Ruka is mostly a winter wonderland thriving in sub-zero temperatures, where the landscape’s all-white and the trees look like snow-clad sculptures. The slopes are alive with skiers and sledding, snowshoeing & snowmobiling are just some of the top 10 things to do in Ruka.
However, when it’s the time of year when the sun shines mostly on the northern hemisphere and the ski season ends, Ruka still has a slew of activities for those visiting in the summer. And to pack a bunch in a day is possible when you have those extra-long days that these parts are known to have.
Whether it’s in the weeks around Polar Day or Polar Night that you’re in this resort in Finland, there’ll be plenty of things you can do in Ruka.
1. Hit the ski slopes
If you’re planning to head up to Ruka, snow will probably be there. With over 200 days of snow, Ruka is ski-ready for a good part of the year. So if you’re going sometime between October & May, you’ll have to check out the slopes of Ruka.
Ruka has around 30 slopes & over 20 ski lifts to take you to the top. Whether you’re a beginner, you need to brush up on your skills, or you’re an expert skier, you can be sure Ruka has just the right slope for you.
And if you’d rather start at the very beginning, you can go to ski school here.
2. Attend ski school
Obviously, this is where you go if you need to learn how to ski. But you can go here to brush up your skills & learn new techniques too. There are group courses as well as private lessons that you can choose from.
That’s not all. The ski school will also teach you to snowboard and skate across the snow if you’d like to go cross country skiing.
3. Go snowshoeing
Now, who wouldn’t want to go walking in the snow when in Lapland? Find yourself a good pair of hiking boots to put onto some snowshoes and go experience snowshoeing!
Make sure you have the techniques and the right gear (and supplies — maps, water & headlamps — if you’re going away to more isolated areas).
4. Do a snowmobile safari
Snowmobiling is another thing to do while you’re here in the winter, one that definitely makes the list of the top 10 things to do in Ruka. You could rent a snowmobile or go on a safari. Snowmobiling routes here are numerous and pretty well networked. It’s a great way to see Finnish landscapes in all its snowy beauty.
Your options here could be snowmobiling on a frozen lake, or snowmobiling to see the northern lights. Or you could snowmobile your way to a reindeer or husky farm.
5. Go sledding
Another must-do when you’re in the area is sledding. It could be reindeer sledding or dogsledding. It’s not everywhere in the world that you can do these activities so you might as well do it when you’re in sledding territory.
Take a little how-to session on steering and on how to keep the reindeer on course and you should be good to go.
6. Try your hand at some new snow-activities
Being in the middle of a landscape that’s in minus-degree temperatures also means you get to enjoy or try your hand at activities that are unique to places like the Finnish Lapland.
Ice-fishing, Ice-climbing & doing an ice-dip (a Finnish Sauna experience where you alternate between a sauna & a dip in an ice-cold pool) are just some ideas you could look at.
7. Visit a reindeer farm
This is also your chance to walk around a reindeer farm and enjoy watching reindeer from close quarters! This is such a fun option in the top 10 things to do in Ruka. You might be able to do it along with your reindeer sledding.
When you visit a reindeer farm you also get to feed them. You might even get to tour into the wilderness with one of the herders on the farm, depending on what part of the year you are there.
8. Experience the midnight sun
If it’s in the warmer months that you’re in Ruka, you may not able to go skiing or sledding or snowmobiling but it’s still a great time to be there and there’s still a whole lot to do. In late spring or summer, you get to experience the longer days that these parts get. You might even get a feel of the midnight sun and enjoy the festivities of the season.
9. See the greenery of what is otherwise a ‘Winter Wonderland’
Summer in Ruka means being able to see the greenery of the otherwise white landscapes. You can do summer hikes or go tobogganing on Ruka’s summer sled track. Or you could go rafting in the rivers around here. Bear watching is another activity that is available in the months of June, July & August.
You can do landscape safaris in the summer too, only the snowmobiles are replaced with RZR buggies. Mountain biking is yet another way to take in these Finnish sceneries in the warmer months.
10. Let the Aurora Borealis take your breath away
My absolute favorite item on the list of the top 10 things to do in Ruka is to see the northern lights. When summer transitions to autumn, it’s the beginning of the Aurora Borealis season in Ruka. Your chances to see the northern lights are better from late August until the first quarter of the following year.
You can book yourself a Northern Lights safari, or go snowmobiling, or snowshoe hiking to places that ensure the best views. Some areas you might want to consider are Uhannuskallio & Valtavaara ja Konttainen.