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Five things to experience in dreamy Inari
2 minute read
mountain biking in the snow heavy Lapland landscape

Credits:: Roll Outdoors

Inari, the capital of Sámi culture, combines tales from the past with luxury and wilderness.

The town and municipality of Inari welcomes visitors year-round. The surrounding Lake Inari is the third largest lake in Finland and a wonderful setting for an incredible holiday spent taking in the sights, cultural heritage of the indigenous people of Finland and a little bit of luxury.

a woman canoeing in the Inarijärvi lake
Credits: Harri Tarvainen

Spend a night floating on Lake Inari

Lake Inari, the third largest in Finland and the largest in the Sápmi region, is a vast body of water with over 1,000 km² surface. The area is not only home to local fish species such as trout, lake salmon, Arctic char, white fish, grayling, perch and pike, but also some 3,000 islands. Of those, Hävdieennâmsuálui or "Graveyard Island" and Äijih or “Ukko’s stone” remain best-known – particularly the latter, which is known as a historical sacrificial site for the Sámi people.

Daily trips to the lake are widely available through tour operators. Electric-hybrid catamaran rides are recommended as one of the easiest and gentle ways of taking in the summery scenery of the lake. A unique way of getting to know the waterways in the winter is by spending a night in a floating Aurora hut. This intimate experience is offered by the boutique chain, Wilderness Inari, and brings visitors closer to an outdoor experience than ever before – without leaving a trace on the surrounding nature. The eco huts are equipped with double beds and incredible views of the northern sky – and hopefully, the Northern Lights.

an aurora hut in the snow-covered landscape under the Northern Lights

Organise a meet and greet with reindeer

The family-owned Inari Reindeer Farm offers river trout fishing, reindeer hiking and reindeer driving tours close to the town of Inari. The farm is run by Jan-Eerik Paadar, a local reindeer herder and second-generation of the Paadar family. While the operations were first established by his parents some 20 years ago, the business continues as always: through respect and kindness towards the animals. By submerging in the local Sámi culture and the way reindeer herding is done today, visitors experience an emotional connection. The owners are also dedicated to answering all questions concerning reindeer and hold an incredible amount of knowledge. Ever wondered why the feet of reindeer make clicking sounds or how the antlers grow? At the Inari Reindeer Farm, all you need to do is ask! The only thing one should avoid asking is how many reindeer a herder might have. That, you see, is top secret and will always be met with the same answer: “kahta puolen puuta.” Meaning, “there are plenty.”

a baby reindeer in an enclosure
Credits: Anja Kaarret

Get your gourmande on at restaurant Aanaar

Located in hotel Kultahovi, right next to the village centre, restaurant Aanaar is the ultimate culinary destination of the region. With large windows overlooking the lowest rapids of River Juutua, it’s an experience that won’t be forgotten. Aanaar operates on the basis of offering visitors and guests the best the local nature has to offer. Ingredients are always pristine, world-class and sourced close to home. Specialties include reindeer, king crab, red trout and puurrâmrääsi, a local herb. The menu is plentiful with delicious combinations like sake-marinated whitefish from Lake Inari, served with fermented sea buckthorn juice and buttermilk-dill sauce, or roasted arctic charr with smoked koji-butter sauce and beetroot purée. Any evening at the restaurant should end with a digestif by the fireplace, where neighbours meet to discuss local affairs, fishing conditions and, if you get lucky, the local folklore.

a woman eating traditional Finnish dessert lingonberries and Finnish bread cheese
Credits: Harri Tarvainen

Fully accessible hiking and hanging bridges

The first snow normally falls in early October and the winter season tends to be snow-heavy in Inari. This, however, happens to be the best time to be outdoors in the region. The Inari-Saariselkä area is home to two of Finland’s largest national parks, the Kevo Strict Nature Reserve and several wilderness areas. The nature surrounding the village of Inari offers several different day trips and excursions, ranging from a demanding route to one enjoyable for all. All routes are well-marked, offering outdoor encounters and experiences that are accessible to most. One trip worth making is a peaceful hike to the magical Jäniskoski in the Juutuankoski area. Here, a hanging bridge leads to a campfire where sausages can be grilled in a cozy hut on the side of the rapids. The route to Jäniskoski is fully accessible. 

people hiking in the woods
Credits: : Harri Tarvainen
people warming up in a snowy camp

Visit Sajos – the centre of Sámi culture

Sajos is the centre of Sámi culture in Finland. It houses the Sámi Parliament of Finland and concentrates on promoting culture, education and knowledge on the vibrant past, present and future of the indigenous people of the north. Although Sajos is primarily used and intended for the Sámi people, it also offers an incredible opportunity to approach Sámi culture respectfully, uniquely and through expertise. Sajos is a true symbol for indigenous culture which is alive and pulsating in the Sámi homeland region. A true gem worth a visit.

Sajos, the centre of Sámi culture in Finland
a Sámi performer singing
Credits:: Ville Fofonoff

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