Saariselkä is a mountainous area in Lapland, and a popular tourist destination offering activities and nature experiences all year round. The village of Saariselkä belongs to the municipality of Inari, located about 300 metres above sea level.

Check out our comprehensive guide to attractions, destinations and activities in Saariselkä, and plan a successful trip today!

This article is about the following topics:

  • Saariselkä – A taste of history and Sámi culture
  • Saariselkä travel – How to get to Saariselkä?
  • Saariselkä accommodation and restaurants
  • Saariselkä attractions
  • What to do in Saariselkä – Check out the activities
  • Saariselkä mountain biking
  • Roll Outdoors – the best mountain biking in Finland

Saariselkä - A taste of history and Sámi culture

The history of the Saariselkä region is deeply intertwined with Sámi culture and culture tourism, making it a unique combination of tradition and adventure. Saariselkä is located in the Sámi region and the golden land of Lapland, and its history is strongly linked to the traditional livelihoods of the Sámi people, such as hunting, fishing and reindeer herding. These old industries have left their mark on the landscape and can still be seen in the area. Sámi culture is still alive in Saariselkä, and the area is an important part of the traditional Sámi homeland.

Gold was first discovered in the Saariselkä area in 1865, and actual gold mining in the Ivalo River began in 1870. This brought hundreds of people to the area in search of gold and led to the establishment of the Ivalojoki Gold Mine, which served as a control centre for gold mining and trade. The gold rush and subsequent gold discoveries in Tankavaara and Lemmenjoki are an integral part of Saariselkä’s history and have left their mark on the landscape and culture of the area. Gold can still be panned in Tankavaara, where the Gold Museum is also located.

The diversity of Saariselkä’s history, combining Sámi culture and the golden age, makes the area a fascinating destination for both history-loving tourists and nature lovers.

Saariselkä Travel - How to get to Saariselkä?

Saariselkä is easily accessible by air to Finland’s northernmost airport, Ivalo, which is only 25 kilometres away. From the airport, you can easily take an airport shuttle.

Saariselkä is easy to reach by car, as it is conveniently located on the main road E75. There are also several daily bus connections in the area, including connections to Rovaniemi train station.

Saariselkä, despite its northern location, is therefore easily accessible, whether you arrive by air, road or train. From the area, it is also easy to continue your journey to other great destinations in Lapland, such as Ivalo or Inari.

Saariselkä accommodation and restaurants - Where to eat and stay?

Saariselkä has plenty of cottages for rent for groups of all sizes, as well as holiday apartments. The 10 best hotels in the area will make your trip more comfortable and carefree.

The most varied restaurant selection in Saariselkä can be found at Santa’s Hotel Tunturi, but other good options include. Combining Italy and Lapland Fieno, Pearl of Saariselkä Restaurant Petronella, and the cosy and warm Pirkon Pirtti. You should also check out the restaurant Skárr with which our rental shop is located in the same premises! There are plenty of options for both food and accommodation.

Saariselkä attractions - Nature in Finland's largest national park

Saariselkä is rightly renowned for its stunning nature and rich culture. Urho Kekkonen National Park, located near Saariselkä, offers breathtaking landscapes covering untouched wilderness, river valleys and high fells. The National Park is also home to Santa Claus – Korvatunturi.

The nature of the area is unique: it combines the fascinating mountain landscapes of Lapland with untouched wilderness. Saariselkä is an excellent destination for those looking for an authentic nature experience.

Kaunispää-tunturi, one of Saariselkä’s most famous landmarks, offers spectacular views of the surrounding national park, the Sompio nature reserve and the Hammastunturi tundra. The top of Kaunispää is easily accessible by hiking, skiing, car or ski lift, and it offers excellent opportunities for downhill skiing and Finland’s longest sledding hill.

Another noteworthy destination is Kiilopää, one of the highest fells in Saariselkä, and easily accessible from the Kiilopää gate. From the top, you have a wide view of the national park and beyond. There are good hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as cross-country skiing trails.

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What to do in Saariselkä? - Discover the activities

Saariselkä’s range of activities varies according to the season. In winter, Saariselkä turns into an enchanting winter sports centre with around 200 kilometres of well-maintained ski trails.

Many people travel to Saariselkä to go skiing. Saariselkä Ski & Sport Resort is Europe’s northernmost ski resort, where you can easily spend several days skiing along the numerous trails of the two fells. If you’re not up to skiing yet, you can take a guided lesson – or spend the day on Finland’s longest sledding hill.

In Saariselkä you can go snowmobiling, kayaking or enjoy a relaxing day at the spa. Or maybe you want to visit a reindeer farm, hike with cute huskies or admire natural phenomena on an aurora borealis. In summer you can try frisbee golf, geocaching, swimming or fishing.

You can get out into nature on your own with hiking, guided activities or even a guided bike tour. We organise guided bike tours at Kiilopää in Saariselkä for the weekend holidaymaker, as well as for TYHY, TYKY and recreation days .

With our professional guide, you’ll have a safe and comfortable ride, and you won’t have to worry about the route or the bike itself. Route choices are always made to suit the whole group. We have also weekly rides around the year and everybody is welcome.

Find out what Saariselkä is like in summer >>

Saariselkä mountain biking

The Saariselkä-Kiilopää area is a true mountain biking paradise, where you can experience a unique adventure in the middle of Lapland’s enchanting wilderness!

Cycling routes can be found both in the open tundra and in Urho Kekkonen National Park.

The Saariselkä-Kiilopää area offers a diverse range of mountain biking trails suitable for both beginners and more experienced cyclists. In total, there are well over a hundred kilometers of marked trails from which you can choose your favorite.

On the ridges of the tundra you can enjoy spectacular, far-reaching views and fresh northern air, and you can also encounter local wildlife such as reindeer and Arctic bird species.

Urho Kekkonen National Park is a dream destination for mountain bikers, inviting you to adventure and nature experiences. The park’s trails offer a unique combination of beautiful fell landscapes, clear waters, and tranquil forest paths.

The Saariselkä-Kiilopää area’s mountain biking trails are well-signposted, and there are plenty of rest stops available. You can also combine a cycling trip with activities like hiking, so there are activities to suit every taste.

Find out more about the routes here >>

If a self-guided bike tour doesn’t seem like the best option, you can also book a guided tour with us. Read more here >>


Mountain biking trails offer great opportunities to enjoy nature, exercise and spend time with a friend. When you are planning to go mountain biking in Rovaniemi or Saariselkä, Roll Outdoors is the best choice to go with you.

With us, you can easily rent a top-quality, well-maintained mountain bike according to your schedule in all the cities above. You can also join us by booking a guided bike tour or buying a good quality, second-hand bike for your future trips.

Contact us and ensure a hassle-free, smooth and safe cycling trip with Roll Outdoors!