The weather varies greatly within the Sámi Country. The Gulf Stream brings warm currents to the coasts of Norway, making the weather conditions on the coasts milder than in inland Sámi Country. The fjords rarely freeze, and in summer, the temperature may rise to as high as 25-30 degrees Celsius. Inland Sámi Country may have temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius in winter, but the temperatures in summer are mostly similar to those on the coasts.
In winter, it is necessary to wear warm clothing because the temperature may drop to as low as 50 degrees Celsius. Those planning a mountain hike or a fishing excursion should take with them a good pair of shoes/boots and warm outdoor clothes. Waterproof clothes are also necessary, because the weather conditions change rapidly in the north.
Forms of Payment
Most credit cards are accepted in the Sámi Country. If you are planning a trip to small villages or if you are planning to hike in Norway from one mountain cottage to another, it is worth taking cash along, because credit cards are not accepted everywhere.
Information about Excursions
Travel bureaus offer information and brochures about excursions and sights. Get in contact with a travel bureau or contact the organisers directly.
Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish are official languages in Scandinavia. In the Sámi regions, Sámi is also regarded as an official language. English is spoken widely, especially among with younger people.
"Kaamos" Time and the Midnight Sun
In the winter, "Kaamos" takes over in areas north of the Arctic Circle. In the summer, the midnight sun shines in this same area of the Sámi Country. During "Kaamos", the sun remains below the horizon from November to January, and the days are quite dark and short. In the summer, on the other hand, from May to the end of July, the sun doesn`t set at all, so even the nights are bright.
The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
From November to February, it is possible to see the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis north of the Arctic Circle. This magical luminescent phenomenon is so indescribably beautiful, that it should not be left without experiencing!
It is possible to buy Sámi handicrafts from the Sámi Country. Notice, however, that also being sold are products of "mass production", or products sold as "genuine" Sámi handicrafts. Sámi culture is being exploited by the tourism industry, and non-Sámi sell all kinds of "Lapland products" as real handicraft. Someone unfamiliar with the difference may have trouble telling these apart, so it is worth asking.
Nature has always provided material and spiritual foundation for the Sámi. Sámi culture has continually adapted itself to the surrounding natural conditions and utilised the environment sparingly.
Moving Around in the Wilderness
The laws guarantee the right for anyone to move around in uninhabited areas: in the mountains, in the forests and along the shores. It should, however, be remembered that e.g. berries cannot be gathered everywhere, because the area in question may be privately owned. Respect nature, and carry your garbage and waste with you out of the wilderness.
The Sámi Country
The region of the Sámi, the Sámi Country, reaches from the middle of northern Norway and Sweden all the way to the north of Finland and the Kola Peninsula. The Sámi are a people living across the boundaries of four states, and who have their own languages, culture and history.
Altogether, there are 60 000 - 100 000 Sámi. 40 000 - 45 000 live in Norway, of which half live in Finnmark or the Ruija Municipality. In Sweden, there are around 15 000 — 25 000 Sámi, in Finland around 7200 and in Russia around 2000.
In these four countries, there are 50 000 Sámis who speak the Sámi language; most of them speak Northern Sámi. There are ten Sámi languages and dialects. These are divided into two main groups: the western and the eastern group. The western language group includes Northern, Luleå, Pite, Umeå, and Southern Sámi. The eastern language group includes Inari, Skolt, Akkala, Kildin and Turja Sámi. The language borders do not correspond to state borders, but for example, Northern, Luleå and Southern Sámi are spoken in more than only one state.
The Sámi are the descendants of the nation inhabiting Northern Fennoscandia after the Ice Age, about 10 000 years ago. This nation depended largely upon fishing and hunting, and for thousands of years, their lifestyle was based on various livelihoods due to the barren natural conditions, forcing them to constantly change their means of survival.
Today, the Sámi are a modern indigenous people. Only a small portion continue to live from what nature provides. Three Scandinavian countries, Norway, Sweden and Finland, each have their own Sámi Parliaments, with a Sámi-elected parliament. The Sámi Parliaments possess a consultative status.