Saariselkä is a resort village in Inari municipality in northern Finland. Approximately 250km north of Rovaniemi, and located on the edge of the Urho Kekkonen National Park, it is the starting point of a number of hiking and cross country ski trails. The two nearby fells Kaunispää and Iisakkipää both offer downhill skiing opportunities.
We flew to Ivalo Airport from Helsinki. There are a number of flights between Helsinki and Ivalo each day with Finnair. In the winter season, a number of UK travel companies offering Santa Claus experiences use the airport.
From the airport, Saariselkä is approximately 30 minutes away by bus. Eskelisen Lapinlinjat operate in line with flights. Tickets are 10€ each way.
There are a number of accommodation options in Saariselkä. In the village centre are a number of hotels which are a popular option with families and companies such as TUI. Saariselän Keskusvaraamo offers a wide range of self-catering accommodation, from studio apartments to large lodges suitable for large groups.
For the niche market, there are a number of glass igloo villages which offer one the chance to spot the Aurora Borealis from the comfort of your bed.
Food and Drink
The cheapest option in Finland is to go self-catering. K-Supermarket have a branch at the Kuukkeli shopping centre in the heart of the village. There are a number of restaurants in the village, all of which are quite expensive compared to UK prices, but I don’t think they are unreasonable. We ate at the Kuukkeli cafeteria, Porotupa Cafe, Rakka and Kaunispään Huippu.
For those of you seeking an alcoholic drink, there is an Alko store in the Kuukkeli building. ‘Soft’ options (Lonkero, Cider, Beer) are available in the supermarket.
There are a number of different activities on offer in Saariselkä. We went on a Husky Safari and a Northern Lights tour. There are also excursions which include ice fishing, reindeer safaris, themed dinners, as well as long-distance trips further afield. For families, there are abundant opportunities to visit Father Christmas in his workshop.