30 Incredible Places To Visit In Finnish Lapland in 2024 (+ Map!)

Are you trying to find the best places in Finnish Lapland to visit? This post is a guide to some of the most amazing towns, villages, and natural areas in Finnish Lapland.

Finnish Lapland is full of incredible places to visit and to curate a list of what I believe to be the best was a challenge!

Northern Lights over luosto one of the best places to visit finnish lapland
Luosto one of the best places to visit in Finnish Lapland

This post not only focuses on visiting Lapland during winter, but I have also included highlights for each destination for those visiting Finnish Lapland in summer.

If you feel I have missed your favorite place in Finnish Lapland, please leave a comment below!

Arctic Travel Tips uses affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase through my links, I may earn an affiliate commission at no extra charge to you.

Best places to visit in Finnish Lapland

1. Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi is most famously known for being the capital of Lapland and the “official” home of Santa Claus. It is also one of the best places in Finland for catching a glimpse of the northern lights.

During World War II, Rovaniemi was almost destroyed, but today, it is a vibrant modern city jam-packed with things to do. Open all year, exploring Santa Claus Village is a must.

Artikum gardens in Rovaniemi
Artikum gardens in Rovaniemi

Be sure to stop by Rovaniemi church to admire local architecture and visit Arktikum if you want to learn more about the Arctic. Wildlife lovers will enjoy the husky and reindeer parks during winter in Rovaniemi.

Rovaniemi in summer is perfect for adrenaline junkies who can try water sports at the Roiske – Center of Summer Activities.

2. Saariselka

Saariselka is a picturesque resort town that can be found 250km (155 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. It is the northernmost Ski Resort in Finland.

This resort village is a center for Lapland winter activities and it serves as a gateway to Urho Kekkonen National Park. Saariselka is best known for its cross-country skiing and downhill skiing possibilities.

Snow covered cabins in Saariselka
Snow-covered cabins in Saariselka

When you’re not tackling the slopes or admiring the snowy scenery, ride Lapland’s longest Toboggan Run at Aurora Tobogganing and eat at the Northern Lights Village restaurant.

In summer, you could go hiking with huskies on a safari tour. You’ll have the chance to meet the husky pups, take photographs of the scenery, and stop off at scenic viewpoints for something to eat.

3. Levi

Levi is a small city in western Lapland. It is home to frozen lakes, river valleys, ski resorts, and mindblowing views of the Arctic landscape. During the winter months, Levi is a popular ski resort. There are more than 40 slopes to ski down.

If you’re looking for an extreme winter activity, you could even try ice swimming! Lying back on the icy water and staring up at the sky is seriously impressive.

Levi ski resort in October
The Levi ski resort is open and functioning in October!

Don’t worry about the cold- you’ll be given a survival suit. More reserved explorers might prefer to learn about Sámi culture at the nearby Samiland exhibition. Here, you’ll learn all about Sámi mythology and the Sámi people.

Popular summer activities include golfing, mountain biking, and relaxing at the lakeside beach.

4. Inari

Inari is a popular destination for tourists who want to spot the northern lights, ride a sleigh pulled by huskies, visit a reindeer farm, and try cross-country skiing. However, the biggest draw is the Sámi culture because the town is the cultural center for the Sámi.

Therefore, a trip to Inari wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Siida – The Sámi Museum and Nature Centre.

Siida Sami museum
The outside of the Siida Sámi Museum in Inari

The museum offers a unique insight into the history, folklore, and culture of the ancient community. It features permanent and temporary exhibitions and is also home to a fascinating craft shop. Make sure you visit the stunning Lake Inari too, especially in summer!

If you’re looking for somewhere unique to stay, consider staying in a traditional cabin at Holiday Village Inari.

5. Ivalo

Ivalo is just a 25-minute drive away from Saariselka and a 30-minute drive from Inari. The beauty of Ivalo, aside from its impressive landscape, is how many things there are to do.

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for an active summer getaway or a cozy winter retreat- Ivalo has something for you! Sporty activities include snowmobiling, snowshoe hiking, and ice fishing.

Ivalo Aurora Village cabin
Visiting Ivalo Aurora Village during summer

Ivalo Trek Lapland offers unique Aurora Borealis snowmobile tours that take you out in search of the lights. More relaxing things to do include spa days and souvenir hunting in a local gift shop.

I recommend staying overnight in a glass igloo at Aurora Village during your trip!

6. Nuorgam

Nuorgram is a small village with approximately 200 inhabitants in the Utsjoki municipality of Lapland. It is the most northern point of Finland and the European Union.

This area is best known for its salmon fishing, but there are plenty of things for travelers to do too. Most attractions in and around the village focus on sightseeing tours, adventure activities, and escapism.

River flowing through the Arctic tundra
In Nuorgam, you can truly understand the expanse of the tundra

In winter, you can explore Nuogram’s fell highlands with snowshoes and spend your time at the local reindeer farm. At the Nougram reindeer farm, you can learn how herding works and even help the local herder.

In summer, take a riverboat trip along the Tenojoki River and enjoy the peace and tranquility of Nuorgram Holiday Village.

7. Ruka

Ruka is where you’ll find some of the best skiing slopes in Finland. Ruka Ski Resort offers thrill seekers a skiing season that lasts more than 200 days a year, so there’s a good chance a lot will be happening when you visit.

There are 39 slopes to race down and 22 ski lifts that will help you get to the top. Skiing isn’t the only activity on the agenda either!

Night skiiing in Ruka
Skiing through the Polar Night in Ruka

You can also give snowboarding a go, get up close to Arctic animals like reindeer and huskies, and hit one of the many hiking trails. One of the most popular hiking trails in Ruka is the Pyhän Jyssäys trail, which leads to the top of Pikku-Pyhävaara and takes roughly 2-3 hours to complete.

8. Kuusamo

Kuusamo is a 20-minute drive away from Ruka, near the Russian border. This town is also home to world-class skiing. However, Kuusamo does have more to offer than Ruka. Kuusamo is famous for its Sámi history, outdoor activities, and tranquility.

Bear watching in Kuusamo
Bear playing in a forest pond in Kuusamo

Oulanka National Park is one of the best places for exploring the Arctic wilderness, while Pohjolan Pirtti (aka Santa’s Cottage) is the perfect place to kick back and get cozy.

On this historic estate, you can learn about local culture, indulge in traditional food, and keep warm in the sauna. If you want to learn more about local history, visit the Pokkatörma outdoor museum.

In summer,Kuusamo is a popular bear-watching destination, with Karhu-Kuusamo offering overnight bear-watching cabins where there is a 99% chance you will see at least one bear.

9. Kemi

Kemi, on the Bothnian Bay, is one of the larger towns in Arctic Finland, and its most famous attraction is the Sampo Icebreaker. This is a large ship that is designed to break up the sea ice so ships can access the ports.

A cruise on this ship will take you out on the frozen sea. The scenery is mindblowing, and you’ll have the chance to walk on the ice.

Oyster catcher family
A family of oystercatchers on Kemi’s coast

You can even take a plunge into the sea behind the ship in a survival suit. In Kemi, you’ll find attractions like the SnowCastle and Kemi Lutheran church.

The SnowCastle is an ice castle that’s carved every year. In the summer, you can go boating in Bothnian Bay National Park. Stay at Seaside Glass Villas if you’re in the mood for a luxurious night’s stay in Kemi!

10. Ylläs

Ylläs, also known as Yllästunturi, is a 718-meter (2,355-foot) fell that’s 115km (71 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. The Ylläs area consists of two Lappish villages – Äkäslompolo and Ylläsjärvi.

This area is best known for its Arctic wildlife, skiing slopes, hiking trails, and impressive Arctic terrain.

snowy hills of Ylläs
The snow-covered hills of Ylläs

Along the Kesänkijärven Kierros trail, you might spot the Siberian jay, reindeer, Arctic fox, and the Eurasian three-toed woodpecker.

Ylläs is home to Finland’s largest ski resort, the most popular national park (Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park), and the only sauna gondola in the world.

The Ylläs Sauna Gondola is a 20-minute ride that takes you from the top of the fell to the gondola station and back.

11. Luosto

Luosto is a fantastic place to visit if you want to spot the northern lights, explore the Arctic wilderness, ride a snowmobile, and learn more about Finnish culture and history.

A 510-meter (1,673 foot) fell in the Sodankylä municipality, Luosto makes up part of Pyhä-Luosto National Park. As a result, you’ll have easy access to nature trails and Lapland safari tours.

Hiking trail close to Luosto
Hiking trail close to Luosto

You can hike the trails in the summer and cross-country ski and snowshoe in winter. I recommend hiking the 7 km (4.3 mi) Tunturiaapa Nature Trail.

Thanks to a solid boardwalk, this trail makes it super easy to explore the area. Luosto is also near an Amethyst Mine. Here, you can dig for amethysts and learn more about the area’s history.

12. Posio

Posio is a smaller town in Lapland, but the town and surrounding areas pack a punch when it comes to things to do. It was the first destination in Finland to receive the Sustainable Travel Finland certification.

It is also the center of ceramics culture and home to Finland’s popular ice-climbing destination – Korouoma Canyon.

Frozen waterfall in Korouoma Canyon
Frozen waterfall in Korouoma Canyon

In Posio, you can explore endless landscapes, learn how to ice climb, and explore snow-capped forests.

If you want to take things a little slower, check out the Pentik Culture Centre, where you’ll find art galleries that display work from famous sculptures, furniture exhibits, and the International Coffee Cup Museum.

To learn about ceramic culture, visit The Arctic Ceramic Centre.

13. Salla

To escape the daily grind, visit Salla. Described as being in the middle of nowhere, this municipality is the land of Arctic adventures, the northern lights, and reindeer.

Skiing, feeding reindeer, hiking, and exploring the vast Arctic landscape are all on the agenda.

Salla is where you will find one of the starting points of the iconic Bear’s Trail, the most popular multi-day hike in Finland. Along the route, you will hike along gorges, ridges, and beside picturesque lakes.

Old growth forests in Salla
Looking out over the old-growth forests in Salla

This bucket list trail shows you the stunning views and unique nature of Arctic Finland.

Salla is also home to Salla National Park, where you can wildlife watch. You might spot reindeer, golden eagles, and bean geese. On cold or rainy days check out the Museum of War and Reconstruction in the center of town!

14. Kilpisjärvi

Kilpisjarvi is a small, yet vibrant village close to the Norwegian border. Sitting lakeside, the village is dominated by Saana Fell. You can also see the great fells of Finland and Norway in the distance from Kilpisjärvi.

This region is most popular among outdoor enthusiasts and hikers as it is super easy to explore the Arctic fells all year round.

Reflection of a fell in Klipisjärvi
Reflection of a fell in Klipisjärvi

Popular hiking trails include the Saana Path, Saana Nature Trail, and the Malla Trail.

Places you’ll want to see during your visit include Malla Strict Nature Reserve, Kilpisjärvi visitor centre, and the Three Nation’s Border Point. After a long day of hiking, enjoy traditional food at Ravintola Kilpis.

15. Utsjoki

Utsjoki’s colorful villages, rugged landscapes, and aurora borealis possibilities allow tourists to experience the true beauty and culture of Arctic Finland.

The small municipality has a population that is far outnumbered by reindeer. It is also the area in Finland with the largest number of Sámi speakers.

When you’re not searching for the aurora, head out and explore the fells and Ice Age glaciers. Popular activities include biking, snowshoeing, Arctic Ocean exploring, and shopping in the villages.

Utsjoki bridge
The famous bridge at Utsjoki connecting Norway and Finland

Cycling is particularly popular in the area and is expected to grow with the development of a new European Union bike road project called ‘The Arctic Bikepacking Trail.

I recommend visiting the Sámi villages and River Teno during your trip too! Hotel Utskoki offers a stunning log igloo just 6 km (3.7 mi) away from the town center.

16. Sevettijärvi

Sevettijiärvi is a wilderness gateway that sits within reach of the Arctic Ocean. Despite offering some of the best views in Arctic Finland, Sevettijärvi is most famous for being the center of the Skolt Sámi.

The village is known for its Skolt Sámi population, with 90% of the people keeping the Skolt Sámi language alive. Today, it is only spoken by approximately 300 people, most of whom are in Finland.

An information board about the Skolt Sámi
An information board about the Skolt Sámi as you enter Sevettijarvi

To learn more about Sami culture, stop by the Skolt Sámi Heritage House. In winter and summer, you can explore the wilderness that surrounds Sevettijärvi on foot.

Popular destinations include the Sevetti-Pulmanki Trail, Vätsäri Wilderness Area, and River Näätämöjoki, which is a popular salmon fishing spot too (although river fishing can only be done with a license).

After a long day of hiking, tuck into authentic reindeer herring with mashed potatoes at Sevetin bar.

17. Kaamanen

Kaamanen is a small village in the Inari municipality. There are only 200 residents in the village and almost all of them rely on reindeer herding and tourism.

This part of Arctic Finland is most famous for bird watching and hiking. Species of birds you can expect to see in the area include Siberian jay, pine grosbeak, willow grouse, and gray-headed chickadee.

Frozen trails of Kaamanen
Frozen trails of Kaamanen

You might spot these species of bird along the Tuuruharju Nature Trail. However, the best place to spot birds in the area is at the Kaamasjoki River, which is a 12-minute drive away.

Kaamanen is also close to Lake Inari, the third-largest lake in Finland. Here, there are over 3,000 islands to explore, some of which were sacrificial grounds for ancient people.

18. Muonio

The town of Muonio is surrounded by Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, making it one of the best places for exploring the wilderness.

Muonio is also an excellent place to spot the northern lights. However, you’ll need luck on your side and a perfectly clear night!

Cabin in the woods
A cabin hidden away in the forest

In winter, hit the snowy trails with your snowshoes on, visit the resident reindeer, play with local huskies, and visit the Pallastunturi visitor centre.

In summer, look for bears on a wildlife safari, and mountain bike the Olos Peak Trail. This is a rugged 6.1 km (3.7-mile) loop trail through the local forests. Check out Ravintola Karmmari and their reindeer menu for something interesting to eat.

19. Kittila

Kittila is a popular holiday resort in the Lapland region. One of the best attractions in Kittila is a hotel called Lapland Hotels Snow Village.

This is a famous ice hotel that turns into a winter wonderland with sculptures, suites, restaurants, and bars made out of ice. Every year, the hotel is built in a new design.

wooden walk way in Kittila
A wooden hiking route in Kittila

The resort is also home to several adventure tour companies that will take you into the wilderness to explore. You can ride snowmobiles, go ice-karting, and ski amongst other activities.

I highly recommend visiting Maglelin. This husky safari allows you to stay overnight on-site, giving you more time to get to know the huskies.

20. Kemijärvi

Kemijärvi is a stunning lakeside town in eastern Lapland. This charming town offers travelers the best of both worlds. There are plenty of things to do in the town and endless options in the wilderness that surrounds it.

Church in Kemijärvi
A church under the summer sunshine in Kemijärvi

What I love most about Kemijärvi is the array of things to do in summer and winter. In winter, you can check out the local museums (the Museum of Local History is one of the best), head out on a scenic day trip, and huddle around a campfire with a hot chocolate.

In the summer, you can boat along the lakes, relax at the beach, and enjoy the summertime music festival. This midnight summer festival brings together a renowned line-up of artists.

21. Sodankylä

If you’re looking for lots of things to do in Arctic Finland, visit Sodankylä. Just 1 hour from Rovaniemi, Sodankylä offers everything from winter sports activities and the northern lights to wildlife activities and cultural experiences.

In terms of winter activities, you can ski, dog sleigh ride, and ice swim. You can also head out on winter photography trips or watch the local reindeer races.

Snow covered church
Stumbling across a hidden church

If you visit Sodankylä in June, you can enjoy the Midnight Sun Film Festival. This is a 5-day film festival that sees venues across Sodankylä play films 24 hours a day.

Key highlights in the town include Nilimella Beach, The Old Church, The Old Saami Marketplace, and Piitsi pub.

22. Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park

The iconic Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park is a dream destination for any nature lover. This national park has some of the world’s most breathtaking views, extremely pure air, and an abundance of wildlife.

Super accessible, the park is suitable for both inexperienced and experienced hikers, and families with children.

Reindeer in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park
Reindeer finding food in the most challenging parts of Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park

The trails will allow you to admire the rich Arctic landscapes. My favorite trail is the Varkaankurunpolku Trail. This trail is only 3.5 km (2.1 mi) long and it winds through dense forest to the bottom of a ravine, where you can see the fell stream.

In terms of wildlife, keep your eyes peeled for brown bears, lynx, willow grouse, and reindeer.

23. Lemmenjoki National Park

Lemmenjoki National Park was founded in 1956 and it currently spans 2,850 km (1,770 mi), which makes it the largest national park in Finland.

Aside from offering one of the biggest wilderness areas to explore in Europe, Lemmenjoki National Park is considered the gateway to the homelands of the Sámi people.

A waterfall in Lemmenjoki National Park
Lemmenjoki is famous for its fast-flowing rivers

After learning about the Sámi people, head into the park to hike (the Joenkielinen Loop is one of my favorites), boat, cross-country ski, and pan for gold.

A guided river trip will help you explore the wild. After a busy day, tuck into a hearty bowl of reindeer stew and look out for the Northern Lights at Ahkun Tupa.

24. Urho Kekkonen National Park

Urho Kekkonen National Park is one of Finland’s largest protected areas. It extends eastwards towards the Russian border.

This remote part of Arctic Finland is best known for its trekking. Whether on foot in the summer or on skis in the winter, Urho has more than 200 km (124 mi) of trails to explore.

Forests of Urho Kekonen
Searching for the home of Santa Claus in Urho Kekkonen

Popular trails you should consider hiking include Aurorapolku, Kiirunapolku, and Luulampi. As you trek through the park, you’ll pass through reindeer herding areas, where during the round-up times, huge herds of reindeer may gather!

You’ll also have a great chance to spot golden eagles, wolverines, and bears. Korvatunturi fell inside the national park and it is famously the home of Santa Claus in Finnish culture. For a romantic getaway, check out Wilderness Hotel Muotka & Igloos.

25. Oulanka National Park

Oulanka is an epic Finnish national park that combines northern, eastern, and southern nature.

Protected by the World Wide Fund for Nature, Oulanka has a unique river ecosystem and untouched boreal forest that features river valleys and rapids. The best way to explore this park is by hiking or on a guided tour.

A swingbridge across a gorge
Hiking through the impressive gorges of Oulanka National Park

There are hiking trails open all year round (Kiutakönkään Polku Trail and the Hiiden Hurmos Trail) and guided tours leave from the visitor center.

I recommend visiting the visitor center because you’ll be able to learn more about the park through exhibitions and presentations.

On a guided tour, you’ll cross hanging bridges, walk alongside the rapids, and find impressive waterfalls.

26. Riisitunturi National Park

Riisitunturi National Park was established in 1982 and it covers 77 square km (30 square mi) of mountainous area near Posio.

Incredibly photogenic, this national park is a great destination for snowshoers, cross-country skiers, bird watchers, and trekkers.

In winter, spruce trees cover most of the national park’s hillsides with a layer of thick frost, creating the perfect winter scene for hiking day trips.

Northern Lights over Riisitunrturi
Northern lights over the famous popcorn trees of Riisitunturi

Once winter has passed, the park comes to life with vibrant colors. There are over 40 km (25 mi) of marked trails to walk.

Two of the best are Riisin rääpäsy and Riisin rietas. You can also tackle the summit of Riisituntrui. Some hikes will also take you to the old hunting pits.

After a day of hiking in the park stop by Erakahvila Tykky at the park entrance for a cup of coffee or tea by the fire place.

27. Äkäslompolo

Äkäslompolo is a small village with a population of less than 500. It is one of the Ylläs villages, and it’s situated next to a large lake.

Äkäslompolo is famous for its snowy terrain, Arctic wildlife, and ski slopes. If you’re not exploring the wilderness or meeting the local husky and reindeer residents, you’ll probably find yourself getting a sweat on in a traditional Finnish sauna.

Reindeer in the snow
A reindeer searching for food under the snow

At Ylläsen’s Night Tree, you can rest by the fire in a sauna before taking a refreshing dip in the ice-cold sea. If you want to try something different, you could also do an escape room at Arctic Secrets.

28. Enontekiö

Enontekiö is a sparsely populated region of Finnish Lapland that has a wide range of attractions. Finland’s highest point is found in this region: the Halti fell. It stands at 1,324 meters (4,343 feet) and is a prime location for hiking.

However, the hike to the Halti is intense. It consists of a multi-day wilderness trek and requires excellent fitness. You could hike the Tsahkaljärvi – Saanajärven Kota out-and-back 10.8 km (6.7 mi) trail near Enontekiö instead.

In winter, this nature paradise is a popular winter sports destination too. You can ski, ride with huskies, and sit in saunas by the lakes.

29. Käsivarsi Wilderness Area

Käsivarsi Wilderness Area is where you can find Finland’s most mountainous scenery. As such, this area is best known for its nature and outdoor activities. Of course, the most popular thing to do here is hike.

Käsivarsi Wilderness Area
Käsivarsi Wilderness Area is one of the wildest areas in Finland

All year round, you can reach Halti Fell from along the Nordkalott Trail. The Saana Fell walk from Kilpisjärvi village is more appropriate for less experienced hikers though.

The Nordkalott Trail is 800 km (497 mi) long in total, so you’ll never run out of scenic walks and viewpoints.

You can also go fishing (on moving water you will need a license), skiing, kayaking, and sledding in this wilderness area. If you want to learn about nature in the region, visit the Kilpisjärvi visitor centre.

30. Tornio

The city of Tornio sits on the border between Finland and Sweden. Tornio was developed into a Lapland trade hub in the 16th century, and for almost 170 years, it was the northernmost city in the world.

Today, the city has more than 21,000 residents and a huge variety of different things to see and do.

Alatornio Church
The Alatornio Church is a UNESCO world heritage site!

Major points of interest in the city include the Church of Tornio, Aine Art Museum, Museum of Tornio Valley, and Duudsonit Activity Park.

Tornio also has a lively jazz scene, so you might want to listen to some live music in the evening. Kalott Jazz & Blues hosts regular events across the city.

Best places to visit in Finnish Lapland (on a map!)

🗺️  HOW TO USE THIS MAP: You can use your fingers/mouse to zoom in and out. To get more info about a place, simply touch/click the icons. Want to save this map for later use? Click the ‘⭐’ by the map title and it will add it to your Google Maps account (Saved > Maps or ‘Your Places’).

Did I miss any of your favorite places to visit in Finnish Lapland? If so, please share your suggestions in the comments below!

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