Ranua is a small town located in the Finnish Lapland. Less than an hour away by car from Rovaniemi, Ranua is an excellent place for visitors who wish to explore a quiet and remote area, surrounded by untouched, pristine nature. With a population density of 1.12 inhabitants per square kilometre, you are guaranteed to find your peace and quiet.
As part of our Lappish holiday, we stayed for two epic nights in Ranua in order to explore this lesser-known town. Ranua was a lovely surprise as it offered everything we needed to recharge, unwind and reconnect with one another. If we were to recommend Ranua for anyone, in particular, it would be for writers looking for remote retreats in a stunning nature context.
Before we begin, we want to thank Ranua Tourism Board for hosting us in Ranua. We had an amazing time and loved the accommodation and activities suggested for us.
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Getting to Ranua
Ranua is located just under one hour drive from the Rovaniemi centre or from Rovaniemi airport. To get to Ranua, we recommend renting a car if possible. We drove our own car as part of a month-long Scandinavia trip. As some accommodation options are quite remote in Ranua, having your own car will make a huge difference.
Besides, we also recommend relying on your car when it comes to food shopping. Although Ranua has a few eateries, we prefered buying our own ingredients from the supermarket and making our own meals.
You can also arrive in Ranua by bus Rovaniemi or from Oulu railway stations. Buses from Rovaniemi and from Oulu arrive in Ranua daily.
If you don't wish to drive, you can also organise for a taxi from Rovaniemi, Oulu or the Rovaniemi airport.
When to visit Ranua
What would you like to experience during your time in Ranua? Would you like to admire the changing of the seasons and see an array of awesome colours? Then Autumn is the time to visit.
If you want to experience the gorgeous midnight sun and relax with the most intense sunsets ever, then visit during summer and enjoy the polar day.
For snow lovers, visit Ranua during winter and fall in love with the incredible aurora borealis.
Whatever your preference, Ranua has something for everyone. It's the perfect location for couples who just want to reconnect with one another.
If you decide to visit Ranua with kids, make sure you visit the Ranua Wildlife Centre and, of course, drive to the Santa Clause Village located just one hour away.
Where to stay in Ranua
With so much space available in Ranua, you are guaranteed to find the perfect type of accommodation for your own needs. You can stay in an amazing Scandinavian house, created by world-famed designers. Imagine yourself having your morning coffee while listening to the sound of the river flowing just in front of your eyes.
You can stay in a glass igloo house and admire the midnight sun or the aurora borealis. Relax in a comfortable bed, surrounded by nature. Just you, your loved ones and the sound of silence.
For budget travellers, there are camping sites available all around Ranua as well. If you travel with children, you may want to consider renting something close to the Ranua Wildlife Park.
Arctic Dreams House
For the first night in Ranua, we stayed in a superb house called Arctic Dreams House. This incredible property was designed in Scandinavian style, with a real fireplace. The kitchen is fully furnished and has all the pots and pans you may need to be able to cook something delicious.
The doors and windows are made of glass so you can admire the beautiful natural surrounding around the villa. There is plenty of natural light all around the house. At the back of the house, there is a wooden patio with birches around and stunning views of the forest and the river. It's the perfect place for morning coffee.
The living room is modern, with Scandinavian features and cosy elements. The villa features 3 double bedrooms and another bedroom located in the attic for children or adults.
There is a front patio with transparent glass, where you can sit down and enjoy your meal, by the second fireplace.
And the best part? The house features its own large jacuzzi with views of the river and a perfect wooden sauna overlooking the nature around.
There is ample space around the villa as well, to go our or enjoy an outdoor bbq. The house comes with its own garage and another small exterior sauna. Groups can rent the house on a fully inclusive basis, where they get a private cook and caterer who takes care of the meals and some activities. There is a small external property available for the chef to stay there overnight, so you don't have to worry about your personal space.
This is a truly unique concept, with everything included for your comfort. We thought this was the most beautiful accommodation we ever stayed in and we hope to return again during winter. With all the glass doors and windows around, we can only imagine how incredible the villa must look like when the aurora borealis starts dancing during the evening. It's a true Arctic Dream House.
Arctic Fox Igloo
We always wanted to experience the incredible accommodation in a glass igloo, surrounded by nature. The Arctic Fox Igloos have a comfortable double bed surrounded by glass. They feature a small kitchen area, a bathroom and a private sauna.
In the igloo itself, there is a cute compass which shows you the direction of the north so you know where to expect the northern lights. The igloos all feature an aurora borealis alarm system which goes off when guests can see the aurora. So even if you are asleep, you are guaranteed to never miss it. This is such a good idea and a really good touch.
During winter the snow and ice can settle on the glass, so you can a window warming option to be able to see the aurora in the evening.
During summertime, you can admire the midnight sun directly from your igloo. However, we do recommend that you bring a sleeping mask with you as there are no curtains on the top of the igloo. If you can't sleep in the light, this is definitely a good idea. There are curtains available around the igloo for privacy so you can change or sleep comfortably without peaking eyes.
What to do in Ranua
There are many things to do in Ranua, especially if you are a nature lover. We recommend allocating at least a couple of days to explore the town and its surrounding areas.
Chill in nature
With so much green space around, the best thing to do in Ranua is to enjoy the nature around you. Stay in the Arctic Dreams House and just reconnect with your own thoughts. Just be present. Although it may sound cheesy, we didn't even realise how much we needed to rest until we just dropped everything and chilled together. We put some face masks on, did some sauna treatments and spent the evening in the jacuzzi with a glass of champagne, overlooking the midnight sun.
Sometimes, chilling in nature is all you need.
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Go berry picking
Depending on the season you visit, you may be lucky to arrive during the cloudberry picking season. Join the local cloudberry festival and indulge in one of the healthiest berries nature has to offer.
Cloudberries are very loved in Finland and you can find them available in small pots, smoothies, jams and even natural beauty products. Just remember that during the warm season there are many mosquitoes around in Lapland. So make sure to bring the proper gear and a good mosquito repellent to not be disturbed by them.
Admire the aurora borealis
If you decide to visit Ranua during winter, you have a high chance of seeing the aurora borealis. You can hire a tour operator to hunt for the aurora for the best chances. Hunting for the northern lights means finding the clearest sky patch so you can observe it.
During high season, you can admire the aurora borealis from your own Arctic house or glass igloo.
Admire the midnight sun
Summer in Ranua can only mean one thing: the epic midnight sun. People come to Lapland from all over the world to experience the polar day: a natural phenomenon where the sun doesn't set. It has these beautiful orange colours, like a never-ending sunset. It is one of the most romantic things we have seen.
At around midnight, the sun simply looks like a fiery orange ball and hovers over the horizon line until it starts rising again in a few hours. It's beautiful.
If you want to pick up a new skill, get a local tour to show you how to fish. They will provide you with all the needed equipment and teach you everything you need to know about this beloved local sport. Lappish people love fishing so much, they do it during winter too when the lakes freeze. It's actually a well-known attraction which visitors are keen to experience.
There is usually a warm tent with a fire and inside the tend they make a small hole in the ice so they can fish comfortably. It's definitely a fun experience to try. During summer, you should allocate about 3 hours for the fishing experience in the river. What will you catch?
Visit the Ranua Wildlife Park
Did someone say polar bears? At the Ranua Wildlife Park, you can see polar bears, as well as 50 different other arctic animal species in the midst of northern woods. The space for the animals is very ample and there were moments when we thought we are walking in an actual arctic safari rather than a zoo. This was really brilliant to see.
We talked to one of the staff members who talked us through all the hard work that goes into looking after the animals. They even explained to us about the animal's diet and the type of food they get.
Whether you travel with kids or not, we strongly recommend a visit to the Ranua Zoo.
Have a romantic cloudberry treatment
Time for a romantic experience for two. Get a professional to come to your accommodation and treat you with a luxury cloudberry oil massage, before you get a soothing cloudberry facial mask and cloudberry foot bath in your private sauna.
You will taste luxurious cloudberry bubbly in the sauna and feel rejuvenated by the antioxidants-packed natural treatments. Finish off with a locally made cloudberry cream from natural ingredients.
You can preorder this experience here which is suitable for everyone who seeks an amazing, relaxing experience surrounded by the Arctic nature.