End of January we took a plane from Helsinki to Ivalo with Norwegian to do some snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in Finnish Lapland. We also hoped to see Northern Lights but were only able to spot them on the first evening since it was cloudy throughout the whole week. We were lucky as most of the tourists visiting Saariselkä are usually visiting Lapland between February and April when there is more light.
We decided to stay with Suomen Latu in Kiilopää which is located at the entrance of the Urho Kekkonen National Park for three reasons – less tourists, more wilderness and only 20 km away from Saariselkä which we visited with the daily ski bus running between Kiilopää and Saariselkä.
In Helsinki, we were waiting to get onboard the Norwegian flight to Ivalo. The flight was pretty smooth. We had no turbulences. Here a view over Lapland shortly before landing in Ivalo. At the Ivalo Airport, you have to walk from the plane to the terminal in order to pick up your luggage. The airport is quite small but is decorated in a “Lapland style”.
With the Eskelinen bus, we went from Ivalo Airport to Kiilopää. The bus ticket was 13 EUR. Once we arrived at the Fell Center Kiilopää we got our room key from the reception, carried our luggage to the room and changed our clothes in order to get ready for our first adventure. Night Snowshoeing!
The entrance of the Urho Kekkonen National Park where we started our night snowshoeing tour was quite impressive … it looked like a gate into the Wilderness. The moon was sufficient to brighten up the area for snowshoeing. However, since we had Northern Lights were visible during the night I was told by some other visitors to switch my headlamp off. And indeed the moon provided sufficient light to walk around with our snowshoes.
The next day we woke up early and went cross-country skiing. We borrowed the whole equipment from the Fell Centre and they also properly waxed the skis beforehand. The weather turned however bad and we had to ski in a snow storm. Later on, we also participated in a guided tour which was organized by the Fell Centre. The guide was French and lived in Finland for over 16 years.
Back in the Fell Centre we went to the smoke sauna and had a swim in the river next to it which we concluded with a dinner at the Fell Center Kiilopää.
The next day we went to the Saariselkä Ski Resort to do some sledding where we found plenty of snowmobiles and Santa’s Office (by Arctic Resort Kakslauttanen). On our trip up to a Fell, we found a Tipi where we had a short break to warm ourselves up with warm tea. The view from the top of the Fell was quite breathtaking.
On the way back we found a small hut where we took some pictures with us and then it was time to go back to the center of Saariselkä to take the bus back to Kiilopää.
The next day we went back into the Urho Kekkonen National Park where we found many reindeer fences and saw other tourists snowshoeing on another Fell. And then we saw them … reindeers!
Then we found the Luulampi Päivätupa hut where we decided to stay for a while. We lit on fire to warm ourselves up. Then we continue our way back to the Fell Centre Kiilopää.
In general, we had a very great time in Saariselkä and Kiilopää. We can highly recommend the Fell Centre Kiilopää. The price value is really good, you are close to the wilderness, the food was good quality and the staff was nice too. We will definitely come back here in the future.