Enontekiö – Kilpisjärvi

photo © Visit Finland / Elina Sirparanta

Tourism Enontekiö & Kilpisjärvi

Enontekiö is a municipality in the Finnish part of Lapland, situated in the outermost northwest of the country occupying a large and very sparsely populated area. Although there is no town in the region named Enontokiö, the main village of the region, Hetta, is often called by that name, and is the region’s administrative centre. Finland’s highest point is located in this municipality; the Halti fell, or Haltitunturi, is 1,324m above sea level, and is a part of the Scandinavian Mountains.

Enontekiö is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoors enthusiasts, where you can experience some of Finland’s most incredible natural beauty. Perfect for fishing, the rivers and lakes teem with salmon, brown trout, grayling, and whitefish. In winter, visitors can choose to travel on sleighs pulled by huskies, reindeer or horses, go on snowmobile safari, trek on snow-shoes, or enjoy some skiing. In summer, the main activities are hiking, fishing, kayaking or canoing, mountain biking, or simply wandering in the wilderness picking berries.

The region is geographically and scenically very different to the rest of Finland, containing all of the country’s 21 mountains that are higher than 1,000m. Other important places are the village of Kilpisjärvi near the border triangle of Finland-Sweden-Norway, and Palojensuu and Karesuvanto, located on the River Muonionjoki which marks the border between Finland and Sweden. Enontekiö is the best place to observe the Northern Lights in Finland, having the highest rate of occurrence of all the country’s municipalities. Around Kilpisjärvi the Aurora Borealis can be observed on an average of 3 out of 4 nights during the dark season.

Although the region is sparsely populated, and is mostly a nature tourist destination, it does possess some cultural gems. The villages of Kultima, Näkkälä, Nunnanen, Peltovuoma, Pöyrisjärvi, and Raittijärvi are all officially listed as cultural monuments, as is the stone bridge of Ahdaskuru, the only bridge in Lapland not destroyed during the Lapland War.

Also in Hetta is The Centre of Fell Lapland Nature and Culture, which shows the nature of Northern Lapland, and Nomadic Sámi culture through a variety of exhibitions. In Järämä a section of the Sturmbock emplacement from the Lapland War has been restored, and there is a museum attached dealing with the history of that war in Enontekiö.

The main cultural event of the year is the Sámi festival Hetan Marianpäivät, Mary’s Days of Hetta, held at the beginning of March, which includes art exhibitions, performances of traditional Sámi music, and contests of reindeer roping and sleigh riding. Hetan Musiikkipäivät, the Music Days of Hetta festival, is a chamber and church music festival held every Easter. Enontekijän Pilkkiviikot is an ice fishing contest which takes place between the end of April and the beginning of May, and in late summer Suomen Tunturisuunnistus, an orienteering tournament, is held on the fells near Kilpisjärvi.