Utsjoki is the northernmost town in Finnish Lapland. It is situated on the Tenojoki River and borders Norway.
Just over half of Utsjoki’s population is Sami, making it the only municipality in Finland with a Sami-speaking majority.
Things to see and do in Utsjoki
The municipality of Utsjoki does not have a large population, as most people live near the valleys of the Tenojoki and Utsjoki rivers. For this reason, it is possible to enjoy the scenery and nature in peace and quiet.
Culturally and economically, reindeer husbandry and salmon fishing play an important role in the region. There are many activities related to fishing and reindeer.
Kevo Nature Reserve
Kevo Strict Nature Reserve was established in 1956 and covers a total of 712 square kilometres. It is a popular destination for backpackers thanks to its extensive trails that allow you to explore the entire area.
The nature reserve has several canyons, such as the Kevo Canyon, and other forests to walk through. The Kevojoni River Valley, which is about 40 kilometres long, is one of the highlights.
Utsjoki church and the Church Huts
Utsjoki Church, built between 1850 and 1853, is situated by Lake Mantojärvi, very close to the centre of the village.
Next to the church are the church huts, a collection of huts owned by old Sami families that are ready to accommodate Sami arriving from far away.
The Sami Bridge, also known as Saamen silta in Finnish, is the bridge that crosses over the Tenojoki River. Before the bridge was built in 1993, the only way to cross the river was by boat.
When crossing the bridge and crossing the border into Norway, it is necessary to have travel documents and to inform customs if there is anything to declare.
Tenojoki River Valley
The Tenojoki River is the main protagonist of Utsjoki and offers many different activities. In addition to walking along its paths and discovering the secrets of nature, you can also enjoy fishing or go boating in the area.
Kaldoaivi Wilderness Area
Kaldoaivi is the largest wilderness area in the country. The landscape features deep river valleys, hillsides and even wetlands, such as the protected Sammuttijänkä-Vaijoenjänkä wetlands.
The area is ideal for day trips into nature. More experienced hikers can also organise multi-day hikes to explore the Kaldoaivi wilderness area.
Nourgam is a small Sami village very close to Utsjoki. It is the northernmost point of Finland and of the entire European Union. The village is home to the best-known salmon fishing area on the entire Tenojoki River.
As well as trying out activities such as fishing, visitors to Nourgam can go hiking and walking along the Tenojoki River and Lake Pulmankjärvi.
Paistunturi Wilderness Area
Paistunturi is a large wilderness area in northern Lapland. The landscape of the Paistunturi wilderness is covered with extensive mountain birch forests and heathland.
The Kevo Nature Reserve divides Paistunturi into two parts. The nature area is ideal for both day and longer hikes.
During the winter it is possible to enjoy the Kenespahta ice waterfalls that are formed every winter as the water flows down this almost vertical drop into Lake Kenesjärvi.
How to get to Utsjoki
The most common way to get to Utsjoki is by road, driving your own vehicle or travelling by bus.
Finnish roads to Utsjoki pass through Rovaniemi, Ivalo and Inari. It is also possible to reach Utsjoki from Norway, across the Sami Bridge.
For bus travel, there is a daily connection to Rovaniemi and Ivalo, and tickets cost about 80 euros and 30 euros respectively. There are also daily minibuses from Norwegian towns near the border.
Finally, it is possible to fly to nearby towns in Finland, such as Ivalo, Kittilä or Rovaniemi, and complete the journey to Utsjoki by car or bus.
How to get around the village
Although the town is not very large, it stretches along the Tenojoki River, so it can be a bit of a long journey if you don’t have a car.
If you’re travelling to Utsjoki in summer, we recommend renting a bicycle to get to the most remote places quickly. The national roads are in good condition, so you won’t have any problems getting around the area.
Where to stay in Utsjoki
Utsjoki is a popular holiday destination for Finns, especially in summer. For this reason, it is possible to find a wide variety of accommodation alternatives in the area, including hotels, campsites and even forest cottages.
We hope that our tourist guide to Utsjoki will help you prepare your trip to this Finnish 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.
We help you prepare your trip
- Find cheap accommodation
- Benefits and discounts in Helsinki
- Rent a car