Our new traveler, Mieszko, reached already the age of six weeks. We decided it was a good moment to take him for the first time somewhere outside of Rovaniemi. Although, we expected that the weather will be good to enjoy outdoors and Lapland with the little one. Well, we were wrong about that, but still, it was a great weekend! We saw new places and now we know that it’s not as difficult to travel with the baby as we expected.
We were invited to Posio to stay at Lapin Satu hotel. It is close to Rovaniemi, only about 140 km, and that suited us perfectly as we didn’t want to spend much time in the car on our first trip.
When the big day of the first trip has come, we started packing right before the time we had to leave so it was pretty quick and chaotic packing. Luckily, as we now know, we took everything we needed (and a little bit more:)). We arrived at the hotel after about 2h of driving and Mieszko (and Katalin) overslept whole way. We earlier had some short car rides with the baby and it was always quiet and peaceful when the car was in motion, but now we knew that our summer car trip to Poland (and further) won’t be a problem.
Arrival to Lapin Satu Hotel
The hotel name, Lapin Satu, means Lappish Fairytale. Indeed, the hotel overlooks Posiojärvi and is far from main roads, so it is a very quiet place. In summer one can enjoy the big terrace with the view to the lake and boat trips from the hotel’s jetty. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to experience these advantages of the hotel. When we planned the weekend we were dreaming of enjoying white nights outside of the room. We had to change our plans… Why? Because of the exceptionally cold weather this spring with temperatures in May dropping often below zero. We hoped that in June the weather will change for better, but when we left Rovaniemi there were still few snow piles left after winter where the snow was plowed away from the streets. As we were getting closer to Posio there was more and more snow on the ground. And when we arrived in town, it was snowing. Despite the weather, we still enjoyed our first family trip!
After arrival and welcome to our room, we decided to check Posio center. The town itself is not anything special, but definitely, has nice location between lakes. Wherever you go, you’ll find a lake with beautiful bays. The building that attracts the most attention on the main street is a hotel that looks like taken directly from American horror movies – a favorite spot of a serial killer 🙂
First, we headed to a bird watching tower that we spotted on the shore of the Posionjärvi lake when we arrived from Rovaniemi. It was windy so we didn’t stay long there. We didn’t spot any birds, but we heard mating swans. That sound was common throughout our stay.
Later in the evening, after 22, we went for a walk with the baby. The sunset was much later, around midnight, but it didn’t matter as the sky was gray and covered with clouds that brought snow every now and then. We didn’t walk that far, only to the church. After that, it was time to seek shelter in the hotel from the strong wind.
At the doorstep of Lappish national parks
I didn’t mention yet, but the place is also perfect for a stay if you want to have daily hikes in nearby national parks. There are three of them around Posio! Syöte, Riisitunturi, and Oulanka National Parks. You need a car to access them, but it’s a norm in Finland where public transport to nature destinations doesn’t really exist.
Riisitunturi National Park
The weather on Saturday was similar to the one on Friday: strong wind, snow, and sleet falling every now and then. We were optimistic hoping that we can fit short walk up to the highest fell in Riisitunturi National Park.
The drive to the park is pretty short. From the hotel, it’s about 35 km to the starting point of the trail. First, you go on the main road (be careful, there are reindeer on the roadside here too :)) and then you continue towards Tolva on a narrow road. That is the place where we saw more reindeer including mothers with calves.
Around the road, there are wetlands full of big birds like swans and even cranes! The way to the park itself was already worth going out to the cold weather! When we turned from the asphalt road into a gravel road leading to the trailhead (last 3 km), snowfall stopped, but right at the moment when we arrived, it started snowing heavily again. We couldn’t even see the lake at the bottom of the hill anymore. We waited for some time for the snow clouds to go away, but after half an hour we gave up and decided to go 40 km more to the Oulanka National Park.
Oulanka National Park
Our destination in the Oulanka National Park was Kiutaköngäs that Katalin has never seen before (and I have never seen it in spring when the water level is high). This was one of many possible things to do in Oulanka. The park offers, for example, multi-day hike on the most famous trail in Finland, Karhunkierros, or daily hike on Pieni Karhunkierros. The hike to the rapids is about 1 km. We managed with the baby carriage as the path is quite wide, but it has few stairs.
The rapid is pretty long, about 100 m. It’s one of the most spectacular in Oulanka and is very close to the parking next to nature center which makes it easily accessible every time of the year. We visited about one week after the highest water level. That is probably better time to see Kiutaköngäs than summer where the water level is at its lowest.
The northernmost ceramic factory of the world
The last day we started at Pentik Mäki museum and shop. It is the northernmost ceramic factory in the world. The buildings open for visitors house a museum and shops with Pentik brand products. Even though it’s a ceramic factory, there is a variety of products from furniture designed to look old to flavored honey and coffee. The most interesting part in our opinion was the free exhibition of things used in old times in Finland. There are old tools, toys and other items used in daily life that show how the life looked like in Finland years ago.
Even more nature
After the museum, we started heading to Rovaniemi. We planned still two stops which were quite ambitious bearing in mind the cold and snowy weather. First stop was supposed to be at Korouoma Canyon. The place is about 30 km long canyon with walls as high as 60 meters. In winter, the main attractions of the place are the frozen waterfalls that reach 40 m width and are as high as the canyon. It’s a popular place for ice climbing. We wanted to compare how it looks in springtime. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get there. The access road to Korouoma was blocked due to the spring thaw.
The last stop was a waterfall, Auttiköngäs, on river Auttijoki. You can walk on a 3.5 km long nature trail, or just ascend on a few flights of stairs to the dam to observe the place where logged trees were transported on the river. Auttiköngäs Museum displays the local logging traditions and you can learn about the history of backwoods logging. You will know how the logs were taken from the middle of the woods to the sawmills. The whole place is located in a protected old-growth forest and is easily accessible. That makes it a perfect outdoor destination for families.
Posio Riviera and other sights
During the weekend we saw a lot of great, beautiful places around Posio and we had fun exploring snow-covered Posio paths with Mieszko and his baby carriage, but still, there is more there to see. For example, we never saw so-called Posio Riviera, Livojärvi lake with its sandy beaches. Unfortunately, this June weather wasn’t suitable for that, but that was an exceptionally cold year. We will definitely be back to Posio and enjoy another time at the cozy, family-run Lapin Satu Hotel.
Disclosure: Lapin Satu hotel provided us the cozy accommodation, but opinions expressed here are our own.