If you follow the magnificent line of fells that make up Saariselkä, you will see the steep ravines of the Urho Kekkonen National Park, and you can also have a great time at the ski centre on two fells.
Saariselkä is in the heart of Lapland, a resort in the municipality of Inari that gets its name from the area of fells and wilderness that surrounds it. The Saariselkä tourist area was constructed in such a way as to cause as little disruption to nature as possible and, at the same time, ensure easy access to the tourist destinations. Start your holiday in Saariselkä by discovering the Northern Lights Trail, affording you a small taste of the wonderful Urho Kekkonen National Park. Then, climb one of the area’s fells for a splendid view of the rugged wilderness.
Saariselkä lies far away in the north, but Ivalo, for example, can be reached by air directly from Helsinki. The distinctive charm of the northern countryside is reason enough to holiday in Saariselkä, but the tourist resort particularly attracts keen skiers. The ski centre has fifteen slopes, many of which stay open until early May. Of special interest are Finland’s longest snowboarding track at Snow Park, and the kilometre-long sledging trail.
The area has been designed in such a way that travellers can enjoy a car-free stay in Saariselkä, with its offer of good services right in the middle of the wilderness. You can help protect the local environment by walking around the resort or taking the bus. An attempt has also been made to preserve Sami culture by providing tourists with the relevant information. Visit the exhibition entitled Towards the Arctic Ocean, with its display of costumes and artefacts, and see the collections at the Sami Museum, Siida, in Inari.
The most convenient way to visit many of sights in the Saariselkä area is by car. About 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of Saariselkä is the Koilliskaira Visitor Centre, which provides information about the Urho Kekkonen National Park, its wildlife and Sami culture. Meanwhile, a short distance away by car to the north of Saariselkä, you can have snowball fights right up until June, because it takes time for the compacted snow on the Kuusipää Hill snow fence to melt. If you are travelling by car, you should also view the landscape from the top of Kaunispää, the only fell in the area whose peak can be reached by road.
Among the many treats that Lapland has in store is the Prospector’s Mine, where you can gaze down into the abyss of an abandoned goldmine. A unique sight in Saariselkä is also the Kakslauttanen Igloo Village, with its snow igloos, ice bar and sealed glass igloos. If you ski along the trail from Saariselkä to Laanila, you can visit the Husky Bar & Ranch and make friends with the sled dogs.
No holiday to Saariselkä is complete, however, without a hike along the trails of the Urho Kekkonen National Park. You can trek through the park’s bleakly beautiful areas of wilderness on foot when the land is free of ice and snow, or on skis in wintertime. Close to the Saariselkä tourist resort are many marked routes, for those doing day-long hikes where no special trekking skills are required. The demands of the routes vary, catering both to those holidaying with children, as well as experienced trekkers.
The Saariselkä area offers travellers a fabulous assortment of outdoor activities all year long. Experience the enchantment of Lapland’s wilderness starting from Saariselkä.