Welcome to Kilpisjärvi
Kilpisjärvi sits at the foot of Saana Fell in the middle of the Arctic high-fell area.
The village of Kilpisjärvi is located in the northwest extremity of Lapland in the municipality of Enontekiö. Kilpisjärvi is the municipality’s northernmost village, and the last village before the Norwegian border. It is only a 50km (30-mile) drive to the Arctic Ocean, mostly downhill since the village is located about 500m (1,640 feet) above sea level. The village is bordered by Kilpisjärvi lake and the Saana fell, sacred to the Sami people.
The legend of Kilpisjärvi
According to legend, many years ago Kilpisjärvi was inhabited by giants. The sullen giant Saana fell in love with the graceful maiden Malla. At their wedding, where they were to be married by the sharp-minded wise man Paras, the jealous rival suitor Pältsä summoned the wicked witches. Suddenly, the wedding ceremony was interrupted by fierce glacial winds, which brought enormous masses of ice. At the last second, Saana whisked his bride into his arms before they were frozen in place. The grieving bride’s tears formed the lake that is now Kilpisjärvi.
Many centuries later, the masses of ice melted and the giants were freed. Saana had become even more sullen than before, and the round-faced Malla jumped into her mother’s arms, their tears forming the Kitsi waterfall. Memories of Saana and Malla’s wedding appear in Kilpisjärvi every autumn in its beautiful seasonal colours – the church clothes of the wedding guests had been ripped apart and blown away by the wind into the the hills and valleys. The youngest giants can still be seen at the bottom of the lakes, thousands of years later, in the skeletons of the giant pine trees.
Kilpisjärvi Visitor Centre
Good place to start your journey is to visit Kilpisjärvi Visitor Centre.
Kilpisjärvi Visitor Centre's permanent exhibition On the Edge of the Caledonides introduces Malla Strict Nature Reserve, Saana Nature Reserve and Research Area, Käsivarsi Wilderness Area, and the residents of Kilpisjärvi. The Visitor Centre is aimed at visitors, tourists, fishers, and hikers on the Nordkalottleden Trail. Free entry.
Address: Käsivarrentie 14145, 99490 Kilpisjärvi (Enontekiö)
Telephone: +358 206 39 7990
Recommended Hiking Tours
Shortest version is only 2 km but you can make a round tour of 4-6 km. This is mostly flat or slightly elevated route and considered an easy hike.
Salmivaara tour is short but pretty steep hike. It's recommended to take Nordic walking poles with you.
Towering over the east of Kilpisjärvi is the Saana fell, sacred to the Sami people. Its looming profile, rising 1,029m (3,376 feet) above sea level, is a well-known sight to most Finns. Saana gets its name from the Sami word meaning polypore, a kind of fungus, which refers to the fell’s shape. The west side of Saana became protected in 1988, because the summit area of the fell is barren and home to many rare species of butterfly.
Saana is a must visit attraction in Kilpisjärvi. In summer time you might be able to conquer the fell even in 2-3 hours but during the winter months, the hike might take a bit longer. Check the weather before you go.
Malla Nature Reserve and The Three-Country Cairn
Malla’s nature reserve is Finland’s oldest protected nature reserve. The Malla fells were first protected in 1916 when Finland was still under Russian rule. The nature reserve was recognised as a National Park in an independent Finland in 1938. Thanks to its calcareous soils, the highlands of the Little Malla and Great Malla fells are home to some rare species of alpine plants and butterflies. Some of these plants are not found anywhere else in Finland.
Malla is the easiest to conquer during summer months by taking the boat to The Three-Country Cairn (3 km) and then walking back to the village. The entire tour is approximately 20-25 km.
The Three-Country Cairn, which is located in the Malla nature reserve on a man-made island in the Kolttajärvi lake, marks the tripoint between Finland, Sweden and Norway. The world’s northernmost tripoint is also the northernmost point in Sweden and the westernmost point in mainland Finland.
The Three-Country Cairn is a popular destination for hikers in summer and for snowmobilers and skiers in winter.
You can find some useful tips from here: Map of Kilpisjärvi