places near Rovaniemi: the waterfall Auttiköngäs and the Korouoma canyon, where there are three more waterfalls. Of course, all of them were frozen and covered with ice and snow, but the landscape was still beautiful. I hope you like them!

I’m still impressed by the landscape we found in Lapland. One could think that, after living in Sweden and Switzerland, I would be used to the snow. But Lapland is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The deep forests that cover all the landscape as far as the eye can see, the huge frozen lakes, how flat the Finnish landscape is compared to Switzerland… But if there’s something that really amazed me, it is the silence… I think I’ve never been so aware of the sound of my own breath as I was in Lapland. The only sounds we could hear in those infinite forest were the ones we made: the snow crushing under our feet… that was all. Complete silence accompanied us as we walked in that eerie and frozen world…

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge


  1. Mariola Muñoz

    Preciosas fotografias, parecen sacadas de un cuento o una historia misteriosa. Y tu relato de como te atrapa el invierno del norte es muy fantastico y revelador del magnetismo y hechizo que produciran esas tierras.

    • mercedescatalan

      Muchas gracias Maria!! Laponia es sin duda uno de los lugares más bonitos que hemos visitado… frío, solitario y aun así, cargado de magia!!!
      Me alegra mucho que te hayan gustado las fotos! Un besazo!! 🙂

  2. Thank you for taking me to Lapland! Your pictures are amazing. I could feel the ice crystals on the trees. When you wrote that you could hear the sound of your own breath, I wondered about hearing the camera shutter click!

    • mercedescatalan

      Thank you, Anne! I’m so glad you liked these first impressions of Lapland! It’s been such a great adventure!
      The silence… I’m still impressed by it! I though Swiss winters were quiet and silence… but it’s nothing compared to what I experienced in Lapland! There the silence is sooo intense and deep! You can hear the water flowing under the frozen rivers, the cracks of the ice and snow… Imagine the sound of the shutter!! Even if I tried to use the silence mode a lot, there it was as if I were still using my old small 1200D (the shutter of the small DSLR sounds sooo loud compared to the bigger models!!). Eventually, I lost all hopes to find any wildlife in the forest with so much noise, even if we were hiking in protected areas and natural parks, where supposedly there was a lot of wildlife! I found myself being jealous of foxes and other animals that walk so quietly!!

  3. I’m happy you liked it! Now that you mention it, I remember that too: hearing nothing but the sound of my own breath… and my own squeaky footsteps. Which also means… no birdsong, no life. It’s exotic even for me.
    I’ve never heard of either place – which is no wonder, I’m no Lapland expert at all! – and the names sound exotic, I’m thinking they maybe originate from the Sámi language.
    Such an interesting photo post, Mercedes! 🙂

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a mil, Snow!! I really loved Lapland! So much that I’m already dreaming with a second trip… maybe in autumn to see the ruka and the northern lights?? Not summer, for sure… I would love to see the midnight sun, but I can not stand the mosquitos, hehehe (I know the mosquitos from the North from my years in Stockholm… they are massive!!!!)
      That silence… I though Swiss winters were quiet, because compared to Swiss summer, with all the cow bells everywhere, the birds, the people, is really quiet… but that silence in Lapland was so deep, so intense… I felt as if I was walking on a dreamy, magical place, and if I made so much noise I could break the spell… hehehe
      I found those two places just looking in Google maps! I’m sure they look way better during summer or autumn, but for the first day I didn’t wanted to get very tired driving far from Rovaniemi and hiking many km… It was kind of a test day for us, learning how to drive on frozen roads and all. The best thing is that we hardly met any other people at these locations (but a lot of reindeer footprints all over the forest!! 🙂 ).
      I’m planning to post more photos from this trip… so I hope you like them!! 🙂

      • I loved your pics and am looking forward to more! 😊 And I also do that: look at a map abroad to spontaneously decide where to go!

        • mercedescatalan

          I admit that I usually plan these trips very carefully… I use travel guides, maps, blogs and whatever I can read or see about some place!! Because we usually also drive and I had to balance the km we drive and the time we spend hiking or visiting places so days are not too exhausting. But all I found about Lapland was about Santa Claus Village, reindeer and huskies sleds… a lot of activities, but not so much information about specific places to visit!! I guess there are not so much people interested in hiking and snowshoeing in winter there, except for locals… So I started to look closely in google maps… sometimes there’s a little camera or something you can click on and you can find beautiful places this way, usually a bit off the beaten path…. so even if you discover these places in such a famous web, you are usually alone when you visit the place, hehehe 🙂

          • Off the beaten track – a good way to travel and see ”real” things, not just commercial things 😊

          • mercedescatalan

            So true!! But thanks to Instagram, finding hiding gems is a bit more difficult every day! At least in Switzerland, it’s difficult to find a place that hasn’t been photographed a thousand times before… hehehe! This is, for example, one of the few things that I didn’t like in Paris: the huge queues everywhere, thousands of people just waiting for a selfie…. And I loved Lapland, because it’s exactly the opposite!! 🙂

          • Yeah the same photos have been taken and displayed way too many times. Like the beautiful cherry blossom photos in Japan, you lose the wow-factor once you’ve seen them being hyped 500 times…

  4. Isaac Albarran Garcia

    Preciosas fotos Mer. Son de profesional. Me gustan mucho. Isaac.

    • mercedescatalan

      ¡¡Muchas gracias, Isaac!! ¡Qué ilusión que te hayan gustado! No sé si de profesional… ¡creo que todo lo hace el paisaje! ¡Un beso! 🙂

  5. Mer, what a fab post. You know it has been a dream of mine to explore the Northern countries and especially Lapland. I tried a few years back but the trip offered was a return within 24hrs and was so expensive, I never looked into it further. So it is so lovely to get to “visit” this region through your lenses, what a privilege! I think it is funny you love the cold so much…..although I am getting like you and finding myself more dawned to the Northern Latitudes than the sunny southern countries. Love how you describe your trip with hours without the mass tourism, just alone with the unspoiled wilderness and the open road. That is what dreams are made of.

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a mil, Blanca! Well, travelling to this region can be quite expensive… we checked all airports and only finnair and a few other companies fly there, and tickets are as expensive as travelling to the US or further… And well, Finland is one of the most expensive countries in the world…
      But the trip is so worth it! I’ve never been in such an unspoiled landscape… I think I can only compare it to Iceland, the feeling of total solitude and isolation you feel while driving or hiking in Lapland… and yet, there are a few places that feel a bit overcrowded already in Iceland, I never got that feeling in Lapland… maybe because it was low season? I’m not sure, because even the ski resorts seem so small there!!
      If you can, you have to visit Lapland, B!! You’d love it!! In winter is beautiful and awesome…. but I’m already dreaming with these landscapes during the rukka, the autumn season… when all the summer blood sucking insects are gone, the forest is colorful and you can see the northern lights…. for me, sounds like a paradise! Cold, but still my kind of paradise!! 🙂

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