The tiny village of Inari (North Sami: Anár) is Finland's Sámi capital is a village in the municipality of the same name in Finnish Lapland, on the shore of Lake Inari. Home to the wonderful Siida museum and Sajos (cultural centre and seat of the Finnish Sámi parliament), it also has a string of superb handicrafts shops and it's a great base for forays into Lemmenjoki National Park and the Kevo Strict Nature Reserve. The village is an administrative and cultural centre of the Sámi people in Finland. The lake, its surroundings and some other destinations in the municipality are also covered in this article.
The village sits on Lapland’s largest lake, Inarijärvi, a spectacular body of water with more than 3000 islands in its 1084-sq-km area. Inari is 300 km north of the Arctic Circle, there is Midnight Sun from late May to late July and Polar Night from the beginning of December to middle January. The last ice within the lake disappears at the end of May. Even in July, the average temperature is only about 17°C. Inari is the largest municipality in Finland (5 % of the country, but less than 7,000 inhabitants), stretching from the Norwegian border in the west to the Norwegian and Russian borders in the east.
BEST TIME TO VISIT INARI
The best time to visit Inari in Finland is from june until september, when you will have a very cold or pleasant temperature and limited rainfall. The highest average temperature in Inari is 17°C in july and the lowest is -9°C in january. The weather and climate of Inari is suitable for a winter sport. The average climate figure for Inari is an 6,6. This is based on various factors, such as average temperatures, the chance of precipitation and weather experiences of others. Inari has the continental climate prevailing. It is warm in the summer and cold in the winter. If you want to know what the average temperature is in Inari or when most precipitation (rain or snow) falls.
GETTING TO INARI
Inari is far away in the North yet very well connected to the world through flights, train and the country’s key north-south European route (E75 highway). The quickest way to get here is by plane though.
You can easily reach Ivalo International Airport by a domestic flight from Helsinki. During winter peak season there are also connections from most European cities, not to mention the numerous charter flights. Buses, taxis and car rental services are available upon arriving.
But if you don’t mind long trips and want to get through some of the most beautiful scenery, you should first take the train to Rovaniemi and then catch a bus to Inari Village.
You can also take a bus from Helsinki, but it’s a 15 hours trip. Should you want to avoid both air and road travel, you can also take an overnight train from Finland’s capital city.
WHERE TO STAY & EAT IN INARI
Situated right by the shores of Lake Inari, Wilderness Hotel Inari & Igloos provides accommodation and activities. Equipped with a sauna and a shared lounge with bar, the hotel takes inspiration from Sami culture. Sleep in an aurora cabin with sky views, a log cabin facing Lake Inari, or a wilderness room with Lappish decorations. All rooms come with sofas and armchairs to relax, a bathroom with toiletries, and free WiFi. Some rooms features a sauna and flat-screen TV. A buffet breakfast is served daily at the property. The Lappish themed restaurant Hirvas offer guests panorama views onto Lake Inari. Wilderness Hotel Inari & Igloos offer a range of activities like husky safari, cross country skiing, reindeer farm visits, ice fishing and aurora hunts. Wilderness Hotel Inari & Igloos is a 5 minutes’ drive from Inari Village. Ivalo Airport is 47 km away.
Lake Inari Mobile Cabins offer glass bedrooms allowing guests impressive views of the arctic surroundings and if lucky enough, the Northern Lights. In December-April evenings, weather permitting, the cabins can be moved to be on the ice of Lake Inari. This property is 1.5 km from Inari Village in Finnish Lapland. Heating, bed linen and a toilet are provided during your stay at Mobile Cabins Lake Inari. In connection to the main service building, you will find a shower, a kitchen, a lounge and a BBQ. There is also WiFi in the main building. An array of activities can be enjoyed on site or in Inari Village, including skiing, cycling and fishing. This camp is is 50 km from Ivalo Airport.
Offering a restaurant and a private beach, Hotel Korpikartano is right by Lake Menesjärvi, just 10 km from Lemmenjoki National Park. Free WiFi, sauna access and a traditional Lapland BBQ hut are available for guests. Inari village is 30 minutes’ drive away. All rooms and apartments have a private bathroom with shower. The apartments also feature a seating area and kitchen. Guests have access to a shared lounge with a TV, and terrace with views towards the lake and Lemmenjoki fells. Free tea and coffee are offered all day long. Hotel Korpikartano’s restaurant is available if dinner is pre-booked in advance. An array of activities can be in the surroundings, including fishing, swimming and hiking. Ivalo Airport is 82 km away and airport shuttle service can be arranged on request. The property offers free parking.
Set in Inari in the Lapland region, Villa Váibmu features a balcony and garden views. The accommodation is 37 km from Ivalo, and guests benefit from complimentary WiFi and private parking available on site. The villa with a patio and lake views has 1 bedroom, a living room, a flat-screen TV, an equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave, and 1 bathroom with a shower. The villa offers a sauna. There is a garden with a barbecue at this property and guests can go hiking and skiing nearby. The nearest airport is Ivalo Airport, 47 km from Villa Váibmu.
Boasting a sauna, Northern House is situated in Inari. The air-conditioned accommodation is 39 km from Ivalo, and guests benefit from complimentary WiFi and private parking available on site. This holiday home includes 1 bedroom, a living room and a flat-screen TV, an equipped kitchen with a dining area, and 1 bathroom with a bidet and a washing machine. If you would like to discover the area, hiking and skiing are possible in the surroundings. The nearest airport is Ivalo Airport, 50 km from the holiday home.
Inari Juutua is set in Inari and offers free bikes and a terrace. The air-conditioned accommodation is 41 km from Ivalo, and guests benefit from complimentary WiFi and private parking available on site. The holiday home has 2 bedrooms, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, an equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave, a washing machine, and 2 bathrooms with a bidet. For added convenience, the property can provide towels and bed linen for an extra charge. At the holiday home guests are welcome to take advantage of a sauna. There is a garden with a barbecue at this property and guests can go hiking and skiing nearby. The nearest airport is Ivalo, 52 km from Inari Juutua, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service.
Set in Inari in the Lapland region, Aurora Apartment Inari features a garden. The air-conditioned accommodation is 39 km from Ivalo, and guests benefit from complimentary WiFi and private parking available on site. The apartment has 2 bedrooms, a flat-screen TV, an equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave, a washing machine, and 1 bathroom with a bidet. At the apartment guests are welcome to take advantage of a sauna. A terrace is available for guests at Aurora Apartment Inari to use. The nearest airport is Ivalo Airport, 50 km from the accommodation.
Offering free WiFi and lake views, Mökki - The White Blue Wilderness Lodge is an accommodation situated in Inari. This chalet has a garden and free private parking. The chalet has 1 bedroom, a living room, a fully equipped kitchen with a fridge and a dining area, and a bathroom. At the chalet guests are welcome to take advantage of a sauna. Hiking can be enjoyed nearby. The nearest airport is Ivalo, 81 km from Mökki - The White Blue Wilderness Lodge, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service.
Boasting a sauna, Ailo is set in Inari. The accommodation is 37 km from Ivalo, and guests benefit from private parking available on site and free WiFi. The apartment has 1 bedroom, a kitchen with dishwasher and fridge, and 1 bathroom with a bidet, a hairdryer and a washing machine. A terrace is available on site and both skiing and cycling can be enjoyed within close proximity of the apartment. The nearest airport is Ivalo, 47 km from Ailo, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service.
Featuring ski-to-door access, SINITALO offers accommodation in Inari with free WiFi and garden views. The chalet features lake views and is 38 km from Ivalo. The chalet has 2 bedrooms, a flat-screen TV, an equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave, a washing machine, and 1 bathroom with a shower. For added convenience, the property can provide towels and bed linen for an extra charge. The chalet offers a sauna. Guests at SINITALO can enjoy skiing nearby, or make the most of the garden. The nearest airport is Ivalo Airport, 48 km from the accommodation.
THINGS TO DO IN INARI
- SUMMER ACTIVITIES -
Summertime gives a myriad opportunities to explore and experience Northern Sami culture. Grab a paddle and travel around the vast wilderness of Lake Inari in your own canoe or stand on the bow of a catamaran cruiser as it carries you across the lake to the sacred Island of Ukonsaari.
Discover miles of uncrowned nature at Lemmenjoki National Park or hike to the top of Otsamo Fell beneath the midnight sun. Understand the importance of reindeer at a Reindeer Farm. Take the lakeside trail to Pielpajarvi Wilderness Church and extend your walk to Pielpavuono Fjord, from where you can return to Inari Village by foot or boat.
Lake Inari Cruise is an easy way to experience one of the biggest arctic wilderness lakes in Northern Lapland. The lake cruise starts from the harbour by the Sámi Museum, SIIDA, and will take you to see the historical Ukko Island. Lake Inari is the third largest lake in Finland and is home to over 3300 islands. The sacred Ukko Island (or Ukko´s Rock) was used as a Sámi sacrificial offering ground right up until the 19th century. We will cruise around the island and admire the spectacular Ukko from a short distance. The catamaran has 120 seats. On board you can buy coffee, tea, wine, beer and small snacks.
Bright and shiny, the sun seems to be oblivious of time as you cruise on Lake Inari in full daylight, in the middle of the night. You are north of the Polar Circle and experiencing the Midnight Sun! The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs north of 66° N 33’, between the vernal equinox and autumnal equinox. During the midnight sun period the sun does not go under the horizon at all. The wilderness lake, Lake Inari, guarantees a perfect setting for experiencing the nightless night.
Is the endless sunlight keeping you up at night? Instead of wasting time and lying in bed, why not take this unique opportunity to hike in the nightless night. Your guide will take you to see breathtaking panoramic views over the surrounding lakes and highlands. Coffee/tea and picnic snack is included in the tour.
River Juutua flows into Lake Inari and during the river raft you will experience two bigger white water rapids and a few smaller streams. Starting point is Lake Solojärvi, and ending point is Haapakoski. Return transfers included to from and to Hotel Inari. Please note, not suitable for children under 14 years old.
Your guide will take you to the hiking paths near Inari village. The route is relatively easy and during the hike your guide can answer your questions about the surrounding nature. During August and September we can also pick berries and mushrooms along the way. A picnic snack by the blazing campfire is included in the tour.
Come to Lemmenjoki National Park and spend a day as a guest of the Paltto family. Once you have arrived at the family home, you will be taken on a journey travelling 17km by riverboat along the beautiful river Lemmenjoki, which reaches deep into the Finland's largest national park. The cruise will take you to the magnificent Ravadas falls. Shortly after, your host will pull up the boat and offer you lunch around the open fire, treating you to traditional Sámi yoik singing and tales of reindeer herding. Once back at the Paltto's home, you will get the opportunity to meet the rest of this Sámi family, the reindeer!
Throughout the history Pike has had a big role in everyday life on the shorelines of Lake Inari. During the old days part of the taxes to Swedish crown were paid as dried pike, the delicacy of the royals. Lake Inari is well known as a fishing destination. This great wilderness lake has several good fishing spots as well breathtaking scenery. Our fishing guide will take you to the archipelago where there is a good chance to catch arctic lake pike.
- WINTER ACTIVITIES -
Of course, arctic wouldn’t be complete without winter, and that’s when Northern Lapland really comes alive. Go in search of the splashing green lights on a reindeer sleigh. Traverse the snow-capped forests on cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or snowmobile excursions.
Go Dog Sledding
There are many dog sledding safari opportunities in Inari, just make sure you plan your trip well, namely October through late April. Imagine yourself driving a dog sled. Come and give it a go! Your guide will drive you to the farm, where the energetic huskies are already waiting to take you on a ride into the white wilderness. Listen carefully to the driving instruction and be a real musher for once in your life! After the ride, learn more about the huskies and enjoy a hot drink in a Lappish teepee!
During this snowmobile safari you will learn the basics of driving a snowmobile through the winter landscape. Weather depending, our guide will take you through the wintry forest or onto frozen Lake Inari.
Learn the secrets of ice-fishing. Driving on snowmobile through the frozen landscape of Inari, our guide will lead you to the best spots for drilling hole in the ice. You will try your luck and if you don’t catch anything, you will get a second chance by checking our nets on the way back! During the trip, you will have a soup lunch by the fire.
Take a step back in time as you sit in a wooden sleigh gently pulled by a reindeer. Listen to the silence of the snowy forest and experience the old traditional Sami way of travelling. There will be a chance to warm up by the fire with hot juice before being transferred back to your accommodation.
Stay afloat on deep snow and enjoy the beauty of the wintry forest with our guide during a snowshoe walk. Our guide can answer your questions about the surrounding nature and should you get thirsty, he will pour you a hot drink.
When hunting those unpredictable Northern lights, it helps to be able to travel bigger distances in search of clear skies on cloudy days. Our guide checks the forecast to see which direction the clouds are moving in and knows the places where it is safe to stop and check the sky. The rest is down to luck!
The village of Inari is the center of the Sami people, the only indigenous people in Northern Europe. There are a few places including the Siida Center and Sajos, the Sami Parliament building of Finland, that offers a fascinating glimpse into the life and culture of the Sami.
The Siida center in the village of Inari is a modern, visually stunning exploration of the culture of Europe’s only indigenous people, the Sami. It chronicles the history, lifestyle, struggle, and culture of this incredible northern people. The Siida museum also explores Lapland’s ecology and environment by tracking the seasons from winter, to spring, to summer, to fall.
Sajos Sami Parliament
The Sajos Cultural Centre is home to the Sami Parliament Hall and Parliamentary Office making it the center of Sami politics in Finland. While visiting a political building might seem a little dry, Sajos is actually a fascinating glimpse into the culture of the first people of Lapland. The building, completed in 2012, includes photo galleries, media rooms, offices, and a local library. It also houses the Dujodi Shop, one of the best shops for getting authentic Lappish handicrafts and textiles.
To learn more about the Sajos and the Sami Parliament, join a guided tour which is available on weekdays at noon. The € 8 pp (accurate as of 2019) tour includes coffee / tea cafe and a 15-minute short film by Sápmi – The Way of Being which shows modern Sámi life.
Inari Lake is the largest lake in Lapland. The lake was crucially important to the Sami in Finland for both fishing and life. Ukonsaari (also known as Ukko’s island or Ukko’s rock) is a small, but tall island in the middle of Lake Inari in Inari Village. This island is a sacred place for the Sámi people.
To this day, the Sami people continue to hold offering rituals on this island. During the summer, it is possible to join boat tours that visit the island. During the winter the island is a popular place for snowmobiling, cross-country skiers, and of course, Finnish ice Fishing.
Saunas are practically a religion in Finland. There is nearly one sauna for every adult in the country. Saunas are a great way to relax, especially after a day exploring the wonderful nature surrounding Inari Finland. Saariselka is home to three traditional Finnish smoke saunas. These are often paired with a swim in the cold water of a nearby river.