Explore Kilpisjärvi in Summer and Fall
These are the "must-see" attractions during the summer and early autumn in Kilpisjärvi, Arctic Lapland. To truly immerse yourself in the local experience, consider booking a professional guide to accompany you on your adventures.
Ascend to the Summit of Mt. Saana
Mt. Saana, known as Saana Fell locally, stands as the most iconic landmark in Kilpisjärvi. Rising to a height of 1,029 meters (3,376 feet) above sea level and towering more than 500 meters (1,640 feet) above the surface of Lake Kilpisjärvi, this majestic silhouette dominates the village. The panoramic vistas from the summit are nothing short of breathtaking, offering expansive views encompassing Finland, Sweden, and Norway.
The optimal and safest time to conquer Saana Fell is during the summer months and early autumn. A clearly marked 4-kilometer (2½-mile) trail leads to the summit, with the starting point located across the road from the parking lot at the entrance to Malla Nature Reserve, situated at the northern end of the village.
When planning your hike to Saana Fell, it's essential to consider the rapidly changing weather conditions. Dress appropriately, as the weather can range from sunny and warm with clear skies to frosty and stormy, even in the middle of July. Be prepared for company, as thousands of visitors ascend the summit each summer. Please note that the only way to reach the summit is by foot, as motorized vehicles are not permitted on the slopes of Saana.
Explore the Three-Country Cairn
The Three-Country Cairn, also known as the Three Nations Border Point, marks the intersection of Finland, Sweden, and Norway, making it the northernmost international tripoint in the world. Remarkably, it is considered the world's most peaceful border, devoid of border controls, guards, or customs lanes. The monument itself, a cone-shaped concrete block approximately 4 meters (13 feet) in diameter, was erected in 1926 on an artificial island within a shallow lake. While the cairn itself may not be particularly striking, the surrounding natural beauty and landscapes make this trip an unforgettable experience.
The most convenient way to reach the Cairn is by boat, which departs across Lake Kilpisjärvi twice daily. The boat journey commences at the northern end of the village, covering the lake in thirty minutes before arriving at Koltaluokta bay. From there, it's a 3-kilometer (2-mile) hike to the Cairn. The boat awaits at its dock to ferry visitors back across the lake. M/S Malla and M/S Maria operate during the summer months, typically from mid-June, once the lake is free from ice, until late September. For timetables and fares, please visit www.mallalaiva.com.
Alternatively, you can access the Cairn by hiking through Malla Strict Nature Reserve, either as a round trip or one-way after crossing the lake by boat.
Explore Malla Strict Nature Reserve
Officially known as Malla Strict Nature Reserve, this is one of Finland's oldest protected natural areas. Named after the two Malla Fells that rise from the northern shore of Lake Kilpisjärvi, Malla Nature Reserve offers a haven for botanists. It boasts a unique year-round Arctic environment with rare plants thriving in calciferous soil.
Visitors have access to an 11-kilometer (7-mile) marked hiking trail that traverses the reserve, running from the Three-Country Cairn to a parking area located along the main road at the northern end of Kilpisjärvi village. You can commence the hike from either end of this trail. It's important to note that there are no amenities along the trail, camping is prohibited, and neither bicycles nor motorized vehicles are allowed. The sole shelter is near the Three-Country Cairn, where a wilderness hut is available to hikers free of charge. The trail features several rocky ascents and descents, as well as easy walking paths. During the early summer flood season and in the fall, crossing the numerous brooks along the route may present a challenge.
For those who prefer a shorter trek, a delightful option is to climb Pikku-Malla Fell, which offers sweeping panoramic views of the lake and surrounding fell country. A marked 7-kilometer (4½-mile) trail leads from the roadside parking area to the summit of Pikku-Malla and back.
Conquer Mt. Halti, Finland's Highest Summit, in a Day Trip from Kilpisjärvi
Is conquering Mt. Halti, a cherished ambition of yours, but you don't wish to dedicate several days to wilderness hiking? Consider booking a local guide to accompany you on a one-day journey to conquer Mt. Halti.
The one-day excursion commences with a car transfer to Guolasjávri, located in Norway, approximately 130 kilometers (81 miles) from Kilpisjärvi. The journey offers stunning vistas of Norwegian fjords and treeless wilderness. The hike itself spans 8 kilometers (5 miles) each way, involving a demanding ascent on unmarked rocky terrain. It requires excellent physical condition, previous hiking experience, and appropriate footwear and clothing. Mt. Halti excursions are available from mid-July to the end of August.