Experience the best of summer in the Lapland North region

3 minute read

Credits: Lapland North

Summer in the north of Lapland offers beautiful scenery, vibrant Sámi culture, and exciting activities in the nightless night.

Inari, Saariselkä, and Utsjoki are some of Finland's northernmost destinations in a vast area known as Lapland North. They are surrounded by two major national parks, grand Inari Lake, and the largest wilderness area in Finland called Kaldoaivi. Not only is the wilderness large in northern Lapland, so are the distances. To drive from Saariselkä to Nuorgam – the northernmost point in Finland and in the EU – takes three hours. 

Here, you'll find pristine, unspoiled Arctic wilderness. Summer in the north of Lapland offers nightless nights, clean air, and beautiful scenery amid majestic fells. 

To get there, you can take the train or a flight to Rovaniemi and continue heading north by bus or car. Another option is to fly to Ivalo and continue north from there. 

Credits: Lapland North

Hiking, paddling, and packrafting in northern Lapland

The two largest national parks in Finland are located in this northernmost part of Lapland: Lemmenjoki National Park and Urho Kekkonen National Park. If you’re visiting Inari, another great option for hiking is Otsamotunturi in the Inari Hiking Area.

If you're going on a longer hike or need advice, you can visit a tourist information office in Saariselkä, Ivalo or Inari, and they'll help you choose a suitable hiking trail. 

For those seeking more action, the Lapland North region offers many options for river rafting and packrafting. The latter requires hiking with an inflatable raft on your back and putting in a bit of effort to get to the best paddling spots. 

River rafting at the Juutua River starts at Lake Solojärvi near Inari and ends after the Haapakoski rapids. If you'd rather see the rapids from dry land, you can access the Jäniskoski rapids in Inari by car and a short walk. Other great places for paddling are the Luttojoki and Ivalojoki rivers. 

Lakes and rivers in this northern region also offer more easy-going activities. If you find yourself in Utsjoki, you can head to the Tenojoki River for SUP-boarding or rowing. When the sun is out, spend a beach day on the shores of the Ivalojoki River, just a stone's throw away from the centre of Ivalo.

Credits : Lapland North
Explore the stunning Urho Kekkonen National Park on paddling tour along the Luttojoki River.
Credits: Lapland North

Other must-experience nature destinations in northern Lapland

Near Saariselkä, the fells of Kiilopää and Kaunispää are worth visiting. On clear days, you can see over 40 kilometres to the east from the top of Kaunispää. Kaunispää is just a 2-kilometre walk or bike ride away from Saariselkä centre. For those heading to Lemmenjoki National Park, there are a few must-see spots: Kaapin Jouni estate, the Lemmenjoki river valley, and Ravadasköngäs Waterfall. 

Close to Inari, you'll find Pielpajärvi Wilderness Church, one of the oldest buildings in Lapland, which is accessible on foot along a five kilometre hiking path. The church, protected under Finnish law as a historic relic, is free to visit year-round.

If you’re spending time further up north, you should visit the Ailigas fell in Utsjoki and Lake Pulmankijärvi in Nuorgam, which is the northernmost village in the EU. Between Utsjoki and Nuorgam, you can also find the Välimaa estate which is a historical Sámi heritage site and worth a visit. 
 
Inarijärvi is the third-largest lake in Finland, the land of a thousand lakes. You can explore the lake and its more than 3300 islands by taking a boat cruise from the harbour by the Sámi Museum, SIIDA, in Inari. There are also riverboat cruises on the Lemmenjoki River in Lemmenjoki National Park. 

Credits : Lapland North
Lace up your boots and take a hike to explore the stunning fells of Lemmenjoki National Park.
Credits: Irina Salomaa

Sleep under the midnight sun

For high quality accommodations near Inari, try one of the Wilderness Hotels: Inari or Juutua. Wilderness Hotel Inari even offers a chance to sleep under the midnight sun in an Aurora Cabin!  

Another hotel where it’s all about the scenery is Top Star Finland in Saariselkä, which has spectacular glass cube rooms. And at Hotel Utsjoki, you can experience stunning panoramic view over the Utsjoki river.  

When travelling towards Karigasniemi, look out for the holiday village of Giellajohka, which offers unique accommodations and activities by river Kielajoki. Finally, if you want peace and quiet, try Nuorgam Holiday Village’s Wilderness Cabins. 

 

Credits: Juha Kauppinen

Only in this northernmost part of Lapland

In Saariselkä, those looking for a relaxing yet invigorating experience should explore what Arctic Sky Lapland has to offer. For example, they organise forest yoga sessions and silent retreats. Arctic Sky Lapland is also a cosy place to stay.  

Just west of Urho Kekkonen National Park and 30 kilometres south of Saariselkä, you can try gold panning at the Gold Museum. Heading west from Inari, you’ll find the village of Lemmenjoki, where you can visit the Feltmaker’s Studio, Huopapirtti, and buy felted clothes or try your hand at felt making. 

To experience the authentic tastes of Lapland and its pristine wilderness, book a table at the award-winning restaurant Aanaar in Inari or visit Laanilan Kievari in Saariselkä. For a taste of traditional Sámi dishes, visit Deatnu in Utsjoki at Holiday Village Valle. And to learn more about local Lapland food culture, check out this article.

Credits : Lapland North
Try your hand at gold panning with guidance from an expert.
Credits: Lapland North
Credits: Lapland North

See also

Must-visit nature locations in summer Lapland

Summer in Lapland is truly magical and there are many must-see nature locations to visit from national parks to canyons and fells.