It wasn’t until our third day in Lapland that we actually went above the Arctic Circle. The first two days (you can find the photos from those days here and here), we just explored forested areas that were located under the Napapiiri (the Finnish word for Arctic Circle). But it was already time to start going North.

That day couldn’t have started better. It had been snowing the whole night, but we woke up in a clear day with a beautiful blue pastel sky. We stayed that night near Juuma (close to Oulanka National Park), in a lovely country house at the shore of Juumajärvi lake. During breakfast, we could see colorful birds flying around the house. It’s so surprising to find such colorful birds in a place where everything is white for months!!! (I took a few photos of those birds, but the quality is too bit low to post them here) After that, we decided to explore the surroundings of the house and the lake with the beautiful morning light. The lake, even if it was frozen, looked so beautiful with the trees covered in fresh snow and their long shadows spreading over the lake…

Following the tips of our helpful host, our first stop of the day was Riisitunturi Natural Park. I’m so happy she recommended us this place. Riisitunturi is located on a mountainous terrain or tunturi (the word used in Finnish Lapland for high and barren terrain), which gives the park a great view of the surrounding forests and lakes. It’s a very humid area, and the few trees that cover the summits of the hills are covered with a thick coating of condensed frost, creating a incredibly beautiful forest of “sugar covered” trees. Here it wasn’t as silent and quiet as the previous days. A strong wind was blowing, dragging with it snow powder that created beautiful patterns on the ground. And the snow on the ground was so fresh and deep that the trail was almost gone and it wasn’t easy to walk, even with snowshoes. But the views were so beautiful and unique that we didn’t mind the challenge.

After hiking in Riisitunturi, we headed to our next destination, the Pyhä-Lousto National Park. Here we found a very different landscape. There are a few mountains or tunturi and two small ski resorts. But there are also a few winter trails, so we took again hour snowshoes and hiked in this area. After walking through an ancient boreal forest, we found a wetland, all covered in snow, of course. The landscape was so different to what we had already seen in Lapland. The terrain was completely plain, the trees thin and long and sparse, and the low sun and golden light were creating beautiful long shadows on the snow. The view was gorgeous, but I confess that this was one of the most difficult landscapes I’ve ever photographed!

Our day ended in Lousto. When we arrived at our hotel, the receptionist gave us a mobile phone. “If the Northern lights appear tonight, we’ll send you a SMS”. That was a very nice touch! This was the first clear night during our Lapland trip, so I was very excited!! I’ve been dreaming with seeing the Northern lights for so many years!!! I had downloaded three different apps, and I checked other three websites to check the aurora forecast… Unfortunately, the forecast wasn’t good for that night and the SMS never arrived… So, a bit frustrated, we went to bed thinking that maybe the day I was going to meet “Lady Aurora” was the next day…

I won’t say for now if I saw the Northern lights during this trip… You’ll have to read the next posts about Lapland! But here are some of the photos I took that day. I hope you like them!

Friendy Friday Photo Challenge: Mood


  1. Absolutely beautiful. I love the sugar trees and there would be more than one path through that forest. I would be walking around everywhere on that fresh snow.

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a million, Amanda! So happy you like the post! Yes, those trees were some of the highlights of my trip to Lapland! We don’t have them in Switzerland, not even in the highest summits and I thought that March would be late for such trees… But I was lucky to find them!!! Ah, the winter landscapes are so different there in Finland! Some people find these landscapes sad, barren, with no life… for me they were full of magic! Specially Riisitunturi, with its magical trees!!

      • I know, Mercedes! Magical indeed, right? I would much rather holiday in these landscapes, so clean, pure and pristine, than the sun drenched landscapes of Australia. I guess if I lived in Lapland instead of Australia, I may think the opposite. But I have always loved the snow. Is that the same for you?

        • mercedescatalan

          It’s funny, because I also come from a very hot country… at least in summer, Spain can be scorching! When I was a girl I loved it… but as the years pass, I’m more inclined to visit coldest regions… Even if I don’t like cold either, hehehe. But after living in Sweden I learnt that it’s not the cold, it’s the clothes you wear. So with good gloves and coat, I’m the happiest person in the snow 🙂 And the more snow, the happier I am!!!
          But… I think I’d love to visit Australia!!! I’ve never been there, but I think it’s so different to all the places I know that just the trip would be an adventure! And all the wildlife you have there… it’s amazing!!

  2. Great images. An abundance of white can be difficult to photograph, but you excelled at capturing the snow. But, you are a tease, making us wait to see if you got the northern lights!! I love following your travels.

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a million, Anne!! Yes, all that white and the light… it wasn’t very harsh compared to the light you see at midday here in Switzerland or Spain… It was softer than that, but still, with all the snow, it was complicated to capture it without burning the photo or loosing all the beautiful pastel blue from the sky when trying to keep the details of the snow… in any case, it was a great experience! hehehe.
      Ah, you’ll have the answer next week! But I can say that northern lights have been on my “bucket list” even before having a camera… so just imagine all the expectations I had when I went to Lapland!! 🙂

  3. Beautiful photos, my dear! As usual, of course! I’m also happy you enjoyed Lapland so much 💕 and thanks for linking with the challenge!

    • mercedescatalan

      So happy you like them, Snow!! Seriously, I am in love with that part of Finland!! I think this is one of the few trips I’ve made where I checked all my list of expectations!! And yet, Finland exceeded all of them! I need a third round of Finland… hehehe
      And thank you for proposing the challenge! I try to join as many as I can, but normally my photos don’t fit with the theme…. But whenever I can connect the topics of my posts and the challenges, I’ll join them! (I have still two more posts about Lapland… so I’m not sure if I’ll make it work with the challenges, hahaha)

  4. Wonderful shots! I really like the photo taking at the golden hour 🙂 It’s magnificent!

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a million, Len! So happy you like them!!!
      That photo was quite a challenge! The light, even if was softer than what I’m used to capture in Switzerland, created such a big contrast with the trees and the shadows… and including the sun in the frame didn’t make things easier!! But I’m happy with the result… the colors that day were so beautiful, specially in this wetland in Pyhä! When the sun shines in Lapland is just glorious!! 🙂
      Have a great weekend!

  5. Wow, what a winter wonderland. Great images Mercedes!

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a million, Michael!! Even if I’m used to winter landscapes here in Switzerland, Lapland was so different and magical!!! A truly winter wonderland!! 🙂

Leave a Reply