Forget Iceland—Lapland Is the Bucket-List Adventure to Book Now

Wind whips my face, turning my cheeks a rich shade of peach like the blush-colored clouds that surround the mountain peak. It's 10:30 a.m., but you wouldn't know it. I'm in Lapland, the northernmost region in Finland where the sun rises for barely two hours in winter (if at all), and I'm snowshoeing to the peak of Levi mountain to glimpse the bizarre phenomenon of a noon sunrise.

While American tourists have been flocking to Iceland in record numbers in recent years, Lapland has remained relatively under-the-radar. But that won't last for long. Finnair, the country's flag carrier, is now offering flights for as little as 36 one-way from Helsinki (roughly $44), making it quicker, easier, and more affordable than ever to explore the winter wonderland.

Our time in Kittilä is brief, but in barely a weekend, I've had more bucket-list experiences than I've had in the past year. The options are exhaustive and exhilarating: glimpsing the northern lights from a glass-ceiling igloo hotel, gliding across a frozen lake on a reindeer-led sleigh, plunging into a freezing lake after a traditional sauna session, or snowshoeing to the peak of a mountain to watch the sleepy sun breach the horizon.