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Saariselkä travel guide

Saariselkä is a small village in the municipality of Inari in northern Finnish Lapland .

The village, which is only 30 kilometres from Ivalo , is one of the most important winter sports centres in the region.

Things to see and do in Saariselkä

Nature and picturesque scenery are undoubtedly Saariselkä’s main tourist attraction.

Many tourists flock to the town every year to see the Northern Lights , which are most likely to be seen in the colder months.

Urho Kekkonen National Park

Urho Kekkonen National Park covers an area of 2,550 square kilometres, making it the second largest national park in Finland.

The park is home to the remote Korvatunturi Hill , known among Finns as the home of Father Christmas.

The areas closest to Saariselkä tend to have many visitors, especially tourists on day trips . The rest of the national park is much quieter and it is possible to enjoy other trails and wilderness huts.

Kiehinen is a free exhibition about nature and hiking trails in Urho Kekkonen National Park. Here you can get advice on hiking in the area and apply for fishing or snowmobile trail permits.

Lapland forest in autumn

North Village St. Paul’s Chapel

North Village St. Paul’s Chapel or Pyhän Paavalin Chapel is an ecumenical chapel located in the village of Saariselkä, which was completed in 1996.

The chapel, built mainly of logs, can seat more than 200 people. Its altarpiece has a window from which the forests surrounding the church can be seen.

In addition to holding religious events, Saariselkä Chapel also frequently hosts concerts by some of the country’s most popular singers.

Winter activities in Saariselkä

There are numerous activities that tourists can enjoy during the winter . Reindeer sleigh safaris and snowmobile tours are two of the most popular activities for tourists.

It’s also possible to go snowshoeing in the countryside, ice fishing on one of the area’s lakes or even spend the night in a cabin in the middle of the wilderness.

Husky dogs safari

Winter sports in Saariselkä

The mountains in the area are excellent for all kinds of winter sports , such as cross-country skiing, tobogganing and hiking.

The Kaunispää and Iisakkipää hills, located very close to Saariselkä, are the main winter sports slopes.

If you want to go hiking, there are about 200 km of marked routes and trails around Saariselkä, as well as 250 km of ski slopes.

How to get to Saariselkä

The easiest way to get to Saariselkä is to fly from Helsinki to Ivalo Airport, the closest airport to the village. From there, Saariselkä can be reached by bus in just 20 minutes.

The train is also a good way to get to the town, especially the night train to Rovaniemi . After that, it’s a three-hour bus ride to Saariselkä.

There are also direct bus services from Helsinki and other cities in the south of the country, although the journey time is about 15 hours.

How to get around the town

Saariselkä is a small town, so you can walk everywhere . You can hire a car to visit some of the towns and cities in the area that are a little further away from Saariselkä.

If you need to transport equipment for skiing or hiking, you can use the Ski Bus , which connects the town to the ski slopes with hourly routes.

Where to stay in Saariselkä

Saariselkä is a very touristy town, so you should have no problem finding accommodation to suit your budget and needs.

In addition to hotels in different price ranges, there are some camping areas in Saariselkä where you can stay in a tent or caravan for a fairly cheap rate.

Keep in mind that during the peak winter season you will find the highest prices for accommodation, so we recommend that you compare the different prices before making your choice.

Where to eat in Saariselkä

As in many parts of Lapland, the food in Saariselkä is quite expensive and doesn’t offer much variety. However, we recommend trying reindeer meat , one of the country’s most popular dishes .

Another experience offered by some hotels and restaurants is to dine in a Kota , a traditional Lappish hut, where you can try some of the area’s most traditional dishes.

We hope our guide to Saariselkä will help you prepare for your trip to the town. We invite you to share this article on social media using the buttons below. And if you have any questions, you can use the comments section to ask them.

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Getting there & around

Travel information.

Lapland North Destinations are just a few hours from southern Finland and Europe. Lapland is well connected to the world through flights, highways and a railway. Find out here all the necessary travel information and how to get around.  

Flights to Lapland North Destinations

Edelweiss Air flies from Zurich in February and March, Eurowings from Düsseldorf to Ivalo from mid-November until the end of March, Lufthansa flies from Frankfurt and Transavia from Paris from mid-December until the end of March and daily connections via Helsinki-Vantaa airport with Finnair . More details below.

Airport Shuttle

The transport company Eskelinen drives an airport shuttle to each scheduled flight from Ivalo Airport to Saariselkä, Kakslauttanen and Kiilopää. Please note that the timetable may change every month. Tickets can be bought from Eskelinen shuttle with cash or card. You can ask more travel information from Eskelinen´s customer service .

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Edelweiss Air

New route for winter season 23/24!

Connecting central Europe to Lapland North Destinations. Accessible route to reach Lapland directly and visit snowy winter wonderland. Stay in beautiful resorts, hotels or cabins and enjoy our best winter activities with northern lights tours, reindeer and husky safaris, snowmobile safaris, skiing and much more.

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Eurowings opens a new route from Düsseldorf to Ivalo for winter season 23/24!

Operating every Saturday from 23rd of December 2023 onwards.

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Lufthansa flies every Saturday from Frankfurt to Ivalo during winter season 23/24!

Flights begin 4th of November 2023.

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Direct flights to Ivalo from Paris (Orly) every Saturday from mid December onwards.

Finnair flight in Ivalo airport

Finnair connects Lapland to the world around the year. Please see the schedule for connections from many worldwide destinations to Helsinki and connecting conveniently all the way to Ivalo airport at the travel region of Lapland North Destinations.

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9 destinations

Lapland North Destinations is a vast area in northernmost Finnish Lapland, with many exciting destinations and sights within. Get to know the 9 different villages of the northern region – from the outdoor resort of Saariselkä to the centre of Sámi culture in Inari, and on to the northernmost tip of EU in Nuorgam.

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How to reach our region?

Lapland North Destinations is just a few hours from southern Finland and Europe. Lapland is well connected to the world through flights, highways and railways combined with bus connections.

How to get around? Embarking on a journey to Lapland North is an incredible experience that will leave a lasting impact. The journey is an opportunity to to marvel at the breathtaking natural beauty of the Arctic landscape as some distances are longer. The region is well connected by transfer options provided by many resorts.

Image: Tarja Länsman

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By plane to Ivalo or to Rovaniemi

You can quickly reach Finland’s northernmost airport in Ivalo from Helsinki with  Finnair . During the winter months, there are also connections from European cities, not to forget the numerous charter flights. You can also fly to Rovaniemi and continue your way up North by bus. Taxis, rental cars and buses are at your service at  Ivalo airport .

By train & by bus

The  train  will take you to Rovaniemi, where you will find various bus connections to Northern Lapland. You can travel to Inari-Saariselkä by bus. The  bus routes  take you through some of the most magnificent scenery, as far as the shores of the Arctic Ocean.

Find all the public transportation options also together in one place

Perille -service has collected all the public transportation options together so you can easily plan your route to your destination. Flight routes, train routes and bus routes at the same place.

Naturally you can also drive to Lapland North region. The roads are in good condition but the weather conditions can change a lot. Car rental is available at  Ivalo airport .

How to get here?

Inari-Saariselkä is far away in the North, yet just a few hours from Southern Finland. You can get to Lapland with multiple ways, and often the trip is an experience in itself.

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How to get around.

When travelling through the arctic hills, you must remember that distances are quite often long. Be sure to enjoy the views while making your way from a destination to another.

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Transportation companies

Local professional drivers know the vast region inside out and can safely drive you to your destination. Bus charter companies organise trips that will take you through some of the most magnificent scenery, as far as the shores of the Arctic Ocean. A rental car provides you with the freedom to travel wherever you like, according to your schedule.

See the professional reputed taxi operators and other transportation companies below and hop aboard for a journey through northernmost Lapland!

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Kauko-Caravan

Kauko-Caravan rents quality campervans from Sevettijärvi, Northern Lapland, Finland, near the border of Norway. Experience the midnight sun, autumn colors, aurora borealis, or ice-fishing during the springtime. With Kauko-Caravan campervans…

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Xwander Nordic

Xwander Nordic offers premium, small group tours into the unspoiled wilderness of Nordic Lapland. Each tour itinerary has been carefully created by our local specialists and includes a wide variety…

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Kuukkeli Booking Office

Inari-Saariselkä Central Rental Company operates in Shopping Center Kuukkeli in the heart of Saariselkä. This service and sales office is located on the right side of the main entrance to…

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Kuukkeli Taxi

Kuukkel Taxis serve all kind of transportion services. We have two spacious taxis, each of which can accommodate 8 passengers. A covered trailer for transporting goods is available additionally, if…

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Arctic Agency

We are specialized in creating tailor-made, high-end, all-inclusive Lapland experiences. Accommodation, travel and activities – all are taken care of. All you have to do is show up and enjoy.

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Taxi Briitta Pajari

Trustworthy taxi service in and around Saariselkä – Taxi Briitta Pajari   Taxi Briitta Pajari offers professional and always friendly service for travellers, groups and companies. High-standard 1+8 seater…

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Northern Lights Village Saariselkä

At midnight, a white arctic fox dashes up the fells, trailing its tail through the snow shooting flickers into the sky. The aurora borealis burst into flame over the Northern…

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Luontoloma Pro-Safaris

Luontoloma Pro-Safaris is the first company in the Saariselkä region arranging activities for tourists. With all our experience, practical skills and unfailing humor, we have been helping thousands of people…

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Sixt rent a car

Sixt is one of the world’s leading car rental chains with over 50 branches in Finland.  Car rental in Lapland North is simple through Sixt. Whether you are looking for…

Kukkolan Tilausliikenteen bussi

Kukkola Bus service

Kukkola Busses serves companies and individuals in all transport needs for passenger throughout Northern Lapland. Our favorite travels will take you to admire the landscapes of…

More about the area

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The Best Saariselkä, Finland Winter Travel Guide

July 7, 2023.

Planning a trip to Lapland and want the best Saariselkä Finland winter travel guide? Having recently visited this very northern part of Finland, I am excited to share with you everything I discovered during my two day visit.

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Lapland, Finland lives up to the hype. Just knowing you are wandering around the actual Arctic Circle is mind blowing.

And the snow covered landscape just adds to the magic!

Many visitors to Lapland make it as far as Rovaniemi (where Santa’s Village is) and don’t think to go further north.

But that is truly a shame.

Even if you only spend two nights further north than Rovaniemi like we did – it will be 100% worth your efforts to get there!!

PS – you can read my Rovaniemi travel guide here ;).

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Saariselkä Finland Winter Travel Guide

How to get to saariselkä, how to get around saariselkä, how many days you need in saariselkä, currency and plug details in lapland, northern lights village, star arctic hotel, fieno pizzeria, petronella restaurant, see the northern lights, go on a husky safari, participate in winter sports, walk the village streets, what to wear in saariselkä in winter, our full itinerary in a nutshell, the little details.

There are multiple ways to get to this compact village that is the northernmost holiday resort in the world and one of the oldest ski resorts in Finland ;0.

For our entire two weeks in Finland (see full itinerary below) we did not want to rent/drive a car.

And while I was rather nervous planning our trip and how to get from region to region – it was surprisingly easy once we were actually in the country! All that worry for nothing!

Our mode of transportation from Rovaniemi to Saariselkä was the bus!

Now mind you – I am NOT A BUS PERSON.

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In fact, while I try to have a reasonable budget for my travels – I tend to lean more to the comfortable and pleasant side of traveling now that I am in my 50’s ;).

As in – I don’t go for the super budget friendly hotels/transportation methods, etc like we did in our 20’s, 30’s, and even into our 40’s when we traveled ;0.

All that to say – I was rather nervous about what being on a 4 hour bus ride in the Arctic Circle was going to be like.

And honestly – my husband and I were pleasantly surprised!

The wifi worked great, our luggage was easy to manage under the bus and the hours went by quickly as we watched the scenery outside roll by.

There aren’t any power plugs on the bus though so be sure to bring a battery pack for your electronics so that you aren’t stranded without power!

This one is my favorite as it is relatively light and can power two devices at once ;).

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Just a heads up though – my husband had to use the toilet at one point and came back and told me – nope you shouldn’t go in there – just hold it :\.

So be sure to not drink much before getting on and only use the bus toilet in an emergency situation 😂.

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I purchased two tickets on the Matkahuolto website for $102 four months in advance with seat reservations.

They also have a new app called Matkahuolto Trips and Tickets that looks quite user friendly and easy to use (not available when I made our reservation in November 2022).

We asked our Rovaniemi hotel, Arctic Treehouse, to provide transportation for us from the hotel to the bus stop because they easily knew where it is located.

Interestingly enough – the bus stop we were dropped off at was also a post office. So if there is a real full fledged bus station in Rovaniemi, we wouldn’t actually know but this worked all the same ;).

We disembarked from the bus at the Kiveliöntie stop in Saariselkä that is next to a shopping center across the street from the Northern Lights Village where we were staying for the next two nights.

I HIGHLY suggest arranging pick up transportation with your hotel for when you arrive in Saariselkä – something we did not do.

But we were CRAZY lucky that a taxi was sitting in the very parking lot we were dropped off at because the snow was many feet deep this far north and wheeling our suitcases to the hotel even though it was only 350m away would have been a serious challenge 😳.

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The other ways of getting to Saariselka are to fly into Ivalo Airport.

If you are going straight to Saariselkä from Helsinki – this is most certainly the best option.

You can easily grab a bus or a taxi to your accommodations from this airport 15 km north of the village.

One of my favorite websites/apps to use in figuring out how to get from one destination to the other is Rome2Rio . It is a great starting point for discovering how to get ANYWHERE in the world!

While I don’t book directly from this app/website – it tells me my options and the correct website to purchase any necessary tickets ;).

The last option would be to rent a car (which as I mentioned above is something we have avoided doing while traveling outside of North America for a myriad of reasons – not the least of which is not knowing what the heck the street signs say!!).

The most popular places to stay in Saariselkä will be able to help you arrange any transportation needs you may have while staying in this Lappish wonderland (if you don’t have a car like we didn’t).

Hopefully you will decide to stay at the same property we did (see below) where all of our activities were based on property and the village is within walking distance ;).

But if you choose to stay elsewhere (and without a car) – there is a very convenient bus system in the area every winter season.

We arrived in Saariselkä after spending 4 nights in Rovaniemi (read that blog post here) and before that 5 nights in Helsinki (read that travel guide here) .

So being that we were well into our Finland adventure and had already experienced a bit of Lapland, we decided two nights with one full day here would fit well into our itinerary.

If your itinerary allows, I would say one additional full day would allow for a leisurely pace.

But if you do not plan on spending any time in Rovaniemi or elsewhere in Lapland, I would say spend 3-4 full days in Saariselkä.

Finland currency is the Euro and their plugs are the same as around mainland Europe with the two round pins.

US hair dryers, curling irons, and electric razors use a higher voltage than they do outside of the country which makes it impractical to bring with you when you travel abroad.

When my daughter was studying abroad in London during the summer of 2022, I had her buy a hair dryer for herself in England with the lesser European voltage that I can now use every time I travel outside of the US.

If you travel to foreign countries often, I would highly suggest buying yourself a blow dryer in a different country with their lower voltage so that you can use your own every time you travel as well ;).

Best Places to Stay in Saariselkä

While we only stayed in a glass roofed igloo for two nights here – this is a Lappish experience you should make every effort to have!!

There is a Northern Lights alarm in every igloo that peacefully beeps to wake you up when the night sky is lit up so you can watch them from your warm bed ;).

Being here in winter and watching the snow gently fall right outside your window is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Breakfast and dinner are included in your rate and many winter activities are located right on the property.

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At the top of the ski hill is a lovely hotel with stunning views of the valley with beautiful rooms and aurora glass cabins also worthy of a stay for sure ;).

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Best Places to Eat in Saariselkä

Because meals were included in our accommodations and we were only in Saariselkä for two nights, we only had dinner in town one night.

However we received recommendations for a favorite restaurant in the village that is listed below (it was closed on the day of the week we were there).

We ate dinner here our second night in the area – it is conveniently located within walking distance of Northern Lights Village .

The service was impeccable and the pizza tasted straight from Italy ;).

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This classic Finnish restaurant was recommended to us however was closed when we walked by (thus we continued on to Fieno above).

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Top Things to Do in Saariselkä

Saariselkä is known for having aurora displays 200 nights out of the year so your odds are pretty high in this area.

And if you stay in one of the properties above, you will get to enjoy them from your warm bed!!

Now obviously if you are a professional photographer – seeing the aurora borealis through a window and photographed with an iPhone would be unacceptable however for the majority of us – this is magical.

I cannot put into words what it was like to watch the lights dance across the sky for hours.

Sleep was clearly not a priority this night as the alarm told us to wake up around 1:30am and we stayed awake for over an hour til they faded away.

However, we only saw them on our first night in Saariselka as the second night was snowing heavily ;).

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If you would rather go on a Northern Lights excursion – there are plenty to be found in the area . I will advise you though, based on my research, there is no guarantee of seeing the Northern Lights on these paid excursions so be aware that you may or may not get your money’s worth on something like this.

But if you are going for the experience of being out in the winter night air – I say go for it!!

And obviously if you are lucky to be out on one of the 200 nights a year they are visible here – your photos will surely be amazing ;).

As mentioned above, there are many activities available right on the Northern Lights Village property – including husky safaris and snowmobile rides.

As we often take a winter vacation in the US to a ski destination where snowmobiling is always an option, we opted to do a husky safari on our one full day in the area.

Truly another once in a lifetime experience – and in the Arctic Circle at that!

If you are trying to decide what to do with your limited time in the area as well – I would 100% tell you to do the husky safari ;).

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If you will be staying a few days in the Saariselkä area of Lapland, you could easily spend an afternoon on their ski hill, cross country skiing in the surrounding forests, ice fishing with an organized tour outfitter, fat tire biking – the list is truly endless and all dependent on how relaxed you want your days to be ;).

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You can find all your options on this list with outfitters to help you enjoy your experiences :).

We actually had a taxi bring us to the parking lot at the top of the ski hill where we proceeded to walk down the empty and snowy neighborhood street into town.

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We brought our own winter jacket and snowpants on our Finnish vacation however many excursion companies will provide winter attire if you need it.

As I mentioned in my Helsinki, Rovaniemi, and Tallinn travel guides, our winter parkas kept us very cozy and warm so the temps being in the high 20’s and 30’s for the majority of our trip was perfectly okay for us ;).

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THE ITINERARY:

Day 1 Fly San Diego to Helsinki via London on British Airways

Day 2 Arrive Helsinki 9pm local time

Day 3 Helsinki

Day 4 Helsinki

Day 5 Helsinki

Day 6 Day trip to Tallinn, Estonia

Day 7 Fly Helsinki to Rovaniemi on Finnair

Day 8 Rovaniemi

Day 9 Rovaniemi

Day 10 Rovaniemi

Day 11 Bus to Saariselkä (4 hours)

Day 12 Saariselkä

Day 13 Fly Ivalo to London via Helsinki on British Airways

Day 14 London

Day 15 Fly London to San Diego on British Airways

I hope you found this Saariselkä, Finland winter travel guide helpful as you plan your adventures in this remarkable destination.

This destination offers pristine, unspoiled Arctic wilderness adventures that are unlike any other place on your bucket list ;).

As I mentioned above – every time we think about the reality that we saw the Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle we both smile and remember how incredible our two weeks were ;).

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The best Saariselkä Finland winter travel guide | Best things to do in Saariselkä Lapland | Where to stay in Saariselkä | The best place to visit in Lapland | Where to stay in Lapland | best restaurants in Saariselkä | Top things to do in Lapland | Husky rides in Lapland | Northern Lights Village in winter | best places to see the northern lights

Life is short, the world is wide. I want to make some memories. ~Mamma Mia

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As always, I love hearing from you!!

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Have a wonderful day my friend! I hope something makes you smile today ;).

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Saariselka Ski & Sport Resort

Location and traveling

Finnair flies from Helsinki to Ivalo all year round daily. www.finnair.com

Book your flights to Saariselkä today https://www.kayak.co.uk/flight-routes/United-Kingdom-GB0/Ivalo-IVL  

Connections

Each flight landing in Ivalo has a bus connection to Saariselkä, as well as from Saariselkä to reach each flight from Ivalo. Tickets starting from 10€/adult or 5 €/child from Ivalo airport to Saariselkä village. 

You can find the airport bus timetable here:  https://www.eskelisen.fi/en/timetables-and-routes/

You can also catch a taxi from the airport to reach your hotel or cabin conveniently. We recommend this option if you are multiple people or with a lot of luggage.

You can catch a train to Rovaniemi with several bus connections to Saariselkä.  Don’t forget the car-carrier trains and rental car companies!

www.matkahuolto.fi

You can easily reach Saariselkä by following the National Road Four (E75), which travels through Finland.  If you are travelling from Eastern Finland, you can join this highway at Oulu , Rovaniemi or Sodankylä via National Roads Five and Six , and continue straight to North.  The following websites will help you to choose the route:

Google Maps

Via Michelin

Skibus operates in the Saariselkä area

“Hop on hop off” – skibus is driven in the Saariselkä area between Saariselkä village and Saariselkä Ski & Sport Resort throughout the season.

The updated Ski Bus timetable will be uploaded here during autumn for the upcoming winter season.

Find accommodation in Saariselkä:

Find accommodation by  saariselkä booking.

travel from rovaniemi to saariselka

Rovaniemi to Saariselka

Best options, other options, rovaniemi to saariselka schedule, transportation from rovaniemi to saariselka.

  • Flights RUB 21,132
  • Trains are not available
  • Buses are not available
  • Ferries are not available
  • Taxis are not available
  • Vans are not available

Facts about the transport from Rovaniemi to Saariselka

Popular routes, from rovaniemi.

  • Rovaniemi → Levi
  • Rovaniemi → Helsinki
  • Rovaniemi → Kittila
  • Rovaniemi → Ivalo
  • Rovaniemi → Paris

To Rovaniemi

  • Helsinki → Rovaniemi
  • Paris → Rovaniemi
  • Lulea → Rovaniemi
  • Levi → Rovaniemi
  • Stockholm → Rovaniemi

From Saariselka

  • Saariselka → Helsinki
  • Saariselka → Rovaniemi

To Saariselka

  • Helsinki → Saariselka
  • Rovaniemi → Saariselka

Popular Routes in Finland

  • Helsinki → Levi
  • Levi → Helsinki

How to get from Rovaniemi to Saariselka?

When you want to get from Rovaniemi to Saariselka, your choices are limited. There is only one option we offer for this route:

How far is Rovaniemi from Saariselka?

The overland distance from Rovaniemi to Saariselka is 1938 miles (3117 km). The flying distance is 1938 miles (3117 km).

How long does it take to get from Rovaniemi to Saariselka?

The travel time from Rovaniemi to Saariselka takes approximately 13 hours.

How much does it cost to get from Rovaniemi to Saariselka?

To get from Rovaniemi to Saariselka prepare to shell out about RUB 21,133 for your ticket.

How many trips per day are there from Rovaniemi to Saariselka?

  • 3 by flight from Rovaniemi to Saariselka starting from 10:10 Kittila Airport until 19:30 Kittila Airport

Useful tips for travel from Rovaniemi to Saariselka

While flight is the only option we offer for this route, these simple tips and recommendations will help enhance your travel experience.

Do many travellers take flight from Rovaniemi to Saariselka?

Up to now, 569 booked flight tickets from Rovaniemi to Saariselka through our service. You can check reviews above.

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travel from rovaniemi to saariselka

Guide on How to Travel from Helsinki to Lapland

A re you heading to Finland and wondering what the best way to travel from Helsinki to Lapland? Did you know that for most visitors to Finland, these are the two most visited areas? It makes sense as most visitors fly into Helsinki, spend a day or two and then head off into the vast wilderness of Finnish Lapland.

In this guide I will help you in your travel research by providing up to date information on how to travel to/from these regions of Finland, whether its by plane, train or even car. 

One of the biggest factors in your decision about how to get from Helsinki to Lapland will be the amount of time you have and your budget. Below I go through the practical details on the three main transport options, providing the positives and negatives for each so you can make the most informed decision. Let get into it!

What are the airports in Lapland?

As I mentioned there are currently 5 airports in Lapland. Below are the airports with the main locations serviced from them.

Rovaniemi Airport (RVN)

Rovaniemi is the third busiest airport in Finland and is the most popular of the ones in Lapland. Located in the south of Lapland, just near the Arctic Circle, this airport is seen as the gateway to Santa Claus Village. Given the towns popularity, there are several flights a day between Helsinki and Rovaniemi. This is one of the few that also is international airport accepting flights from several major European cities. 

In general, Rovaniemi can feel a quite commercial and crowded, especially during the peak winter season. This airport also serves as the hub for Pyhä  and  Salla which are popular for their natural beauty and skiing, both downhill and cross country. 

Ivalo Airport (IVL)

Two popular destinations with skiers and snowboarders include Inari and Saariselka , which are both serviced by the Ivalo airport. The airport is within 30 minutes of both destinations and is the northernmost airport in Finland.

Kittilä Airport (KTT)

Kittila is one of the main airports in the northernmost region of Finland, and the only other accepting international flights. This airport services the popular ski area of Levi. Levi is a popular spot for families during the festive season, but is smaller and quieter than Rovaniemi. Additionally, the popular Snow Village can be found here.

Our favorite destination serviced by this airport is Muonio which is a laid back destination offering all the popular touristy activities found in Rovaniemi but without the crowds and is excellent for spotting the Northern Lights. 

Kemi Airport (KEM)

Kemi-Tornio Airport is located on the coast of the Bay of Bothnia, serving travelers heading to Southern Lapland. Kemi has slowly become more popular in the tourist circuits for their magnificent Snow Castle that is built there every winter and for the famous Sampo icebreaker cruise. 

Kuusamo Airport (KAO)

Lastly, the Kuusamo Airport serves one of Finland’s major holiday destinations Kuusamo, attracting almost a million tourists annually. Many of these arrive for skiing at nearby ski resorts, especially Ruka Ski Resort , one of the largest in Finland.

RELATED READING

Top Things to Do in Lapland Finland

A Finnish Lapland Winter Escape

Flying from Helsinki to Lapland

Domestic flights from the capital Helsinki to Lapland airports are operated by Finnair. While the flights can be reasonably priced if booked well in advance, domestic flights on Finnair do impose an extra fee for checked luggage. Additionally, the new Finnair carry on limits are quite strict with a maximum of 8 kg for all carry on items combined. This means, that for most travelers,  it makes most sense to upgrade to the main fare price which includes both carry on and checked baggage. Once you upgrade your flight, a round-trip flight will cost a minimum of €200.  Note, if you are looking for cheap flights, sign up for Finnair’s email blast and keep an eye out for flash sales.

That said, this is still the quickest way to travel between Helsinki and Lapland. It can be cost effective if you are a solo traveler and/or traveling with extremely light luggage. However, it can be get expensive if you need to check a bag or are traveling in high season with several people

Traveling by Train from Helsinki to Lapland

Next we will move on to traveling by train from Helsinki to Lapland , which is the second most popular option.

I personally find travelling by train in Finland to be a wonderful experience and the most convenient way to get around the country. The trains are clean and reasonably reliable depending on weather conditions of course. Additionally, it is better for the environment and saves you money on accommodation if you can take an overnight train to travel while you sleep. All long-distance trains in Finland are operated by VR Train. 

Day vs. Night Trains

The most popular train that visitors take to Lapland from Helsinki is the Santa Claus Express train which ends in Rovaniemi. It leaves close to midnight and arrives around 11 a.m. the next morning. If you are traveling with children, this train is great as the sleeper cabins are essentially sold as a two person cabin. Prices for an upstairs private compartment sleeper cabin which includes a private toilet run around 300 Euro one way. The train also has a restaurant car for snacks and meals while on the train. Note, Rovaniemi train tickets for the sleeper cars can sell out quickly, so book well in advance to ensure you have a cabin.

Another popular route is to Kolari, which is the northernmost railway station in Finland. Travel here from Helsinki takes approximately 14 hours. Boarding is around 7:45 p.m. in Helsinki with a 10 a.m. arrival.  Even though it sounds like a long trip, it goes by quite quickly once you get settled in your sleeper cabin, grab some food from the restaurant car and then hit the sack. 

If you are unable to secure a sleeper cabin, you can consider a day train. With free Wifi, power sockets and the ability to walk around, an 8 hour train would actually go quite quickly if you can keep yourself occupied! These tickets run around €75 per ticket during high season. 

Take Your Car on the Train

For readers who live in Europe or have a rental car already booked, they can consider putting the vehicle on the train as well! These trains depart from Pasila Station and can be extremely handy if you have brought your car over from mainland Europe, but don’t want to drive all the way to Lapland. This is not cheap, but is a dobale option to ensure you have more access to explore around Lapland.

Train Stations in Lapland

There are many train stations in Lapland that I can’t list them all, but the main ending/starting point for the major lines include Kolari as the furthest north, Rovaniemi and Kemijarvi in the east. 

Kolari is in the far north of Finland, northeast of Rovaniemi, and very close to the Swedish border. This station is perfect for those traveling to Levi or Muonio. You can reserve a shared taxi or bus from the station to both locations. 

Kemijärvi is located east of Rovaniemi and from here you can easily access Salla and Pyhä.

Overall, I personally feel that if you are traveling with others or even on your own that taking an overnight train to or from Lapland is a great option. Train travel is scenic, cost effective if you have a family or a lot of luggage and you also have the option of taking a vehicle. The negatives are that it does take a long time and there are times that the trains leave late at night making it awkward for families with smaller children. 

Driving from Helsinki to Lapland by Car

For many travelers further afield, this would mean renting a car and needing to return it either in Lapland or back to Helsinki which can be quite an expense.

I am not sure I would recommend this option for many, but if you have your car and you are confident on driving on the right hand side of the road, in snow or inclimate weather, you will most likely be fine.

But you must be aware that this journey is at least 800 kilometers and can take around 10 hours. That said, the journey up to Rovaniemi is along one main road and the views will be stunning for much of the way.

In general, I’d only advise driving to Lapland from Helsinki if you’re touring elsewhere in Finland, have your own vehicle and have at least a couple of weeks here to make it worthwhile and cost-effective.

Important Information for Your Finland Trip

When is the best time to visit finland.

In reality, you can visit Finland at any time of the year as there are a multitude of activities to suit any weather condition. That said, in my opinion, the best time to visit Finland is definitely during the winter months between December and February. This is when you will see the most beautiful winter wonderland landscapes and you have a great chance to see the aurora borealis. Note, it is also the coldest time of the year, so you will need to prepare for that!

What is the best way to get to Finland?

Finnair offers direct flights to Helsinki Airport from all over the world, including from here in Los Angeles. The international flights are on newer Airbus A350 planes which have ample legroom, flight cameras and more. Subscribe to their newsletter for deals and special offers if this is a trip you are looking to plan far in advance. 

If you are in mainland Europe, you can also make your way overland to Tallinn and take the Viking Express over to Helsinki for a very affordable rate. Note, this is also a great day trip idea from Helsinki.

Where do you recommend to stay in Helsinki?

There are so many amazing options to stay in Helsinki. I think where you stay is dependent on what you want out of your visit. During my stay in the city I was leaving on an early morning ferry and arriving late at night from the airport so I chose the Noli Studio Apartments which were cheap, clean and convenient to everywhere I wanted to go. There are several of them located throughout the city, so pay attention to the neighborhood that you wish to be in! 

If you want a little more luxury and don’t mind being a little further out, consider the Clarion Hotel which is a favorite for repeat visitors to the city. 

What are the best things to do in Finland?

There are so many amazing things to do in Finland that I can’t list them all here. But a start would be to check out our top experiences in Lapland that you can find all over the region. Winter activities are some of the best on offer here in Finland.

What do I need to pack for Finland?

Layers is the short answer. The longer answer will depend on what time of year you are visiting. Assuming you visit during the high season of winter, you will need to pack a lot of warm breathable layers such as merino wool . Overall, I would say to focus on layers, good boots that have room for several pairs of socks, good gloves or mittens and a warm hat.

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Guide on How to Travel from Helsinki to Lapland

IMAGES

  1. 2023 Tour from Saariselka to Santa's Village Rovaniemi

    travel from rovaniemi to saariselka

  2. 2024 Tour from Saariselka to Santa's Village Rovaniemi

    travel from rovaniemi to saariselka

  3. Lapland Christmas

    travel from rovaniemi to saariselka

  4. Arctic Circle Tour

    travel from rovaniemi to saariselka

  5. 2023 Tour from Saariselka to Santa's Village Rovaniemi

    travel from rovaniemi to saariselka

  6. Arctic Circle Tour

    travel from rovaniemi to saariselka

VIDEO

  1. Lapland, Finland, Saariselka

  2. Northern Finland

  3. Rovaniemi Photography + SolerMedia Intro!

  4. Finland Trip

  5. Finland Trip

  6. ❄️☃️🧊Igloo cabin ,Rovaniemi ~Saariselka 📌#rovaniemi #saariselkä #huangjingyi #finland #igloocabin

COMMENTS

  1. Rovaniemi to Saariselkä

    J.M. Eskelisen Lapin Linjat Oy operates a bus from Roimunrotko P to Suopunkitie th twice daily. Tickets cost $35-55 and the journey takes 3h 6m. Two other operators also service this route. Operators. J.M. Eskelisen Lapin Linjat Oy. Onni Bus. Liikenne O.Niemelä Oy.

  2. Saariselkä to Rovaniemi

    What companies run services between Saariselkä, Finland and Rovaniemi, Finland? J.M. Eskelisen Lapin Linjat Oy operates a bus from Holiday Club L to Rovakatu E twice daily. Tickets cost $35-55 and the journey takes 3h 29m.

  3. Rovaniemi (Station) to Saariselkä

    J.M. Eskelisen Lapin Linjat Oy operates a bus from Rovaniemi linja-autoasema to Suopunkitie th twice daily. Tickets cost $35-55 and the journey takes 3h 7m. Onni Bus also services this route once daily. Operators. J.M. Eskelisen Lapin Linjat Oy. Onni Bus.

  4. From Rovaniemi to Saariselkä Cheap Bus Tickets

    Rovaniemi - Saariselkä ... Learn about the best routes, travel times, and additional services to ensure a hassle-free trip. See more » Discover the charm of Pori with OnniBus. Explore Pori with OnniBus! Experience the sandy beaches of Yyteri, the vibrant Pori Jazz, Kirjurinluoto Park, Pori Art Museum, and the picturesque Pori Theatre!

  5. Transport options from Rovaniemi to Saariselka

    1. Re: Transport options from Rovaniemi to Saariselka. Everything you can bring by a plane to Finland will certainly fit into the luggage compartment of a long haul bus. The free luggage allowance on long haul buses is usually 2 suitcases/bags + hand luggage.

  6. Saariselkä travel guide

    The easiest way to get to Saariselkä is to fly from Helsinki to Ivalo Airport, the closest airport to the village. From there, Saariselkä can be reached by bus in just 20 minutes. The train is also a good way to get to the town, especially the night train to Rovaniemi. After that, it's a three-hour bus ride to Saariselkä.

  7. Lapland North

    9 destinations. Lapland North Destinations is a vast area in northernmost Finnish Lapland, with many exciting destinations and sights within. Get to know the 9 different villages of the northern region - from the outdoor resort of Saariselkä to the centre of Sámi culture in Inari, and on to the northernmost tip of EU in Nuorgam. Destinations.

  8. The Best Saariselkä, Finland Winter Travel Guide

    Day 11 Bus to Saariselkä (4 hours) Day 12 Saariselkä. Day 13 Fly Ivalo to London via Helsinki on British Airways. Day 14 London. Day 15 Fly London to San Diego on British Airways. I hope you found this Saariselkä, Finland winter travel guide helpful as you plan your adventures in this remarkable destination.

  9. Rovaniemi to Saariselka

    Answer 1 of 6: Hi , We are a couple visiting Finland in November 2017 and wanted to travel from Rovaniemi to Saariselka. Can you pls let me know the best way to travel and how much in advance do we need to book them and the approximate cost of the same? Thanks...

  10. How to travel from Rovaniemi Airport (RVN) to Saariselkä, Finland

    1. 2 travel planner. We've found 3 different ways to get from Rovaniemi Airport (RVN) to Saariselkä by bus and car. The distance is around 253km (157 miles) and the quickest way to get there is to take the bus which takes around 2h 50m.

  11. Rovaniemi to Saariselka

    Hi , We are a couple visiting Finland in November 2017 and wanted to travel from Rovaniemi to Saariselka. Can you pls let me know the best way to travel and how much in advance do we need to book them and the approximate cost of the same? Thanks in advance! Report inappropriate content . 1-6 of 6 replies

  12. Bus Rovaniemi to Saariselkä from €15

    The average bus between Rovaniemi and Saariselkä takes 3h 25m and the fastest bus takes 3h 6m. The bus service runs several times per day from Rovaniemi to Saariselkä. The journey time may be longer on weekends and holidays; use the search form on this page to search for a specific travel date.

  13. Saariselkä

    Railroad is from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. From Rovaniemi Railway station is a bus transportation to the Saariselkä about 270 km. When you are in Saariselkä, getting around is easy by the Ski Bus or by taxi service operating in the area. In addition, the services are concentrated around the centre of Saariselkä.

  14. bus from rovaniemi to saariselka and return

    With luck Finnair flights are available for sa 175€/return (including baggage) and Norwegian generally from 92€/return (excluding baggage). Train Helsinki- Rovaniemi costs ca 85€/oneway and the bus 46.90€/oneway travel. In your case you won't even save hotel night, because you are taking a day train. On a night train you would save one ...

  15. Transfers from Rovaniemi Airport to Saariselka

    3 km 3 min. Rovaniemi airport (RVN) Rovaniemi City Centre. 9 km 9 min. Rovaniemi airport (RVN) Rovaniemi Train Station. 10 km 10 min. Rovaniemi airport (RVN) Lapin Keskussairaala. 10 km 13 min. Rovaniemi airport (RVN) Ounasvaara. 11 km 25 min.

  16. How to Arrive

    Car. You can easily reach Saariselkä by following the National Road Four (E75), which travels through Finland. If you are travelling from Eastern Finland, you can join this highway at Oulu, Rovaniemi or Sodankylä via National Roads Five and Six, and continue straight to North. The following websites will help you to choose the route: Google Maps.

  17. Bus between Rovaniemi and Saariselka

    What to choose?? Help rovaniemi 2024 18 June 2024; Winter Activities 17 June 2024; Passing through Rovaniemi next week - worth the summer stop? 17 June 2024; Santa Claus Express 16 June 2024; Parking disc 09 June 2024; Rovaniemi or further north 08 June 2024

  18. Rovaniemi Airport to Saariselkä

    What companies run services between Rovaniemi Airport, Finland and Saariselkä, Finland? J.M. Eskelisen Lapin Linjat Oy operates a bus from Lentoasema to Suopunkitie th once daily. Tickets cost $35-55 and the journey takes 3h 28m.

  19. Rovaniemi to Saariselka by flight from EUR 230

    3 by flight from Rovaniemi to Saariselka starting from 10:10 Kittila Airport until 19:30 Kittila Airport Useful tips for travel from Rovaniemi to Saariselka While flight is the only option we offer for this route, these simple tips and recommendations will help enhance your travel experience.

  20. How to get from Rovaniemi to Saariselka/Inari

    My friend and I are planning on visiting Inari in the 2nd week of September. We will be catching a train to Rovaniemi but are unsure how we can proceed from there to Inari. Please could anyone guide us on how to travel this distance with regards to: - mode of transport - timings/timetable - cost. Thanks in advance for your help! Cheers, Dee

  21. Rovaniemi Airport (RVN) to Saariselkä

    What companies run services between Rovaniemi Airport (RVN), Finland and Saariselkä, Finland? J.M. Eskelisen Lapin Linjat Oy operates a bus from Lentoasema to Suopunkitie th once daily. Tickets cost $35-55 and the journey takes 3h 28m. Operators.

  22. Guide on How to Travel from Helsinki to Lapland

    Rovaniemi Airport (RVN) Rovaniemi is the third busiest airport in Finland and is the most popular of the ones in Lapland. Located in the south of Lapland, just near the Arctic Circle, this airport ...

  23. Saariselka Bus Station to Rovaniemi

    Rome2Rio makes travelling from Saariselka Bus Station to Rovaniemi easy. Rome2Rio is a door-to-door travel information and booking engine, helping you get to and from any location in the world. Find all the transport options for your trip from Saariselka Bus Station to Rovaniemi right here.

  24. Driving from Rovaniemi to Saariselka in December end!!!

    Bus schedules: https://matkahuolto.fi/en/. 3. Re: Driving from Rovaniemi to Saariselka in December end!!! There is no "daylight" but the dusk will last about 4-5 hours, which should be enough for driving from Rovaniemi to Saariselkä. Leave in the morning, around 9.00, and you should be in Saariselkä around 13.00.