Kittila is an hour’s flight north of Helsinki, window seats providing a glorious idea of how remote Lapland really is. There’s nothing down below, nothing but snow and forest, a wonderland that is more surreal once you land. Except in early winter, the snow tends to be soft and powdery; jump into it and when you emerge the snow brushes off. Snow covers the white spruce and Douglas fir trees, forming peculiar shapes along the waxy needles. Pines and hemlocks also have their winter coverings, each tree a distinctive work of art that rises many meters above you.
Touch down and transfer by road – snow chains on the wheels – to a boutique hotel on the Äkäslompolo lakeshore. From here you look out across a frozen expanse, then onwards, out towards the sense of infinity that the Arctic Circle creates. At first, it all looks the same, snow and trees and wilderness from every angle. But even on this first day, you start to realize that every angle is different. This is a silent land and while some people escape to tropical beaches, there’s nowhere better than Finnish Lapland for resting and recharging your batteries. So discover the smoke sauna and hot tub on the lake, go for a walk or ski in the surrounding landscape, and appreciate the solitude of a first night in the Arctic.