Sodankylä is the main service centre for one of Europe’s least populated areas, it has a population of 8,435 and covers an area of 12,415.50 square kilometres of which 718.65 km² is water. It’s at the junction of Lapland's two main highways and makes a decent staging post between Rovaniemi and the north; even if you’re just passing through, stop to see the humble but exquisite wooden church Vanha Kirkko. A contrast is provided by the high-tech observatory Aurora House just outside town, an important collection point for data on the atmosphere and the aurora borealis.
It provides a perfect environment for both the active hiker and the person seeking peace, space and silence. Vast forests, unspoiled wild nature, wide open aapa mires and rugged fells of Northern Lapland in particular, are characteristic to this area. The Luosto ski resort, the Tankavaara gold village and parts of the Urho Kekkonen Natonal Park are located in the municipality.
BEST TIME TO GO TO SODANKYLÄ
In Sodankylä, the summers are short, cool, and mostly cloudy and the winters are long, frigid, snowy, and overcast. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from -1°F to 66°F and is rarely below -25°F or above 76°F. The best time to visit Sodankylä is the summer, from June to August, since it is the mildest season. However, you must take into account some rainy days and a bit of cold at night.
Spring (March through May)
Humidity and temperatures combine to make this season feel very cold. Highs range from 62.5°F (16.9°C) and 24.9°F (-3.9°C) with far warmer temperatures in the later months. Rain is somewhat common with 3 to 6 days of significant precipitation per month. Spring is the second busiest for tourism, which makes it a good time for those looking for things to do.
Summer (June through August)
The middle-year months have comfortably cool weather with high temperatures that are comfortable. These months see the most precipitation with 7 to 9 days of precipitation per month. June – August is the busiest season for tourism in Sodankyla, so lodging and other accommodations may cost more than usual.
Fall (September through November)
Fall daily highs range from 57.4°F (14.1°C) and 25.2°F (-3.8°C), which will feel very chilly given the humidity and wind. It rains or snows a significant amount: 7 to 9 days per month. Tourism is the slowest during these months due to the weather, so hotels may be affordably priced.
Winter (December through February)
Weather is far too cold this time of year in Sodankyla to be enjoyable for warm weather travelers. The average high during this season is between 24.9°F (-3.9°C) and 14.3°F (-9.8°C). On average, it rains or snows a fair amount: 5 to 8 times per month. These times of year are fairly slow with tourists.
GETTING TO SODANKYLÄ
Sodankylä is on the E75 highway between Rovaniemi and Ivalo and so centrally located in Lapland. The only way to Sodankylä is by car or bus as there are no airports or railway stations in the near vicinity. Buses can be taken from Rovaniemi, Ivalo, Kemijarvi and Kittila where there are airports or rail onnection.
GETTING AROUND SODANKYLÄ
You can get around in the town itself by foot. However many attractions are located tens of kilometres outside of it and there are just a few buses a day (mainly just along highway 4), hence a car is the most practical mode of transportation.
WHERE TO STAY IN SODANKYLÄ
Set a 5-minute walk from central Sodankylä, this hotel offers free parking and rooms with free Wi-Fi access and tea and coffee making facilities. Kommattivaara Ski and Hiking Centre is 5 km away. A TV and work desk are featured in all rooms at Hotelli Sodankylä. Each has a private bathroom with a bathtub or shower. Some rooms have a fridge. Lappish dishes with an international touch are served at the in-house restaurant. A lunch buffet is available upon request. Drinks can be enjoyed in the bar. Relaxation options at Sodankylä Hotelli include a sauna. The surrounding area is ideal for berry and mushroom picking as well as cross-country skiing. Sodankylä Bus Terminal is 50 m away. Fishing and swimming is possible in the Kitinen River, 200 m away.
Holiday Home Sodankylä is located in Sodankylä. Guests may enjoy free WiFi throughout the property. This apartment comes with 1 bedroom, a flat-screen TV, and a kitchen. Luosto is 42 km from the apartment. The nearest airport is Kittilä Airport, 93 km from Holiday Home Sodankylä.
Siilas apartment is located in Sodankylä and offers a garden and a terrace. The property is 44 km from Luosto and free private parking is provided. This apartment comes with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen with microwave, a flat-screen TV, a seating area and 1 bathroom with a bidet. For added convenience, the property can provide towels and bed linen for an extra charge. The nearest airport is Kittilä Airport, 94 km from the apartment.
Boasting a tennis court, Hunna Hosting Sodankylä - Lapintie 49 offers accommodation in Sodankylä with free WiFi and city views. The property is 39 km from Luosto, and complimentary private parking is offered. This air-conditioned villa has 3 bedrooms, a flat-screen TV, a dining area, and a kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave. For added convenience, the property can provide towels and bed linen for an extra charge. At the villa guests are welcome to take advantage of a sauna. Guests at Hunna Hosting Sodankylä - Lapintie 49 can enjoy hiking and skiing nearby, or make the most of the garden. The nearest airport is Kittilä, 93 km from the accommodation, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service.
Apartments Sodankylä offers apartments in central Sodankylä. Free WiFi is available. Luosto is 44 km from the property. Each apartment comes with a fridge, electric kettle and a flat-screen TV. Some apartments also come with a kitchen, including a stovetop, oven and dining area. Bed linen and towels are provided. Restaurants and shops can be found in the surrounding area. The nearest airport is Kittilä Airport, 92 km from the property.
Set in Kelujärvi in the Lapland region, Hunna Hosting Sodankylä - Puljunharjuntie 121 has a terrace and river views. Boasting free private parking, the villa is in an area where guests can engage in activities such as hiking, skiing and fishing. The villa has 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, a flat-screen TV, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a patio with lake views. For added convenience, the property can provide towels and bed linen for an extra charge. At the villa guests are welcome to take advantage of a sauna. The nearest airport is Kittilä Airport, 104 km from Hunna Hosting Sodankylä - Puljunharjuntie 121.
Set in Kelujärvi, Kelujärvi old village School offers accommodation with free bikes, free WiFi, a 24-hour front desk, and a shared kitchen. Boasting free private parking, the apartment is in an area where guests can engage in activities such as hiking, skiing and snorkelling. The apartment has 1 bedroom, a TV, an equipped kitchen with a microwave and a fridge, a washing machine, and 1 bathroom with a bidet. For added convenience, the property can provide towels and bed linen for an extra charge. The apartment offers a children's playground. Kelujärvi old village School has a garden to relax in after a busy day, along with ski-to-door access and ski storage space.
Holiday Home Käenkukka offers accommodation in Luosto, 12 km from Amethyst Mine. The holiday home is equipped with a TV. The accommodation is equipped with a kitchenette with a dishwasher and fridge. The nearest airport is Rovaniemi Airport, 105 km from the holiday home.
Holiday Home Mervinrinne offers accommodation in Luosto, 12 km from Amethyst Mine. The holiday home comes with a TV. A dishwasher and a fridge can be found in the kitchenette. The nearest airport is Rovaniemi Airport, 105 km from the holiday home.
Holiday Home Mikaelin maja is situated in Luosto, 13 km from Amethyst Mine, in an area where skiing can be enjoyed. The holiday home comes with a TV. The kitchenette has a dishwasher and a fridge. The nearest airport is Rovaniemi Airport, 105 km from the holiday home.
ACTIVITIES TO DO & WHAT TO SEE IN SODANKYLÄ
The northern part of Sodankylä is gold country, and the gold is especially pure. Try your hand at gold panning – maybe you’ll be the one to make the next big find. The northern part of Sodankylä is gold country, and over the years a few big gold nuggets have been found here. In Sodankylä you can try gold panning in Tankavaara, both in the Gold Village and at the Gold Prospector Museum. The gold nuggets of Lapland are of purer gold than their Alaskan cousins, for example. When panning for gold, various precious stones may also be found.
The Tankavaara Gold Village also organises Finnish Gold Panning Championships in the summer, which is when you have a chance to see experienced gold miners doing it seriously.
The beautiful, violet and translucent amethyst is one of the best-known precious stones. In Lampivaara, in the Luosto area of Sodankylä, there are plentiful amethyst deposits. The amethyst is the precious stone of Lapland, and Sodankylä is the location of Europe’s only amethyst mine active year-round. It is believed that the amethyst has surprising power. There, you can look for amethysts yourself and keep what you find. At the same time, you can enjoy the most beautiful Lapland nature in the middle of a protected ancient forest area. In the summer you can get to the mine on foot and in the winter on skis, on the Amethyst Pendolino or with a snowmobile safari.
In the town centre of Sodankylä you’re just a few steps away from berry picking: just follow the bank of the River Kitinen downstream to Pappilanniemi. Everyone can pick berries and mushrooms almost everywhere, as long as you are not in anybody’s yard or in the Sompio Stricts Nature Reserve. Cloudberries usually ripen in July or in late July-early August. There are two types of cloudberry: the orange cloudberry that grows on bogs and the forest cloudberry. The ripe forest cloudberry can be red, whereas for the bog cloudberry redness is a sign of under-ripeness. You can recognise a ripe cloudberry by trying it gently with your fingers: an edible cloudberry is juicily soft. Unripe cloudberries, on the other hand, are hard – do not pick unripe cloudberries. After the cloudberries the blueberries, lingonberries and black crowberries ripen. Cranberries, which are particularly rich in vitamins, become even juicier after night frosts. In the nature of Lapland, the delightfully brown mountain bearberry and bunchberry also ripen. They are also edible but do not really taste of anything.
About a 10-minute drive from the centre of Sodankylä, Paavonpolku nature trail awaits you. The trail is well signposted and managed, and it begins by plunging into a beautiful old forest which has a shelter and fireplace on the riverbank. You can complete Paavonpolku in circles of 1.9 or 2.7 km. There is a second picnic site along the circle walk, beside which there is a steep, high viewing tower. At the departure point have a clear signs, and there are information boards along the walk. The Pyhä-Luosto and Urho Kekkonen National Parks cover a significant proportion of the municipality of Sodankylä. Several shops operate in both parks, offering safaris and hiking equipment for hire, among other things. Experience the nature of Lapland in an uncomplicated fashion, picnicking on the river bank as part of a day trip to remember or a longer wilderness hike.
Sodankylä is full of beautiful scenic views, for the canoeist and kayaker, Sodankylä’s wild forest rivers, coursing through wide boggy areas, open up a landscape that few have seen. Wild rivers that are plentiful in fish and perfect for beginners and children with families. Some routes also offer more challenging rapids sections, which are suitable for more experienced canoeists and kayakers. It’s worth planning fishing as a part of a canoeing or kayaking trip. Make sure your licences are up to date before your trip.
Sodankylä offers fishers lakes and rivers with their streams of brown trout. The reservoirs of Lokka and Porttipahta are the best spot in fishing offer an incomparable bounty of fish where you can catch a giant pike or some perch. In Sodankylä you can also fish for salmon, grayling and whitefish. They give fishing their own special flavour, one that is made up of the fell wind and a wilderness feeling that even feels a little marine.
In the saddle of a bike you can experience Sodankylä in a new way, pedalling along peacefully and making plenty of stops. Paved roads lead from the town centre to enchanting rural villages. All over Sodankylä there are beautiful, peaceful little village which are excellent for relaxing cycling as part of a long journey. In these areas tourists are few, so you can experience a central part of the real Lapland in a completely new way. See the hill and lake landscapes, admire picturesque old building and breath in the pure air of the Lapland forests. A paved road, which is pleasant to cycle, leads to the villages.
Stroll around in the Mountain with Fatbike
Fatbike is a good way of getting around in winter, too, and is good for beginner mountain bikers. The Sodankylä National Parks, the Urho Kekkonen National Park and Pyhä-Luosto all have a fine selection of routes for mountain biking. Cycling on ski trails is forbidden, but in the winter cycling off-trail is allowed. In the winter, the Kiilopää division of Suomen Latu, the Finnish outdoors association, maintains a cycle route from Kiilopää to the Sivakkaoja shelter.
Experience Skate park
The Sodankylä Skate Park is open to all passionate roller-skaters, scooter riders, skaters and BMX bikers! You’ll find our skate park next to the sport field on the banks of the River Kitinen. The address of the skate park is Pekanranta. The Sodankylä Skate Park is suitable for beginners and more experienced skaters. The park was built by Concrete Proof in 2016. The Sodankylä Skate Park is Finland’s northernmost skate park made entirely of concrete.
Geocaching in Sodankylä
There are several geocaches in Sodankylä which can be found in both summer and winter. Enjoy the nature of Lapland while challenging yourself and your friends to finding geocaches. Geocaching is a global outdoor sport in which people use satellite geolocation to help them look for various boxes hidden in the landscape. There are several caches in Sodankylä which can be found in both summer and winter. You can find geocaches near the old church, on Kommattivaara hill, at Porttikoski rapids, on the Oratunturi fell and on Pittiövaara hill. In Luosto there are also local caches which are fun and easy for all the family to search for in a built-up area.
The Sodankylä birdwatching and nature towers offer great nature experiences for all the family. Pack some snacks and remember your camera when you head for a birdwatching tower. In the autumn, before the snow comes, the towers offer the amazing opportunity of looking not just at the migratory birds but also at the first Northern Lights.
In Sodankylä, you can play frisbee golf on the slopes of both Kommattivaara hill and the mighty Luostotunturi fell. The course is suitable for players of all levels and can be a challenge for the most experienced players. A game lasts two or three hours and advances up the fell slope and then down again, this is very suitable for families with children.