This year we decided to take a trip to Finland for the very first time. It was predominantly a week of skiing, but one thing that we really wanted to see was a Reindeer. We took a visit to the Poro Reindeer farm near Ruka, just a 15 minute journey from Ruka ski resort.

Overview

The overall experience was really interesting, calming and also just nice to be outside in the crisp cold air and the snow. There were two packages to go for. Either going for a Reindeer ride and feeding the Reindeer or just spending some time feeding and being close to the Reindeer without the ride. We took the ride, which was an extra 5 Euros.

Reindeer at the farm, Ruka, Finland

On the farm

We first arrived outside of the Reindeer farm and were greeted by one of the workers and the star of the show (who has also been in movies!). We then walked up the snowy pathway lined with reindeer horns that took us to a traditional Finnish hut. Once there we were treated to a number of Reindeer facts and an explanation of how the farm operates year round.

Reindeer at the farm, Ruka, Finland

Once we had learnt (a lot) more about the Reindeer, we moved along to the sleigh ride. The ride was around a 300m open track, so quite short. It was ok but personally we would’ve wanted a more magical experience through the trees in the neighbouring forest. It was fun though and the Reindeer behind us kept trying to nibble our heads, which was entertaining!

Reindeer at the farm, Ruka, Finland
Reindeer at the farm, Ruka, Finland

After the reindeer sleigh ride we headed back into the hut and learned more about reindeer farming, with the group asking many questions. Whilst listening, we got to eat traditional snacks and have coffee in our Kuksas. We came out of the hut feeling very happy that Reindeer farming seems a very sustainable practice for producing meat, at least up in Lapland. We did however miss feeding them due to us being in the hut for a long time, which was a little annoying.

Conclusion

After spending time in Finland, we had gone full reindeer – having seen them, walked them, patted them, learnt about farming them and also tasting the farmed meat in various meals (on pizza, in a burger, traditionally with mash, lingonberries and a gherkin). 

The visit to the reindeer farm was an interesting experience but in our opinion quite expensive for what you get from it. We came out thinking at least the money had gone to support the local people and traditional farming practices. If you really want to see Reindeer up close then of course it’s a must, but you could certainly saving yourself a few Euros and not go for the sleigh ride.