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Breathtaking Finland: Why You Must See Äkäslompolo


by Chris Darcy



Welcome to Äkäslompolo, a small village located in the enchanting region of Finnish Lapland. Nestled among snow-capped mountains and surrounded by pristine wilderness, Äkäslompolo offers a unique and unforgettable experience for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant local culture, and thrilling activities, Äkäslompolo is a destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list.


Situated in the municipality of Kolari, Äkäslompolo is renowned for its natural beauty and tranquility. The village is located near the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, a vast wilderness area that offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. From hiking and biking in the summer to skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, Äkäslompolo is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground.


But Äkäslompolo is not just about adrenaline-pumping activities. It is also a place where you can immerse yourself in the rich local culture and traditions of the Sami people, the indigenous population of northern Scandinavia. From witnessing the magical Northern Lights to enjoying traditional Lappish cuisine, Äkäslompolo offers a truly authentic experience that will leave a lasting impression.


Whether you are seeking an adventurous getaway, a peaceful retreat, or an opportunity to connect with nature and local culture, Äkäslompolo has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on a journey to one of Finland’s most captivating destinations.



Äkäslompolo is located in the western part of Finnish Lapland, approximately 170 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. It sits on the shores of Lake Äkäslompolo, surrounded by picturesque forests, fells, and the vast expanse of the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park.


The village is part of the municipality of Kolari, which is known for its stunning natural landscapes and outdoor activities. Its remote location and untouched wilderness make it a perfect destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and connect with nature.


While Äkäslompolo offers tranquility and seclusion, it is still well-connected to other parts of Finland. The nearest airport is Kittilä Airport, which is just a 50-minute drive away. Regular bus services and taxi transfers are available to transport visitors to the village.


The location of Äkäslompolo also makes it an excellent starting point for exploring the wonders of Finnish Lapland. From here, you can easily access the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, a sprawling wilderness area that spans over 1,000 square kilometers. With its ancient forests, pristine lakes, and rugged mountains, the national park provides a stunning backdrop for outdoor activities.


Additionally, Äkäslompolo is in close proximity to other popular destinations in Finnish Lapland. The Levi Ski Resort, one of Finland’s most famous ski resorts, is just a short drive away. The resort offers a range of winter activities, including downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and ice fishing.


Overall, the location of Äkäslompolo offers the perfect blend of natural beauty and accessibility. Whether you want to explore the local surroundings or venture further into Lapland, this charming village provides a convenient starting point for all your adventures.


Outdoor Activities

Äkäslompolo is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a myriad of activities throughout the year. Whether you visit during the summer or the winter, there is always something exciting to do in this stunning Lapland village.


In the summer months, Äkäslompolo transforms into a haven for hikers, bikers, and nature lovers. The Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park offers a vast network of hiking trails, ranging from easy family-friendly routes to challenging multi-day treks. Take a hike to the top of Ylläs Fell, the highest fell in the area, and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.


If mountain biking is your passion, you’ll find numerous trails that cater to all skill levels. Rent a bike and explore the rugged terrain, passing through forests, crossing rivers, and discovering hidden natural wonders along the way.


During the winter, Äkäslompolo transforms into a winter wonderland, offering endless opportunities for snow lovers. Cross-country skiing is a popular activity in the area, with over 330 kilometers of well-groomed trails to explore. Strap on your skis and glide through the snowy landscapes, surrounded by serene forests and frozen lakes.


For those seeking more adrenaline-pumping activities, try your hand at snowboarding or downhill skiing at the nearby Levi Ski Resort. With its wide range of slopes and modern facilities, it caters to both beginners and experienced skiers alike.


If you’re looking for a unique experience, why not try your hand at ice fishing? Drill a hole in the frozen lake, drop your line, and patiently wait for a trout or perch to bite. It’s a peaceful and meditative activity that allows you to connect with nature in a whole new way.


Regardless of the season, there are also opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, wildlife safaris, and even horseback riding in the surrounding wilderness.


With its diverse array of outdoor activities, Äkäslompolo offers something for everyone. Whether you are seeking adventure and adrenaline or a peaceful escape in nature, this Lapland village is the perfect destination to fulfill your outdoor dreams.


Wildlife Viewing

Äkäslompolo is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering abundant opportunities to observe and experience the unique wildlife of Finnish Lapland. The region is home to a diverse range of animals that have adapted to the extreme northern climate.


One of the most iconic animals in Lapland is the reindeer. These majestic creatures roam freely throughout the area, and you can often spot them grazing in the forests or crossing the roads. Reindeer sleigh rides are a popular activity, allowing you to get up close and personal with these gentle animals while enjoying a traditional mode of transportation.


If you’re lucky, you may also come across Finland’s largest land mammal, the moose. Known for their impressive size and antlers, moose are often spotted near lakes and marshlands. Keep your eyes peeled while hiking or driving through the countryside, as these magnificent creatures can appear unexpectedly.


Lapland is also home to a thriving population of birds. Birdwatching enthusiasts will delight in the opportunity to spot species such as the golden eagle, the ptarmigan, and the Siberian jay. Explore the forests and wetlands, armed with a pair of binoculars, and enjoy the diversity of birdlife that calls this area home.


Another remarkable sight that wildlife enthusiasts hope to witness in Äkäslompolo is the Arctic fox. These elusive creatures are known for their white coat, which blends seamlessly with the snowy landscapes. Observing an Arctic fox in its natural habitat is a truly magical experience that few get to witness.


Lastly, don’t forget to look up at the night sky for a chance to witness the spectacular dance of the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. Äkäslompolo is located in the Aurora Zone, making it an ideal place to witness this natural phenomenon. The ethereal colors and patterns that dance across the Arctic sky are truly awe-inspiring and will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.


While wildlife sightings are never guaranteed, Äkäslompolo offers a rich and diverse environment that provides ample opportunities for nature lovers to immerse themselves in the fascinating world of Lapland’s wildlife.


Aurora Borealis Hunting

One of the most enchanting experiences you can have in Äkäslompolo is hunting for the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. The village’s location within the Arctic Circle puts it in prime position for witnessing this breathtaking natural phenomenon.


The Northern Lights are caused by solar particles colliding with the Earth’s atmosphere, creating a stunning display of colorful lights dancing across the night sky. Äkäslompolo offers ideal conditions for viewing this celestial spectacle due to its remote location, minimal light pollution, and clear skies in the winter months.


To maximize your chances of seeing the Northern Lights, it is recommended to visit Äkäslompolo between late September and early April when the nights are darker and the aurora activity is at its highest. While the Northern Lights can be unpredictable, there are several ways to increase your chances of witnessing this magical display.


Joining a guided Aurora Borealis tour is a popular option. Knowledgeable local guides will take you to the best viewing spots, away from any light pollution, and provide insights into the science and folklore surrounding the Northern Lights. They know the best times and locations to increase your chances of seeing the lights and will often interpret weather patterns and solar activity data to maximize the experience.


Another option is to embark on a Northern Lights safari. This can involve riding in a snowmobile-drawn sleigh, going on a husky sled ride, or even snowshoeing to remote locations. These activities not only provide an opportunity to witness the Northern Lights but also allow you to immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Lapland’s winter landscapes.


It’s important to remember that the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and while their occurrence can be predicted to some extent, there is no guarantee of seeing them. Patience and persistence are key when hunting for the Northern Lights, as they may appear for just a few minutes or last for several hours.


Photography enthusiasts will also find the Northern Lights in Äkäslompolo a captivating subject. Capture the dancing lights against a backdrop of snowy forests or over frozen lakes for truly mesmerizing shots.


To enhance your experience, be sure to dress warmly in layers, as temperatures can drop significantly during the winter nights. Don’t forget to bring a thermos of hot drink and some snacks to keep you warm and energized during your Aurora Borealis hunt.


Witnessing the Northern Lights in Äkäslompolo is a truly awe-inspiring experience that will leave you with lifelong memories. From the vibrant displays of color to the overwhelming feeling of magic in the air, hunting for the Aurora Borealis is an adventure you won’t want to miss.


Local Culture and Traditions

Immerse yourself in the rich and vibrant local culture of Äkäslompolo, where traditions are deep-rooted and celebrated throughout the year. The village is located in the heart of Sami territory, the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia, and their unique culture greatly influences the local way of life.


Visitors to Äkäslompolo have the opportunity to learn about Sami traditions and customs through various cultural experiences. Attend a traditional Sami reindeer herding demonstration and gain insight into the important role these animals play in Sami culture.


A visit to a Sami village is a must for a deeper understanding of their way of life. Traditional Sami dwellings, known as “kota” or “lavvu,” are tepee-like structures made with reindeer hide or canvas. Sit around the fire inside a kota and listen to stories about Sami history, folklore, and the unique symbiotic relationship between the Sami people and nature.


Participating in a reindeer sleigh ride is another way to experience Sami culture first-hand. Take a ride through the captivating winter landscapes, guided by a Sami reindeer herder, and marvel at the bond between the herder and their reindeer.


Music, song, and dance are also integral parts of Sami culture. Attend a traditional joik performance, a form of traditional Sami singing that evokes deep emotions and tells stories of the Sami people and their connection to nature.


Äkäslompolo is also home to various cultural events and festivals that showcase local traditions. The Sami Easter Festival, for example, is a significant celebration that combines pagan and Christian traditions. Visitors can witness ceremonial rituals, enjoy traditional Sami food, and experience the warm hospitality of the Sami community.


Another cultural highlight is the annual Midsummer celebration, known as “Juhannus.” This festival marks the longest day of the year and is celebrated with bonfires, music, dancing, and traditional Finnish Midsummer rituals. Join the festivities and immerse yourself in the joyous atmosphere.


Furthermore, Äkäslompolo is home to skilled local artisans who create traditional handicrafts. Visit local shops and studios to admire and purchase handmade items such as Sami silver jewelry, reindeer leather products, and traditional woven textiles.


By embracing the local culture and traditions of Äkäslompolo, you will gain a deeper appreciation for the rich heritage of the Sami people and their profound connection to the breathtaking natural surroundings.


Accommodation Options

Äkäslompolo offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preferences and budget. Whether you’re seeking a cozy cabin in the wilderness or a comfortable hotel in the heart of the village, you’ll find the perfect place to rest and recharge after a day of exploring Lapland’s wonders.


One popular choice is to stay in a traditional Finnish log cabin, also known as a “mökki.” These cabins are nestled in the stunning natural surroundings, providing a tranquil and authentic Lapland experience. Equipped with modern amenities, including private saunas and fireplaces, these cabins offer a cozy and comfortable home away from home.


If you prefer the convenience and services of a hotel, Äkäslompolo has a selection of charming hotels to choose from. These establishments offer comfortable rooms, on-site restaurants serving delicious Finnish cuisine, and often provide additional amenities such as spa facilities and equipment rental for outdoor activities.


For those seeking a more unique experience, there are also options to stay in traditional Sami tepee-like dwellings called “kota” or “lavvu.” These accommodations provide a glimpse into Sami culture and are equipped with basic amenities for a cozy stay.


If you’re traveling on a tighter budget or prefer a more communal atmosphere, hostels and guesthouses are available in Äkäslompolo. These accommodations offer shared facilities and provide an opportunity to meet fellow travelers and exchange stories and recommendations.


Additionally, Äkäslompolo offers a range of holiday resorts and chalets that cater to families and larger groups. These accommodations often come with multiple bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and additional amenities such as private saunas and hot tubs.


No matter which type of accommodation you choose, you can expect warm Finnish hospitality and the opportunity to experience the tranquility and beauty of the surrounding nature.


It is recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak winter season when Äkäslompolo attracts visitors from around the world who come to witness the magical Northern Lights and enjoy the winter activities.


With its diverse range of accommodation options, Äkäslompolo ensures that every traveler can find their perfect place to stay while exploring the wonders of Finnish Lapland.


Local Cuisine

When visiting Äkäslompolo, exploring the local cuisine is a must. Traditional Finnish cuisine showcases the flavors of the Arctic region, with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from the forests and lakes.


One iconic dish of Finnish cuisine is “poronkäristys,” which consists of thinly sliced reindeer meat sautéed with butter and served with lingonberry jam and mashed potatoes. The tender and flavorful reindeer meat is a true delicacy that reflects the Sami culture’s close connection to nature.


Another must-try dish is “kalakukko,” a traditional Finnish fish pie. It consists of a rye bread crust filled with a mixture of fish, typically perch or pike, and pork. The pie is then baked in the oven, resulting in a hearty and flavorful dish that is a true taste of Finnish craftsmanship.


For a warming and nourishing meal, try “Lappish salmon soup.” Made with locally caught salmon, potatoes, leeks, and a creamy broth, this soup is a highlight of Finnish cuisine. It is often served with freshly baked rye bread, which complements the flavors perfectly.


If you’re feeling adventurous, don’t miss the opportunity to try “sautéed reindeer tongue.” It may sound unusual, but this tender and flavorful delicacy is a true local specialty. Served with lingonberry jam and pickled cucumbers, it offers a unique and memorable culinary experience.


For those with a sweet tooth, Finnish desserts won’t disappoint. “Korvapuusti,” similar to a cinnamon bun, is a popular pastry enjoyed with a cup of coffee. “Mustikkapiirakka,” a traditional blueberry pie, is another delightful treat that showcases the abundance of wild berries in the region.


When dining in Äkäslompolo, it’s also worth trying the local specialty of smoked and dried fish. The traditional smoking methods enhance the flavor and texture of the fish, creating a unique and delicious taste. It’s a popular snack or addition to traditional Lappish meals.


To truly immerse yourself in the local food culture, consider joining a culinary experience or a traditional Finnish dinner. These experiences often include a multi-course meal with dishes like reindeer, salmon, and local berries, allowing you to savor the full range of flavors that Finnish cuisine has to offer.


Pair your meal with a Finnish beer or a glass of “glögi,” a spiced hot drink similar to mulled wine, to complete the gastronomic experience.


In Äkäslompolo, you’ll find a variety of restaurants, cafes, and eateries offering both traditional Finnish cuisine and international dishes. Whether you’re exploring the local specialties or seeking familiar flavors, there’s something to satisfy every palate.



Getting to and around Äkäslompolo is relatively straightforward, thanks to several convenient transportation options available in the region.


If you’re arriving by air, the nearest airport is Kittilä Airport, located approximately 50 kilometers south of Äkäslompolo. Several domestic and international flights operate from this airport, connecting Äkäslompolo to major cities in Finland and Europe. From the airport, you can choose to rent a car, take a taxi, or use a shuttle service to reach Äkäslompolo.


Another option is to travel by train. The nearest train station is located in Kolari, approximately 40 kilometers from Äkäslompolo. Trains from major Finnish cities, such as Helsinki and Rovaniemi, connect to Kolari. From there, you can take a bus or taxi to reach Äkäslompolo.


Once you’ve arrived in Äkäslompolo, the easiest way to get around the village and its surrounding areas is by renting a car. Having a vehicle gives you the freedom to explore the nearby attractions, national parks, and other villages at your own pace. Several car rental companies operate in Äkäslompolo and Kittilä Airport, offering a range of vehicles to suit your needs.


Public transportation options in Äkäslompolo include buses and taxis. Local bus services connect the village to nearby towns and attractions, making it convenient to explore the area without a car. Taxis are also available for transportation within the village and can be hailed or booked in advance.


If you prefer a more sustainable mode of transportation, cycling is a popular option in Äkäslompolo. The village has a well-maintained network of cycling paths, allowing you to pedal through the scenic landscapes and enjoy the fresh Lapland air. Bicycle rentals are available in the village, making it easy to get around on two wheels.


During the winter months, when the village is covered in snow, snowmobiles become a popular mode of transportation for locals and visitors. Renting a snowmobile allows you to explore the winter wonderland and access more remote areas that may be inaccessible by other means.


Whether you prefer the convenience of a car, the eco-friendliness of a bicycle, or the thrill of a snowmobile, Äkäslompolo offers various transportation options to ensure you can navigate the beautiful Finnish Lapland with ease and comfort.


Tips for Visiting Äkäslompolo

When planning your trip to Äkäslompolo, consider these helpful tips to ensure a smooth and memorable experience in this picturesque Lapland village:

  • Pack appropriate clothing: Äkäslompolo experiences cold and snowy winters, so be sure to pack warm and layered clothing, including thermal wear, hats, gloves, and sturdy winter boots. Don’t forget to bring a waterproof jacket and pants for outdoor activities.
  • Plan your activities in advance: With a wide range of activities available, it’s a good idea to plan and book your preferred activities in advance, especially during the peak winter season. This ensures availability and allows you to make the most of your time in Äkäslompolo.
  • Stay up-to-date on weather and road conditions: Keep an eye on weather forecasts and road conditions, especially during the winter months. Snowfall and icy roads can occur, so make sure to check for any updates or precautions before embarking on your adventures.
  • Experience the midnight sun or the Northern Lights: Depending on the time of year you visit, you can either witness the midnight sun during the summer months or hunt for the awe-inspiring Northern Lights during the winter. Plan your trip accordingly and consider visiting during the winter if seeing the Northern Lights is a priority.
  • Explore the local culture: Take time to immerse yourself in the unique Sami culture by participating in cultural activities, such as reindeer sleigh rides, traditional Sami food experiences, or visiting the local handicraft stores. This allows you to gain a deeper appreciation for the local traditions and way of life.
  • Try local delicacies: Don’t miss the opportunity to savor traditional Finnish dishes such as reindeer meat, salmon soup, and traditional pastries. Seek out local restaurants and cafes to indulge in the flavors of Lapland’s cuisine.
  • Respect nature and wildlife: When exploring the wilderness, remember to respect the environment and wildlife. Stay on designated trails, dispose of waste properly, and observe animals from a safe and respectful distance.
  • Engage in outdoor activities: Take advantage of the stunning landscapes of Äkäslompolo by participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, or ice fishing. These activities allow you to fully appreciate the natural beauty of the region.
  • Check for local events: Keep an eye out for local events and festivals happening during your visit. These events provide an opportunity to experience traditional celebrations, cultural performances, and local traditions.
  • Be prepared for limited daylight: During the winter months, Äkäslompolo experiences limited daylight hours. Plan your activities accordingly and be prepared to make the most of the daylight hours for outdoor adventures.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your visit to Äkäslompolo and create lasting memories in this enchanting Lapland village.



Äkäslompolo is a destination that captures the essence of the Finnish Lapland, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, rich cultural experiences, and warm hospitality. Whether you’re seeking thrilling outdoor activities, a chance to witness the Northern Lights, or an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, Äkäslompolo has it all.


From the vast wilderness of the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park to the charming village atmosphere, Äkäslompolo provides a serene and picturesque backdrop for your Finnish Lapland getaway. The region offers a range of activities throughout the year, from hiking, biking, and canoeing in the summer to skiing, snowshoeing, and Northern Lights hunting in the winter.


Embrace the local culture through traditional Sami experiences, including reindeer herding demonstrations, Sami village visits, and traditional joik performances. Indulge in the flavors of the region with dishes like reindeer meat, salmon soup, and Finnish pastries.


Whether you choose to stay in a cozy log cabin, a comfortable hotel, or a unique Sami dwelling, Äkäslompolo offers a range of accommodation options to suit every preference and budget.


As you venture through the stunning landscapes of Äkäslompolo, remember to respect and preserve the natural environment. Observe wildlife from a distance, stay on designated trails, and practice responsible tourism.


Whether you visit during the vibrant summer months or the winter wonderland with its snowy landscapes, Äkäslompolo welcomes you with open arms and promises an unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags, embrace the magic of Finnish Lapland, and create memories that will last a lifetime in Äkäslompolo.