Skip to main content

Discover Inari


On the edge of the wild and beautiful Lake Inari sits the small and lively village of Inari. Inari village is home to the Finnish Sámi Parliament, who are based out of Sajos, a striking building which also doubles up as the Sámi cultural centre. For an insight into the history and culture of the Sámi people, the Sámi museum, Siida, is a great place to get started. It doubles up as the visitor centre for the region. There are many enchanting places to visit in the natural environment surrounding the village, including Ukko Island, Otsamo Fell and Pielpajärvi Wilderness Church.

Northern lights & eight seasons 

Northern lights

There are several factors affecting our chances of seeing the northern lights. To begin with there needs to be auroral activity happening above us, which is caused by storms on the surface of the sun. Even if this activity is strong, we might not be able to see any northern lights if the skies are cloudy or there is thick fog. Auroras also happen during the daytime but we don’t see them against a lit sky. Therefore in order to have the best chance of seeing this mesmerizing natural phenomenon, the sky needs to be as clear and dark as possible, which can often mean temperatures considerably below freezing. It also helps to be away from the light pollution of cities and towns.

According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the northern lights blaze in the skies of Northern Lapland three nights out of four. The most likely times for seeing the auroras are the hours either side of midnight. Early Spring and early Autumn are statistically the best times of year to view the lights, partly due to lesser cloud coverage. March, statistically the least cloudy month, is highly recommended for aurora chasing.

Inari and the rest of Northern Lapland, being close to the magnetic north pole, sit within the auroral zone. Sparsely populated and hundreds of kilometers away from the bright lights of large cities, Inari and its surrounding areas have minimal light pollution. However, in spite of its remote location, the village is easy to get to with plenty of modern services and comfortable accommodation, making it a popular aurora hunting destination.

You can find out how the northern lights are formed in the following video:



In the summer time, people in Inari  get to experience the world famous Midnight sun. The Midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle.

During this period, the sun remains visible at the local midnight and even 24 hours for some time, giving plenty of time for late night sun-bathing, or just enjoying the experience of the magical midnight sun. The number of days per year with potential midnight sun increases the closer towards either pole one goes. 

A quarter of Finland’s territory lies north of the Arctic Circle, and at the country’s northernmost point Utsjoki, the sun does not set at all for 60 days during summer.



For one and a half months during the polar night the sun does not rise above the horizon. The lightest time of day starts between 10 and 11am and lasts for three to four hours, resembling a cloudy day with a hint of blue. The colour of the sky deepens from blue to violet, and then dark night draws in. The auroras and the stars light up the cold frost, cracking ice and fresh snow. Polar night is a time for calm reflection but is also a surprising feast of subtle and enchanting colours.


Following the onset of polar night, snowfall stays on the ground, temperatures drop and everything is frozen: the temperature can stay at -30 degrees for several weeks at a time. However, the light part of day starts to lengthen at an accelerating speed.


The warmth of the sun and subzero night temperatures harden the snow, making its surface able to support more weight. The sun stirs people to life up after a long period of darkness. These are the best conditions for ice-fishing and skiing, with the sun’s warming rays gladly welcomed by all.


In May snow and icecover melts and reveals the wet ground. Migrating birds return to their northern nesting sites from the south and nature starts to gradually show signs of life. Reindeer calves are born and fly fishers take to the riverbanks. Days are almost eternal. The sun remains above the horizon from the end of May and so begins the nightless night.


Although the sun by now has already been staying up around the clock for almost a month, Lapland’s summer officially starts on midsummer’s day, which is 21st June. With the summer being short, we spend as much time outdoors as possible, absorbing and making the most of the 24hr sunshine, which needs to meet our needs for the whole year.


Berries ripen and people head to the cloud berry swamps and bilberry forests. It is also time for picking wild mushrooms and going fishing. Whatever is harvested is preserved and stored for winter. The long light days of summer shorten and the evenings start to get dimmer.


Nature puts on a spectacular technicolour show across the tundra before the onset of winter. The changing colours of the leaves set the landscape on fire. The hunting season begins and autumn hikers arrive, marvelling at the rich and varied tones of the arctic trees and shrubs. It is already possible to see the first auroras in the dark autumnal skies.


The first snowfall already takes place in October, but often melts away. Actual winter arrives in Inari at the end of November. Subzero temperatures freeze the water as well as the land and the days shorten significantly. We wait for the arrival of snow in anticipation, for the snow brings light to the darkness of the northern winter.

To top

Inari village and places of interest

Inari village

Inari village is the centre for Finnish Sámi culture. Nestled amongst wild fells and lakes, there are plenty places of interest in its surroundings which are rich in local culture as well as natural beauty. Amongst these, the most well known are Siida, museum of Sámi Culture and Nature Centre, and the architecturally striking Sámi cultural centre and parliament house, Sajos. The Sámi church and artisan shops are also intriguing places to visit. In Inari, Sámi culture is respected and kept alive through education and in the media. It is possible to study all three Sámi languages spoken in Finland and learn traditional handcrafts at the Sámi Education Institute. In the village, the Finnish national broadcasting company (YLE) has a local station which produces news and programs in all three Sámi languages. Productions are broadcast via the radio, television and internet.

Inari village is the second largest within the municipality of Inari, with a population of approximately 500. The village itself is small, which is part of its charm. All services are within walking distance, including two grocery stores, a petrol station and the northernmost ATM in Finland. Nature trails and good fishing spots are just around the corner. The Forestry Commission’s Nature Heritage Services (Metsähallitus Luontopalvelut) sells fishing licenses and offers tourist information within Siida, the Sámi museum. Prescription-free medicines can be bought in the K-Market grocery store and the nearest health care centre is located 40 kilometers south in Ivalo.


Siida offers up to date information as well as a multi-sensory learning experience for its visitors. During summer the indoor exhibitions are complemented by the outdoor museum. Culture, art and nature related exhibitions change with the seasons throughout the year. Siida is also a venue for culture and nature events, for example Camera Borealis,a nature photography event, and Skábmagovat – The Indigenous Peoples’ Film Festival, which takes place in an outdoor cinema carved out of ice and snow.


Situated right by Juutua, the river of all rivers, is Sajos. Sajos is the Sámi cultural centre and is also where the Finnish Sámi parliament is based. It is an interesting meeting point for different cultures and also functions as a congress centre. Events held in Sajos vary from classical music to modern films.


The great Lake Inari stretches out in front of Inari village. Also known as the ‘Sámi sea’, it is possible to travel on the lake for days without seeing anyone else, making it a true haven for peace and tranquility seekers. The majority of the 3318 islands have no buildings or any other visible traces of mankind. However, with careful observation, you can discover nature’s own works of art and ‘seita’s, sacred places of unique natural beauty, where the Sámi people used to make offerings to the gods and spirits.

The Forestry Commission’s Nature Heritage Services has built open huts for overnight stays and maintains outdoor fireplaces on some islands. You can also find cottages to rent for longer periods. It is easy to get lost in the labyrinth of open water and islands so always be well prepared when moving around the lake. Keep in mind that weather changes quickly.

The lake is number one in Finland for trout fishing, with the catch weighing in at around 45 tons per year in recent times. It is also possible to catch salmon, arctic char, white fish, vendace and grayling, all of which form an important part of the local diet.

Lake Inari is third largest lake in Finland at 1 084m². The official deepest point is 92 meters which is located in the Vasikkaselkä open water area.

We offer boat trips and fishing tours by request. 


In the western parts of Lake Inari lies the ancient Sámi sacrificial site, Ukko Island. The island is one of the most notable and treasured ancient sites in Finland. It was dedicated to Ukko, the God of Thunder. In the olden days people made offerings to Ukko on the island, asking for favourable winds. Even nowadays people might flip a coin into the water wishing for the same. You can admire the island from a short distance during the summer onboard our cruise ship which departs daily or drive a snowmobile across the ice on one of our safaris during the winter.


The Wilderness Church of Lake Pielpa is located at the original site of Inari Village. Before Inari Village was founded in its current place at the mouth of River Juutua, it was a ‘siida’, the Sámi word for a winter settlement. The church, initially built along with the ‘siida’ in 1760, is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Northern Lapland. The graves in the churchyard were moved onto an island to prevent large predators from digging them up.


River Juutua flows through Inari Village. The river is a paradise for fly-fishers, with trout spawning from the lake and graylings offering a challenge to even the most experienced of fishermen. Good fishing spots are easy to reach from the marked nature trail following the river. There are a couple of shelters and fireplaces along the river that are stocked with firewood and free for everyone to use. The river can be crossed via a new suspension bridge at Jäniskoski.


From the north side of the river rises Otsamo Fell. At 418m above sea level, it is located roughly eight kilometers from the village. There are marked trails leading to the top, where you can find shelter and take a rest in the day hut, which has it’s own stove and firewood. The fell top offers magnificent views over the surrounding wilderness.


Another great viewpoint is Tuulispää Fell. The fell is located about nine kilometers south from the village and is accessible by car. This fell is known for heavy winds blowing through its hillsides and was believed to be the residence of the god of wind. This mean that is was also an ancient sacrificial place where people came to appeal to the god. There is a 1.5km hiking trail from the car park to Tuuli lake, where there is a wooden shelter with a fireplace, firewood and dry toilets.


Lemmenjoki village is located in the outskirts of Lemmenjoki National Park, 50 kilometers south-west of Inari Village. The National Park is the largest wilderness area in Finland and one of the largest in Europe.

During the summer, boat trips can be taken down the river valley and are the best way to visit Ravadasköngäs, a ten meter waterfall, rare in Finland, as well as take in the beauty of the surroundings. The Lemmenjoki area is also known for its gold rush history. The last rush was in the 1950s but hopeful gold prospectors can still be found sifting through sediment.

To top

Traveling & distances


Thanks to good flight and bus connections getting to Inari is straightforward.


Ivalo airport is 50km south of Inari. Finnair flies to Ivalo daily. The airport shuttle bus travels between Ivalo and Inari, which can be booked through . We can also arrange private transfers.

All transfers need to be booked in advance via webshop.

Arrival services at Ivalo airport.


There are a number of trains scheduled between Rovaniemi and Helsinki per day with the journey lasting between 8 and 13 hrs, including overnight services. Train lines stop at Rovaniemi, after which you will need to take a bus to Inari which takes approximately 5 hours. However, you can book this as part of one ticket on the VR website below.

Timetables and tickets can be found from here.


Eskelinen and JBUS connect Rovaniemi and Inari. Bus tickets can be bought directly from the driver or reserved online.

When travelling between destinations in the Eastern and Western parts of Lapland, please be aware that there may be only one service a day which will mostly likely go via Rovaniemi.

Check bus timetables from here.


If you want to get to explore the area fully, we recommend coming by car. Lapland’s roads are in good condition and there is virtually no traffic, even though you need to keep your eye out for reindeer crossing at any time of year. Remember that from December to mid-January it is almost always dark during polar night. Inari is located on the E75 road.

It is possible to take your car on the train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. Please check the train timetables for more information.

It is also possible to rent a car from Ivalo airport from one of the following car rental companies: AvisEuropcarHertzScandia Rent and Sixt.


Getting to or from Norway on buses is not easy. Finnish buses travelling north terminate at Näätämö, Karasjok and Tana Bru. The bus to Nordkapp only operates in the summer and connections leaving from Karasjok are limited. As part of our services, we arrange a daily transfer to Kirkenes which picks up from Kakslauttanen, Saariselkä and Ivalo. At the Kirkenes end, pick up can be from the harbour, the town centre, a hotel or the airport. We can also arrange transportation to other destinations in Northern Norway and Lapland on request.

Kirkenes transfers.

Public bus timetables.

Other transfers need to be booked in advance via email:


Inari – Rovaniemi 340 km
Inari – Saariselkä 70 km
Inari – Ivalo airport 50 km
Inari – Ivalo 40 km
Inari – Kittilä 200 km
Inari – Nuorgam 170 km
Inari – Kirkenes 200 km
Inari – Nordkapp 350 km
Inari – Helsinki 1150 km

To top

Events in Inari

Inari village has many interesting cultural and nature orientated events throughout the year.


Skábmagovat (Reflections of the Endless Night) Indigenous Peoples’ Film Festival is organised yearly in January at the end of the Polar night in Inari. Films are shown at Siida, Sajos and in Siida’s snow theatre under the stars. Alongside Sámi films, the films of other indigenous peoples are shown. The programme is published at the end of the year and advance tickets go on sale in the new year.


Inari’s King Reindeer racing championships take place every spring on the ice of frozen Lake Inari near the shore of Holiday Village Inari. This colourful outdoor event is suitable for all ages!


Inari’s Trolling Competition is organised every year in July. The competition area is on a section of Lake Inari, from Inari village to the southern part of Kasari. The competition base and the finishing line are at the harbour of Inari village.


Traditional village festivities, children’s activities, market stalls, concerts, theatre, performing artists and of course the Water Cross snowmobile competition all take place during this week in July.

Inari week is one of the biggest happenings of the summer, with events and activities for all ages organised throughout the whole municipality.


Ijahis Idja is the Indigenous People’s Music Festival which has been organised in Inari village since 2004. The event is the only music festival in Finland that focuses on Sámi music. Every year the festival includes guest performers from other indigenous backgrounds.


Camera Borealis takes place during the last weekend of November. The exhibition features captivating and beautiful images created by Finland’s best nature photographers and amateur photographers, sometimes accompanied with live Sámi music. The theme changes from year to year.

To top

The Sámi People & Reindeer Husbandry


The Sámi people are the only officially recognised indigenous peoples in the European Union. Estimated to be around 75,000 in number, there are around 9000 Sámis in Finland, over 40,000 in Norway, 15,000 – 20,000 in Sweden and 2000 in Russia. Although Sámi people are distributed across country borders, they consider themselves to belong to one land known as Sápmi or Sámiland, have one Sámi flag and their own national day which is celebrated on 6th February.

Finland’s Sámi population has its own parliament which is responsible for linguistic and cultural self-government. The parliament operates out of Sajos in Inari village and is elected every fourth year. In Lapland’s northernmost municipalities Sámi students have a right to take their education in their own language. Efforts are also made to preserve the Sámi languages with immersive cultural day care centres for young children. In Finland three Sámi languages are spoken: Northern Sámi, Inari Sámi and Skolt Sámi.

Although lean-tos, kotas and other traditional structures are still a part of the Sámi culture and environment all year round, people live in modern houses, dress in modern clothes and do not differ from Finns in their outward appearance. However, almost all Sámis have a Sámi dress, which is worn on important or special occasions. When wearing the beautifully made and decorated traditional dress, a Sámi person is representing their family and their region as well as showing respect for the occasion that they are attending.

The majority of Sámis belong to the evangelical lutheran church. Skolt sámis are mostly Orthodox.

These days over half of Sámi people live outside of the Sámi area, many of them in the Helsinki area.


Reindeer husbandry is commonly associated with traditional Sámi livelihoods, along with fishing, hunting and handicrafts. These days reindeer herding as a main livelihood has fallen considerably. Today Sámi people living in the north often combine their traditional livelihoods with services in travel and tourism, sometimes in addition to ordinary jobs within the community.

Although reindeer are owned by different families and herders, they still graze with other herds on a collective grazing ground, used by a reindeer grazing association, known in Finnish as a ‘paliskunta‘. There are 56 ‘paliskunta’ in Finland, with each area having a limit of 200,000 reindeer on the pastures in order to allow the ground to recover and regenerate for continued use.

Reindeer husbandry follows a yearly life cycle. Calves are born in May and June, which starts off the reindeer year. From midsummer (21 June) reindeer are gathered into their summer corrals (pens), where the new calves are marked by cutting a pattern into their ear with a knife. The earmark is unique to every reindeer herder whose herd will all bear the same pattern. Assembling the reindeer into their summer corrals is assisted by the swarms of mosquitoes, flies and other insects present at that time of year, who drive the irritated reindeer out of the forest and into the open tundra.

As autumn draws in, the reindeer are rounded up again using quad bikes, mountain bikes and when the snow arrives, snowmobiles and helicopters. Once rounded up, the reindeer are separated, with those chosen for slaughter removed. Some males are castrated and some reindeer are removed for home use. Those who are not to be slaughtered are given anti-parasite treatment and released back into the wild.

To top

More information about our safaris


  • Our winter trips start at the end of November (depending on weather) and continue until April.
  • Our summer trips are available from June to the end of September.
  • Guiding is done both in Finnish and in English. Guidance can be provided in other languages at an additional cost if requested well in advance.
  • As a responsible travel company, Visit Inari Oy reserves the right to cancel or change the route and the duration of the trip should we feel that weather conditions or other factors pose a safety risk to staff and participants.


  • We arrange pick ups from hotels in Inari village at an agreed time before the safari begins. For an additional cost we can also arrange pick ups from further away locations, such as Saariselkä or Ivalo.


  • Included in the cost of every trip are: guiding, outdoor winter clothing, required permits, insurances, fuel, taxes and transfers between our activity locations and Inari village.


  • For husky and reindeer safaris, there are 2 people per sled.
  • For snowmobile safaris there are 2 people per snowmobile unless otherwise requested, in which case an additional single supplement is paid. When there are 2 people per snowmobile, they can switch drivers halfway through the trip.
  • During snowmobile safaris, children sit in a sled pulled by the guide’s snowmobile, for safety reasons.
  • Participants in our safaris must inform the Visit Inari Safari Office, in advance, of any existing medical conditions, illnesses or injuries, allergies which may affect the participant’s ability to drive or take part in the trek. We do not recommend snowmobile or husky safaris for pregnant women due to safety concerns.
  • Where snacks or meals are included in a trek, please inform us in writing of any special dietary requirements at the time of booking.
  • In case of accident during a husky safari, self-liability for husky safaris is maximum 500eur per accident.


  • All drivers of snowmobiles need to be at least 18 years old and must have a valid driving licence. The driving licence should be taken on the safari. Drivers must not be under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
  • Visit Inari Oy  has accident insurance that will cover medical expenses in the case of personal injury. However, in the case of damage to the snowmobile during an accident, drivers are personally liable for up to a maximum of 900 EUR. Before the safari every driver is required to sign the personal liability form, accepting the 900 EUR personal liability, confirming that he/she is in possession of a valid driving licence and confirming that he/she is not under the influence of any alcohol or drugs.
  • Before the safari begins, all drivers will be given a safety briefing by the guide and instructions on how to operate and drive the snowmobile. Drivers will follow the guide in a line, keeping a safe distance between other drivers.
  • Our snowmobile fleet consists of up to date models which are regularly maintained and run on environmentally friendlier four gear engines.


  • Before a trip, every participant will be given additional outer clothing to wear for the safari, which includes winter overalls, winter boots, driving mittens, a balaclava and a helmet. However, in order to stay warm, we suggest that you come to the office dressed properly and can offer the following advice:
  • Start with a base layer which is lightweight, breathable and wicks away moisture from your skin. Avoid cotton, as it retains moisture and gets cold quickly. The best base layers are merino wool or synthetic wicking fabrics.
  • Wear a warm mid-layer, ideally a woolen knitted sweater or fleece.
  • If you are particularly sensitive to the cold, we recommend wearing a thin down jacket or down vest under the winter overall that we give you.
  • Bring a scarf or neck-warmer to prevent cold air getting in through the neck of your winter overall.
  • Bring gloves made of silk, fleece or wool to wear under the driving mittens.
  • Avoid wearing tight socks or too many pairs of socks as this restricts your blood circulation which will make your feet cold. Cotton socks should also be avoided as they are cold when they get wet from your feet sweating. It is best to wear a liner sock, a thin merino wool sock or any other winter activity sock and then a wool or thermal sock over the top, which can be provided by us.
  • Luggage and other personal items that are not needed during the safari can be stored at the Visit Inari Safari office. Small items that you might want to take with you, such as cameras, phones, snacks, medication and/or a warm hat, can be kept in small backpack which can worn during the safari.


  • Longer safaris lasting a few hours or more demand good physical condition and stamina, but don’t necessarily require earlier experience of snowmobiling or husky driving. Our arctic ocean safaris are driven by 1 person per snowmobile. On husky safaris there are 1 or 2 people per sled. Accommodation is in wilderness or holiday cabins or apartment rooms. It is also possible that the night will be spent in wooden lean-to/open shelters in the wilderness around a fire.
  • Our guides are trained in and used to dealing with winter conditions and are qualified in giving first aid. We ensure the safety of our safaris by checking routes and conditions using various different technologies including 4G capable phones as well as GPS devices. However, our guides have excellent local knowledge and will also have with them and know how to read paper maps showing up to date snowmobile routes.


  • personal hygiene items & medicines (soap, shampoo, etc)
  • a small backpack
  • head torch (with spare batteries)
  • sunglasses (Feb-May)
  • sun cream for the face (Feb-May)
  • camera & batteries (to be kept inside overalls so that they stay warm and functional)
  • a fleece tracksuit which can be worn underneath your winter overalls and which will be comfortable to lounge around in indoors
  • running shoes or slippers for indoor use.
  • thick under gloves (best material is fleece)

Please note: If you wear spectacles, it is best to try and obtain disposable contact lenses before your trip. Spectacles fog easily, impairing your vision, and the pressure from the helmet can also press them against your head or face causing discomfort over long periods.


We require the following information from all travelers: full name, nationality, allergies, pre-existing medical conditions, illnesses or pregnancy and the age of any children coming on safaris.

Please find our booking terms and conditions here.

To top