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Talvinen tunturimaisema

This is Saariselkä

Downhill skiing on two fells

Saariselkä is very traditional and peaceful tourism center. The downhill slopes and ski lifts are situated on two opposite fell slopes. From both off the fells, Kaunispää and Iisakkipää, the slopes run to the same canyon. That is why it is easy to see the whole slope area at one glance from the fell top. Ski Saariselkä Sport Resort

From the center of Saariselkä it is approximately 1 km distance to the ski lifts. During the skiing season Skibus drives between the village, cabins, and ski lifts many times per day. From the top of the fell Kaunispää it is possible to ski via transition slope directly to the center of the village.
Ski bus /Hop-on Hop-off

  • To the top of the fell Iisakkipää it is possible to go only by ski lift.
  • To the top of the fell Kaunispää it is also possible to drive by car all over the year. Summit of Kaunispää

Compact tourism village in the middle of wilderness

The village of Saariselkä is built to be a tourism center and it is very compact. All the services, hotels and restaurants are located close to each other and that is why the walking distances inside the village are small. This means also that even when you are living in the center of the village surrounded by all the modern services, the Lappish nature is still all the time very close.

The area of Saariselkä is famous for its open fell sceneries, fresh air and pure nature.

  • The freedom of the wilderness can be sensed clearly even only couple of hundred meters from the village center

In Saariselkä there are over 200 km of cross-country ski trails which of 34 km are illuminated. Part of the cross-country ski trails run in the authentic fell nature in the area of Urho Kekkonen National Park.

You will get a good view of the fell sceneries on a skiing tour. You can also have a break along your skiing tour and admire the nature. Saariselkä ski track info

In the summer time Saariselkä offers good hiking possibilities for both shorter and longer hikes. Summer routes in Saariselkä.pdf

Saariselkä Treklife introduces the amazing hiking possibilities of Saariselkä and its surroundings from nature tourism perspective 

Accommodation in Saariselkä

There are hotels, cabins and apartments of different sizes in Saariselkä. There are for example suitable options for families, couples, business groups and nature lovers.

Cabins and apartments

The cabins and apartments are located on the these areas in and around Saariselkä.

  • Saariselkä:
    • Kaunispään Etelärinne I, 1 km from center of Saariselkä village
    • Kaunispään Etelärinne II, 2-3 km from center of Saariselkä village
    • Vanhaselkä, 1 km from center of Saariselkä village
    • Luttorinne, 2 km from center of Saariselkä village
    • Laanila, 4-5 km from center of Saariselkä village
  • Kiilopää ja Kakslauttanen
    • Kakslauttanen, 10-12 km from center of Saariselkä village
    • Kiilopää, 16 km from center of Saariselkä village

Map of Saariselkä cabin areas.pdf

The Kiilopää fell center is also a part of the Saariselkä tourism center. It is situated 16 km south from the center of Saariselkä. Next to Kiilopää is situated Hotel Kakslauttanen.

Hotels and restaurants

In Saariselkä there are three bigger hotels Santa’s Hotel Tunturi, Lapland Hotel Riekonlinna ja Spa Hotel Holiday Club Saariselkä. There are several smaller hotels and pensions as well.

In Saariselkä there are more than ten restaurants and different menus. There are available Lappish a la carte, traditional Lappish food, pizza and burger.  Restaurants in Saariselkä

Shops and other services

Shops and stores

There is one grocery store in Saariselkä,  Supermarket Kuukkeli. Outdoor clothes and hiking equipment can be found from for example Partioaitta, Ski Wear and Kuukkeli. There are also several shops in Saariselkä which sell jewellery, souvenirs, gifts, and design products. You can also find wellness and hair dresser´s services in the village.

Map of Saariselkä

Rental equipment

You can rent and buy bikes from Kona Shop Saariselkä which you can find from Saariselkä Booking reception.
Top Safaris, Luonto-Loma Pro Safaris ja Suomen Latu Kiilopää rent cross-country ski and trekking equipment. Ski Saariselkä Sport Resort (ski lifts) rents alpine skiing and snowboarding equipment.
You can find Hertz and Europcar rental offices at Ivalo Airport. Car rental office Sixt operates in Santa´s Hotel Tunturi and in Ivalo Airport. Rent a car

Things to do, places to visit

All the most popular activities in Saariselkä have something to do with the fabulous fell sceneries of the area. Mountain bikes, skis, and sledges offer possibilities to go to the nature. Guided tours and safaris are organized all year round.

In Saariselkä there is an Angry Birds Activity Park which is located in Holiday Club Saariselkä Hotel. Safaris and activities of different kinds are organized by different companies, and there is also a possibility for tailor-made services. You can have a look at Saariselkä daily program and Places to visit

Angry Birds Activity Park

Angry Birds Activity Park is an indoor activity park in Saariselkä. It offers lots of fun for the whole family! The main themes of the park in Saariselkä are the space and Lapland. Angry Birds and the magical Lappish nature make a very attractive combination. As in other parks, the key idea is the physical activity when the rides do not move people but people move the rides.
The park is located in the same buidling as Holiday Club Saariselkä Hotel; there is an indoor access to the park. There is a café at the park offering snacks and refreshments. Souvenirs and presents can be bought from the Angry Birds Shop. Angry Birds Activity Park in Saariselkä, prices and opening hours

Kaunispää

Kaunispää (437 m) is one of the highest arctic hills near the Saariselkä village. Kaunispää is the only one, which top can be reach by car. Magnificent views to every direction open from the top of the Kaunispää hill. If the weather is clear, one can admire tens of kilometers of the Urho Kekkonen National Park, wilderness area of Hammastunturi and as far as the hills behind the Russian border.

The top of Kaunispää can be reached by car, walking along the walking rout or in winter time by a Ski Bus (please note the timetable!) or by a ski lift from the Saariselkä Ski Resort Ski Saariselkä Sport Resort

On the summit of Kaunispää are following services:
Kaunispää Panorama Restaurant Huippu Restaurant Kaunispään Huippu. Souvenir and Jewelry Shop Souvenir Shop Kaunispää. In September 2011 a 7,5 m high Observation Tower was built on the top of Kaunispää hill Observation Tower.

Kummituskämppä

Karvaselkä Day Trip Hut is also known as haunted hut (‘kummituskämppä’). It is situated along the trail leading to Vellinsärpimä, near Saariselkä Tourist Centre. It fits perfectly to stop for a break while on a day trip with kids. About 150 m north of the hut there is a wooden campfire shelter and a firewood shelter. Staying overnight in the hut is forbidden. There is no toilet at the hut. Pets are permitted in the hut, but only in case that other visitors agree with it. Each hiker is responsible for his or her own waste. There are no waste bins at the hut and hikers are asked to bring their mixed and biodegradable waste to recycling points which are located along the trails and at the trail starting and ending points. Burnable waste can be burnt in fireplaces or at campfire sites. The hut was moved to its present location from near the old postal route which is now the Inari-Kittilä road. More information and source: Karvaselkä Day Trip Hut

Luttotupa, the old sauna building

Luttotupa the old Sauna building is the only building left from the old times of Saariselkä travel center. Luttotupa is situated behind the part of Santa’s Hotel Tunturi called Kontio.

Luttotupa in old days used to be a wooden sauna and an accommodation lodging. It was build in 1953. In the end of 1950s main building of Saariselkä travel center burned down in the fire. Only sauna left untouched. Nowdays the building is privately owned, so it’s allowed to look at it only from outside.

Magneettimäki museum road

Magneettimäki (magnetic hill) museum road is located five kilometers to the north from Saariselkä. The hill is around three kilometers long and it divides the area into forest lands and fells. The hill has a respectable hight difference and along the hill the flora changes from fell plants into forests and wetlands. In winter time there is usually a lot more snow in Saariselkä than in the lower lands north from Saariselkä. Also the weather can be different on the upper part of the hill and on the lower part of the hill.

The road north from Saariselkä (nowadays E75) was built in the 1940s. Back then it was an important passage way to the Arctic Ocean in Petsamo. The name “Magnetic hill” dates back to those times. Many bigger cars had difficulties coming up the hill and people started thinking there is magnetic power in the soil which made the cars stop. In reality the hill gets steeper and steeper all the time and you need enough speed to get up the hill. Nowadays there is a new tarmac road going next to the old mumeum road. Along the museum road there is an info sign telling about the history of the road. In winter time there is a snowmobile track going along the museum road.

Piispankivi

The Piispankivi memorial stone is built for honouring the events of the World War Two. On the 4th of Juky in 1943 the partisans of the Soviet Union attacted a bus which was heading to the north. The memorial stone is named after Yrjö Wallinmaa, a bishop of Oulu diocese, who got killed in the attact. Also a stream in the accident place, Piispanoja, is named after the bishop. There are guide signs telling about the attact in Piispanoja close to the Piispankivi memorial stone. There is also a parking place next to the stream so it is easy to visit the place by car.

Prospektor Gold mine

The Prospektor Gold mine is an old gold mine which belonged to the mining company Prospektor in the beginning of the 19th century. The mining company Prospektor founfed the mine in 1902 because there was said to be gold in Saariselkä. However, they never founf any gold from the mine. The old head quaters of the mining company is nowadays part of the Restaurant Laanilan Kievari. The mining company helped the development of the tourism industry in the area unintentionally by starting to build the road from Sodankykä to Laanila. Later the road was built further on to the Arctic Ocean in Petsamo. The Prospektor gold mine is situated 1km from Laanila. From the center of Saariselkä, the walking distance is 5 km.

Ruin of Piponius’ hut

Ruin of Piponius’ hut are part of the early gold digging history of Saariselkä. Johan Albert Piponius from Alavieska had the first gold claim in Saariselkä in 1871. His claim was situated very close to where nowadays is the Santa’s Hotel Tunturi. The story tells that he found 326g of gold from this claim. After him there has been several gold diggers living in the same hut next to the stream Lutto. The ruins of his hut are located next to the Paras Paikka building of Santa’s Hotel Tunturi on the river bank. There is an info sign on the place telling about the history of the ruins. The easiest way to find the place is to walk from the starting place of the nature trails to direction of Kaunispää. The ruin is 100 meters to the South from the Karvaselkä day trip hut.

Snow fence on Kuusipää hill

Kuusipää hill and the snow fence is located about 4 km north from Saariselkä village along the main road E75. This part of the road is not protected with trees and often subject to winds. The snow accumulates around the fence, thus the fence protecs the road against the drifting snow.
The snow gethered around the fence and covering it makes the fence look magnificent. The snowcovered fence is the favourite focus point for pictures. On the other side, one can see the top of Kaunispää hill. There’re parking places on both sides of E75 near the snow fence.

Spa and wellness

The Northernmost Spa in Europe. The warm tropical spa at the hotel Holiday Club Saariselkä Spa and wellness.

St. Paul Chapel

St. Paul ecumenical Chapel in Saariselkä was completed in 1996. It is a fell chapel built from logs and seats a congregation of 210. The fell chapel has a unique altarpiece, a window behind the altar, from which a majestic view of the fells opens. A mass is held in the Chapel every Sunday at 7p.m. and at high seasons other events every night. Concerts of some of Finland’s favorite singers are often organized in the chapel.

Inari parish is founded on 7 March 1881. The surface area of the church is the biggest in Finland, 17 000 square kilometers. The Inari parish is focused on children’s day care, scouts, youth and family work and diaconia. Inari parish has four churches and chapels: Main church in Ivalo (1966),  Sámi church in village Inari (1951), wilderness church by the lake Pielpajärvi (1760) and cChapel in village Saariselkä (1996).

Tankavaara Gold Prospector Museum

Tankavaara Gold Prospector Museum is situated in the genuine gold district of Sodankylä, in Northern Lapland (30 km to the South from Saariselkä). Tankavaara’s Gold Prospector Museum was founded in 1973 and it is the only international museum in the world displaying the past and the present of gold panning and prospecting. The basic exhibition presents the history of gold prospecting in Finnish Lapland, and the giant gold pan-shaped roof covers the Golden World, the international section of museum with more than 20 countries all over the world. There is also an extensive collection of gems and minerals in Härkäselkä building. On the outdoor museum area called “Auraria” you can see a collection of scale model replicas from gold rush centers around the world. The indoor pool in the museum also provides a chance to try one’s panning skills in the winter.

Opening hours

  • Summertime 1 June – 30 September: Daily 9 am-5 pm
  • Wintertime 1 October – 31 May: Mon-Fri 10 am – 4 pm

More information: Tankavaara Gold Prospector Museum

Tieva Chapel

The first tourist chapel in Lapland, Tieva Chapel, was built in 1978 from old logs of Ivalo prayer house. Tieva Chapel is located in Kakslauttanen near the ski tracks. This ascetic yet serene chapel is open around the clock for any one to stop by and have a quiet moment.

 

Good to know about Saariselkä

Most of the services and hotels are located in the center of Saariselkä. Restaurant Kaunispään Huippu, Hotel Laanihovi, Restaurant Laanilan Kievari, and Ski Saariselkä are exceptions

In Saariselkä there are also:

  • Neste Saariselkä gasoline station
  • Bank automat
  • Tourist Info Kiehinen
  • Alko (alcohol shop)

Towing service: Lapin Hinauspalvelu  (Falck) 24 h, tel. +358 (0) 16 313 300.

Ivalo is the capital of the municipality of Inari and it is located 30 km north from Saariselkä. There you can find for example health care center, bank office, and library. Inari municipality

Weather Forecast

Weather Forecast, Foreca
Weather Forecast, Finnish Meteorologigal Institute
Weather Forecast, yr.no