Travellers to northern Lapland can expect a landscape of fells where herds of reindeer wander. The clear waters of Lake Inari are a sight to behold.
Lovely Inari is the dream destination for hikers - a wilderness where traditional reindeer-herding and old Sami customs still thrive. The municipality of Inari is Finland’s largest, though fewer than 7,000 people live there. While on holiday in Inari, you can visit the Saariselkä fells region, and the islands that dot the watery expanse of Lake Inari. The Inari region also includes untouched areas of wilderness, a large part of the Lemmenjoki National Park, and the northernmost section of the Urho Kekkonen National Park.
The easiest way to get to Inari is by air, to the regional airport in Ivalo. Ivalo also serves as Inari’s administrative centre, and is its largest built-up area, catering for the many different needs of travellers. Distances are long in Lapland, though your sense of time becomes blurred as you drive through the tranquil landscape. The easiest way to explore the region is by car, though there are good public transport connections between Ivalo and the Saariselkä Ski Centre.
Saariselkä, just south of Ivalo, is a series of fells that extend into several different areas, and is a good place to start admiring the natural wonders of the region. In winter, you can sail down the ski slopes at the Saariselkä tourist resort, or ski along the various trails that the Urho Kekkonen National Park has to offer. The Park makes an ideal tourist destination all year round both for experienced off-trail trekkers and holidaymakers using marked footpaths. Why not take a look at the old trekking huts, Rumakuru or Rautalampi, both of which lie close to the Saariselkä tourist resort?
Inari is a cheap option for exploring nature trails, and Lemmenjoki National Park makes a splendid tourist destination. It is Finland’s biggest national park, offering an untouched environment and a chance to visit the old Kaapin Jouni reindeer farm, or watch gold prospectors at work, some of whom like to receive visitors. Ravadasköngäs is a tributary of the Lemmenjoki River, and is one of the most impressive sites the park has to offer, with its free-flowing waterfall, which you can reach either on foot, or by taking a boat along the river. Do a day’s hike from the village of Njurkulahti, or canoe along the Lemmenjoki River to the cottage known as Kalasatama, or to Lake Paadarjärvi.
One of the most striking sights that the Inari region has to offer is Lake Inari, which charms travellers at any time of the year. Canoe or cruise on the huge lake in summer time – you can stay the night in a remote hut on its banks, or on one of its islands. In winter, you can ski over the ice-covered lake to the island of Ukonsaari, once a Sami sacred site. The small, though hilly, island was a place of worship dedicated to the god Ukko, who was brought many sacrificial offerings in the form of forest deer bones.
In summer, you can sail to Ukonsaari from Inari, direct from the Siida museum, which incorporates both the Sámi Museum and the Northern Lapland Nature Centre. Enjoy a holiday in Inari to discover what the small town has to offer, and explore the fascinating culture of Europe’s only indigenous people. Inari is well known as a centre of Sami culture, as is demonstrated in the many handicrafts sold in the local shops, and in the importance of reindeer husbandry in the area.
Northern Lapland’s wilderness, splendid national parks and vibrant Sami culture, make Inari a unique travel destination that can be visited at any time of the year.