Ivalo – Discover two cultures and the captivating wilderness of Lapland
Ivalo is a great base for nature adventures in the middle of the wonderful wilderness of Northern Lapland. Forget your worries and wander in untouched nature, where the magic of Lapland is created by the vast lake areas and river estuaries – without forgetting the majestic fells. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure and experience how two cultures meet in this traditional reindeer herding area.
Ivalo is known as the centre of Inari municipality. In the surrounding Inari-Saariselkä tourist area, you will get to know traditional Lapland and Sámi culture as well as the legacy of the gold rush. Feel how the history of the area is intertwined with the present day and test your skills in gold panning or on a sleigh ride. We listed a few tips on how to spend an unforgettable holiday in Ivalo.
One of the most stunning destinations is Finland's third largest lake, Lake Inarijärvi, also known as the Sámi Sea. There are no less than 3,000 lovely islands on this lake, the most famous being the towering Ukonsaari, an ancient sacred place for the Sámi people, in the middle of Inarijärvi. The best way to admire the island is on a boat trip or snowmobiling in the winter. Please do not land on the island as this sieidi island is sacred.
Lake Inarijärvi invites you to calm down in the midst of breathtaking scenery. On the shores of many islands, there are huts and lean-tos, by which you can rest and have a relaxing lunch break during your kayaking and skiing trips. Try catching local delicacies whitefish, trout and the grayling from the shores of the lake.
In the fall, head to the northern lights cruise, where you can adore the dance of the Aurora Borealis against the calm lake. Guided winter activities include everything between snowmobile safaris and ice fishing.
Experience magical moments at Wilderness Hotel Nangu on the southern shore of the lake. In addition to the idyllic log rooms, you can spend a night in the memorable Aurora Huts, which open a wonderful panoramic view over the lovely Lake Inarijärvi.
Lemmenjoki National Park
The largest national park in Finland, Lemmenjoki National Park, located southwest of Inari, is known for its beautiful river valley, decorated with ancient pine forests. Jump on a riverboat, and travel through the 70-kilometre-long Lemmenjoki river that leads you through the Maares- and Viipustunturi fells to the picturesque Ravadas Falls, which are one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Lapland. Get to know the Sámi way of life at the old reindeer farm on the grounds of Kaapin Jouni, or try gold panning on guided trips to a genuine gold claim.
There are 60 kilometres of marked hiking trails in the wilderness of Lemmenjoki. Adventure through the pine forest on the 4.5-kilometre long Lemmenjoki nature trail or travel to Morgamojan Kultala, the centre of Lemmenjoki gold diggers, on the 26.5-kilometre ring trail of Ravadasjärvi.
Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida
The main cultural attraction in Inari is Siida, which serves as the Sámi Museum and the Nature Center of Upper Lapland. In Siida, you can familiarise yourself with the history and culture of the Sámi people, the only indigenous people in the European Union, as well as the development of their modern identity. The centre offers also information about the arctic nature of the area and hiking and mountain biking trails.
The architecturally captivating Sámi Cultural Center Sajos is the heart of the vibrant Sámi culture and the largest conference and event centre in Northern Lapland. Inside the building, you will find the Finnish Sámi Parliament, the Sámi education centre, the Sámi archive and the Sámi library. Don’t forget to stop by the Sámi handicrafts shop Duodji Shop.
Visit an award-winning restaurant Anaar, selected as the restaurant of the year 2020, in the centre of Inari with the hotel Kultahovi. The dishes are inspired by the nature of Lapland and the taste experiences include the best ingredients from the local nature, from cloudberry to spruce beer, whitefish, reindeer and lichen!
Saariselkä tourist resort
On the side of Urho Kekkonen National Park, you will find Saariselkä, a compact and versatile tourist resort in the middle of Lapland's charming fell landscape. With more than 200 kilometres of ski tracks, Saariselkä is a true skier's paradise. The slopes of the two fells treat skiers of all levels. Feel the thrill of speed on Finland's longest toboggan slope, which is illuminated by magnificent aurora lights.
In summer, numerous nature trails invite walkers to enjoy the wilderness. Wander along the marked routes from the mystic pine forests all the way beyond the tree line. Visit the world's largest smoke sauna at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, which is internationally known for its glass igloos and wilderness-inspired log cabins. The services of this arctic fairy-tale world are all-encompassing, from reindeer and husky safaris to day trips in nearby nature.
Tankavaara Gold Village
Tankavaara Gold Village is one of Lapland's most fascinating tourist attractions. In Tankavaara, you can experience a real gold fever while panning gold nuggets in the gold panning area and get to know the international history of gold mining. There are several activities available along the golden holiday, from reindeer feeding to snowmobiling and snowshoe hiking. In authentic gold prospectors’ cabins, you can enjoy the atmosphere of the gold rush all year round.