Profile photo for Merja Paakkanen
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Merja Paakkanen

A Finnish outdoor enthusiastic & Adventure by Design Holiday Designer.

Nature always has been a major part of my life, and I have grown up learning to respect it. As a family, we spend a lot of time exploring, playing or just relaxing in nature. For me, it is important to raise my kids in a way that their connection to nature is strong. It is my passion to teach and show people how amazing our country and Nordic nature is. I'm more than happy to help you explore the Nordic outdoor life and nature.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"My specialty is arctic regions in Finland and northern Norway.

My special outdoor activities are hiking and skiing. I love to spend time in the wilderness all year round. As a photographer, my passion is to capture the beauty of nature. I hope I can inspire and teach people to do the same. "

How did you get involved in travel?

"I grew up near nature and forests. My first trip to Kilpisjärvi and Norway was when I was 15 years old. The fells and mountains made me fell in love with Lapland and Norway. And I hope I can encourage as many people as possible to go outdoors and find their connection to nature. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"Naming just one trip is hard. Every trip is unique and unforgettable. Shorter trips to near are as important to me than longer hikes in the wilderness. Most life-changing experience must be my first ski expedition in Käsivarsi wilderness area. It was really a dream come true. Weather conditions were quite hard every day, and the trip was challenging in many ways. Still, skiing trough the wilderness gave such a feeling of freedom that I didn't have experienced before."

Merja is part of the following groups: Finland Travel Agents
Explore wintry villages in the Lofoten Islands like this one
Ultimate Winter Tour in Norway's Arctic - 14 Days

This two-week adventure from late September to late March covers a great deal of Norwegian ground for an unforgettable winter trip. You'll experience snow-covered scenery as you visit Norway's lower half (Oslo, Flåm, Bergen) before flying north to the Arctic Circle. From Bodø, you'll catch a ferry to the Lofoten Islands—the southwestern point of this dramatic archipelago with granite mountains shooting up from the sea. Finish the tour with an overnight coastal steamer and enjoy unique activities in Tromsø and Alta before returning back to Oslo for one more night on the town.

Norway in April: Travel Tips, Weather, and More
Norway in April: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

Norway's first month of spring brings warming temperatures, melting snow, and budding blossoms. This is a great time to get outdoors and hit the open road as the entire country comes of out hibernation for Easter tourism—yet it's still more affordable and less crowded than summer. Find out what to do and where to go with this April guide.

Catch the Northern Lights in Norway's Arctic region
Norway in January: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

January in Norway is a bona fide winter wonderland with snowy activities, fewer crowds, and lower costs than other times of the year. This is also one of the best months for viewing the Northern Lights above the Arctic Circle. Let this monthly guide help you find the best places to visit and things to do.

The Northern Lights
Lapland Highlights - 5 Days

Visit Santa Claus's hometown (Rovaniemi) and fall in love with winter sports haven Ylläs on this snow-dusted, winter wonderland adventure above the Arctic Circle! Snuggle a husky, pose for a selfie with a reindeer, snowshoe through the wilderness, participate in epic snowball fights, and — of course — go hunting for the elusive, magical Northern Lights.

One of many small villages on the Sognefjord.
Norway Slow Travel: Oslo, Aurland & Bergen - 7 Days

This relaxing weeklong journey starts in the capital city of Oslo before heading west, via the steepest train in Norway (Flåm Railway). From here, embrace the slow-paced local culture of Aurland while staying two nights at a secluded and upscale lodge that serves organic cuisine. Take part in some light hiking and paddling and then cruise the Sognefjord by ferry, finishing the adventure in scenic Bergen — Norway's UNESCO-listed second largest city surrounded by seven mountains.

See the most magical places above Arctic Circle on this tour from Rovaniemi to Tromso
Northern Lights Road Trip from Rovaniemi to Tromsø : 9 Days

From dog sledding to snowshoeing, this adventure above the Arctic Circle covers all the winter activities the region has to offer. With a private guide behind the wheel, there's no need to worry about icy roads and reindeer crossings - just sit back, relax, and enjoy the hidden gems of the polar north.