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Discover Kemi: Arctic Adventure in Sea Lapland, Finland

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It’s time for an Arctic Adventure in the Sea Lapland area of Finland. On this trip, I will board an icebreaker from the port of Kemi and visit the friendliest border town between Tornio and Haparanda.

Start your journey to Kemi by departing from Helsinki railway station aboard the night sleeper train. We’re joined by fellow adventurers who share tales of excitement and wonder.

With the promise of icebreaking moments and Arctic landscapes ahead, we eagerly await our arrival in the Sea Lapland area of Finland.

Taking a sleeper train into the Arctic Wilderness

The easiest way to reach Kemi is by taking the VR overnight sleeper service called the Santa Claus Express from Helsinki. The train continues from Kemi towards Rovaniemi and the Arctic Circle, the official home of Father Christmas.

Two types of rooms onboard, both containing two single bunk beds, with the option to share or remain private. One room type has a shared communal bathroom; for a bit extra, you can opt for the ensuite rooms with shower, sink and toilet.

They also have a dining cart bar onboard, so you can have dinner on the move and a few drinks before you catch some sleep. They also offer a morning breakfast delivery service, which is a great way to start your day.

As the train glides through the night, I gaze out the window, imagining the Arctic landscapes that await us. Something rather magical about enjoying a landscape of snow-covered Finnish trees passing you by as you slowly cross Finland.

The rhythmic sound of the train lulls me into a peaceful slumber. As dawn breaks, we arrive in Kemi, our gateway to the Arctic wonderland.

Staying at the Seaside Glass Villas


A short transfer from Kemi railway station will take you to the 365 Snow Experience Centre, where you will find the Seaside Glass Villas in the SnowCastle area.

Seaside Glass Villas, These modern igloos, with their glass roofs offering views of the sea and northern skies, provide the perfect setting for our Arctic adventure.

If you’re lucky and the weather offers a clear sky, you might be able to fall asleep while gazing at the aurora borealis, Norther Lights at night time.

If you’re visiting Kemi, Experience365 can provide all your catering, transfers, accommodation, and winter adventure experiences while you explore the area. So, you can focus on enjoying your winter adventure in Kemi and they will take care of all the rest for you.

The indoor SnowExperience365 in Kemi


After a hearty breakfast at the Lumihiutale Seaview Restaurant, we venture into the SnowExperience365 exhibition, marvelling at the intricate ice sculptures and snowy landscapes.

This snow and ice installation is held within a giant fridge-freezer-type room, keeping the ice exhibition frozen at the perfect temperature all year round, no matter the weather outside.

On display is a selection of ice tables and chairs (you can book to dine in here), Ice slides, an Ice bar, Ice beds, and Ice art that can all be enjoyed on a visit to SnowExperience365.

The snow castle of Kemi Winter Park


(At the time of visiting, it was still being constructed and was not yet complete for the opening, this is just a preview)

The Snow Castle of Kemi and Winter Park is a temporary installment held from 20/01/2024 to 06/04/024 and is constructed every year.

They used to also build a hotel complex and other large instalments but now they focus only on the construction of the Snow Castle each year which you’re also welcome to visit.

Good thing is, entrance is free for all. The area has many fun activities for the whole family to enjoy, such as snow tube slide, snow labyrinth and snow carousel sleigh.

Reindeer Experience at the Arkadia Reindeer Park


The opportunity to meet and feed reindeer at the Arkadia reindeer park offers a glimpse into the local way of life, adding depth to our Arctic experience.

You can also opt for a Reindeer ride around the snow-covered Finnish forests to enjoy the winter wonderland.


End your Winter reindeer adventure by warming up around the fire inside a traditional Finnish Kota hut with a hot cup of coffee and some local lunch as you listen to stories about life in Lapland.

Spending a winter evening in Kemi, Finland


As evening falls, we immerse ourselves in the traditional Finnish sauna experience at Satamakonttori’s Sauna, taking in the breathtaking views of the Baltic Sea.

For the brave, a dip into the frozen sea is an exhilarating experience, embracing one of Finland’s most extensive health trends.

The pinnacle of our day arrives with the SnowCastle Tasting menu, an exquisite experience where we indulge in the flavours of the “taste of snow & ice” menu in a cosy and welcoming atmosphere.

As we savour each dish, we reflect on the day’s adventures, surrounded by great company.

Sailing Through Ice and Snow aboard Icebreaker Sampo


After a leisurely morning exploring Kemi, we embark on an unforgettable adventure aboard the Icebreaker Sampo.

You can book your ticket and transfer through Kemi Experience365 and additional activities such as sea ice floating.

The icebreaker Sampo was constructed in Finland in 1961. It was built to operate in extreme arctic conditions. Its main purpose was to help keep sea lanes open during the harsh Finnish winters when the sea freezes over.

In recent years, Icebreaker Sampo has been converted into a cruise ship for winter leisure cruises so tourists can experience life on the winter sea.

It’s fantastic to see the old ship still going after all these years, and it is a piece of floating history.


As we don our survival suits and step onto the icy deck, the magnitude of the Arctic landscape surrounds us.

Icebreaker Sampo creates a pool frozen over the sea so you can dip and float around in your survival suit.

Surprisingly, the suit does a beautiful job, and you don’t feel the cold at all. I recommend trying this experience if you’re brave enough to face the icy seawater.


Once you’re done floating around on the open sea, you can wander around on the ice sheets. Don’t panic; the ice is so thick here that you could drive a car over the top quickly.

Walking on ice and floating in the sea by this mighty vessel is a surreal experience that will stay with us forever.

We made sure to walk to the front, where you can attempt to pull Icebreaker Sampo by rope, which makes for an awesome photo.

When the weather permits (sadly, not for us), you can extend your Arctic experience with a snowmobile safari on the frozen sea, revelling in the thrill of speed amidst the Arctic wilderness.


You can also enjoy a shot of vodka from an ice-filled glass at the ice bar on the deck, which is super fun.

You can also walk around the ship, meet the crew, and learn about its daily operations. Then, enjoy the many lounge areas the boat has to offer onboard—the perfect spot for a coffee and sweet bun to warm up.

As we bid farewell to Kemi, we look forward to the next leg of our journey – HaparandaTornio, where new adventures await.

The friendliest Border Adventure between Finland and Sweden


Crossing the border into Sweden, we’re greeted by the charm of HaparandaTornio, a twin city steeped in history and tradition.

Checking into the Mustaparta Hotel, we’re captivated by its unique story and comfortable surroundings, setting the tone for our exploration.

A culinary journey awaits us at Restaurant Olof, where locally sourced ingredients and regional delicacies tantalise our taste buds, providing a taste of the traditions of the Tornio region.


As night falls, we embark on a magical journey to Kukkolankoski Rapids for night ice fishing, surrounded by the enchanting glow of night lights.

As we cast our lines into the icy waters, the silence of the Arctic night envelops us, punctuated only by the occasional sound of laughter and camaraderie.

Savouring a warm salmon soup at Siikakartano as a midnight snack, we reflect on the day’s adventures and are grateful for the memories created in this borderless twin city.

Exploring the Borderlands of Tornio and Happanranda


We kickstart our last day in the Sea Lapland region with a leisurely walk. This is not just any walk but a special one as we walk to the border between Tornio, Finland, and Haparanda, Sweden.

As we wander through the quaint streets of Haparanda Tornio, we’re captivated by the unique blend of Finnish and Swedish culture that permeates the twin city.

Nestled on the exact border between the two countries, a charming Kota hut is open for all to use. Here, you can start a fire, grill some sausages, have a coffee, and sample delightful local products.


Then, for a short walk, you can explore Victoriantori (Victoria Square), marking the border between Finland and Sweden. You can find a heart-art installation on the border to capture a picture of your visit.

What a fun location this would be to welcome in a new year. As the time zones are different in both cities, you can celebrate New Year’s Eve on one side and move to the other to celebrate an hour later, effectively having two New Year’s Eve parties. How does that sound to you?

With shopping opportunities aplenty, we browse the local boutiques, picking up souvenirs to commemorate our Arctic adventure.

Lunchtime beckons, and we find ourselves at a charming cafe, savouring traditional Finnish and Swedish delicacies while soaking in the atmosphere of this vibrant border town.

With our appetites sated, we returned to Kemi, where our Arctic journey began.

A Winter Journey to Kemi and Tornio to Remember


As our Arctic adventure draws closer, we’re grateful for the experiences shared and the memories created.

From the thrill of icebreaking moments aboard the Icebreaker Sampo to the tranquillity of reindeer encounters in the Finnish countryside, each moment has been a testament to the beauty and wonder of Sea Lapland.

Our journey may be ending, but the memories we’ve made will stay with us forever.

Sea Lapland has left an indelible mark on our hearts, whether it’s the icy landscapes or the warmth of Finnish hospitality.

As we bid farewell to this enchanting corner of the world, we carry with us the spirit of adventure and the promise of new horizons from the sea Lapland region of Finland.

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