Annual migration of reindeer in Lapland

Millions of reindeer annually travel to the coast and back again

The Sami are the indigenous people of Lapland (in northern Norway, Sweden and Finland). Annually, they follow their reindeer to more fertile grounds, even in winter. And you can join them.

Very old tradition

It is relatively unknown, but some of the Sami still travel with their reindeer annually through Lapland, which is located in Scandinavia. They travel from inland to the coast. And back. Where you can attend.

The Sami are the traditional reindeer keepers. Some of them have been westernised and now have a permanent place where they live with their favourite animals; the reindeer. But a large part of them perpetuate this age-old tradition.

The route of the rendeer

Every spring the Sami (the indigenous people of Lapland, traditionally reindeer herders) follow their reindeer to the coast, mostly in Norway. They do this to graze and to get away from the mosquitos.

Een Sami op een sneeuwscooter vangt een rendier. ©Corno van den Berg

In the autumn they head back inland (mostly to Finnish Lapland and Sweden) to spend the winter there. You can join them on their trek, either on foot in summer or on a snow scooter in winter.

You can experience this migration. Several Sami are open to tourists who come with them for a few hours or a few days. I've also done it in the winter. And was pleasantly surprised. I first watched how they treat the animals, after which I actually caught a reindeer with a lasso. So that they could check whether the animal is healthy. After which it was released again.

Other excursions with rendeer

Migration is not the only way to see the Sami and their reindeer. You can visit a reindeer farm, that's pretty standard. In winter you can sit in a reindeer sleigh, but you can also join the Sami to herd the animals. This can be done on foot in the summer and with a snowmobile in winter, for example. These excursions are very rewarding.