The village of Inari is the centre for Finland's Sámi culture. Pleasantly situated on the shore of Lake Inarijärvi, Finland's third largest lake, and next to the River Juutuanjoki Bridge, Inari is in the midst of Europe's largest untouched wilderness, and is a truly alternative destination for anyone seeking to 'get away from it all'. Despite its northerly location, this municipality is one of Finland's most significant tourism districts, visited every year by hundreds of thousands of travelers.
Saariselkä Resort is a compact village by the Urho Kekkonen National Park and surrounded by fell highlands. Saariselkä is a cluster of services and activities, yet only a couple of steps from the peace and tranquillity of the wilderness. You don't need a car in Saariselkä: everything from the ski centre to nature trails, spa, hotels and restaurants are all within walking distance.
Other popular destinations in the area are Ivalo, Nellim, Utsjoki, Nuorgam, Lemmenjoki, Vuotso and Tankavaara.
Northern Lapland’s traditional Lappish and Sami culture and the only gold rush heritage will surround you with fascinating stories. History is a living area of the present day. You can dive to visit the museums of international importance or try reindeer sleigh ride or even panning for gold. The main cultural attractions of Inari are the Sámi Museum and the Northern Lapland Nature Centre Siida.
In summer Lake Inarijärvi, and the many rivers which flow into it, provides excellent fishing opportunities, as well as all the usual watersports you would expect. The many nature reserves in the region have excellent trails for hikers, cyclists, nature lovers and ornithologists. In winter, the region offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in all of Finland.
Comprehensive restaurant supply ensures that there is a wide range of alternative menus for everyone. Alongside traditional Finnish food you can try out the Sámi delicacies which include reindeer and moose, served with fresh seasonal berries, fungi, and vegetables.
In Northern Lapland area you can find just a suitable accommodation for your trip, whether you want to enjoy the silence of nature or stay in the middle of services. Throughout Inari - Saariselkä there is a large supply of accommodation from the hotel level to lakeside cottages.
In addition to magnificent experience and a successful holiday Saariselkä area also offers memorable souvenirs. There are plenty of speciality stores which offer a range of traditional Sámi handicrafts and one-off art pieces made from reindeer antlers, reindeer skin, gnarled wood, and gold.
Northern Lapland is one of the most remote regions in Europe, yet Inari - Sariselkä region is quite accessible. The nearest airport is located just south in Ivalo, and is well served from Helsinki and other major cities, the rail service (via Rovaniemi) is efficient, and there are numerous bus routes. Getting there by car will take time, but the routes up the western coast or past the eastern towns and cities are excellent, and very picturesque.
Home to Finland's Sámi Parliament, Inari has obvious influences of this nomadic people, none more so than the altarpiece of the Sámi Church, entitled 'The Revelation of Christ to the Sámi People'. In the village you'll find Siida which houses the Sámi museum and the North Lapland Nature Centre, as well specialty stores selling original handcrafted Sámi gifts and souvenirs and a restaurant. The Nature Centre provides information for visitors on the forests, nature parks, fells, bogs, mountain bike trails, and cabin rentals, as well as issuing of hunting and fishing permits.
Although the region attracts plenty of winter sports enthusiasts, and is served well by a number of holiday and ski resorts, it is nature itself that brings the most visitors to the Inari municipality. Lake Inarijärvi is fed by numerous pristine rivers, ideal for canoing and fishing, and is dotted with hundreds of islands, easily explored by boat. The surrounding lands, which include the wilderness areas of Hammastunturi, Muotkatunturi, Paistunturi, Kaldoaivi, Vätsäri and Tsarmitunturi are mostly uninhabited and untouched. The forests, hills and fells are kept in their natural state, and are home to many rare species, including bears, wolves, moose, and wolverine. The Siberian jay and capercaillie both nest here, and there are numerous migrant species that make this region their home for the summer.
Of course, no description of Northern Lapland would be complete without mentioning the spectacular Northern Lights that frequently illuminate the skies, usually between the end of August and April. Stories abound featuring the Aurora Borealis, and they play a large role in the mythology and folk culture of the indigenous Sámi people. Because Inari is so far above the Arctic Circle, for two months of the summer the sun does not set, and these nights without darkness are another key attraction for the region.